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  • ID: I19981
  • Name: James SCRYMGEOUR , 5th Lord of Dudhope, Sir 1
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: ABT 1377 in Dudhope, Fifeshire, Scotland
  • Death: 24 JUL 1411 in Battle of Harlaw, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 1
  • Note:
    Below are 3 different views of the Battle of Harlaw: (The last of which mentions James Scrymgeour)
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    Battle of Harlaw 1411

    This battle, regarded by many today as the conflict between Highlanders and Lowlanders which killed the expansion of Gaelic influence, was one of the most brutal in Scottish history, becoming known as ‘Red Harlaw’.

    While James I was growing up in English jails, Donald, Lord of the Isles made it his business to secure the Earldom of Ross’ estates before the Stewarts of Albany, the Governor of Scotland could, bringing his army westwards into Inverness and over the River Spey. It may well have also been his desire to plunder and destroy Aberdeen.

    His advance was met two miles past Inverurie at Harlaw. Coming from their north-eastern lands were a force of Keiths, Forbes', Leslies and Irvines, led by the Earl of Mar. They battled for most of 24 July until Donald’s men withdrew.

    There were no winners or losers on the day but when James I returned to Scotland in April 1424

    he quickly set about routing his foes.

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    JULY 24, 1411

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    Donald Dubh, XI Captain and Chief of Clan Cameron, rose in support of Donald, 2nd Lord of the Isles, in his rebellion of 1411. Robert, Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland, laid claim to the Earldom of Ross and Donald of the Isles, who had the better claim, disputed that of the Regent. He raised a large force from amongst his own Clan Donald, and from his vassals and followers (amongst whom were Donald Dubh and the Camerons) met the forces of the Regent Albany at Harlaw, near Aberdeen.

    The battle of Harlaw was a particularly bloody affair, and became known as "Red Harlaw." The result was indecisive, for casualties were so heavy on each side that they could fight no more. It is recorded that many of Donald Dubh's Cameron "followers" were killed at Harlaw, although specific numbers were not recorded. Donald of the Isles' forces, joined by Donald Dubh and the remainder of Clan Cameron, had to withdraw the army and retire to their own country.

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    JULY 24, 1411

    These feuds were followed by a formidable insurrection, or more correctly, invasion, in 1411, by Donald, Lord of the Isles, of such a serious nature as to threaten a dismemberment of the kingdom of Scotland. The male succession to the earldom of Ross having become extinct, the honours of the peerage devolved upon a female, Euphemia Ross, wife of Sir Walter Lesley. Of this marriage there were two children, Alexander, afterwards Earl of Ross, and Margaret, afterwards married to the Lord of the Isles. Earl Alexander married a daughter of the Duke of Albany. Euphemia, Countess of Ross, was the only issue of this marriage, but becoming a nun she resigned the earldom of Ross in favour of her uncle John Stewart, Earl of Buchan. The Lord of the Isles conceiving that the countess, by renouncing the world, had forfeited her title and estate, and, moreover, that she had no right to dispose thereof, claimed both in right of Margaret his wife. The Duke of Albany, governor of Scotland, at whose instigation the countess had made the renunciation, of course refused to sustain the claim of the prince of the islands. The Lord of the Isles having formed an alliance with England, whence he was to be supplied with a fleet far superior to the Scottish, at the head of an army of 10,000 men, fully equipped and armed after the fashion of the islands with bows and arrows, pole-axes, knives and swords, in 1411 burst like a torrent upon the earldom, and carried everything before him. He, however, received a temporary check at Dingwall, where he was attacked with great impetuosity by Angus Dubh Mackay of Far or Black Angus, as he was called; but Angus was taken prisoner, and his brother Roderic Gald and many of his men were killed.

    Flushed with the progress he had made, Donald now resolved to carry into execution a threat he had often made to burn the town of Aberdeen. For this purpose he ordered his army to assemble at Inverness, and summoned all the men capable of bearing arms in the Boyne and the Enzie, to join his standard on his way south. This order being complied with, the Lord of the Isles marched through Moray without opposition, lie committed great excesses in Strathbogie and in the district of Garioch, which belonged to the Earl of Mar. The inhabitants of Aberdeen were in dreadful alarm at the near approach of this marauder and his fierce hordes; but their fears were allayed by the speedy appearance of a well-equipped army, commanded by the Earl of Mar, who bore a high military character, assisted by many brave knights and gentlemen in Angus and the Mearns. Among these were Sir Alexander Ogilvy, sheriff of Angus, Sir James Scrymgeour, constable of Dundee and hereditary standard-bearer of Scotland, Sir William de Abernethy of Salton, nephew to the Duke of Albany, Sir Robert Maule of Panmure, Sir Alexander Irving of Drum, and Sir Robert Melville. The Earl was also joined by Sir Robert Davidson, the Provost of Aberdeen, and a party of the burgesses.

    Advancing from Aberdeen, Mar marched by lnverury, and descried the Highlanders stationed at the village of Harlaw, on the water of Ury, near its junction with the Don. Mar soon saw that he had to contend with tremendous odds; but although his forces were, it is said, only a tenth of those opposed to him, he resolved, from the confidence he had in his steel-clad knights, to risk a battle. Having placed a small but select body of knights and men-at-arms in front, under the command of the constable of Dundee and the sheriff of Angus, the Earl drew up the main strength of his army in the rear, including the Murrays, the Straitons, the Maules, the Irvings, the Lesleys, the Lovels, the Stirlings, headed by their respective chiefs. The Earl then placed himself at the head of this body. At the head of the Islesmen and Highlanders was the Lord of the Isles, subordinate to whom were Macintosh and Maclean and other Highland chiefs, all bearing the most deadly hatred to their Saxon foes, and panting for revenge.

    On a signal being given, the Highlanders and Islesmen, setting up those terrific shouts and yells which they were accustomed to raise on entering into battle, rushed forward upon their opponents; but they were received with great firmness and bravery by the knights, who, with their spears levelled, and battle-axes raised, cut down many of their impetuous but badly armed adversaries. After the Lowlanders had recovered themselves from the shock which the furious onset of the Highlanders had produced, Sir James Scrymgeour, at the head of the knights and bannerets who fought under him, cut his way through the thick colunms of the Islesmen, carrying death everywhere around him; but the slaughter of hundreds by this brave party did not intimidate the Highlanders, who kept pouring in by thousands to supply the place of those who had fallen. Surrounded on all sides, no alternative remained for Sir James and his valorous companions but victory or death, and the latter was their lot. The constable of Dundee was amongst the first who suffered, and his fall so encouraged the Highlanders, that seizing and stabbing the horses, they thus unhorsed their riders, whom they despatched with their daggers. In the meantime the Earl of Mar, who had penetrated with his main army into the very heart of the enemy, kept up the unequal contest with great bravery, and, although he lost during the action almost the whole of his army, he continued the fatal struggle with a handful of men till nightfall. The disastrous result of this battle was one of the greatest misfortunes which had ever happened to the numerous respectable families in Angus and the Mearns. Many of these families lost not only their head, but every male in the house. Lesley of Balquhain is said to have fallen with six of his sons. Besides Sir James Scrymgeour, Sir Alexander Ogilvy the sheriff of Angus, with his eldest son George Ogilvy, Sir Thomas Murray, Sir Robert Maule of Pan-inure, Sir Alexander Irving of Drum, Sir William Abernethy of Salton, Sir Alexander Straiton of Lauriston, James Lovel, and Alexander Stirling, and Sir Robert Davidson, Provost of Aberdeen, with 500 men-at-arms, including the principal gentry of Buchan, and the greater part of the burgesses of Aberdeen who followed their Provost, were among the slain. The Highlanders left 900 men dead on the field of battle, including the chiefs Maclean and Mackintosh. This memorable battle was fought on the eve of the feast of St. James the Apostle, July 25th, 1411. It was the final contest for supremacy between the Celt and the Teuton, and appears to have made at the time an inconceivably deep impression on the national mind. For more than a hundred years, it is said, the battle of Harlaw continued to be fought over again by schoolboys in their play. "It fixed itself in the music and the poetry of Scotland; a march, called the ‘Battle of Harlaw,’ continued to be a popular air down to the time of Drummond of Hawthornden, and a spirited ballad, on the same event, is still repeated in our age, describing the meeting of the armies, and the deaths of the chiefs, in no ignoble strain."

    Mar and the few brave companions in arms who survived the battle, passed the night on the field; when morning dawned, they found that the Lord of the Isles had retreated during the night, by Inverury and the hill of Benochy. To pursue him was impossible, and he was therefore allowed to retire without molestation, and to recruit his exhausted strength.

    Father: Alexander SCRYMGEOUR , 4th Lord of Dudhope, Sir b: ABT 1330 in Dudhope, Fifeshire, Scotland
    Mother: Agnes of GLASSARY b: ABT 1355 in Glassery Castle, Loch Awe, Argyllshire, Scotland

    Marriage 1 Egidia MAXWELL b: ABT 1378 in Pollok, Strathclyde, Scotland
      1. Has Children John SCRYMGEOUR , 6th Lord of Dudhope, Sir b: ABT 1400 in Dudhope, Fifeshire, Scotland

      1. Title: Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 106th Edition, Charles Mosley Editor-in-Chief, 1999
        Page: 904
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