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King James IV of Scotland (1488 - 1513)

Name: King James IV of Scotland
Father: James III, King of Scotland
Mother: Margaret of Denmark
Relation to Charles III: 13th great-grandfather
House of: Stewart
Born: March 17, 1473
Ascended to the throne: June 11, 1488 aged 15 years
Crowned: June 26, 1488 at Scone Abbey, Perthshire
Married: Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII of England, August 8, 1503
Children: 4 sons and 2 daughters (died young) and several illegitimate children
Died: September 9, 1513, killed at Battle of Flodden Field, Northumberland, aged 40 years, 5 months, and 22 days
Buried at: Body taken to London, possibly buried at Sheen Abbey, Surrey, or at Church of St Michael, London.
Succeeded by: his son James V

James IV was 15 when his father was assassinated. He had been an unwilling participant in the forces that had brought down his father, and was said to have warn an iron belt around his waist in penance.

James was a Renaissance King who spoke several languages including Gaelic, English and French and was keen on arts and learning. Aberdeen University was founded, the printing press came to Scotland and education was made compulsory for barons and wealthy landowners. He spent lavishly on the court and built new halls in Edinburgh and Stirling castles. Edinburgh became main burgh and centre of government and justice.

He successfully settled major feuds between his nobles and between the Highland clans, and ended the hold of the MacDonald who had semi-independently ruled the Western Isles. He supported the Yorkist pretender Perkin Warbeck which provoked a military response from his Henry VII of England. However this was patched up in a truce ‘of perpetual peace‘ in 1502, and his marriage to Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII, in the following year was to ultimately bring the thrones of Scotland and England together.

By 1513 Henry VIII was on the throne of England and fighting in France. Encouraged by Louis XII of France under the ‘Auld Alliance’ James invaded England but the Scots were massacred by the English forces under the Earl of Surrey at the Battle of Flodden Field in Northumberland on 9 September 1513. James was killed and his body was taken to London where its fate is uncertain.

Timeline for King James IV of Scotland

Year Event
1488James IV becomes king
1493Lordship of the Isles abolished. In 1540 the title was reserved to the crown.
1495Creation of the University of Aberdeen (King's College).
1496Education Act of 1496 makes education compulsory for barons and wealthy landowners.
1497Chair of Medicine established at Aberdeen University.
1502Marriage contract between James IV and Margaret Tudor signed by King James
1503King James IV marries Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England. The marriage was known as the Union of the Thistle and the Rose.
1507First printing press in Scotland is set up by Andrew Myllar
1513James IV invades England to support his French allies after the English king, Henry VIII, invades France. James and most of the Scottish nobility and clergy are slaughtered by the English army at the Battle of Flodden Field