12 October 1463

Petition: by John Stewart, lord Darnley, regarding the earldom of Lennox

In the name of God amen. By this present public instrument let it be plainly known to all that in the year of the Lord 1463 and the twelfth day of the month of October, the twelfth indiction and the sixth year of the pontificate of the most holy father in Christ and our lord, the lord Pius II, by divine providence pope, in the presence of our most illustrious prince and lord, the lord James III, most illustrious king of Scots, reverend fathers in Christ and noble lords, and me, a notary public, and the three estates of the realm, there personally compeared a noble lord, John [Stewart], lord Darnley who, in presence of our aforesaid lord the king, seated in his seat of majesty in his parliament, caused to be read out a certain letter of complaint written on paper containing the form which follows; the tenor of which letter follows, in these words:

Excellent prince and sovereign lord, to your highness and to the three estates of this present parliament, spiritual and temporal, I, John Stewart, lord Darnley, your simple servant, humbly declare that notwithstanding the great labour and service I have undertaken during the time of your predecessor of good mind, whom God forgive, both in his young age and after his attainment of majority, for this service I trusted to have gained his favours and expedition in all my rightful disputes and errands and that I trust [to gain] the same from your highness for my service already undertaken and to be undertaken. I have daily pursued, after the death of your said predecessor, to obtain courseable letters of your chapel according to the tenor of my petitions given thereupon, touching the lands of half the earldom of Lennox, for which, as yet, I can get neither completion nor settlement. Wherefore, with all reverence and humility, I beseech your highness that you take full counsel with your three estates now present considering equity and justice [and] you will deign to provide me with such courseable letters of your chapel as well as affairs touching the said lands and that you make no obstacle nor prevent them from being served to me so that I may be served in as far as in affairs. In return for which I offer to maintain 100 spears and 100 bows duly equipped for a year at my own expense in whichever part of this kingdom that you will command me to resist your rebels and enemies, whomsoever they may be, you providing safe places where I may be lodged with my retinue. And if this is not acceptable to your highness and you will deign to assign me the said half lands with tenants and tenantry as in fee until you turn 21 years old, I shall therefore find you 50 spears and 50 bows for a year in the manner written above and I shall find for your highness safe sureties of lords and landed men, so that the occupation and use that I will have of the said lands until you attain your said age will neither prejudice you nor your successors from this further except that you are in such a claim and right as you claim now without any obstacle or impediment to me. If I can content your highness in the meantime of my supplication, if it be seen agreeable to reason, I beseech your gracious highness for an answer and decision for the reverence of God.

Which letter having been read out in the vernacular before our aforesaid lord the king, before his parliament, John, lord Darnley sought this present public instrument from me, a notary public, to be made to him upon the presentation and reading of the same letter, and the insertions in the same. These things were done in the tolbooth of the burgh of Edinburgh, before our aforesaid lord the king and his three estates of the realm, at around the second hour after noon, in the year, indiction, day, month and pontificate abovewritten. Present at that place: the reverend fathers in Christ James [Kennedy], Andrew [Durisdeer], Thomas [Lauder] and Robert [Lauder], bishops of the churches of St Andrews, Glasgow, Dunkeld and Dunblane; the venerable fathers in Christ David [Ramsay], prior of St Andrews, Archibald [Crawford], Malcolm [Brydy] and John [Ramsay], abbots of the monasteries of Holyrood of Edinburgh, Arbroath and Lindores; the noble lords Andrew [Stewart], lord Avondale, chancellor of Scotland; John [Stewart], earl of Atholl; Colin [Campbell], earl of Argyll; Thomas [Erskine], lord Erskine; Gilbert [Kennedy], lord Kennedy; Patrick [Graham], lord Graham; Robert [Maxwell], lord Maxwell; William [Borthwick], lord Borthwick; Robert [Lyle], lord Lyle; Master James Lindsay, provost of the collegiate church of Lincluden, keeper of the privy seal; Master Archibald Whitelaw, secretary. Lords Alexander Boyd of Drumcoll, John Colquhoun of that Ilk, John Maxwell of Calderwood and Alexander Napier of Merchiston, knights. William de Cranstoun of Swinhope, John Multray, Lancelot de Abernethy, Thomas Black, Thomas Laing, Master Alexander Murray, John Telfer, notaries, and John [...] and a great many others of the three estates of the realm sitting in public assembly.

And I, John Laing, priest of St Andrews diocese, notary public by imperial authority, because I was personally present in that parliament along with the aforesaid lords, at the presentation of the aforesaid document, the public reading of the same, and while all and sundry of the other things aforesaid happened and were transacted, and I saw and heard those things to be thus done, and made a note; and thus I have signed this present public instrument, faithfully written by another's hand as I am occupied with other business, with my usual and accustomed sign and name as required and requested, in faith and witness of all and sundry of the foregoing matters.

John Laing

  1. NAS, GD220/2/1, no. 53. Public Instrument, on vellum. Also printed in W. Fraser, The Lennox, ii, 75-8; APS, xii, 28-9. Back