Joan Stewart of Scotland, Countess of Morton (1428 - 1486) MP

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Records for Joan Stewart of Scotland

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Nicknames: "the dumb lady of Dalkeith", "Joan the Mute", "muta domina [of Dalkeith"
Birthplace: Perth, Perth, Scotland
Death: Died in Dalkeith Church, Midlothian, , Scotland
Occupation: Princess of Scotland, Countess of Morton, countess of morton
Managed by: Margaret, (C)
Last Updated:

About Joan Stewart of Scotland, Countess of Morton

Joan's effigy on the Morton Monument in Dalkeith, Scotland is said to be the world's oldest image of a known deaf person. Joan was born deaf and reportedly used sign language in public, which was thought to be scandalous behavior during the Fifteenth Century.

Joan married James Douglas, 4th Baron Dalkeith before 15 May 1459, who at the time of their marriage was raised to the peerage as the first Earl of Morton. They were granted a dispensation on 7 January 1463-4 for being consanguineous in the second and third degrees. Joan and her husband James were both aware of their close relationships but were persuaded to marry by her brother King James II of Scotland and applied for the dispensation to legitimize their marriage.

Together Joan and her husband James had four children:

  1. Sir John Douglas, 2nd Earl of Morton (bef. 1466- bef. 1515),[11] killed at the Battle of Flodden[12]
  2. James, (d. aft. 1480) appeared in several writs 1466-1480.[2]
  3. Janet, married bef. 1 February 1480–81 to Sir Patrick Hepburn, 1st Earl of Bothwell.[2]
  4. Elizabeth, mentioned in a charter of 1479 after which nothing further is known of her.[2]



 Joan Stewart was born circa 1428.3 She and James Douglas, 3rd Earl of Angus were engaged on 18 October 1440.2   She married James Douglas, 1st Earl of Morton, son of James Douglas, 2nd Lord of Dalkeith and Elizabeth Gifford, before 15 May 1459.3 She died after 16 October 1486.3 She was buried at Dalkeith Church, Midlothian, Scotland.3
    She was the daughter of James I Stewart, King of Scotland and Lady Joan Beaufort.1,2 Joan Stewart also went by the nick-name of 'The Dumb Lady'.2 From before 15 May 1459, her married name became Douglas.

Children of Joan Stewart and James Douglas, 1st Earl of Morton

   Lady Janet Douglas+1 d. b 1490
   James Douglas3 d. a 1480
   Elizabeth Douglas3 d. a 1479
   John Douglas, 2nd Earl of Morton+3 b. b 1466, d. 1513


   [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume II, page 238. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
   [S323] Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage: founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's The Peerage of Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland: David Douglas, 1904), volume I, page 19. Hereinafter cited as The Scots Peerage.
   [S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 231. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Family.
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Joan Stewart of Scotland, Countess of Morton's Timeline

Perth, Perth, Scotland
Age 23
Morton, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
May 15, 1459
Age 31
Age 31
Morton, Dumfreshire, Scotland
Age 32
Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland
Age 38
October 16, 1486
Age 58
Dalkeith Church, Midlothian, , Scotland
February 27, 1900
Age 58
February 27, 1900
Age 58
January 18, 1901
Age 58