James IV, king of Scots

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James Stewart

Also Known As: "Iron Belt", "/James/IV", "King of England", "Iron Belt Scotland"
Birthplace: Stirling Castle, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Death: September 09, 1513 (40)
Flodden Field, Northumberland, England (United Kingdom) (Killed in Battle of Flodden Field)
Place of Burial: St. Michael Wood Street, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of James III, king of Scots and Margaret af Danmark og Norge von Oldenburg
Husband of Agnes NN, Mistress and Margaret Tudor, Queen consort of Scots
Partner of Lady Margaret Drummond; Lady Margaret (Boyd) Mure; Janet Kennedy, Lady Bothwell and Agnes Stewart, Countess of Bothwell
Father of Margaret Stewart; Johanna (Jonet) Stewart; Catherine Stewart, Countess of Morton; Alexander Stewart, Archbishop of St. Andrews; Mary Boyd and 8 others
Brother of James Stewart, Duke of Ross and John Stewart, Prince of Scotland, Earl of Mar

Occupation: King of Scots, King of Scotland, King, Ц Щ, Джеймс Стюарт четыре
Managed by: Günther Kipp
Last Updated:

About James IV, king of Scots

James IV Stewart, King of Scots was born on 17 March 1473 at Stirling Castle, Scotland and died on 9 September 1513 at The Battle of Flodden Field, Northumberland, England. His body was lost but his head is buried at St Michael Wood Street, London England. He was also known as Seumas IV Stiùbhairt, James, Duke of Rothesay,

Ruled: 11 June 1488 - 9 September 1513

Preceded by: James III 3 August 1460 - 11 June 1488

Succeeded by: James V 11 June 1488-14 December 1542

Coronation: 24 June 1488


Son of James III (10 July 1451 – 11 June 1488) and Margaret of Denmark (23 June 1456 – before 14 July 1486)


  1. Margaret Tudor on 8 August 1503 at Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh (Henry VII of England's daughter)


  1. James, Duke of Rothesay (21 February 1507, Holyrood Palace – 27 February 1508, Stirling Castle)
  2. A stillborn daughter at Holyrood Palace on 15 July 1508.
  3. Arthur, Duke of Rothesay (20 October 1509, Holyrood Palace – Edinburgh Castle, 14 July 1510).
  4. James V (Linlithgow Palace, 15 April 1512 – Falkland Palace, Fife, 14 December 1542), the only one to reach adulthood, and the successor of his father.
  5. A second stillborn daughter at Holyrood Palace in November 1512.
  6. Alexander, Duke of Ross (Stirling Castle, 30 April 1514 – Stirling Castle, 18 December 1515), born after James's death.

Illegitimate children with Marion Boyd:

  1. Alexander (c.1493 – Battle of Flodden Field, 9 September 1513), Archbishop of St Andrews.
  2. Catherine Stewart(c. 1494 – 1554), who married James Douglas, 3rd Earl of Morton.

Illegitimate children with Margaret Drummond:

  1. Margaret Stewart (born around 1497)

Illegitimate children with Janet Kennedy:

  1. James (before 1499 – 1544), created Earl of Moray. And two children who died in infancy.

Illegitimate children with Isabel Buchan


  1. Lady Janet Stewart (before 1510 – 20 February 1562)


James IV (17 March 1473 – 9 September 1513) was King of Scots from 11 June 1488 to his death. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from Great Britain to be killed in battle.

James IV was the son of James III and Margaret of Denmark, probably born in Stirling Castle. As heir apparent to the Scottish crown, he became Duke of Rothesay. His father was not a popular king and faced two major rebellions during his reign. During the second rebellion, the rebels set up the 15-year-old James as their nominal leader. His father was killed fighting the rebels at the Battle of Sauchieburn on 11 June 1488, and James took the throne and was crowned at Scone on 24 June. When he realized the indirect role which he had played in the death of his father, he decided to do penance for his sin. From that date on, he wore a heavy iron chain cilice around his waist, next to the skin, each Lent as penance, adding every year extra ounces.

James IV quickly proved to be an effective ruler. He defeated another rebellion in 1489, took a direct interest in the administration of justice and finally brought the Lord of the Isles under control in 1493. For a time, he supported Perkin Warbeck, the pretender to the English throne, and carried out a brief invasion of England on his behalf in 1496. However, he recognized that peace between Scotland and England was in the interest of both countries, and established good diplomatic relations with England, at that time emerging from a period of civil war, and in 1502 signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with Henry VII. He also saw the importance in building a fleet that could provide Scotland with a strong maritime presence. James founded two new dockyards for the purpose and acquired a total of 38 ships for the Royal Scottish Navy, including the Margaret, and the carrack Michael or Great Michael. The latter, built at great expense at Newhaven and launched in 1511, was 240 feet (73 m) in length, weighed 1,000 tons and was, at that time, the largest ship in Europe.

James IV was a true Renaissance prince with an interest in practical and scientific matters. He granted the Edinburgh College of Surgeons a royal charter in 1506, turned Edinburgh Castle into one of Britain's foremost gun foundries, and welcomed the establishment of Scotland's first printing press in 1507. He built a part of Falkland Palace and Great Halls at Stirling and Edinburgh castles, and furnished his palaces with tapestries.[2] James was a patron of the arts, including many literary figures, most notably the Scots makars whose diverse and socially observant works convey a vibrant and memorable picture of cultural life and intellectual concerns in the period. Figures associated with his court include William Dunbar, Walter Kennedy and Gavin Douglas who made the first complete translation of Virgil's Aeneid in northern Europe. His reign also saw the passing of the makar Robert Henryson.

James IV was well educated and a fluent linguist. In 1499 the Spanish envoy Pedro de Ayala reported that he was able to "speak Latin, French, German, Flemish, Italian and the barbarian Gaelic, the native tongue of nearly all his subjects". He was the last King of Scots who is known to have spoken Scottish Gaelic. James is one of the rulers reported to have conducted a language deprivation experiment, sending two children to be raised by a mute woman alone on an island, to determine if language was learned or innate. At Stirling Castle, James maintained an alchemical workshop with a furnace of the quintessence.

When war broke out between England and France as a result of the Italian Wars, James found himself in a difficult position as his obligations under the Auld Alliance with France conflicted with the treaty made with England in 1502. The new king of England, Henry VIII, attempted to invade France in 1513, and James reacted by declaring war on England. Hoping to take advantage of Henry's absence, he led an invading army southward, only to be killed, with many of his nobles and common soldiers, at the disastrous Battle of Flodden Field on 9 September, ending Scotland's involvement in the War of the League of Cambrai. A body, thought to be his, was recovered from the battlefield and taken to London for burial. Because he was excommunicated, the embalmed body lay unburied for many years in the monastery of Sheen in Surrey, and was lost after the Reformation. John Stow claimed to have seen the body, and said the king's head (with red hair) was removed by a glazier and eventually buried at St Michael Wood Street. James's bloodstained coat was sent to Henry VIII (then on campaign in France) by his queen Catherine of Aragon. Rumors persisted that James had survived and had gone into exile, but there is no evidence to support them.


  • James the Fourth, Norman Macdougall (2006 with two earlier editions, regarded as definitive).
  • King James IV of Scotland, R.L. Mackie (1958, the most important previous biography).
  • Ashley, Mike (2002). British Kings & Queens. Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1104-3.
  • Flodden Papers, 1505-1517, ed. Marguerite Wood, Scottish History Society, (1933), French diplomatic correspondence (does not refer to the battle).
  • Letters of James IV, 1505-1513, ed. Mackie & Spilman, Scottish History Society (1953), English summaries of international letters


  1. James IV in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2004, Vol.29, pp. 609–619
  2. Accounts of the Comptroller, Sir Duncan Forestar, 1495-1499, Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vol. 9 (1958), 57-81. In Latin.



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James IV, king of Scots's Timeline

March 17, 1473
Stirling Castle, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
January 1497
Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Morayshire, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
July 17, 1502
Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland (United Kingdom)