Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar

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Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Callendar House, Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Death: November 06, 1451 (71-80)
Callendar, Stirlingshire, Scotland (Executed )
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir John Livingston of Callendar and Daughter of John Menteith of Kerse
Husband of Janet Dundas
Father of Janet Livingstone; Joan Livingstone; Elizabeth Livingston; Alexander Livingston of Phildes; James Livingston, Lord Livingston of Callendar and 2 others
Brother of John Livingston; Robert Livingston and James Livingston
Half brother of Sir William Livingston of Balcastell and Kilsyth; Archibald Livingston; Henry Livingston, Preceptor of Torphichen; Margaret Livingston and Dame Isobel Livingston, Lady

Occupation: Regent of Scotland
Managed by: Darin S. Justice
Last Updated:

About Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar

SIR ALEXANDER LIVINGSTON OF CALLENDARr

Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar (executed 1451) was a significant figure in the early part of the reign of King James II of Scotland.

Alexander Livingston, was the son of Sir John Livingston of Callendar and married a daughter of Sir John Menteith of Kerse.[1] He was keeper of Stirling Castle for at least part of the king's minority, during which he had custody of the king. He conspired with William Crichton, the Lord Chancellor, in the assassination of the 6th Earl of Douglas and his brother, the "Black Dinner" at Edinburgh Castle. Later he allied with the Douglases against Crichton.

Livingston married a daughter of James Dundas of that ilk, and had issue:

  • James Livingston, 1st Lord Livingston (d.1467)
  • Alexander Livingston of Phildes (d. 22 January 1450)
  • Janet Livingston, married James Hamilton of Cadzow
  • Elizabeth Livingston

GENEALOGY

  1. The Scots Peerage V: pp. 426-9
  2. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Livingston_of_Callendar Wikipedia: Alexander Livingston of Callendar[

EVIDENCE FROM THE NATIONAL RECORDS OF SCOTLAND

20 April 1444: Copy of Charter by William Earl of Douglas to Gilbert Kennedy of Dunure and his heirs of the lands called Balgray, the lands of Auchintibber, Fulwood, Gabrachhill, Brydiland, Struther, Peacockbank, Spittal, the 20 shilling land of Whitelee, and lands of Over and Nether Bordlands, lying in the Lordship of Stewarton and Dunlop and bailiary of Cunningham; To be holden of the Earl and his successors for 3 suits at three head courts of the Lordship of Stewarton yearly. Witnesses - James Bishop of St. Andrews James Bishop of Dunkeld, Sir Alexander Livingston of Callander, Sir John Sibbald of Balgony, and Sir James Auchinleck of that Ilk, Knights, and James of Livingston, Captain of Stirling Castle. Dated at Stirling. National Records of Scotland, Papers of the Kennedy Family, Earls of Cassillis (Ailsa Muniments), reference GD25/1/33

________________

  • Sir Alexander Livingston, Lord Callendar, Justiciary1,2,3,4,5,6
  • M, #18341, b. circa 1382, d. 1451
  • Father Sir John Livingston d. 1402
  • Mother (Miss) Menteith
  • Sir Alexander Livingston, Lord Callendar, Justiciary was born circa 1382 at of Callendar, Stirling, Scotland. He married (Miss) Dundas, daughter of James Dundas, circa 1408 at Scotland. Sir Alexander Livingston, Lord Callendar, Justiciary died in 1451.
  • Family (Miss) Dundas b. c 1384, d. 1459
  • Children
    • Janet Livingstone+3,4,5,6 d. bt 20 Oct 1422 - 31 Jul 1439
    • James Livingston, 1st Lord Livingston+ d. bt 26 Apr 1467 - 7 Nov 1467
    • Eupham Livingston+7
    • Alexander Livingston+2 d. 21 Jan 1450
    • Helen Livingston+ b. c 1412
  • Citations
  • 1.[S11572] The Lineage and Ancestry of H.R.H. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, by Gerald Paget, Vol. II, p. 320.
  • 2.[S11649] Clan MacFarlane & Associated Clans Genealogy.
  • 3.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. III, p. 585.
  • 4.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. III, p. 571-572.
  • 5.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. I, p. 663-664.
  • 6.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. I, p. 649-650.
  • 7.[S11620] The Douglas Archives.
  • From: http://our-royal-titled-noble-and-commoner-ancestors.com/p611.htm#i...

_______________________

  • Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar1
  • M, #110327, d. before 6 November 1451
  • Last Edited=5 Sep 2013
  • Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar was the son of Sir John Livingston of Callendar and Marjorie Menteith.2 He married Janet Dundas.2 He died before 6 November 1451.2
  • He held the office of Governor of Scotland, during King James II's minority.3 He lived at Callendar, Stirlingshire, Scotland.4
  • Children of Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar and Janet Dundas
    • James Livingston, 1st Lord Livingston+2 d. b 7 Nov 1467
    • Helen Livingston+2
    • Alexander Livingstone of Phildes+2 d. 21 Jan 1449/50
    • Eupham Livingston+4
    • Elizabeth Livingston4
    • Janet Livingston+1 b. c 1395
  • Citations
  • [S8] BP1999 volume 1, page 4. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S8]
  • [S3268] Hans Harmsen, "re: Chester Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 21 August 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Chester Family."
  • [S37] BP2003 volume 1, page 1218. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
  • [S37] BP2003. [S37]
  • From: http://www.thepeerage.com/p11033.htm#i110327

_____________

  • Sir Alexander Livingston of Callender1
  • M, #392636
  • Last Edited=1 Nov 2009
  • Sir Alexander Livingston of Callender held the office of Governor of Scotland, during King James II's minority.1
  • Children of Sir Alexander Livingston of Callender
    • 1.Eupham Livingston+2
    • 2.Elizabeth Livingston2
  • Citations
  • 1.[S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 1218. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
  • 2.[S37] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
  • From: http://www.thepeerage.com/p39264.htm#i392636

__________________

  • Sir Alexander Livingston1
  • M, #110327
  • Last Edited=12 May 2008
  • Sir Alexander Livingston was also known as Alexander Livingstone.
  • Child of Sir Alexander Livingston and Janet Dundas
    • 1.Janet Livingston+1
  • Citations
  • 1.[S8] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, page 4. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition.
  • From: http://www.thepeerage.com/p11033.htm#i110327

___________________

  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 33
  • Livingstone, Alexander (d.1450?) by Thomas Finlayson Henderson
  • LIVINGSTONE, Sir ALEXANDER (d. 1450?), of Callendar, guardian of James II of Scotland, was eldest son of Sir John Livingstone of Callendar, who was killed at the battle of Homildon on 14 Sept. 1402. His mother was a daughter of Menteith of Carse. On 23 Feb. 1423–4 he received a safe-conduct till 30 April as hostage for James I at Durham (Cal. Documents relating to Scotland, iv. entry 942). He was also one of the jury at the trial of Murdac, duke of Albany, in 1424. After the assassination of James I in 1437 Livingstone seems to have been entrusted with the guardianship of the infant prince James II. To frustrate the designs of Sir William Crichton [q. v.], he aided the queen in removing the prince to Stirling in 1439. Shortly afterwards he came to terms with Crichton, and on 3 Aug. he forcibly entered the queen's chamber at Stirling, and placed her under restraint; but difficulties were finally arranged between them, and by a solemn indenture of 4 Sept. Livingstone was to retain the custody of the king till his majority (Acta Parl. Scot. ii. 54).
  • In 1443 Livingstone entered into a coalition with the Douglases against Crichton, and although through the influence of the Douglases he was in 1445 denounced a rebel and imprisoned, he gained his liberty on payment of a large sum of money, and was subsequently restored to the king's favour. In 1449 he was appointed justiciary of Scotland. The same year he was named one of the commissioners to England, and on 18 Sept. he signed a prorogation of the truce till 19 Nov. following (Cal. Documents relating to Scotland, iv. entry 1216). Towards the close of the year he, however, fell again into disfavour, and was imprisoned in Blackness, while his son Alexander, at a parliament held at Edinburgh on 19 Jan. 1449–50, was condemned to be executed on the Castle Hill. About the father nothing further is known.
  • By a daughter of Dundas of Dundas he had two sons—Sir James Livingstone of Callendar, and Alexander, ancestor of the Livingstones of Dunipace—and two daughters, Janet, married to Sir James Hamilton of Cadzow, and Elizabeth to James Dundas of Dundas.
  • [Auchinleck Chron.; Histories of Boece, Major, and Lindsay of Pitscottie; Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, vol. iii.; Cal. Documents relating to Scotland, vol. iv.; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), ii. 124.]
  • From: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Livingstone,_Alexander_(d.1450%3F)_(DNB00)

____________________

"Sir Alexander de Livingston, Lord of Callendar, Knight, was a very able, as well as an ambitious man of affairs, but previous to the return of James I from exile in England there is little mention of him in the records of that period. He was a witness, together with his father, to some charters executed in the years 1399 and 1401, in which he is styled 'Alexander of Livingston', while in a charter dated at Clackmannan, Oct. 6, 1406, he is described as 'Alexander of Livingston, Lord of Callendar'. He was in receipt of an annuity of 20 pounds out of the customs of Linlithgow, which had been originally granted to his father by King Rober III, and Sir John Livingston's widow (Alexander's stepmother) Agnes Douglas, was a participant in this annuity to the extent of one-third between the years 1418-1422. Alexander also appears as a witness to charters granted by the Regent Albany in 1407 and 1408.

That Sir Alexander of Callendar was considered by his contemporaries to have been a man of exceptional ability is borne out by a deed in the Wigtoun charter chest, by which one John Blair of Adamtoun grants to Alexander Livingston of Callendar. In the document he is styled 'a noble and potent man'. The lands of Catscleuch orCattiscleuch in the barony of Herbertshire, Stirlingshire, in consideration 'for his good council manifoldly given and to be given' to the said John Blair. This deed is dated Jan. 26, 1424-25, and among the names of the witnesses are thos of his younger brothers Robert and John, and Henry Livingston of Manerstoun.

James I, returning to Scotland after being held captive in England for eighteen years, and marrying just before his release, Lady Joan or Jane Beaufort, granddaughter of the celebrated John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, he proceeded to seek vengence on those he thought responsible for the great delay in obtaining his release. In so doing he made bitter enemies and was murdered in the Dominican monastery at Perth on Feb. 20, 1436-37. His most trusted councillors had been Sir William Crichton and Sir Alexander Livingston, whom he had knighted. Upon his death his 7 year old son was crowned at Holyrood Abbey on Mar. 25, 1437. Scottish historians have been in dispute as to the identity of the person nominated to fill the post of regent. Modern research seems to bear out that Archibald, 5th Earl of Douglas and Duke of Touraine was the first, but due to his lackluster actions, William Crichton took advantage, seizing the royal revenues for his own use and would not let the queen-mother have any share in the guardianship of her son, thought the same parliament that had appointed Douglas had confided him to her care. According to old chronicles she gained her end by pretending she wanted to go on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady at Whitekirk in East Lothian, managing to conceal her son in one of her chests, she smuggled him past the castle guard, but on arriving in Leith, she secured a vessel and sailed for Stirling, where she placed herself and the young king under the care of Sir Alexander Livingston. Whether this is truth or legend, it is sufficient to know that such a change took place between Nov. 1438, when a parliament was held at Edinburgh and March 1439, when the Three Estates assembled at Stirling; and that by this act of the queen-mother, Sir Alexander found himself for a time virtual ruler of Scotland.

From http://www.robertsewell.ca/living4.html The following account of Sir Alexander Livingston is copied from Sir Hector Livingston Duff, The Sewells of the New World, William Pollard and Co., 1924:

"Even in the turbulent age in which he lived, Sir Alexander Livingston was distinguished by his uncommon boldness and decision. These qualities are apparent in everything he did, but are nowhere more strikingly shown than in his high-handed interference with the re-marriage of the Queen Mother, Joan Beaufort grand-daughter of John of Gaunt and widow of James I. This singular affair and other violent passages in the life of Sir Alexander are very well described by Mr. E. B. Livingston in his Livingstons of Callendar, pp. 38-49. 

Joan Beaufort married Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn. Probably she wished to secure some male protector in these stormy times, when her son was so freely used as a pawn in the ever changing game of politics; but this knight adherred to the supporters of the House of Douglas, now led by the youthful William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas.

Sir Alexander Livingston undertook a very decisive series of actions. He had Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn and his brother Sir William Stewart arrested and incarcerated at Stirling Castle. They were later released on finding security for their future good behaviour. On August 3, 1439 he arrested Joan Beaufort and had her confined to her apartments at Stirling Castle. This interesting document, the original of which is preserved in H.M. Register House, Edinburgh, but formerly in the possession of Sir Alexander and his descendants the Earls of Linlithgow, is dated Sept. 4, 1439. It begins with the explanation that this 'appoyntement maid at Stryuelyne' between the right high and mighty princess Joan, Queen of Scotland, on the one part, and Sir Alexander of Livingston of Callendar, Sir William of Cranstoun, knights, James of Livingston, son and heir of the said Sir Alexande, and John of Livingston, brother to the aforesaid Sir Alexander, on the other part, is effected 'with the advice and consent of the Three Estates assembled in General Council.' It then goes on to state that the queen, after ripely examining and discussing with her concil the causes and motives that had influenced the Livingstons in their treatment of her person, admits she is fully persuaded 'in that matter was nought done in villainy'; and that they had only acted from motives of loyalty and zeal for the safety of their sovereign. She therefore promises to dismiss from her mind all feelings of displeasure she had hitherto entertained against them on account of their conduct in having her imprisoned. She also, with the advice of the Three Estates, resigns to Sir Alexander Livingston the sole guardianship of the king, 'her dearest son' until he should come of age, and, at the same time, surrenders to him her Castle of Stirling, as a residence for the king and his sisters; and to defray the expense of their maintenance there she assigns to Sir Alexander her annual allowance of 'four thousand marks of the usual money of Scotland'. It was also agreed that the queen-mother should have the right to visit her son at all times, provided that she be accompanied 'with unsuspected persons,' and that the lords and gentlemen composing her retinue are approved of by Livingston. 

Sir William Crichton felt neglected, so during Sir Alexander Livingston's absence from Stirling Castle, he found means to ambush James II in a park where the boy was accustomed to playing, and took him to Edinburgh Castle. Livingston then formed an alliance with Crichton, agreeing to give the latter a greater role in the governing of the country. Sir Alexander Livingston and Sir William Crichton then arranged to have the William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas and his only brother David Douglas executed at the infamous Black Dinner of 1440. The custody of James II remained in Sir Alexander Livingston's hands until he became Justicary of Scotland in 1444, when he transferred the guardianship to his eldest son Sir James Livingston, Governor of Stirling Castle. King James II began ruling Scotland in his own right about 1448, but it appears to have taken a few years to establish full control. In 1452, James personally stabbed and killed William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas who was plotting against him by entering into an alliance with the Lord of the Isles and the Earl of Crawford and negotiating with England.

It is difficult to form any conclusion as to what were the motives which influenced Sir Alexander Livingston in taking these high-handed proceedings. Some historians argue that it was solely to gratify his own selfish ambition for keeping the reins of government in his own hand which influenced Livingston. On the other hand, we must bear in mind that Sir Alexander Livingston was a man well advanced in years. He was in a position to remember the long regency of the Dukes of Albany during the minority of James I; and as a councillor of the late King James I, he understood the dangers the young James II would incur should he fall into the hands of a powerful noble such as the Earl of Douglas. 
It is significant to note that when James II came of age and proceeded to establish control over the nobles, he apparently felt considerable attachment to his Livingston guardians. While Livingstons, Douglases and others were arrested, charged with high treason and executed, Sir Alexander Livingston and his son Sir James Livingston were released after a very brief impisonment; the latter being raised by James II to the peerage of Scotland as the 1st Lord Livingston of Callendar in 1454. 

Sir Alexander Livingston and Sir William Crichton, who had recently come to a power sharing agreement of sorts, were convinced that the Douglases, led by the young, headstrong 6th Earl of Douglas, were enemies of the throne. They felt it necessary to crush the Douglases to secure their own authority. Although it was fairly easy to secure sufficient evidence to support a charge of high treason against the 6th Earl of Douglas and his associates; it was an entirely different matter to arrest this powerful baron in the midst of his own people in his own castle.

It does not appear to have been difficult for Sir William Crichton to lure the young earl from his castle, and to convince him to present himself at the court of the boy king, James II in Edinburgh Castle for a celebratory dinner of reconciliation. Thus, the 6th Earl of Douglas, his brother David, and his advisor Sir Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld arrived at Edinburgh Castle on November 24, 1440. 
According to legend, a banquet was held in the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle, and the young James II was charmed with the company of the Douglases. At the end of the feast, the head of a black bull was brought into the hall. Under Scottish custom, this formality presaged the death of the principal guest(s) at a dinner. James II is alleged to have pleaded for the lives of his new friends to be spared, but they were said to have been beheaded in front of the ten year old king. 
However, Mr. E.B. Livingston suggests a more likely scenario on pages 43 and 44 of The Livingstons of Callendar, Edinburgh University Press, 1920: 
"But what we do know for certain is that on the arrival of the Earl of Douglas at the castle, he was at once arrrested, together with his only brother David, and his friend and consellor Sir Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld, who had accompanied him; that the three of them were hastily tried for high treason, found guilty, and proptly beheaded on the Castle Hill. The earl and his brother were executed on 24 November, 1440, and Sir Malcolm Fleming four days later. The later execution must have been carried out contrary to the wishes of Livingston, hence probably the four days' delay. For about three years later, on 16 August 1443, Sir Alexander Livingston, in the presence of Robert Fleming and four bishops, solemnly purged himself upon oath of having given any counsel, assistance, or consent to the slaughter of Sir Malcolm Fleming. 
"Some of the old chronicle writers, who like some modern journalists were not averse to inserting fictitious picturesque details, so as to enliven their narratives, declare that the Douglases were arrested while sitting at dinner, on the signal being given by a black bull's head, supposed to be a sign of sudden death, being placed on the table; and this fable, according to an old historian of the House of Douglas, gave rise to the following doggerel rhyme:— 

'Edinburgh castle, toun, and tower, God grant ye sink for sin; And that even for the black-dinner, Earl Douglas gat therin.'

"It is, however, highly improbable that either Livingston or Crichton would have been parties to the introduction of such a theatrical dénouement into this ghastly tragedy . . . ." 

The only references that can be found during 1444 and 1445 relating to Sir Alexander are some entries in the Exchequer Rolls. One refers to coinage of some of his silver. Another about disbursements incurred by him in procuring linens and other necessaries for the King's sisters. Also in 1444 he is mentioned as holding a Justice Ayre at Dunblane. In August of 1449 he was appointed one of the ambassadors sent by James II to treat with the English government regarding a renewal of the truce between these two countries, which had been broken the previous year. In all the documents relating to this embassy he is styled as "justiciarius Regni Scotiae."

by his wife, who is said to have been a daughter of James Dundas of Dundas, the elder, he had the following issue:

  • 1. James of Livingston, who succeeded his father, and was subsequently created a Lord of Parliament
  • 2. Alexander of Feldes or Phildes, Perthshire, Constable of Stirling Castle, Captain of Methven Castle, etc., who was executed for high treason on Jan. 21, 1449-50. He was the ancestor of the Dunipace branch of the family.
  • 3. Janet, who was probably born towards the close of the fourteenth century (circa 1395). She married Sir James Hamilton of Cadzow, father of the first Lord of Hamilton. Some modern genealogists consider, owing to the late date of the charter (22 Oct. 1422), by which her father Sir Alexander Livingston settled on her and her husband in conjunet infeftment the lands of Schawys in Lanarkshire, that she could not have been the mother of the first Lord Hamilton, if this grant had been made at her marriage. But the above charter was evidently not a wedding gift, as the lands of Schawys, according to its conditions, were 'to be held to the grantees and the lawful heirs born and to be born of their bodies'; which is sufficient proof that this charter must have been granted after an heir had already been born to Sir James Hamilton and Janet Livingston. Moreover, according to a contemporary chronicle of the reign of James II, under the year 1455, Janet's elder brother, James of Livingston, is styled the 'eme,' namely uncle, of James, first Lord Hamilton.
  • 4. Elizabeth (doubtful), who is said to have married James Dundas of Dundas, the younger.
  • 5. Helen, who married William Menteith of Carse or Kerse."

_______________________

1390 ???

Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar (d. 1451) was a significant figure in the early part of the reign of King James II of Scotland.

Above You can see:Alexander Livingston and wife - one of the exhibits inside Callendar House.

''This is Alexander Livingston of Callendar (Regent of Scotland in 1437), son ''of John Livingston of Callendar, grandson of William, greatgrandson of ''William, gg grandson of Andrew de Livingston''''''''

Notes ◦The following account of Sir Alexander Livingston is copied from Sir Hector Livingston Duff, The Sewells of the New World, William Pollard and Co., 1924:

"Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar, a man of transcendent ability and far-reaching ambition, left his mark deeply on the Scottish history of his time. He was the favourite counsellor of James I (of Scotland), after whose death he acted as guardian to the young King James II during his minority, and, in that capacity was for some time the virtual ruler of Scotland.
"Even in the turbulent age in which he lived, Sir Alexander Livingston was distinguished by his uncommon boldness and decision. These qualities are apparent in everything he did, but are nowhere more strikingly shown than in his high-handed interference with the re-marriage of the Queen Mother, Joan Beaufort grand-daughter of John of Gaunt and widow of James I. This singular affair and other violent passages in the life of Sir Alexander are very well described by Mr. E. B. Livingston in his Livingstons of Callendar, pp. 38-49.
"During his eventual career Sir Alexander Livingston filled various offices of the highest dignity and importance, including those of Justiciary of Scotland and Ambassador to England. He died in 1451. By his wife, a daughter of James Dundas of Dundas he had, among other children, two sons, of whom the younger, Alexander Livingston of Feldes, Constable of Stirling Castle, was the ancestor of the Livingstons of Dunipace (extinct 1678)."
Unfortunately for the memory of Sir Alexander Livingston, no other source gives such a glowing account of his life during this troubled time in the history of Scotland. Sir Alexander Livingston, whose son Sir James Livingston (later 1st Lord Livingston of Callendar) was Governor of Stirling Castle, was in a power struggle with Sir William Crichton, Governor of Edinburgh Castle for control over King James II who was in his minority. Originally James' mother, Queen Joan Beaufort, was installed as co-Regent of the kingdom until the boy came of age. She shared control with the Governor of Scotland, Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, who, from motives which are unknown — probably ill health was the reason — does not appear to have taken his duties very seriously. The government of the country was much neglected by him, and seems to have been carried on by whatever person happened to have custody of the young king for the time being. It was around this time that Sir William Crichton had control of James II, and Joan took her leave of Edinburgh Castle after imploring Crichton to look after the boy. Unknown to Crichton, she had concealed James in a large chest, and took him to Stirling Castle and Sir Alexander Livingston. Before long, however, Joan decided to return to Edinburgh and Crichton; with Livingston in hot pursuit. The government of Scotland was truly in a shambles.
The inept Governor, Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, died on June 24, 1439, and Joan Beaufort married Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn. Probably she wished to secure some male protector in these stormy times, when her son was so freely used as a pawn in the ever changing game of politics; but this knight adherred to the supporters of the House of Douglas, now led by the youthful William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas.
Sir Alexander Livingston undertook a very decisive series of actions. He had Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn and his brother Sir William Stewart arrested and incarcerated at Stirling Castle. They were later released on finding security for their future good behaviour. On August 3, 1439 he arrested Joan Beaufort and had her confined to her apartments at Stirling Castle. Sir William Crichton felt neglected, so during Sir Alexander Livingston's absence from Stirling Castle, he found means to ambush James II in a park where the boy was accustomed to playing, and took him to Edinburgh Castle. Livingston then formed an alliance with Crichton, agreeing to give the latter a greater role in the governing of the country. Sir Alexander Livingston and Sir William Crichton then arranged to have the William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas and his only brother David Douglas executed at the infamous Black Dinner of 1440. The custody of James II remained in Sir Alexander Livingston's hands until he became Justicary of Scotland in 1444, when he transferred the guardianship to his eldest son Sir James Livingston, Governor of Stirling Castle. King James II began ruling Scotland in his own right about 1448, but it appears to have taken a few years to establish full control. In 1452, James personally stabbed and killed William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas who was plotting against him by entering into an alliance with the Lord of the Isles and the Earl of Crawford and negotiating with England.
It is difficult to form any conclusion as to what were the motives which influenced Sir Alexander Livingston in taking these high-handed proceedings. Some historians argue that it was solely to gratify his own selfish ambition for keeping the reins of government in his own hand which influenced Livingston. On the other hand, we must bear in mind that Sir Alexander Livingston was a man well advanced in years. He was in a position to remember the long regency of the Dukes of Albany during the minority of James I; and as a councillor of the late King James I, he understood the dangers the young James II would incur should he fall into the hands of a powerful noble such as the Earl of Douglas.
It is significant to note that when James II came of age and proceeded to establish control over the nobles, he apparently felt considerable attachment to his Livingston guardians. While Livingstons, Douglases and others were arrested, charged with high treason and executed, Sir Alexander Livingston and his son Sir James Livingston were released after a very brief impisonment; the latter being raised by James II to the peerage of Scotland as the 1st Lord Livingston of Callendar in 1454.
The Black Dinner of 1440
Sir Alexander Livingston and Sir William Crichton, who had recently come to a power sharing agreement of sorts, were convinced that the Douglases, led by the young, headstrong 6th Earl of Douglas, were enemies of the throne. They felt it necessary to crush the Douglases to secure their own authority. Although it was fairly easy to secure sufficient evidence to support a charge of high treason against the 6th Earl of Douglas and his associates; it was an entirely different matter to arrest this powerful baron in the midst of his own people in his own castle.
It does not appear to have been difficult for Sir William Crichton to lure the young earl from his castle, and to convince him to present himself at the court of the boy king, James II in Edinburgh Castle for a celebratory dinner of reconciliation. Thus, the 6th Earl of Douglas, his brother David, and his advisor Sir Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld arrived at Edinburgh Castle on November 24, 1440.
According to legend, a banquet was held in the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle, and the young James II was charmed with the company of the Douglases. At the end of the feast, the head of a black bull was brought into the hall. Under Scottish custom, this formality presaged the death of the principal guest(s) at a dinner. James II is alleged to have pleaded for the lives of his new friends to be spared, but they were said to have been beheaded in front of the ten year old king.
However, Mr. E.B. Livingston suggests a more likely scenario on pages 43 and 44 of The Livingstons of Callendar, Edinburgh University Press, 1920:
"But what we do know for certain is that on the arrival of the Earl of Douglas at the castle, he was at once arrrested, together with his only brother David, and his friend and consellor Sir Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld, who had accompanied him; that the three of them were hastily tried for high treason, found guilty, and proptly beheaded on the Castle Hill. The earl and his brother were executed on 24 November, 1440, and Sir Malcolm Fleming four days later. The later execution must have been carried out contrary to the wishes of Livingston, hence probably the four days' delay. For about three years later, on 16 August 1443, Sir Alexander Livingston, in the presence of Robert Fleming and four bishops, solemnly purged himself upon oath of having given any counsel, assistance, or consent to the slaughter of Sir Malcolm Fleming.
"Some of the old chronicle writers, who like some modern journalists were not averse to inserting fictitious picturesque details, so as to enliven their narratives, declare that the Douglases were arrested while sitting at dinner, on the signal being given by a black bull's head, supposed to be a sign of sudden death, being placed on the table; and this fable, according to an old historian of the House of Douglas, gave rise to the following doggerel rhyme:—

'Edinburgh castle, toun, and tower,

God grant ye sink for sin;
And that even for the black-dinner,
Earl Douglas gat therin.'
"It is, however, highly improbable that either Livingston or Crichton would have been parties to the introduction of such a theatrical dâenouement into this ghastly tragedy . . . ."
Following the demise of William, 6th Earl of Douglas and his brother at the Black Dinner, William's great uncle James, known as "James the Gross" became the 7th Earl of Douglas. Apparently, he had connived at the execution of his nephew, and thus inherited the earldom and the Douglas Estates.
In another interesting development, Beatrice Fleming, the granddaughter of Sir Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld and daughter of Sir Robert Fleming, 1st Lord Fleming, married circa 1472 to Sir James Livingston, 3rd Lord Livingston of Callendar whose great grandfather, Sir Alexander Livingston, was deeply involved in the Black Dinner of 1440 that had resulted in the execution of Sir Malcom Fleming of Cumbernauld.

Sources 1.[S280] Stirnet Genealogy, Peter Barns-Graham, Dundas01 (Reliability: 3)

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Name: @Alexander Livingston Sex: M Birth: 1375 in Stirling, Scotland Death: 1451 in Executed Note: 1437 Knight guardian of King James II Note: 1439 Has the Queen-Dowager, Joan Geaufort, arrested Note: 1440 Arrests and executes the chiefs of the House of Douglas for high treason Note: 1444 Justiciary of Scotland

Source:

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=stolp&id=...

source photo: https://www.myheritage.fr/research/collection-4/photos-documents-my... in the photo: Alexander ( Baron Of Calendar & Justicar Of Scotland) Livingston 1375 - 1451 Livingston


http://www.montyhistnotes.com/genealogy/getperson.php?personID=I383...

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Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar's Timeline

1375
1375
Callendar House, Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland
1399
1399
Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland
1405
1405
1405
Callendar House, Callendar, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
1410
1410
Phildes, Perthshire, Scotland
1410
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
1412
1412
Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, Scotland
1451
November 6, 1451
Age 76
Callendar, Stirlingshire, Scotland
????