The birth of James II of Scotland

On this day in Scottish History

James II of Scotland
James II of Scotland

On the 16th October 1430, the future King James II of Scotland was born at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh. He was the son of James I and his wife Joan Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset.

In February 1437, James became king at the age of six following the assassination of his father by a group of disgruntled noblemen. James was crowned the following month.

During James’ minority, power in Scotland was wielded by the powerful Douglas family. When James assumed power in 1449 the kingdom still remained under the control of the Douglases. In a bid to retake control, James invited William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas, to a meeting at Stirling Castle in February 1452, during which James stabbed the earl and then had his body thrown out of a window.

In March 1457 James issued a decree that “football and golf be utterly cried down and not used”. This ban on football and golf was designed to get the men of the realm to focus on their archery and other martial skills.

Nicknamed ‘Firery Face’ due to a birthmark on his face, James II was one of Scotland’s more popular kings. Unfortunately, he was killed on 3rd August 1460, aged 29, during the siege of the English-held Roxburgh Castle. A cannon he was standing near exploded, injuring James, and he died of bloodloss shorty after. He was succeeded by his nine-year-old son, James III.

 

Further Reading:

James II (The Stewart Dynasty in Scotland), (2015), Christine McGladdery, Birlinn Ltd

Power and Propaganda: Scotland 1306-1488 (New History of Scotland), (2014), Katie Stevenson, Edinburgh University Press

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