Ancestors of a 21st century British family

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  • ID: I4421
  • Name: James Stewart
  • Suffix: 2nd Lord Doune, 2nd Earl of Moray
  • Sex: M
  • Death: 7 FEB 1592 in Seashore below Donibristle castle, Fife
  • Occupation: Subject of the ballad ?The Bonnie Earl of Moray?
  • Cause: Murdered by George Gordon, 6th Earl of Huntly (qv)
  • Note:

    See the book ?The Bonny Earl of Murray? by Edward D Ives 1997.
    Ye hei'lands and ye lawlands,
    Oh, where hae ye been?
    They hae slain the Earl of Morey
    and laid him on the green.
    He was a braw gallant and he rade at the ring
    Ah, the bonnie Earl o' Morey
    He might hae been a king.
    from The Bonnie Earl of Morey

    So goes an old ballad. In February 1592, James VI ordered the Earl of Huntly to pursue "with fire and sword" the traitorous Earl of Bothwell for his attack on Holyrood House the previous year. Huntly seized the chance to continue his long-standing feud with the popular Earl of Morey from whom Bothwell had sought aide. Huntly spread the rumor that Morey was part of Bothwell's treason and secured from the King a warrant for Morey's arrest as well.

    Morey was besieged in the home of his mother, Lady Doune. The house was set alight, forcing most of the occupants out. But Morey waited until dark, finally breaking through the smoke and the besiegers' defenses, to escape into rocks, where he was discovered by the tip of his headpiece that was still burning from his rush through the fire. Gordon of Bucky wounded Morey on the face, and Morey replied defiantly, "'Tis a better face than thine ain that thou spoilest." Bucky then stabbed the Earl again. Fearing that Huntly meant for others to take the blame for Morey's death, Bucky then forced him to pierce the defenseless Earl's body, saying, "Ye shall be as deep as I."

    Morey's family, quite predictably, did not look kindly upon this. They created a painting of Morey's naked body with all the wounds clearly marked and displayed it prominently to arouse public outcry. Furthermore, they refused to bury his body, leaving his coffin in a church in Leith for weeks, until the slaughter was avenged. In the end, the embarrassed King sheltered Huntly, perhaps because he believed that Morey might have been in with Bothwell and partly because the Queen had unwisely commended the virtues of Morey in the King's hearing.
    In February 1592, the Earl of Huntly received news in Edinburgh, that Moray had recently arrived at his castle of Donnibristle in Fife. Huntly at once set out ?with forty gentlemen?, among whom were William Gordon of Gight, his brother Captain John Gordon and Thomas Gordon of Cluny, whose brother had been slain at Darnaway.
    Captain John Gordon was sent up to the castle by Huntly, to ?desire the earl of Moray to give over the house, and render himself up? but as he approached the castle (having apparently not learned much from events at Darnaway!), he was shot and severely wounded. The castle was then attacked and set fire to, and although Moray at first managed to escape from the flames, the Gordons it is said, tracked him down by the flames from a silken tassel that had caught fire on his night cap as he escaped from the burning castle! It was said afterwards that Huntly gave orders that the earl should be taken alive, however the laird of Cluny, whose brother had been slain at Darnaway and the laird of Gight, whose brother lay ?deadly wounded before his eyes?, caught up with him on the seashore and stabbed him to death. It is said (by some sources, but not all) that it was William Gordon of Gight that struck the final and fatal blows, with a dagger to the earl?s face, earning himself the Bonny Earl?s dying words ?you have spoiled a better face than your own?!
    Huntly, perhaps sensing the trouble that was to come, withdrew into the north, leaving Captain John Gordon, who was too badly wounded to travel, at Inverkeithing. He was captured there by the former earl of Moray?s supporters, and after a quick trail, executed at Edinburgh ?being scarce able to live one day longer for his wound received at Donnibristle?. The evidence of the vicious murder can still be seen, for the Bonnie Earl?s outraged mother, herself badly burned in the fire, commissioned a portrait of his mutilated body, which still hangs at Darnaway Castle.
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  • Change Date: 1 MAR 2010

    Father: James Stewart b: ABT 1529
    Mother: Margaret Campbell

    Marriage 1 Elizabeth Stewart
    • Married: 23 JAN 1581
    1. Has Children Grizel Stewart
    2. Has Children Mary Stewart
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