Patrick Hepburn, 3rd Earl of Bothwell


Patrick Hepburn, 3rd Earl of Bothwell

Patrick Hepburn, 3rd Earl of Bothwell (b. 1512 - died September 1556 at Dumfries), was the son of Adam Hepburn, Lord Hailes, who died at the Battle of Flodden the year after Patrick's birth.

Hepburn was known as the "Fair Earl". He owed this more to his looks than his character, being described as "fair and white" whilst a young boy.

He was imprisoned in 1529 for two years for harbouring robbers. Once released he decided to exact revenge by beginning a treasonable correspondence with England. He then spent much of the next years in England, and after James V died at the Battle of Solway Moss, Hepburn signed a pact with Henry VIII promising to serve him and aid the commitment of the then infant Mary Queen of Scots into Henry's custody.

Despite having sworn loyalty to Henry VIII, Hepburn was awarded an annual pension of £1,000 from Mary of Guise (Mary Queen of Scots' mother) in return for his patriotic fidelity. It was said that Hepburn believed there was the possibility of marrying into royalty, and that it was the reason he obtained a divorce from his wife. However, the prospects for royal marriage were thin and despite Henry VIII engaging in another bloody invasion of Scotland, Hepburn resumed correspondence with the English Court.

In the intervening years, Hepburn played a role in the death of George Wishart.

In 1548 Hepburn renounced his loyalty to the Scottish crown, and became a pensioner of England, earning £3,000 annually. However, in 1554 he returned to Scotland after his formal pardon by Mary of Guise.

The Earl of Bothwell married in 1534, Agnes (d.1572), daughter of Henry 3rd Lord Sinclair (who also fell at Flodden). They were divorced before October 16, 1543, whereafter she was styled Lady Morham until her death. They had two children:

*James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, his son and heir, who eventually became the third and last husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.
* Jane (or Janet) (d. before 27 July 1599) whose first husband was John Sinclair, Master of Caithness (d.1578, v.p.), with issue; her second husband was John Stewart, Lord Darnley, Prior of Coldingham, by whom she had Francis Stewart, 1st Earl of Bothwell; her third husband the notorious Archibald Douglas, Parson of Douglas, a Senator of the College of Justice, and brother of William Douglas of Whittinghame.

References

*"The Royal Families of England Scotland and Wales, with their descendants", etc., by John and John Bernard Burke, London, 1848, volume 1, pedigree CXXXIX.
*"The Scots Peerage", by Sir James Balfour Paul, Edinburgh, 1905, vol. 1, pps: 157 - 160.


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