Earls of Arran (1467)
1st Earl of Arran, Thomas Boyd, b.?, a.1467, d.c.1472-1473
Thomas Boyd was the eldest son of Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd of Kilmarnock. He was a conspirator with his father in taking over the realm during the minority of James III in 1466. Thomas married the Princess Mary Stewart, the Kingís older sister, in 1467 and was created 1st Earl of Arran. The marriage was later annulled. While he and his father were out of the country in 1469, their regime was overthrown. On hearing of his fatherís trial for treason, Thomas remained in exile and never returned to Scotland, the earldom forfeit. His son, however, inherited the title of Lord Boyd.
Earls of Arran (1503)
The next creation of this title was for James Hamilton, 2nd Lord Hamilton. A fuller account of this family may be obtained on the Hamilton page.
1st Earl of Arran, James Hamilton, b.c.1475, a.1503, d.1529
A noted sailor, the 2nd Lord Hamilton was made a Privy Counsellor in 1503 as well as 1st Earl of Arran. He commanded the Kingís army at the Battle of Linlithglow.
2nd Earl of Arran, James Hamilton, b.1515, a.1529, d.1574-1575
Son of the 1st Earl and Janet Bethune (b.c.1490, d.c.1522). He was Regent from 1542 and 1554, and was briefly Heir-Presumptive to the Crown.
3rd Earl of Arran, James Hamilton, b.1533-1538, a.1574-1575, d.1609
Son of the 2nd Earl and Lady Margaret Douglas (b.c.1510, d.1579), daughter of James Douglas, 3rd Earl of Morton. In 1562 he was declared insane, and in 1579 he was attainted and forfeited his titles, abdicating in 1581 in favour of James Stewart mentioned below. In 1586, his resignation was ruled as the act of a madman and his honours restored. His younger brother John Hamilton (b.c.1535, d.1604), who became 1st Marquess of Hamilton, ran his estates until his death, followed by Johnís son James Hamilton (b.1589, d.1624-1625), who eventually inherited the earldom.
For a continuation of this line, please go to the Hamilton page.
1st Earl of Arran, James Stewart, b.?, a.1581, d.1595
James Stewart was the son of Andrew Stewart, 2nd Lord Stewart of Ochiltree, and Agnes Cunningham. His paternal grandmother was Margaret Hamilton (b.b.1505, d.?), daughter of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran mentioned above. He fought on the Continent during the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Empire. Returning to Scotland, he was made a Privy Counsellor in 1579. As a favourite of James VI, he was made Gentleman of the Bedchamber, and was made 1st Earl of Arran and 1st Lord of Avane and Hamilton in 1581 (taking over from the mad James Hamilton, 3rd Earl of Arran, mentioned above). He overthrew the Earl of Morton, who had been Regent since 1566, and seized power along with Esme Stuart, Duke of Lennox. He was briefly deprived of his position of power by the Protestant lords after the Raid of Ruthven in 1582, but was back in control a year later, and became Lord Chancellor. However, his tyrannical rule, driving Protestant nobles into exile and trying to stamp out Protestantism entirely, alienated his supporters, and he fell foul of a plot to discredit him in the eyes of Elizabeth I of England. She eventually accused him of the murder of Lord Francis Russell, and James VI was forced to have him arrested. The exiled Protestants returned as he was banished in 1586, having been deprived of the earldom, which was handed back to James Hamilton. He returned to Scotland later, but was murdered by James Douglas in revenge for Mortonís defeat.
(Last updated: 29/11/2010)