King James II

1430 - 1460

Scottish monarch. Born at Holyrood (Edinburgh) James was crowned at the age of six at Holyrood Abbey, following the murder of his father James I. Without a strong monarch, the nobles held power, and the custody of James passed back and forth between Sir William Crichton (Governor of Edinburgh Castle) and Sir Alexander Livingston (Governor of Stirling Castle).

In 1449 James moved against the Livingstons and their allies the Black Douglases, his victory resulting in the forfeiture of the Douglas estates (1455), strengthening the King's position. Also in 1449, he married Mary of Gueldres, the daughter of a French Duke.

James enthusiastically embraced mechanised warfare, acquiring huge cannons which were used against the castles of his enemies. One of these, Mons Meg, can still be seen at Edinburgh Castle.

It was also James II who famously tried to ban the game of golf in 1457, a decree universally ignored by the populous.

Aged only thirty, James was accidentally killed near Roxburgh Castle when one of his cannon exploded and was buried at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh.

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