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James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran : biography

c. 1475 - 1529

James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran and 2nd Lord Hamilton (ca. 1475–1529) was a Scottish nobleman and first cousin of James IV of Scotland.

Marriage and children

Hamilton was married firstly, c.1490, to Elizabeth Home, daughter of Alexander Home, 2nd Lord Home. The marriage was dissolved in 1506, when it was found that her first husband Thomas Hay, a son of John Hay, 1st Lord Hay of Yester, was still alive at the time of the wedding. In November 1516 Hamilton married Janet Bethune of Easter Wemyss, daughter of Sir David Bethune of Creich,Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 234. and widow of Sir Robert Livingstone of Easter Wemyss, who had been killed in the Battle of Flodden Field. In November 1504 Hamilton had been granted a divorce from Elizabeth Home on the grounds that she had previously been married to Thomas Hay. Hay had apparently left the country and was thought to be dead when Hamilton married Home in or before 1490, but in fact he did not die until 1491 or later. This award of divorce was repeated in 1510, suggesting that Hamilton had continued living with her after 1504, and was held by some to undermine the dissolution of the first marriage as invalid.HMC 11th report, part 6, Duke of Hamilton, (1887), 4-5, 49-52. It is likely that the real motive for divorcing Elizabeth was that she had not born any children and that Hamilton wanted a legitimate heir – he already had several illegitimate children, his eldest illegitimate son being James Hamilton of Finnart. The complicated legal issues of the second marriage would continue to trouble his heir, whose legitimacy was questioned by his rivals in 1543.Dickinson, Gladys, ed., Two Missions of de la Brosse, Scottish History Society (1942), 7-8, 19: Calendar State Papers Scotland, vol, 1 (1898), 691-694.

Arran and Janet Bethune had four children before Janet died c. 1522:

  • Helen Hamilton, who married Archibald Campbell, 4th Earl of Argyll
  • James, 2nd Earl of Arran and later Duke of Châtelherault and governor of Scotland during the minority of Mary, Queen of Scots
  • Janet Hamilton, who married Alexander Cunningham, 5th Earl of Glencairn
  • son name unknown.HMC, 11th report, part 6, Duke of Hamilton, (1897), 5.

Hamilton had further illegitimate issue.

  • James Hamilton of Finnart
  • Elizabeth Hamilton, married Robert Sempill, Master of Sempill
  • John Hamilton, Abbot of Paisley and treasurer of Scotland.Sanderson, Margaret HB., Cardinal of Scotland, John Donald, (1986), 166.

Children of James Hamilton and his mistress Beatrix Drummond, daughter of John Drummond, 1st Lord Drummond and his wife Lady Elizabeth Lindsay:G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I, page 222.

  • Margaret Hamilton, married Andrew Stewart, 2nd Lord Avondale and 1st Lord Ochiltree
  • Sir John Hamilton of Samuelston (aka Clydesdale John), married Janet Home, only legitimate daughter and heiress of Alexander Home, 3rd Lord Home

Ancestors

James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran's ancestors in three generations
James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran Father:James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton Paternal Grandfather:James Hamilton of Cadzow Paternal Great-Grandfather:possibly John Hamilton of Cadzow
Paternal Great-grandmother:Janet, daughter of Sir James Douglas, 1st Lord Dalkeith
Paternal Grandmother:Janet Livingston of Callander Paternal Great-Grandfather:Sir Alexander Livingston of Callander
Paternal Great-Grandmother:
Mother:Mary Stewart, Princess of Scotland Maternal Grandfather:James II of Scotland Maternal Great-Grandfather:James I of Scotland
Maternal Great-Grandmother:Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots
Maternal Grandmother:Mary of Guelders Maternal Great-grandfather:Arnold, Duke of Gelderland
Maternal Great-Grandmother:Catherine of Cleves (1417–1479)
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