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James Hamilton


(3rd Earl of Arran)

c.1537 - 1609

Political pawn and soldier. Eldest son of the 2nd Earl of Arran and Duke of Châtelherault, who was Regent to the young Mary, Queen of Scots. Hamilton was held prisoner by his father's enemies, first in St. Andrews (1543) and then in France (1548-59). While there he became Commander of the Scots Guards in that country (1550-7).

Hamilton became a pawn in his father's attempts to gain the Crown of Scotland for himself, being promised first as a husband for Elizabeth of England to seal an Anglo-Scottish Alliance and then later for Mary, to secure the Hamilton succession to the throne.

All of this had a terrible effect on Hamilton's mental health and he was judged insane in 1562 and confined until his death. He is thought to be buried in St. Bride's kirkyard at Lamlash on the Isle of Arran. Having no heirs, his titles passed to his younger brother John, who became 1st Marquess of Hamilton, although the Earldom of Arran had temporarily passed to James Stewart between 1581-5.


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