The Ruthven Raid 22 August

 The Ruthven Raid, as it was
called, was the result of a rising by the people and
reaction by nobles who were thoroughly disgusted with the
autocratic and offensive antics of the royal favourites,
the Earl of Arran and the Duke of Lennox.

 A former favourite of the
Regent Queen Mary of Guise, the Frenchman, Esme Stuart,
became a favourite with the young King James. He was a
nephew of the 4th Earl of Lennox and descended in that
line from James II of Scotland. Well connected and
charismatic – so far as the sixteen year old James was
concerned, he was also suspected of being a papal agent.
Against a background of resentment Esme Stuart sought to
bring down the Regent, the Earl of Morton. In this he was
aided by a Captain James Stewart of Bothwellmuir, the
brother of John Knox`s second wife, Margaret Stewart. The
Captain interrupted a Privy Council meeting to accuse 
Morton with complicity in the murder of Lord Darnley.
Morton admitted fore knowledge but not direct involvement
and was subsequently executed by `the Maiden` in June
1581. For this Esme Stuart was made the first Duke of 
Lennox;  Captain James Stewart was made Earl of
Arran, and Lord Ruthven (son of David Rizzio`s murderer)
made Earl of Gowrie.

 When Boyd, the Archbishop of
Glasgow died, the Duke of Lennox offered the vacant See to
several ministers on condition that they make over to him
a substantial portion of the incomes. This offer was taken
up by Robert Montgomery, a minister from Stirling,
regarded by many as a vain, feeble and presumptuous
person. It was a blatant simoniacal purchase which the
General Assembly deplored. In 1582 things came to a head
with the King intervening in favour of Montgomery but the
General Assembly confirmed a sentence of suspension. The
question at issue then being whether the church should
obey the state and give up its spiritual independence only
recently achieved. Montgomery was summoned before the
Assembly but did not appear and was sentenced in his
absence to be excommunicated.

 Montgomery then entered a
meeting of the Presbytery of Glasgow who had assembled for
the purpose of his excommunication. Accompanied by
magistrates and armed supporters he sought to interrupt
the proceedings by force with the Moderator losing one of
his teeth in the action. The Presbytery continued and
remitted the task to the Presbytery of Edinburgh who
instructed John Davidson to proceed. Davidson was
threatened by Lennox but despite this, excommunication was
pronounced and repeated in churches in Glasgow and
Edinburgh the following Sabbath. Shortly after Montgomery
was literally chased from Edinburgh by a mob of
disgruntled citizens.

Andrew Melville had preached
at the General Assembly about the autocratic behaviour
towards the church and attempts to reintroduce Popery.
Subsequently Melville was with a party making a
Remonstrance  to the King which was challenged by
Arran who asked “Who dares subscribe these treasonable
articles ? Melville responded `We dare` and subscribed the
document there and then. Melville was pursued in 1584 
by the vindictive Earl of Arran for his alleged
treasonable statements and  forced to flee to

 Imprudently perhaps, but with
the best of intentions, some nobles seized the boy King
James VI  while he was on a hunting trip in Atholl,
Perthshire. He was met on 22 August by the Earl of Gowrie
(who had changed sides), the Earl of Mar, the Master of
Glames, the Master of Oliphant, Lochlevin (the younger)
the Laird of Cleish, the Laird of Easter Wemes and Sir
Lewes Bellendine  and others, and  invited to
visit Ruthven Castle where he found himself a prisoner. He
was held in the Huntingtower Castle, Perth. On the 23
August the abductors tendered a Supplication to the King
which explained their reasons for his custody and their
great concerns at the behaviour and intent of the Duke of
Lennox and the Earl of Arran that threatened the throne
and the religion of Scotland.  Calderwoods History
says :

 We  have suffered now
about the space of two yeeres such false accusations,
calumneis, oppressions and persecutions, by the moyen of
the Duke of Lennox, and him who is called Erle of Arran,
that the like of their insolenceis and enormeteis were
never heretofore borne with in Scotland.

  The Earl of Arran, who was
no coward, rode with his brother William  and clashed
with forces of the Earl of Mar near Perth; he was refused
audience with the King  and was  taken prisoner.
Following his seizure the King was held at Ruthven Castle
then at Stirling. During this time he was prevented from
escaping by Gowrie and burst into tears to which Gowrie is
said to have remarked

that bairns weep than bearded men

   The King was to
remember this treatment and would take his revenge.

The King, some say, was forced
to sign two proclamations, one that he freely chose to be
in Perth, and again when he was moved to Stirling.
Meanwhile Lennox moved into Edinburgh from Dalkeith for
his own safety then moved on to Glasgow. The Kings letter
directing no aid to be given to Lennox pending his removal
from the Kingdom was proclaimed in Glasgow on 7 September,
but it was not until 21 December that Lennox finally
departed. After some ten months as the guest of the Earl
of Gowrie, in June 1583  James escaped while on a
visit to St Andrews. The lords involved in the raid were
sentenced to be banished and James did not forgive the
church who had condoned the action.

 The Earl of Arran now took
centre stage as the obnoxious favourite when he was
appointed Chancellor in 1584. In April 1584 Stirling
Castle was seized by the nobles but surrendered on 24
April when the King and Arran besieged it with an army of
twelve thousand troops. The nobles were however, weakened
in their resolve when the Earl of Gowrie was seized in
Dundee and imprisoned, and they fled to Berwick. Gowrie
was executed on 2 May 1584 along with the captain of
Ruthven Castle, and three others hanged.