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Matthew Lennox
History's Lord Lennox.jpg
Biographical Information
Real Name: Matthew Stewart
Title: Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox

4th Earl of Lennox
Lord Lennox

Born: 21 September 1516
Death: 4 September 1571
Age: 54
Religion: Catholic
House: House of Stuart
Gender: Male Male.png
Originally From: Dumbarton, Scotland
Parents: John Stewart (Father)
Wife: Lady Lennox
Family: Jame Stuart(2nd cousins once removed.)

Jane Grey(Second Cousin)
Mary Stuart (3nd cousins)
James Stuart (3nd cousins)
King James VI (Grandson)

Children: Lord Darnley

Charles Stuart

TV Character Information
First appearance: Highland Games
Portrays: Lord Lennox
Portrayed by: Mentioned

Historical Figure.png

Matthew Lennox (Matthew Stewart) was the fourth Earl of Lennox and a leader of the Catholic nobility in Scotland. He married Lady Lennox and her son Lord Darnley, married Mary, Queen of Scots and was the father of King James VI of Scotland, future King of England.

Early Life

Matthew spent most of his youth in exile in England but returned to Scotland to assert his claims to the line of succession when King James V died in 1542. At the time of the king's death, Lennox possessed a strong claim to the throne of Scotland should Mary, Queen of Scots, an infant, pass away childless. He was James V's second cousin once removed. However, the Earl of Arran, James Hamilton, held the stronger claim. As a result, Lennox was (at best) third in line of succession, and really behind Arran's sons. Arran was made Regent of Scotland. In 1543, Lennox's supporters challenged Arran's claim and legitimacy by suggesting that his father's divorce and second marriage were invalid.

Lennox arrived at Dumbarton Castle with two ships in March 1543. He came to Edinburgh, Scotland but refused to ratify Arran's position as Regent. Arran was pushing towards alliance with England and made the Treaty of Greenwich, agreeing to a marriage between Mary, Queen of Scots, and King Henry VIII's son Edward Tudor, Prince of Wales. Arran began to fortify Linlithgow Palace, where Mary was held with her mother Mary of Guise. Cardinal Beaton's and Lennox's supporters camped outside the palace but lacked artillery for an assault. Their representatives parleyed with Arran's men at Kirkliston, near Edinburgh, and a settlement was reached. Henceforth, Arran would rule with the advice of a council, and the infant Queen would be moved to Stirling Castle. Lennox escorted Mary to Stirling on 26 July 1543.

Although Lennox had come to Scotland lured by the prospect of marriage to Mary of Guise, Lennox had been offered the chance to marry Lady Lennox, daughter of Margaret Tudor and half-sister of the deceased King James V. After Lennox seized French money and artillery sent to Mary of Guise, she even offered the hand of her daughter in marriage. When the Parliament of Scotland rejected the Greenwich Treaty, Lennox changed sides and supported King Henry VIII of England's military efforts to secure a marriage in The War of the Rough Wooing. After the defeat of his supporters, he fled once more to England.

When the English army approached Edinburgh before the battle of Pinkie, far to the west a diversionary invasion of 5000 men was led by Thomas Wharton and Lennox on 8 September 1547. They took Castlemilk and burnt Annan after a bitter struggle to capture its fortified church.

Marriage and Later Life

In 1544, he married Lady Lennox, who had a claim to the English Throne. Their children were: Henry, born in 1545, who eventually married Mary, Queen of Scots; and Charles, born in 1556 who married Elizabeth Cavendish in 1574. Elizabeth was the daughter of Sir William Cavendish and Bess of Hardwick. Lennox's grandchildren were: by Henry, King James VI of Scotland and I of England, and by Charles, Lady Arbella Stuart.

In August 1548, he made four promises to Mary of Guise, in order for her assent to her daughter's French marriage to King Francis. These were: that he and his friends and retainers would preserve the Catholic faith in Scotland; they would guard the Auld Alliance; Guise would remain guardian of the Queen: and he would punish all who supported the King of England.

He returned to Scotland upon Elizabeth I of England's urging during the marriage negotiations of Mary, Queen of Scots;, in 1564. He quickly took up his position as the most powerful lord in the Glasgow area and was instrumental in the marriage of his elder son, Lord Darnley, to Mary. Whether Queen Elizabeth had intended this (in order to eliminate the threat of a continental marriage), as is sometimes conjectured, remains doubtful. Elizabeth reacted with disapproval and had Lennox's wife, Lady Lennox confined in The Tower of London. By August 1565, William Cecil had heard that Darnley's insolence had driven Lennox from the Scottish Court.

After Darnley was murdered early in 1567, Lennox was the most ardent pursuant of justice against the lords who had conspired in the murder. He also became the main witness against Mary, though her involvement in the murder, thought to have been carried out by her later husband, Lord Bothwell, is controversial.


In 1570, Lennox became Regent for his grandson, King James VI, but the queen's party declared war against him. He was shot dead next year in a skirmish when the queen's party attacked Stirling. The raid on Stirling on 4 September 1571 was led by the Claude Hamilton, and the lairds of Buccleuch and Ferniehurst. Early reports said he was killed by his own side. William Kirkcaldy said the shot was fired by the queen's party and another account names David Bochinant as the assassin.


  • The Lennox Jewel was most likely made for Lady Lennox. Theories vary as to when the jewel was made and for what occasion. In 1842, the jewel was bought by Queen Victoria.
  • Her mother, Margaret Tudor was Queen of Scotland, and married to King James IV of Scotland.
  • King James V of Scotland was his second cousins once removed.
  • Matthew Lennox was (at best) third in line of succession for the Scottish Crown. He spent most of his youth in exile in England, but returned to Scotland to assert his claims to the line of succession when King James V died in 1542.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots briefly met her future husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley in February 1561 when she was in mourning for King Francis II. Darnley's parents, Lord and Lady Lennox, who were Scottish aristocrats as well as English landowners, had sent him to France ostensibly to extend their condolences while hoping for a potential match between the two.
  • The War of the Rough Wooing Matthew Lennox married Lady Lennox, daughter of Margaret Tudor and half-sister of the deceased King James V. When the Parliament of Scotland rejected the Greenwich treaty, Lennox changed sides and supported King Henry VIII of England's military efforts to secure a marriage between in The War of the Rough Wooing. After the defeat of his supporters at the Battle of Glasgow Muir, he fled once more to England.

Family Tree

King Henry Tudor VII
Elizabeth of York
Arthur Tudor
Catherine of Aragon
King Henry Tudor VIII
Anne Boleyn
Mary Tudor
Margaret Tudor
Mary Tudor
Elizabeth Tudor
Frances Grey
King James Stuart
Lady Lennox
Lady Jane Grey
James Stuart
Mary Stuart
Lord Darnley

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