James Hamilton, 5th of Cadzow (bef1397-c1440)

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Sir James Hamilton, 5th Laird of Cadzow was born before 1397 in Scotland to John Hamilton, 4th of Cadzow (bef1370-c1402) and Janet Douglas (bef 1370-) and died circa 1440 of unspecified causes. He married Janet Livingston (bef 1405) circa 20 October 1422 in Scotland.

Sir James Hamilton of Cadzow, 5th Laird of Cadzow (b. bef. 1397 – d. c. 1440) was a Scottish nobleman and royal hostage.


The son of Sir John Hamilton of Cadzow and his wife, Janet Douglas, James Hamilton is first attested to in 1397. In a writ of that year, his father Sir John Hamilton granted him the lands and privileges of Kinneil, in return for the superiority of all property that had been promised to him through his marriage after his attainment of majority.

Hamilton next comes to notice in a Safe-conduct issued by Henry V of England to travel to Calthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire.

In 1424, Hamilton was one of the Scottish Lords allowed passage to Durham to visit the captive James I of Scotland. In the same year, he was one of many Scots hostages given to the English as security for the payment of the ransom of the newly freed King of Scots. His estate was valued at 500 merks.

Hamilton was confined first at Fotheringay Castle, then at Dover Castle. He appears to have been released by 1426. He was invested as a knight before 1430.

Hamilton died not later than 1441, when his son is described as Lord of Cadzow.


He was the son of Janet (or Jacoba) Douglas, daughter of Sir James Douglas, 1st Lord Dalkeith, but his paternity is uncertain. Douglas's husband was Sir John Hamilton of Cadzow and it was long thought that he was James's father. However DNA testing of Hamilton descendants in the Hamilton Surname DNA Project suggests that Sir John was not his biological father.[1] The male-line descendants of James' brother Walter and his uncle John are similar while the descendants of James are distinct, suggesting his biological father was not a Hamilton.

Marriage and Children

James Hamilton married Janet Livingston before 1422, when he received a charter of the lands of Schawis from his father-in-law, Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar. By Janet Livingston, Hamilton had six children:

  • James Hamilton, 6th Laird of Cadzow - later made a Lord of Parliament as 1st Lord Hamilton
  • Alexander Hamilton - ancestor of the Hamiltons of Silvertonhill
  • John Hamilton
  • Gavin Hamilton - ancestor of the Hamiltons of Dalzell
  • Agnes Hamilton - married Sir James Hamilton of Preston
  • Elizabeth Hamilton - married Chalmers of Gadgirth


Offspring of Sir James Hamilton, 5th Laird of Cadzow and Janet Livingston (bef 1405)
Name Birth Death Joined with
James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton (c1415-1479) Scotland 6 October 1479 Euphemia Graham
Mary Stewart, Princess of Scotland (1453-1488)
Janet Calderwood (bef 1465)

Alexander Hamilton (aft1415)
Agnes Hamilton (aft1415)
Elizabeth Hamilton (aft1415)
John Hamilton (aft1416)
Gavin Hamilton (aft1417)

Sources and notes

‡ General
Ω Birth
₪ Wedding


  Robin Patterson

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