James Stewart Earl of Moray was assassinated - On this day in history


23 January 2020
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James Stewart, Earl of Moray, regent for James VI, was assassinated by a firearm on 23 January 1570.

James Stewart, Earl of Moray, regent for James VI, was assassinated by a firearm on 23 January 1570, as he passed along Linlithgow High Street. James Stewart was the illegitimate son of King James V of Scotland by Lady Margaret Erskine and acted as regent for his nephew James VI.

The assassination was carried out by James Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, a supporter of Mary Queen of Scots and the killing was one of the first recorded assassinations by firearm. Moray had become unpopular during what became effective civil war in Scotland and he had been responsible for acts against Mary Queen of Scots' supporters, including the destruction of houses, and the burning of Rutherglen Castle.

After the assassination, Stewart's body was shipped to Leith and he was buried at St Giles in Edinburgh in a tomb carved by John Roytell and Murdoch Walker. He was succeeded by his eldest daughter Elizabeth, who became the 2nd Countess of Moray.

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