James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran was born circa 1475 in Scotland to James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton (c1415-1479) and Mary Stewart, Princess of Scotland (1453-1488) and died 1529 in United Kingdom of unspecified causes. He married Elizabeth Home circa 1490 JL in United Kingdom. He married Janet Bethune (1490-1522) November 1516 JL in Scotland. Notable ancestors include Charlemagne (747-814), William I of England (1027-1087), Hugh Capet (c940-996), Henry II of England (1133-1189), Alfred the Great (849-899), Robert I of Scotland (1274-1329). Ancestors are from the United Kingdom, England, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Switzerland, Scotland, Italy, Turkey, the Byzantine Empire, Sweden.

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.


Offspring of James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton and Euphemia Graham
Name Birth Death Joined with
Elizabeth Hamilton (c1442-c1517)

Offspring of James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton and Mary Stewart, Princess of Scotland (1453-1488)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Elizabeth Hamilton (1473-) 1473 Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland Matthew Stewart, 2nd Earl of Lennox (c1472-1513)

James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran (c1475-1529) 1475 Scotland 1529 United Kingdom Elizabeth Home
Janet Bethune (1490-1522)
Beatrix Drummond

Robert Hamilton, Seigneur d'Aubigny (c1479)

Offspring of James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton and Janet Calderwood (bef 1465)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Hamilton of Broomhill (bef1479-c1550)


He was the only son of James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton, and his wife, Mary Stewart, Countess of Arran. Mary was a daughter of King James II of Scotland and his Queen consort Mary of Guelders, and was a sister of King James III of Scotland.

Hamilton succeeded to his father's lordship and inherited his lands when his father died in 1479.[1] In 1489 his first cousin King James IV made him Sheriff of Lanark, a position his father had previously had,[1] and a Scottish Privy Counsellor.[2] By 28 April 1490 he was married to Elizabeth Home, daughter of Alexander Home, 2nd Lord Home.

Between April and August 1502, he commanded a naval fleet sent to help King Hans of Denmark, James IV's uncle, defeat a Swedish rebellion.[1] He negotiated James's marriage to Margaret Tudor and was present at the wedding on 8 August 1503. On the same day Lord Hamilton was created Earl of Arran, with the formal grant three days later, "for his nearness of blood" and his services at the time of the marriage.[1] He was appointed Lieutenant General of Scotland and in May 1504 commanded a naval expedition to suppress an uprising in the Western Isles.

In September 1507, James IV sent Hamilton as his ambassador on a diplomatic mission to the court of Louis XII of France. When returning in early 1508, he was briefly detained in the Kingdom of England by Henry VII, who was suspicious of a renewal of the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France.

When Henry VIII of England joined the War of the League of Cambrai by invading France in 1513, Scotland came under pressure to support France against England. Hamilton was given command of the Scottish naval fleet. He first sailed to Ulster and attacked Carrickfergus, the main English stronghold there. The fleet then sailed to France, arriving there in September 1513, too late to be much help as the Scottish army had been defeated at the Battle of Flodden Field in England on 9 September, with James IV being killed in battle.

During the minority of King James V he opposed Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus and the English party. He plotted against the Regent John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany. He was president of the council of regency during Albany's absence in France from 1517 to 1520.

He was defeated in an attempt to overpower Angus in the streets of Edinburgh in 1520, a riot known as "Cleanse the Causeway". He was again a member of the council of regency in 1522 and Lieutenant of the South. He joined the Queen Dowager Margaret Tudor in ousting Albany and proclaiming James V in 1524.

Hamilton was compelled by Henry VIII of England to readmit Angus to the council. He supported Angus against John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Lennox in 1526 at the Battle of Linlithgow Bridge, but on the escape of James V from the Douglases, Hamilton received Bothwell from Angus's forfeited estates.

Marriage and Family

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,[3] 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.[4] It is likely that the real motive for divorcing Elizabeth was that she had not borne any children and that Hamilton wanted a legitimate heir – he already had several illegitimate children, his eldest illegitimate son being James Hamilton of Finnart.[1] The complicated legal issues of the second marriage would continue to trouble his heir, whose legitimacy was questioned by his rivals in 1543.[5]


Offspring of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran and Janet Bethune (1490-1522)
Name Birth Death Joined with
James Hamilton, Duke of Châtellerault (c1516-1575) 1516 22 January 1575 Margaret Douglas (c1510-1579)

Janet Hamilton (c1517-1574) 1517 Scotland 1574 Scotland Alexander Cunningham, 5th Earl of Glencairn (-1574)

Helen Hamilton (c1519-)

Offspring of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran and Beatrix Drummond
Name Birth Death Joined with
Margaret Hamilton
John Hamilton

Offspring of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
James Hamilton (c1495-1540)
Elizabeth Hamilton
John Hamilton (1512-1571)

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.

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.

Children of James Hamilton and his mistress Beatrix Drummond, daughter of John Drummond, 1st Lord Drummond and his wife Lady Elizabeth Lindsay:

  • 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


Footnotes (including sources)

₪ Wedding
  • Dissolved in 1506.


  Elrondlair, Robin Patterson

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