28th May 1503.

The 33 years old James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor the 13 years old, eldest daughter of Henry VII were married at Holyroode Abbey in August 1503. The bride brought a dowry of 30,000 gold nobles, and the poet William Dunbar wrote a poem the ‘Thrissel and the Rois’.(1)

It was a dynastic marriage in an attempt to settle border incursions, endemic for centuries, with 14thc invasions by Edward III and James IV in 1496/7. Also Henry regarded the union as a precursor to the two countries being united with England as the senior partner.(2)

In 1502 a Treaty of Everlasting Peace was agreed which England ratified at Westminster in October 1502 and Scotland in December 1502.(3)

Arms of James IV at Stirling Castle, where the King was born.

The two countries parties to the Treaty were bound in perpetuity not to wage war or both kings suffer the penalty of Excommunication by the Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia), who to add authority to the Treaty put his signature to the document Today in 1503.

Both kings needed some needed stability; Henry as he feared a Yorkist uprising after his defeat of Richard III at Bosworth in 1485.

James also feared, after siding with dissident nobles against his father James III, who after being pressured  to abdicate, was killed at the Battle of Sauchiburn, with both sides flying the Lion Rampant. His son was crowned at Scone in 1488.

Scottish  copy of the Treaty of Perpetual Peace.

The first effect of the Treaty, which lasted for 10 years, was a lull in fighting between England and Scotland which had intermittently lasted for 200 years.

James IV of Scotland.

King James took advantage of the Peace Treaty by subduing the Lord of the Isles and went to created a small navy, King’s College, Aberdeen and the Edinburgh College of Surgeons.

Then Henry VIII, by now king in 1513, felt safe enough at home to invade France, which proved too much of a temptation for the Scottish King, who keen to reclaim territory around Berwick, invaded England.

This proved to be one of the moat fatal moves in British history as he was met by the Earl of Surrey at Flodden Field in 1513, resulted in the loss of 30,000 men and most of the Scottish nobles and knights, and the King himself.

James according to the Treaty was duly excommunicated, so unable to be buried in consecrated ground, Henry had him buried at Sheen Priory, Surrey.

Then came the monastic dissolution and James’ grave was lost, though the writer John Stowe said his body was removed to London.

James IV proved to be the last British king to die in battle: his great-grandson ended-up as king of a united Great Britain in 1603.

(1) The were married by the Archbishops of Glasgow and York.

(2) On 8th August 1503.

(3) Ratified at Westminster on 31.10.1502 and Scotland on 17th December 1502.



searchforschools.org. National Records of Scotland/Pic.

bbc.co.uk.9.9.2013. article.



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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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