Samuel Cowan.

The Ruthven family papers : the Ruthven version of the conspiracy and assassination at Gowrie house, Perth, 5th August 1600 online

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©ENEALOGY COLLECTION



ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY




3 1833 01424 3213



THE RUTHVEN FAMILY PAPERS




Fj ontispicce

SIR WILLIAM, SECOND LORD RUTHVEN, I52S-I552, KEEPER OF THE
PRIVY SEAL, AND PROVOST OF PERTH, I529



(1



THE RUTHVEN
FAMILY PAPERS

The Ruthven Version of the Conspiracy and

Assassination at Goivrie House

Perth, 5th August 1600



CRITICALLY REVISED AND EDITED
BY

SAMUEL COWAN, J.P.

AUTHOR OF

'the ROVAL !tOUSE OF STUART," " THE LORD CHANCELLORS

OF SCOTLAND," "tHE ANCIENT CAPITAL OF SCOTLAND"

"life OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS," " LIFE OF

QUEEN MARGARET," ETC., ETC.



LONDON

SiMPKiN, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. Ltd.

1912



ILLUSTRATIONS

Sir William, second Lord Ruthven.

Lady Lilias Ruthven, his Daughter, married to David, Lord
Drummond of Stobhall.

Lady Barbara Ruthven, his Daughter, married to the sixth
Lord Gray.

Marie Ruthven, Daughter of Patrick Ruthven and Wife of
Sir Antony Van Dyck.

(From the original in the Munich Gallery)

General Patrick Ruthven, Earl of Forth and Brentford,
Officer Commanding in the Army of Gustavus Adolphus,
and Commander-in-Chief of the Troops under Charles L
(From the original in the Imperial Museum, Stockholm)

James, fifth Lord Ruthven of Freeland.

Mary, Daughter of Walter Campbell of Islay and Shawfield,
Wife of the fifth Lord Ruthven of Freeland.

Jean Ruthven, born 17S1 (main line); married her first Cousin,
James Ruthven, born 1783.

James Ruthven, born 1752 (main line).

John Ruthven, born 1753 (main line).

James Ruthven, born 1783 (main line).

Arms of the Earl of Gowrie.

Private Seal of the Earl of Gowrie.



■i



1S69331



oS



•rv



%-



AUTHOR'S PREFACE



Historical events affecting Scottish history, or
, {'indeed any history, and occurring so far back as
^'1600, or fully three centuries ago, are rarely called
in question even by students of history, nor is it
"^ desirable to encourage what would challenge the
accuracy and integrity of the generally accepted
historical record, unless the material so produced
were beyond doubt and unchallengeable. In that
notable and momentous event, the so-called Gowrie
Conspiracy, of which we have now unquestionable
proof, there has always been mystery surrounding
it, evidently founded on the refusal of the Scottish
Clergy and Magistrates of Perth, and the majority
of the Scottish people of that period, to recognise
it as a conspiracy of the Ruthvens, and the Clergy's
refusal to pray for the King's deliverance; believ-
ing, as many of them did, that the King was
himself the author of the plot. It is a notorious
fact that it is the King's version of the plot, and no
other version, that has been before the public these
three hundred years, notwithstanding there are
historians who have pointed out that no narrative
by the Ruthven family has ever been forthcoming.

5



AUTHOR'S PREFACE

That point is now set at rest by the issue of this
volume.

It now appears that a Ruthven narrative has been
written by the Ruthven family, or at least by a bona
fide member of it. On a careful inspection recently
of the Ruthven Family Papers, at the request of
Lord Ruthven of Freeland, we have discovered this
document; a paper of historical value, in respect that
it confirms the views of the Scottish Clergy and
Magistrates of Perth of 1600, that the King, and not
Cowrie, was the conspirator, and stamps the King
and his six nobles, amongst whom were divided the
illegally confiscated Cowrie estates, as the sole con-
spirators, enterprisers, and negotiators of the plot,
and alone responsible for the consequences of that
catastrophe with all its brutalities, cruelties and
persecutions.

The narrative from the Ruthven charter chest
ought to have been published long ago, but though
late in the day in reaching publication it will be
regarded by all unprejudiced readers as of supreme
importance. The Scottish Parliament of that period
was evidently not an impartial tribunal. The
political circumstances of the time rendered im-
partiality impossible, and the reader is referred for
information on this point to the narrative of the
Privy Council Register on pages 145-151. In such
turbulent times impartiality could not be expected,

6



AUTHOR'S PREFACE

and the Ruthven family, by means of a fraudulent
and an utterly mysterious and unexpected con-
spiracy, were driven from their estates and homes,
the heads of the family slain, the dead bodies out-
raged, and the Gowrie estates divided among the
six satellites of the King who committed the in-
famous deed. It now turns out that all this was
done at the instigation of James VI., was homolo-
gated by the Scottish Parliament without adequate
reason, and it is to be regretted that the Acts of this
Parliament and the official records of the time are
simply full, ad nauseam, of this piece of wholesale
butchery, falsely called " Gowrie Conspiracy."

The reader may well ask what can be the ex-
planation of all this, and we can do nothing but
refer him for answer to the following pages. The
Ruthven family of to-day recognise with pride that
many of their distinguished ancestors were promi-
nent men on the political platform of the Ancient
Kingdom of Scotland, at a trying period of Scottish
history ; and, notwithstanding their persecution and
supposed extinction, the main branch never was
extinct, but has been vigorous and representative
through all these centuries, while the Freeland
branch of the family is represented to-day by Lord
Ruthven, and, as will be seen from the Kalendar,
many of its members rose to an eminent position in
the government and administration of the kingdom.

7



AUTHOR'S PREFACE

The first Lord Ruthven was the friend and
supporter of King James III., and provided his
sovereign with 3000 men at the battle of Sauchie-
burn, where the King lost his life. The Master of
Ruthven, son of this Lord Ruthven, fell, sword in
hand, at the battle of Flodden, in 1513; and down
to the catastrophe of 1600 the heads of the House of
Ruthven, in the administration of the kingdom,
occupied a position that was supreme ; but, while
saying so, we are not to be understood as endorsing
all the political acts of Patrick, Lord Ruthven, and
his son William, first Earl of Gowrie, who were
men to be reckoned with in the reign of Queen
Mary. Lord William was for a limited period Lord
Treasurer of Scotland, and was the champion who
conceived and carried out the Raid of Ruthven and
capture of the boy king. A noble Scottish family
was the Ruthvens, of whom the nation had reason
to be proud ; but, alas ! who can resist the inevit-
able, or fight with the vicissitudes of fortune ; and
so the elder branch of this ancient and venerable
family, so long identified with Scotland's imperial
administration, passed, in 1600, from the region of
politics to that of citizens of the realm.

All the branches have representatives alive at this
date, while the family name of Ruthven has long
since been restored, and the fraudulent and illegal
attainder cancelled by the Parliament of Charles L

8



AUTHOR'S PREFACE

in 1641. This important Act of Parliament will
be found in the text, as well as other Acts of the
Scottish Parliament relating to the Ruthvens.

The volume concludes with a short biography of
John, third Earl of Gowrie, and a family history of
the Ruthvens, extracted from the family papers.
The family can trace their origin to a very early
date, and appear to have been identified so far back
as the twelfth century with the parish of Tibbermore
in Perthshire, as extensive territorial landowners.
From the chartulary of Scone {Liber ecclesicB de
Scon) we have reproduced the only charters re-
corded there relating to the Ruthven family.

The author acknowledges with thanks the sub-
stantial help he has received in the production of
this volume from a member of the Ruthven Family,
Mrs Ruthven-Stuart of London.



ARMS OF THE EARLS OF COWRIE

From the S folic hi Gozi'rie House, Perik
Tibi Soli (To thee Alone) Deid Schav (Deeds Show)



The Ruthven Family Papers

CHAPTER I

KALENDAR OF THE RUTHVEN FAMILY ORIGIN AND PRO-
GRESSIVE STAGES OF THE RUTHVENS IN EARLY

SCOTTISH HISTORY RUTHVEN CASTLE AND ITS

CHAPELS OF ST PETER AND THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY,

TIBBERMUIR CHARTER OF THOR, LORD OF TIBBER-

MUIR CHARTER OF WILLIAM THE LION, II 85



The four founders of the great Ruthven family
stand thus : —

Thor
SWAINE

Alan

Walter

(These are unchallengeable.)
II



KALENDAR

OF THE

RUTHVEN FAMILY

iioo to 1600
Holders of the Lands and Dignities



No.


Name


Period


Died


I


Thor, Lord of Tibbermore .


Died between


1 1 17 and 1 163


2


Swain, his son ....


1163-1199


1 199


3


Alan, son of Swain


1177-1204


1204


4


Sir Walter Ruthven, grandson of








Swain .....


1 204- 1 245


1245


5


Sir Gilbert Ruthven, son of Sir








Walter


1 245- 1 270


1270


6


Sir William, brother of Sir Gilbert


1270-1298


1298


7


Sir Walter Ruthven, son of Sir








William


1298- 1330


1330


8


Sir William Ruthven, son of Sir








Walter


1 330- 1 346


1346


9


Sir William Ruthven, his son


1346-1376


1376


10


Sir William Ruthven, son of No. 9


1 376- 1408


1412


II


Sir William Ruthven, son of No. 10


1412-1428


1428


12


Sir John Ruthven, son of No. 11


1428-1454


1454


13


Sir Patrick Ruthven, son of Sir








John


1454-1465


1465


14


Sir William, first Lord Ruthven,








son of Sir Patrick .


1465-1528


1528


IS


Sir William, second Lord Ruthven,








grandson of first Lord


1528-1552


1552


16


Patrick, third Lord Ruthven, son








of second Lord


1552-1566


1566


17


William, fourth Lord Ruthven,
first Earl of Gowrie, son of








third Lord ....


1 566- 1 584


1584


18


James Ruthven, second Earl of








Gowrie, son of first Earl


1 584- 1 589


1589


19


John Ruthven, third Earl of








Gowrie, son of first Earl .


1 589- 1 600


1600



12



THE RUTHVEN FAMILY PAPERS

Thor, a nobleman believed to be of Saxon or
Danish origin, lived in Scotland in the reign of
David I., and probably that of Malcolm IV. It is
generally understood that he obtained from Prince
Henry, King David's son, a grant of land for
Swaine, his son, as he gratefully commemorates
the Prince in the charter to the monks of Scone.

Swaine, son of Thor, lived long under William
the Lion, and enjoyed the manors of Ruthven and
Tibbermuir, as well as other lands in Perthshire.
He gave the monks of Inchcolm a toft in Tibber-
more and a meadow at Methven, which were con-
firmed by King William, and by his grandson,
Walter, son of Alan, and, in 1362, by his kins-
man and descendant, William de Ruthven.

He also possessed, as Superior Lord, the lands of
Crawford in upper Clydesdale, which the progeni-
tor of the Lindsays held as vassals under him,
as appears from a confirmation by King William
of a donation to the monastery of Newbattle by
William de Lindsay, part of the lands of Crawford
which William himself holds of Swaine, son of
Thor.

Alan (i 177-1204), the High Steward, son of
Walter the Steward, married Eva, daughter
of Swaine, son of Thor, Lord of Tibbermore.
His second wife was Alcestor, or Alison,
daughter of Morgund, fifth Earl of Mar.

13



THE RUTHVEN FAMILY PAPERS

The issue by the second marriage was two sons,
Walter and David. Alan died in 1204, and was
interred before the High Altar in Paisley Abbey.
This was in the fortieth year of the reign of William
the Lion.

Alan, son of Swaine, confirmed his father's
donations to this religious community in the
beginning of the reign of Alexander II., and was
twice designed Alanus filius Swaini. He left three
sons, Walter, Henry and Alan. He was suc-
ceeded by his eldest son, Walter, who is desig-
nated in charters of that period " Walter of
Ruthven," being the first of the family to assume
a surname. This Walter of Ruthven became
known as Sir Walter Ruthven, and was the earliest
ancestor of the Ruthven family. He took his sur-
name from his lands and possessions, and in official
documents is designated Walter de Ruthven, son
of Alan, who was son of Swaine, son of Thor,
Lord of Tibbermore. Sir Walter was there-
fore grandson of Swaine. He married Cecilia,
daughter of Gilbert, Earl of Strathearn.

Walter, brother of Alan, witnessed a donation
of Gilbert, Earl of Strathearn, to the monastery
of Scone, designated Walterus filius Swaini
tempore regis Alexandri Secundi, reign of
Alexander II. Walter, son of Alan, confirmed
his predecessor's donations in these words :

14




LADY LILIAS RUTHVEN, DAUGHTER OF THE SECOND LORD,

AND WIFE OF DAVID, LORD DRUMMOND OF

STOBHALL

[Ai the Knox CoiiiiiiHuion, St Aiitirezcs Castle]



THE RUTHVEN GENEALOGY

VValterus films Alani totam terrain illam quam
STvainus filius Thori avus mens dedit in Tibber-
miiir; to which Gilbert, Earl of Strathearn, and
his son were witnesses, 1 235-1 240. With his wife
Cecilia, daughter of the Earl of Strathearn, he
got the lands of Cowgask and others, in these
words : Walteriis filius Alani uxor em duxit
Ceciliam filiam Gilberti, Comitis de Strathearn.
Walter thus confirmed the donations which
Swaine, son of Thor, his grandfather, gave to
Tibbermuir, to which Gilbert, Earl of Strathearn,
and his son, Robert, are witnesses.

Sir Walter was witness to the controversy with
Galfrid, Bishop of Dunblane, in 1239.

Sir William Ruthven confirmed the donations of
his predecessor in 1260, and is witness to two dona-
tions to the Priory of St Andrews, 1267 : William
de Ruthven dominus ejusdem confirmasse carta
domini Walteri fllii Alani bona memoria patris mei
deo et Canonicis de Scone, 1260. Sir William left
two sons, Walter and Gilbert.

The fortalice, Ruthven Castle, with the chapels
of Ruthven Castle and Tibbermore, dedicated, the
former to St Peter and the latter to the Blessed
Virgin Mary, would be foundations of this great
territorial landlord, Thor, Lord of Tibbermore.

He was owner of these chapels, and made
a charter of donation to the monks of Scone

15



THE RUTHVEN FAMILY PAPERS

during his lifetime. The charter was confirmed by
Waker, who probably married, secondly, Marjory,
daughter of Henry, Prince of Scotland, sister to
Malcolm IV. and William the Lion, but this re-
quires confirmation. Almost the only thing recorded
of Thor is his charter of the lands of Ednaham, of
which he was proprietor, to David, Earl of Hunt-
ingdon, afterwards David I., dated between 1107
and 1 1 17. This account of the origin of the
Ruthven family is rather different from that of the
new Peerage (Balfour Paul), which we now proceed
to give in extenso. We cannot verify the one or
the other, as there are neither official records nor
family papers, of that early or prehistoric period, to
draw upon. There can be no doubt that Sir Walter
Ruthven, the first to assume a surname, was the
ancestor of the Ruthvens. That point, which may
be regarded as settled, is of supreme importance,
as other and highly erroneous versions have been
put before us.

During the administration of Alan, the High
Steward, we have preserved an ancient paper, a
charter of the gift of Ednaham, by Thor, Lord of
Tibbermore. The text of the charter is : — " To his
dearest Lord, David the Earl (of Huntingdon) Thor
entirely his, wisheth health. Know my Lord that
King Edgar, your brother, gave to me Ednaham,
waste, which I by his assistance, and my own

16







LADY BARBARA RUTHVEX, DAUGHTER OF THE SECOND LORD,
AND WIFE OF THE SIXTH LORD GRAY



THE RUTHVEN GENEALOGY

money, have inhabited and have built from the
foundation the Chapel, which your brother the
King caused to be dedicated in honour of St
Cuthbert and enlivened with one carrucate of land.
This same chapel, I for the souls of my Lord,
King Edgar, and of your father and mother, and
for your weal and that of King Alexander, and of
Queen Matilda, have given to the aforesaid Saint
and his Monks. Wherefore I pray you as my
dearest Lord, that for the souls of your parents,
and for the well-being of the living, that you grant
this donation to Saint Cuthbert and the monks who
shall serve him for ever."

(The authority for this charter is the National
MSS. of Scotland, published by order of H.M.
Stationery Office.)

There is a Ruthven charter dated 1200 (reign
of William the Lion) from Walter, son of Alan,
and grandson of Swaine, to the Abbey of Scone,
conveying that whole land which Swaine, the
son of Thor, my grandfather, gave to them
in Tibbermore, according to its marches — viz.
from the King's Well, in the street which comes
from Perth and lies in the village of Tibber-
more. This well is four and a half miles from
Perth. This is the earliest Ruthven charter known
to exist, and its author, Sir Walter Ruthven,
grandson of Swaine, is the earliest ancestor of the

B 17



THE RUTHVEN FAMILY PAPERS

noble family of Ruthven. It is said, but not
confirmed, that Walter the Steward was born in

II73-

Translation of Charter of William the Lion

(1165-I214), GRANTING TO GILBERT, EaRL OF

Strathearn, the lands OF Madderty. Date
circa a.d. 1185. {Liber Insule Missarum, p. 6,
with facsimile, p. 7 — Bannatyne Club Publica-
tions, 1847.)

William, by the grace of God, [king] of the
Scots, to the bishops, abbots, earls, barons, etc. . . .
Greeting :

Let (all men) present and future know that I have
given, granted, and by this my present charter
have confirmed, to Gilbert of Strathearn, Maddyrnin
(Madderty) by its right marches, and with all its
lawful pertinents of wood and plain, lands and
waters, meadows and pastures, moors and mosses,
mills and stanks and all other its lawful pertinents
with sac and soc, tholl and theame and infangthef —

To be held by him and his heirs of me and my
heirs in fee and heritage freely, and peacefully,
fully and honourably by the service of one knight ;
yet so that neither he nor his heirs shall at any
time sell (any part) of the land to Gillecolm
Marescal, or to his heirs or to any of his kinsfolk
whomsoever, should the latter ever wish on this

18



RUTHVEN CHARTER

account to raise an action against the former,
inasmuch as the aforesaid Gillecolm forfeited the
land specified above for the felony which he com-
mitted against me in that he feloniously surrendered
my castle of Heryn (Earn), and thereafter wickedly
and treacherously went over to my mortal enemies
and stood with them against me to do me all the
hurt in his power. Witnesses,

Earl David, my brother;

Richard de Morville, Constable;

Philip de Valoniis ;

Alan, the Steward;

Walter Olifard ;

William de Lyndesay ;

Walter Corbet ;

William Cumyn ;

Ranulfus de Sules ;

Sivain, son of Thor ;

William, son of Thor.
At Linlithgow.



Note. — It is necessary to explain that at the close of the twelfth
and early in the thirteenth century there were two public men in
Scotland of the name of Alan, and two of the name of Walter,
having no connection whatever with each other, yet holding
offices of trust : Alan, son of Swaine, and Alan the High Steward
of Scotland ; Walter, grandson of Swaine, and Walter the High
Steward.

Alan the High Steward married Eva, daughter of Swaine ;
secondly, Alcestor, daughter of Morgund, fifth Earl of Mar. It
is not recorded who was the wife of Alan, son of Swaine. Walter,
grandson of Swaine, married Cecilia, daughter of Gilbert, Earl of
Strathearn. Walter the High Steward married Beatrix, daughter
of Henry, Prince of Scotland.

19



CHAPTER II

RUTHVEN PEERAGE — SIEGE OF PERTH SIR JOHN RUTHVEN,

SHERIFF OF PERTH ; GORMAC ATTACK— CREATION OF

WILLIAM, FIRST LORD RUTHVEN LORD RUTHVEN, HIS

SON, AND LOWSWARK THE SECOND LORD AND HIS

FAMILY CHARTER OF SWAINE, SON OF THOR, I163

CONFIRMATION CHARTER BY KING ALEXANDER II.

RUTHVEN CHARTER, 1239 CONFIRMATION CHARTER,

WALTER, SON OF ALAN RUTHVEN CHARTER, 1 362

It is believed that Thor, Lord of Tibbermore, was
founder of this family. Swaine, son of Thor,
settled in Perthshire and granted between 1188 and
1 199 to the monks of Scone certain lands in that
county, of some limits, as also a toft at Tibbermore.
The charter was confirmed by King William, by
Swaine's grandson, Walter, son of Alan, and by
William de Ruthven. Swaine was also superior of
the lands of Crawford in Lanarkshire, and he wit-
nessed a charter of Malcolm IV. between 11 63 and
1164. He left issue, two sons, Alan and Walter.
Alan married Cecilia, daughter and co-heir of Sir
William Maule of Foulis, by whom he had three
children, Walter, Henry and Alan. Walter, son of

20



THE RUTHVEN PEERAGE

this Alan, granted a charter to the monks of Scone
before 1223, and received a charter of Culgask
(Cowgask) from his brother-in-law, Robert, Earl
of Strathearn, between 1223 and 1231, as Walter,
son of Alan, of Ruthven. He was witness to a
charter about 1234, and a little later he is designated
Walter of Ruthven. In 1245 Sir Walter of
Ruthven was apparently the first of his family to
assume that surname. He married Cecilia,
daughter of Gilbert, Earl of Strathearn, sister of
Earl Robert, and had issue, three sons, Alexander,
Gilbert and William, and one daughter, who
married Patrick Edgar, and had issue, Walter, to
whom two charters to East and West Cultma-
lundie, were granted by his uncle, Gilbert, both
undated, but confirmed i6th May 1279 by
Alexander HI.

Gilbert of Ruthven, son of Sir Walter, witnessed
a charter along with his father about 1245. As Sir
Gilbert he is a witness to charters in 1247 ^^^ 1266.
In 1262 he renounced his right to the lands of
Evelick and of the succession to Foulis through
Cecilia de Maule. He married Cecilia, daughter of
Sir John Maule of Foulis. He died between 1266
and 1279, when the charter to his nephew, Walter
Edgar, was confirmed by Alexander III. He was
succeeded by his brother William, anno 1270.

William of Ruthven, perhaps the same who was

21



\



THE RUTHVEN FAMILY PAPERS

chamberlain to Malise, Earl of Strathearn, wit-
nessed a charter in 1270. As Sir William of
Ruthven, he witnessed two charters in January
1267-68, and another in 1290. He did homage to
Edward I. in 1291 and 1296. As William of
Ruthven, Lord of that ilk, he about 1298 confirmed
the charter of his father, Walter, son of Alan, of
the lands of Scone. He left two sons, Walter and
Gilbert, by Margaret, d. of Ramsay of Auchterhouse.
At the siege of Perth in 1297, Sir William
Wallace substituted his own garrison for that of
the English, but whether he appointed Sir John
Ramsay or Sir William Ruthven, Governor of
Perth, is certainly not clear. Sir William,' with
thirty followers, joined Wallace at this engagement
and fought, it is recorded, with determined energy.
For his gallant conduct Wallace appointed Sir
William Ruthven Sheriff of Perth, to be hereditary
in the Ruthven family. Sir William died in the
following year, 1298.

Walter of Ruthven, who succeeded, was a consent-
ing party to his father's charter to Scone in 1298.
He surrendered to the English at Strathord, along
with Sir John Comyn of Badenoch, 9th February
1303-4, and died about 1330. His successor was
' William of Ruthven, who paid a fine for the relief
of Newton, in Edinburgh, in 1330. He died before
Easter 1346, having been slain at the battle of

22



THE RUTHVEN PEERAGE

Durham, and left issue, it is supposed, William
and Margaret. The latter in 1346 married Sir
John Seton, son of Alexander Seton of that ilk.

His successor. Sir William Ruthven, anno 1350,
had safe conducts in 1358, 1359, 1362, 1365, and
died before 25th June 1376. A payment to Joanna,
his wife, is entered in 1363. Sir William of
Ruthven had a charter from Robert II, of the lands
of Ruthven and Balerno, and another of the
Sheriffship of Perth, 1393-95. He had a safe con-
duct in 1400.

He or his successor witnessed a charter by Sir
John Oliphant of Aberdalgie, to Malcolm, his
brother, which was confirmed by Sir John Mont-
gomery of Ardrossan, 141 2. He died the same
year. It is supposed he had two sons, William and
David. The latter was granted by his brother the
lands of Muirhall, Perth, in 1400.

Sir William Ruthven of Balerno succeeded his
father. He granted a charter to Walter Haliburton
of Dirleton, which was confirmed by Robert, Duke
of Albany, the Regent, 2nd February 1407-8. Sir
William was in England as a hostage for the
ransom of James I., 1424-27. He died in 1428, and
left issue, one son, John, and two daughters, one


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