« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
individual who became interested in the possession of the Lennox.
Of the seven illegitimate sons, already noticed, of James Stewart of Albany, Andrew Stewart was the eldest. His name occurs, along with some of his brothers, as witness to a charter granted by the Duchess Isabella when residing at Inchmuryne. He and his brothers were probably reared under the" special care of their grandmother. This youth must have held a distinguished place in times when the feeling against illegitimacy was by no means in proportion to the severity of the law. He stood precisely in the same degree of relationship to Earl Duncan as did the ladies of Rusky, and Lord Dernely. But, moreover, had he been legitimate, he would have been heir of the marriage between Isabella and Duke Murdoch, and would have excluded coheiresses. That he and his brothers were illegitimate, however, is unquestionable, for their letters of legitimation are upon record, and to the very charter of the Duchess which these youths witness, the consent and assent of their grand-aunt, Margaret, is taken as eldest coheiress of the Lennox. But Andrew Stewart was nevertheless reared with the same distinction as if the bend sinister had not excluded him from the fief. His youthful years, spent on Lochlomond, must have familiarized him with the Lennox, and the Lennox with him, and his subsequent education was calculated to make him forget that he had no right to look to the possession. James Untouched perhaps with some regrets for the ruin his father had caused, honoured this illegitimate scion of Albany and Lennoxwith marks of regard and affection, placed him at one of the English universities, and when his education was completed, appointed him a gentleman of his bed-chamber, and bestowed upon him the honour of knighthood. Not long afterwards he gifted him with the barony of Avandale, or Evandale, (forfeited by the Earl of Douglas in 1455,) and in 1457, we find Andrew Stewart of Albany styled Lord Avandale.*
He now rapidly rose to the highest distinctions that* could be conferred upon him. Before the 1st of March 1459, he had superseded George fourth Earl of Angus in the responsible office of Warden of the Marches ; and in 1460, about the period of his grandmother's death, he held the loftiest situation in the realm. Upon the accession of James III. in that year, he was chosen Lord Chancellor of Scotland, and the conduct of government under a new minority, and the charge of a distracted kingdom, were then committed to his acknowledged talents, f
* Crawfurd, in his Officers of State, mentions a grant, dated in the year 1456, of the barony of Avandale, which had been annexed to the Crown, to Sir Andrew Stewart, Knight, natural son of Sir James the gross. Upon the 11th of June 1459, among the Scottish guardians of the truce ratified of that date, is mentioned " Andrew Dominus de Avandaill."—Rymer, xi. 389, 398. Rot. Scot. ii. 379, 383.
t In a charter under the great seal, dated at Edinburgh, 28th January 1459-60, one of the witnesses is " Geo. Comite Angusix gardiano Regis."—Mag. Sig. v. 92. And in another, dated on the 1st of March following, " And. Horn. Avandale gardiano Regis," is a witness, Mag. Sig. v. 90. His chancellorship seems to have commenced with the commencement of the rei<rn of James III. Amonsr the Merchiston papers, I find a notarial instrument, dated 23d January 1460-1, taken in presence, among others, " nobilis et perpotentis Domini Andree Domini Avendail Cancellarie Scocie;" when appear personally, "nobiles et honorabiles viri Patrick Hamilton de Cathcart et Ada de Spens, burgenses de Edinburgh, mariti et spouse Mar
It was natural, considering his birth and education, and the temper of the times, that Lord Avandale should cast a longing eye to the possession of the Lennox ; and it was easy, considering his sway in the kingdom, and his command of the chancery, for him to obstruct the legitimate heirs of his house in taking up their lawful inheritance. At the very commencement of the reign of an infant king, the order and justice contemplated by James I. when he established the chancery for the issuing of brieves, were not likely to receive full effect from a chancellor, whose interest it happened to be in this particular case to withhold them. Here, then, was the obstacle in the way of all the heirs-general of Earl Duncan when they wished to establish their right of succession immediately after the death of the Duchess Isabella.
As might be anticipated, the first movement for redress was made by the junior branch of the representation, because that happened to be the most powerful and wealthy. We find that, in the year 1460, John Lord Dernely took instruments on requiring Lord Avandale, chancellor, to issue brieves to serve him heir in one-half of the Lennox ;* and it also appears, that Dernely was unsuccessful in this attempt to obtain his
garite et Katrine de Lawder filie quondam Georgei de Lawder burgenses dicti burgi ac Elizabeth et IssobelleJitie etiam et heredes dicti Georgei." This deed regards the rights of the parties to the lands of "Sornfalovv, Grenhill, Brownisfield," besides certain tenements in Edinburgh which belonged to the said George Lawder; and which are resigned in favour of " Sir Alexander Lawder of Halton, Knight, son and heir of the late William Lawder of Halton." The mother of John Napier of Merchiston, who married the heiress of Rusky, was Elizabeth Lawder, said to be a daughter of Lawder of Halton.
* "Ad inquirendum de quibus terris et annuis redittibus cum pertinentibus quondam Duncanus comes de Lennox pater Elizabeths de Lennox avce dicti Joannis ohiit ultimo vestitus et sasitus infra dieinheritance. At this time, however, Dernely did not proceed a step beyond his legal right. All that he demanded was the issuing of brieves for an inquisition into the state of the succession, and his own propinquity to the last Earl, as one of his heirs-general; but he neither pretended right to the honours, nor to the principal messuage of the fief.
Failing in this legitimate endeavour, he next had recourse to the statutory remedy of complaint to the King and Parliament, whom he addressed in a petition praying to have " conusabill brieves, &c. tuiching the lands of half of the earldom of Levenax ; of the quhilk as yit I can get na expedicione nor outread, &c. And that ye mak, na ger mak, na stoping to me in the serving of thame, sua that I may be servit in alls far as afters. For the quhilk to be done to me, I profir to hald a hunder spers, and a hunder bowis dewly bodin for a yere on myne awin expensis, in quhat part of this realm that ye will charge me in resisting of your rebills and enemys whatsumever thai be."*
Several facts important to the present inquiry are proved by the tenor even of this petition and complaint. First, that the succession was capable of being taken up by service, and consequently had not been annexed to the crown by forfeiture. Secondly, that at this time Lord Dernely put forth no pretension beyond his right to the half of the lands, and did not claim the chief messuage. Thirdly, that he was obstructed by the
turn vicecomitatum, et si ipse Joannes Stuart esset unus de legittimis hceredibus dicti quondam Duncani." The instrument is dated 16th December 1460, and the procurator for John Lord Dernely is his brother Alexander Stewart.—See Andrew Stewart's History of the Stewarts, p. 185.
* Case for Woodhead, p. 67, quotes original deed in possession of Duke of Montrose.
chancellor in getting the brieves he demanded, and found it necessary to condescend to make special offers of military service to overcome the impediment. Powerful as he was, this nobleman could not effect an entry to his lands in the Lennox until ten years had elapsed from the date of this petition; and if he could not, far less could either of the coheiresses of Rusky, though married to gentlemen of high character and consideration in the state.
The mystery of this apparently inaccessible hereditas jacens seems to be fully explained by the circumstances attending a liferent grant of the whole Lennox, which Avandale at length managed to secure to himself in the year 1471.
After the death of the Duchess Isabella, and Dernely's first attempts to be served, state matters of importance, in which the chancellor took a lead, probably interrupted his views upon this fief. Several foreign embassies occurred, in which his talents were called into active requisition; and especially in 1468, he conducted that to Denmark for negotiating the marriage of James III., upon which occasion he was accompanied by the comptroller of the household, Sir Alexander Napier of Merchiston, the father-in-law of Elizabeth Menteitb. The perfect success of this mission greatly increased the chancellor's influence, and his reward seems to have been a liferent gift, under the Great Seal, of the Comitatus of Lennox. The grant is dated at Edinburgh, 4th May 1471, and bears to be from the King to Andrew Lord Avandale, his chancellor, for the singular favour and affection which his majesty entertains for him, as well as for services rendered to the King and to his progenitor, of the lands, tenandries, and profits of the earldom of Lennox, &c. to be as fully and freely enjoyed by him,