August 3, 1460


August 3, 1460

King James II

James II of Scotland (October 16, 1430 – August 3, 1460) was king of Scotland from 1437 to 1460.

James was born in Holyrood Abbey. James was son of James I of Scotland and Joan Beaufort, daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset and Margaret Holland.

He had an elder twin, Alexander Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, who lived long enough to be knighted, but died in infancy.


James II died outside the walls of Roxburgh Castle when one of his bombards exploded.

James II enthusiastically promoted modern artillery, which he used with some success against the Black Douglases. His ambitions to increase Scotland’s standing saw him besiege Roxburgh Castle in 1460, one of the last Scottish castles still held by the English after the Wars of Independence.

For this siege, James took a large number of cannons imported from Flanders. On 3 August, he was standing near one of these cannons when it exploded and killed him. Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie stated in his history of James’s reign that “as the King stood near a piece of artillery, his thigh bone was dug in two with a piece of misframed gun that brake in shooting, by which he was stricken to the ground and died hastily.”

The Scots carried on with the siege, led by George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus, and the castle fell a few days later. Once the castle was captured, James’ widow, Mary of Guelders, ordered its destruction.

James III

James’ son became king as James III and Mary acted as regent until her own death three years later


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