James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch, KG, PC (9
April 1649 – 15 July 1685) was an English nobleman. Originally
called James Crofts or James Fitzroy, he was born in
Rotterdam in the
Netherlands, the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II of England,
Scotland and Ireland, and his mistress Lucy Walter.
He served in the
Second Anglo-Dutch War
Second Anglo-Dutch War and commanded English troops
taking part in the
Third Anglo-Dutch War
Third Anglo-Dutch War before commanding the
Anglo-Dutch brigade fighting in the Franco-Dutch War.
In 1685 he led the unsuccessful Monmouth Rebellion, an attempt to
depose his uncle, King James II and VII. After one of his officers
declared Monmouth the legitimate King in the town of
Somerset, Monmouth attempted to capitalise on his position as the son
of Charles II, and his Protestantism, in opposition to James, who was
a Roman Catholic. The rebellion failed, and Monmouth was beheaded for
treason on 15 July 1685.
1.1 Parentage and early life
1.2 Officer and commander
1.3 Claim to the Crown
1.6 Attainder and execution
1.7 Popular legends
5 Further reading
Parentage and early life
Rotterdam in the Netherlands, to Lucy Walter, and her lover,
Charles II (who was living in continental exile following his father's
execution), James spent his early life in Schiedam.
According to biographical research by Hugh Noel Williams
(1870–1925), Charles had not arrived at
The Hague until the middle
of September 1648 – seven months before the child's birth (but he
met Lucy for the first time nine months before) — and some unfounded
voices whispered that
Lucy Walter had in the summer of 1648 been
mistress of Colonel Robert Sidney, a younger son of the Earl of
Leicester. When the child grew to manhood, contemporaries observed
that he bore a strong resemblance to Sidney. The unfounded voices
had probably originated from the Duke of York, brother of King Charles
II, who was afraid of his nephew's potential claim to the throne.
Finally, in 2012, a DNA test conducted on Monmouth's descendant, the
10th Duke of Buccleuch, showed that he shared the same Y chromosome
(inherited from father-to-son) as a distant Stuart cousin, providing
strong evidence that Charles II was Monmouth's biological father after
all. He had a younger sister Mary Crofts, who may also have been a
daughter of Charles although Theobald Taaffe, 1st Earl of Carlingford
is considered another potential father. Mary married the Irishman
William Sarsfield and was a sister-in-law of the Jacobite general
As an illegitimate son, James was not eligible to succeed to the
English or Scottish thrones, though there were rumours that Charles
and Lucy did marry secretly. Monmouth later himself always claimed
his parents were married and that he possessed their marriage lines,
but he never produced them. Charles, as King, later testified in
writing to his Council that he had never been married to anyone except
his queen, Catherine of Braganza.
In March 1658, young James was kidnapped by one of the King's men,
sent to Paris, and placed in the care of the Crofts baronets, whose
surname he took. He briefly attended a school in Familly.
Officer and commander
James Scott commanding the English against the Dutch in 1672, by Jan
On 14 February 1663, at the age of 13, shortly after having been
brought to England, James was created Duke of Monmouth, with the
subsidiary titles of Earl of Doncaster and Baron Scott of Tynedale,
all three in the Peerage of England, and on 28 March 1663 he was
appointed a Knight of the Garter.
On 20 April 1663, he was married to the heiress Anne Scott, 4th
Countess of Buccleuch. James took his wife's surname upon marriage.
The day after his marriage, the couple were made Duke and Duchess of
Buccleuch, Earl and Countess of Dalkeith, and Lord and Lady Scott of
Whitchester and Eskdale in the Peerage of Scotland. Monmouth, as he
became known, was popular, particularly since he was a Protestant,
whereas the official heir presumptive to the throne, the King's
brother James, Duke of York, had openly converted to Roman
In 1665, at the age of 16, Monmouth served in the English fleet under
his uncle the Duke of York in the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In June
1666, he returned to England to become captain of a troop of
cavalry. On 16 September 1668 he was made colonel of the His
Majesty's Own Troop of Horse Guards. He acquired Moor Park in
Hertfordshire in April 1670. At the outbreak of the Third
Anglo-Dutch War in 1672, a brigade of 6,000 English and Scottish
troops was sent to serve as part of the French army (in return for
money paid to King Charles), with Monmouth as its commander. He
Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire and Governor of
Kingston-upon-Hull in April 1673. In the campaign of 1673 and in
particular at the
Siege of Maastricht
Siege of Maastricht in June 1673, Monmouth gained a
considerable reputation as one of Britain's finest soldiers. He was
reported to be replacing
Marshal Schomberg as commander of England's
Zealand Expedition, but this did not happen.
In 1674 Monmouth became Chancellor of Cambridge University and
Master of the Horse
Master of the Horse and King Charles II directed that all military
orders should be brought first to Monmouth for examination so giving
him effective command of the forces; his responsibilities included the
movement of troops and the suppression of riots. In March 1677 he
also became Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire.
Claim to the Crown
Monmouth's execution on Tower Hill, 15 July 1685 (O.S), in a popular
In 1678 Monmouth was commander of the Anglo-Dutch brigade, now
fighting for the United Provinces against the French and he
distinguished himself at the Battle of St Denis in August 1678 during
the Franco-Dutch War, further increasing his reputation. The
following year, after his return to Britain, he commanded the small
army raised to put down the rebellion of the Scottish Covenanters and
despite being heavily outnumbered, he decisively defeated the
(admittedly poorly equipped)
Covenanter rebels at the Battle of
Bothwell Bridge on 22 June 1679. It was at about this time that he
was first seriously proposed as the rightful heir to the Crown,
despite the obvious problem of his illegitimacy, and his father's
refusal to acknowledge that he had married Lucy Walter. Monmouth may
have come to sincerely believe that his parents had been married.
Main article: Monmouth Rebellion
As his popularity with the masses increased Monmouth was obliged to go
into exile in the Dutch United Provinces in September 1679.
Following the discovery of the so-called
Rye House Plot
Rye House Plot in 1683, which
aimed to assassinate both Charles II and his brother James, Monmouth,
who had been encouraged by his supporters to assert his right to the
throne, was identified as a conspirator. On King Charles II's
death in February 1685 Monmouth led the Monmouth Rebellion, landing
with three ships at
Lyme Regis in Dorset in early June 1685 in an
attempt to take the throne from his uncle. He published a
"Declaration for the defence and vindication of the protestant
religion and of the laws, rights and priviledges of England from the
invasion made upon them, and for delivering the Kingdom from the
usurpation and tyranny of us by the name of James, Duke of York": King
James II and VII responded by issuing an order for the publishers and
distributors of the paper to be arrested.
Monmouth declared himself King at various places along the route
including Axminster, Chard,
Ilminster and Taunton. On 6 July
1685 the two armies met at the Battle of Sedgemoor, the last clear-cut
pitched battle on open ground between two military forces fought on
English soil: Monmouth's makeshift force could not compete with the
regular army, and was soundly defeated.
On 8 July 1685 Monmouth was captured and arrested near
Hampshire,  by tradition "in a field of peas". The events
surrounding his capture are recorded in detail in Tait's Edinburgh
Magazine. Following the battle a reward of £5,000 was offered for
"Upon the 7th, about five in the morning, some of the Lord Lumley's
said scouts riding in the road near Holt Lodge in Dorset, four miles
Ringwood in Hampshire, just at the turn of a cross way,
surprised and seized two suspected persons, which, when the Lord
Lumley came up, proved to be Lord Grey and Hollyday the guide. Lord
Lumley now commenced a strict examination of the cottages scattered
thickly over this heathy country, and called those to assist him who
were acquainted with the locality. Sir William Portman was informed of
the capture that had been made, and hastened to the spot, with as many
of his horse and foot at he could suddenly get together. As Lord
Lumley was making inquiries of the cottagers, a poor woman, Amy
Farrant, directed him to a hedge, over which she had seen two men go.
This hedge proved to be part of the outbounds of several enclosed
fields, some overgrown with fern and brakes, and others sown with rye,
peas, and oats. The assembled militia were placed around these
outbounds, at short distances from each other, while horse and foot
performed their assigned duty — that of beating about within".
When the Duke had left his horse at Woodyates Inn, he exchanged
clothes with a shepherd, who was soon discovered by local loyalists
and interrogated. Dogs were then put onto the Duke's scent. Monmouth
dropped his gold snuff-box, full of gold pieces, in a pea-field, where
it was afterwards found. From Woodyates Inn the Duke had gone to
Shag's Heath, in the middle of which was a cluster of small farms,
called the "Island". Amy Farrant gave information that the fugitives
were concealed within the Island. The Duke, accompanied by Busse and
Brandenburgher, remained concealed all day, with soldiers surrounding
the area and threatening to set fire to the woodland. Brandenburgher
deserted him at 1 am, and was later captured and interrogated, and is
believed to have given away the Duke's hiding place. The spot was at
the north-eastern extremity of the Island, now known as Monmouth's
Close, in the manor of Woodlands, the property of the Earl of
Shaftesbury. At about 7 am Henry Parkin, a militia-soldier and servant
of Samuel Rolle, discovered the brown skirt of Monmouth's coat as he
lay hidden in a ditch covered with fern and brambles under an ash
tree, and called for help. The Duke was seized. Bystanders shouted out
"Shoot him! shoot him!", but Sir William Portman happening to be near
the spot, immediately rode up, and laid hands on him as his prisoner.
Amy Farrant's family are known to have languished in decay and poverty
ever afterwards. Monmouth was then "in the last extremity of hunger
and fatigue, with no sustenance but a few raw peas in his pocket. He
could not stand, and his appearance was much changed. Since landing in
England, the Duke had not had a good night's rest, or eaten one meal
in quiet, being perpetually agitated with the cares that attend
unfortunate ambition". He had "received no other sustenance than the
brook and the field afforded".
The Duke was taken to Holt Lodge, in the parish of Wimborne, about a
mile away, the residence of Anthony Etterick, a magistrate who asked
the Duke what he would do if released, to which he answered "that if
his horse and arms were but restored to him at the same time, he
needed only to ride through the army; and he defied them to take him
again". The magistrate ordered him taken to London.
Attainder and execution
Following his capture, Parliament passed an Act of Attainder, 1 Ja. II
c. 2. The King took the unusual step of allowing his nephew an
audience, despite having no intention of extending a pardon to him,
thus breaking with a longstanding tradition that the King should only
give an audience when he intended to show clemency. The prisoner
unsuccessfully implored his mercy, and even offered to convert to
Catholicism, but to no avail. The King, disgusted by his abject
behaviour, coldly told him to prepare to die, and later remarked that
Monmouth "did not behave as well as I expected". Numerous pleas for
mercy were addressed to the King, but he ignored them all, even that
of his sister-in-law, the Dowager Queen Catherine.
Monmouth was beheaded by
Jack Ketch on 15 July 1685, on Tower
Hill. Shortly beforehand, Bishops Turner of Ely and Ken of Bath
and Wells visited the condemned man to prepare him for eternity, but
Eucharist as he refused to acknowledge that either his
rebellion or his relationship with Lady Wentworth had been sinful.
It is said that before laying his head to the block Monmouth
specifically bade Ketch finish him at one blow, saying he had mauled
others before. Disconcerted, Ketch did indeed inflict multiple blows
with his axe, the prisoner rising up reproachfully the while – a
ghastly sight that shocked the witnesses, drawing forth execrations
and groans. Some say a knife was at last employed to sever the head
from the twitching body. Sources vary; some claim eight blows, the
Tower of London
Tower of London fact sheet says it took five blows, while
Charles Spencer, in his book Blenheim, puts it at seven.
Monmouth was buried in the
Church of St Peter ad Vincula
Church of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower
His Dukedom of Monmouth was forfeited, but the subsidiary titles of
that dukedom (Earl of Doncaster and Baron Scott of Tindale) were
restored to his grandson, Francis Scott, 2nd Duke of Buccleuch
(1695–1751), on 23 March 1743.
According to legend, a portrait was painted of Monmouth after his
execution: the tradition states that it was realised after the
execution that there was no official portrait of the Duke – so his
body was exhumed, the head stitched back on the body, and it was sat
for its portrait to be painted. However, there are at least two
formal portraits of Monmouth tentatively dated to before his death
currently in the National
Portrait Gallery in London, and another
painting once identified with Monmouth that shows a sleeping or dead
man that could have given rise to the story.
One of the many theories about the identity of The Man in the Iron
Mask is that he was Monmouth: this seems to be based on the unlikely
reasoning that James II would not execute his own nephew, so someone
else was executed, and James II arranged for Monmouth to be taken to
France and put in the custody of his cousin Louis XIV of France.
Henry Purcell set to music (Z. 481) a satirical poem by an
unidentified author, ridiculing Monmouth and his parentage:
A grasshopper and a fly,
In summer hot and dry,
In eager argument were met
Says the fly to the grasshopper:
"From mighty race I spring,
Bright Phoebus was my dad 'tis known,
And I eat and drink with a king."
Says the grasshopper to the fly:
"Such rogues are still preferr'd;
Your father might be of high degree,
But your mother was but a turd."
So, rebel Jemmy Scott,
That did to the empire soar,
His father might be the Lord knows what,
But his mother we knew a whore".
Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms of the 1st Duke of Monmouth and Buccleuch: The royal arms
of King Charles II differenced with a baton sinister argent overall an
inescutcheon of pretence of Scott (Or, on a bend azure a mullet of six
points between two crescents of the field).
His marriage to
Anne Scott, 1st Duchess of Buccleuch
Anne Scott, 1st Duchess of Buccleuch resulted in the
birth of six children:
Charles Scott, Earl of Doncaster (24 August 1672 – 9 February
James Scott, Earl of Dalkeith (23 May 1674 – 14 March 1705). He was
married on 2 January 1693/1694 to Henrietta Hyde, daughter of Laurence
Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester. They were parents to Francis Scott, 2nd
Duke of Buccleuch.
Lady Anne Scott (17 February 1675 – 13 August 1685)
Henry Scott, 1st Earl of Deloraine
Henry Scott, 1st Earl of Deloraine (1676 – 25 December 1730)
Francis Scott (died an infant; buried 8 December 1679)
Lady Charlotte Scott (died an infant; buried 5 September 1683)
His affair with his mistress Eleanor Needham, daughter of Sir Robert
Lambeth resulted in the birth of three children:
James Crofts (died March 1732), major-general in the Army.
Henriette Crofts (c. 1682 – 27 February 1730). She was married
around 1697 to Charles Paulet, 2nd Duke of Bolton.
Isabel Crofts (died young)
Toward the end of his life he conducted an affair with Henrietta,
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Harris, Tim (October 2009) .
"Scott [Crofts], James, duke of Monmouth and first duke of Buccleuch
Dictionary of National Biography
Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.).
Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/24879.
access-date= requires url= (help) (Subscription or UK public library
^ Williams, p. 6
^ "Scotland's DNA: Descended from lost tribes…and related to
Napoleon". The Scotsman. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
^ Harrison, Bruce (2005). "The Family Forest Descendants of Lady Joan
Beaufort". Milisecond Publishing. p. 532. Retrieved 15 October
^ "Lucy Walter". Welsh Biography Online. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
^ a b "Scott, James Crofts, Duke of Monmouth". University of Hull.
Retrieved 13 May 2012. [permanent dead link]
^ "Setting the Scene in Wessex: the 17th Century in Literature and
Drama". Retrieved 13 May 2012.
^ Brydges, Sir Egerton (1812). Collins's Peerage of England;
Genealogical, Biographical and Historical. 3. F.C. and J. Rivington.
^ a b c d Burke, Bernard (1914). Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary
of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire. London: Burke's
Peerage Limited. p. 320.
^ "Moor Park". Archived from the original on 12 December 2013.
Retrieved 19 April 2012.
^ Watson p.67-68
^ "Monmouth, James, Duke of Monmouth (MNMT663J)". A Cambridge Alumni
Database. University of Cambridge.
^ "No. 1328". The London Gazette. 8 August 1678. p. 1.
^ Flantzer, Susan. "James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate
son of King Charles II of England". Unofficial Royalty. Retrieved 22
^ "No. 1848". The London Gazette. 2 August 1683. p. 2.
^ "No. 2042". The London Gazette. 11 June 1685. p. 1.
^ "No. 2043". The London Gazette. 15 June 1685. p. 1.
^ "King Crowned in Chard". Chard Tourist Guide. 26 June 2005.
Retrieved 13 May 2012.
^ "No. 2049". The London Gazette. 6 July 1685. p. 1.
^ "No. 2050". The London Gazette. 9 July 1685. p. 1.
^ Tait's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 12, January 1845, p.57,ed. William
Tait, Christian Isobel Johnstone
^ a b Roberts, p. 109
^ "Official account published by command", quoted in Tait's Edinburgh
^ Tait's Edinburgh Magazine
^ Raithby, p.2
^ "Whereas James Duke of Monmouth has in an hostile manner Invaded
this Kingdome and is now in open Rebellion Levying War against the
King contrary to the Duty of his Allegiance, Be it enacted ... That
the said James Duke of Monmouth Stand and be Convicted and Attainted
of High-Treason and that he suffer Paines of Death and Incurr all
Forfeitures as a Traitor Convicted and Attainted of High Treason." The
Statutes of the Realm, vol. VI (1819).
^ Beatty, p. 60
^ "No. 2051". The London Gazette. 13 July 1685. p. 2.
^ Macaulay, p.491
^ "Tower of London: Fact sheet" (PDF). Archived from the original
(PDF) on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
^ Spencer, p.54: "Monmouth had a particularly grisly end, the
executioner's axe striking seven times before his head severed"
^ "The Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula and Tower Green". English
Monarchs. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
^ "Earl of Doncaster". Retrieved 19 May 2012.
^ ""The People's Almanac" series of books cites this story".
Trivia-library.com. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
Portrait Gallery NPG 151". Npg.org.uk. Retrieved 13 May
Portrait Gallery NPG 1566". Npg.org.uk. Retrieved 13 May
^ Shaw, Samuel, "Duke of Monmouth: Man in the Iron Mask" in Oxford
Journals (Oxford, 1870) Vol s4-V, No 120.
^ "Henry Purcell: Duets, Dialogues and Trios, edited by Ian Spink
(Purcell Society Edition Vol. 22B)". Purcell Society. Retrieved 4
Beatty, Michael (2003). The English Royal Family of America, from
Jamestown to the American Revolution. McFarland and co.
Macaulay, Thomas Babington (1878). The History of England from the
Accession of James II, Volume I. J. B. Lippincott & Co.,
Raithby, John (1819). James the Second, 1685: An Act to Attaint James
Duke of Monmouth of High-Treason. (Chapter II. Rot. Parl. nu. 2.),
Statutes of the Realm: volume 6: 1685–94. Retrieved 13 May
Roberts, George (1844). Life, progresses and rebellion of James, Duke
of Monmouth to his capture and execution. Longmans, Brown, Green and
Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, Charles (2005). Blenheim, Chapter 3: John
Churchill. Phoenix. ISBN 978-0304367047.
Watson, J.N.P. Captain General and Rebel Chief: The Life of James,
Duke of Monmouth. George Allen & Unwin, 1979.
Williams, Hugh Noel (1915). Rival sultanas. Hutchinson & Co.
Wikisource has the text of the 1885–1900 Dictionary of National
Biography's article about Scott, James (1649-1685).
Media related to
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth at Wikimedia
"Monmouth, James, Duke of". The Nuttall Encyclopædia.
Wyndham, Violet (1976).
Protestant Duke: Life of the Duke of Monmouth.
Littlehampton Book Services. ISBN 0-297-77099-3.
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