Some Royal Bastards with Magna Carta Roots

Some Royal Bastards with Magna Charta Roots

 Our Genealogist, Timothy Field Beard, FASG, gave this fascinating talk at our April 2009 breakfast meeting in Washington.  We thought you would enjoy reading it.

Ludivina Loughnan, Lady Stuart-Menteth (1772-1852) was a very religious woman in the Victorian tradition, and she probably never knew that some of the blood of the most licentious and notorious Royal Bastards ran in her veins.  These bastards also had lines back to many Magna Carta Barons.

Ludivina and her daughter Philadelphia, Countess of Mar, worried about the religious upbringing of their granddaughter and niece, Philadelphia Stuart-Menteth, daughter of Capt. Thomas Loughnan Stuart-Menteth, who was born and was being raised in the wilds of Canandaigua, New York.  They sent her many religious books with inscriptions about proper behavior.  I am sure young Philadelphia read the uplifting books she was sent, but I am not sure she followed their instructions.  All reports are that she grew up to be a frolicsome girl and adventurous lady.  At least she saved the religious tracks, and I still have some of them.  She also passed on the notorious Magna Carta Roots of the Stuart-Menteths to several living Americans.

Ludivina had an interesting and colorful personal life.  She was born on the Island of Madeira where her Irish father, Thomas Loughnan, was in the wine business.  His firm of Loughnan and Company had offices around the world and dealt in almost any liquor that can be named.  They were distillers of whisky in Kilkenny, wine merchants in Spain and Madeira, importers of rum in Jamaica and the family headquarters was in London.  Philadelphia Fergusson, the wife of Thomas Loughnan, was Scottish by birth.  Her father, Robert Fergusson, who had been a Provost of Dumfries where she had been born, made his fortune as a merchant in Cork, Ireland.  His mother was Annie Laurie of Maxwellton, made famous in song, the wife of Alexander Fergusson of Craigdarrach, Dumfries.  The Fergussons and Lauries had lines going back to several Royal Scots, but it was Clementina Douglas, the wife of Robert Fergusson who gave Ludivina her descents from some of the bawdiest women in the history of the Royal Family of Scotland whose lines went back to several Magna Charta Barons.

Clementina Douglas was the daughter of James Douglas of Dornock, Dumfries, great-grandson of the 1st Earl of Queensberry whose family lived at Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries.  The present house, now home of the Douglas heir, the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, was built between 1684 and 1691 for the 1st Duke of Queensberry on the site of the ancient family seat.  The late Duchess of Gloucester, Aunt by marriage of Queen Elizabeth II, was a daughter of a Duke of Buccleuch.

Thomas Loughnan and his wife Philadelphia realized that their four lovely daughters, Ludivina, Clementina, Philadelphia and Zepherina could not stay and languish in Madeira.  They took them to London in the 1780’s, and they were all baptized in one fell swoop at St. George’s Hanover Square.  It is quite possible that in Madeira they may have been Catholic, and their Anglican baptism might have been double dipping.  Most of their male Loughnan relatives were baptized in both religions, as only members of the Church of England could vote until 1828.  Ludivina was painted by Gainsborough as a young girl in London.  She was taken to Scotland to visit her Douglas relatives at Drumlanrig Castle.  It was there that she met a neighbor of the Douglas family, young Charles Granville Stuart-Menteth (1769-1848) of Closeburn Hall, Dumfries.  On Sept. 13, 1791, they were married at Drumlanrig Castle.  Over a period of years they produced 13 children.  Around 1800 they were painted by Raeburn along with her husband’s father, the Rev. James Stuart-Menteth.  Copies of the paintings hang in my house.

The religious strain in the family continued as four of her seven sons became Anglican clergymen.  Charles Stuart-Menteth was created a Baronet by Queen Victoria and thus became Sir Charles.  Their eldest son, Sir James the 2nd Baronet, had no children. His next youngest brother, Capt. Thomas Loughnan Stuart-Menteth, had settled in Canandaigua, New York, in 1832, and predeceased him.  So the eldest son of Thomas became Sir James Stuart-Menteth of Menteth’s Point, Canandaigua Lake, NY, Closeburn Hall, Dumfries and Mansfield Park, New Cumnock, Ayrshire, on the death of his uncle James in 1870.  Today the only heirs of the family in America are the descendants of his sister Philadelphia (1834-1881), wife of Dr. Cornelius Collins Beard (1828-1906) of New Orleans, LA, and Brookline, MA.  The title went back to a cousin in England on the death of Sir James in 1918 without male heirs.

There were probably always by blows of the Scottish Kings, but it seemed that from the time that Lady Joan Beaufort (ca. 1404-1445) arrived in Edinburgh in 1424, as the bride of King James I of Scotland (1394-1437) of the House of Stewart (Stuart) that a lapse in decorum proliferated.  She was the daughter of the 1st Earl of Somerset, the illegitimate son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, by Katherine Swynford.  John was the second son of King Edward III of England.  Lady Joan brought with her the Beaufort libido, as well as descents from at least three Magna Carta Barons – Robert de Vere, Roger le Bigod and Saher de Quincy through her mother Margaret Holand.  Her niece was Margaret Beaufort, who was married, divorced, married again, widowed and pregnant, all by the time she was 12.  She was just 13 when she produced her posthumous and only child, later King Henry VII of England.  She then married twice again and died a nun!  They were the ancestors of Sir Charles Stuart-Menteth.  The blood of Margaret gave him all the Magna Charta Barons shared with her Aunt Joan, plus Henry de Bohun through her mother Margaret Beauchamp.

Joan Beaufort’s husband King James I, was descended from Magna Carta Baron Richard de Clare, through the Bruce family.  The marriage seemed to be rather happy and productive as they had eight children in the first nine years!  King James unfortunately was assassinated in 1437 at the age of 43, and his widow married another Stewart, Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorne, a distant kinsman of her late husband and had three more sons before she died in 1445.

The second son of Joan’s second marriage was Sir James Stewart (1442-1499), the 1st Earl of Buchan, called “Hearty James”.  He was described as the uterine brother, or half-brother on the mother’s side, of King James II of Scotland.  He owed his title to his nephew, King James III, for whom he served as High Chamberlain of Scotland in 1471.  He was a loyal supporter of his nephew during the 1480’s when the latter had problems with his insurgent nobles.  Although he had a wife and children, Hearty James inherited the Beaufort libido.  He had a mistress, Mrs. Margaret Murray, by whom he had two children – James Stewart, 1st Laird of Traquair and Agnes Stewart who continued in the tradition of her mother.  Charles Stuart-Menteth was descended from the son whose descendants were fairly quiet and well behaved, but Ludivina was descended from the wild daughter, Agnes Stewart.

Margaret Murray and her daughter Agnes must have been very attractive women.  At an early age Agnes Stewart attracted the attention of her cousin King James IV of Scotland, and she bore him a daughter, Janet Stuart (Stewart) (1508-1563) who also seems to have inherited the family beauty, and especially the libido.  Agnes was married four times after this affair with James IV.  Her first husband was Adam, the 2nd Earl of Bothwell.  Their grandson, James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell and Duke of Orkney, briefly married his cousin Mary Queen of Scots as her third husband.  The second husband of Agnes was Alexander, the 3rd Lord Home.  Her third husband was Robert, 4th Lord Maxwell and the fourth and last was Cuthbert Ramsey.  In her later years she had the desire to be legitimatized, and perhaps turned to religion, as the Beaufort libido faded!

Janet Stuart (Stewart), who was sometimes called Jannetta or Jonnetta Stuart (Stewart), was sought after matrimonially as the daughter of King James IV.  She was married with a dispensation from the Pope dated 26 Feb. 1524/25 to Malcolm 3rd Lord Fleming.  He fell at the battle of Pinkie, 10 Sept. 1547 in his 53rd year after having eight children by Janet Stewart.  She was around 39 by then and in 1548, she was put in charge of her six-year old niece, Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587), as her Governess.  The result was one of the worst cases of Nannygate in Scottish history.  If anyone had done a background check, it could have seen that with the double whammy of the Beaufort libido, trouble was brewing.  Janet Stuart (Stewart) accompanied her young niece to France when she became the fiancée of Francis the Dauphin of France (1544-1560), heir to King Henry II of France (1519-1559). The Dauphin later reigned briefly as Francis II, King of France from 1559 to 1560.

Henry II was the husband of Catherine de Medici (1519-1589) well known in history as a stern woman and a religious fanatic responsible for the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of Protestants.  He had a penchant for older women.  In 1534, when he was 15, the year after his marriage to Catherine, he took up with Diane de Poitiers who was 35.  She remained his mistress until his death.  So it was not unexpected that while still in his 20’s he was attracted by a 40-year old woman with a Beaufort libido!  Janet neglected her nursery duties and ended up in the king’s bed.  At the age of 43 in 1551, she bore him a son, Henry of Valois.  Henry, sometimes called the “Bastard of Angouleme” was later Governor of Provence and died in 1586.  Janet was sent home to Scotland in 1555 and had to leave the baby behind.

Janet Stewart’s son, John Fleming, was still in the good graces of his cousin Mary, Queen of Scots when she returned from France in 1561, after her brief duties as Queen of France.  She appointed him Grand Chamberlain of Scotland for life on 30 June 1565.  He was her great supporter and accompanied Mary in her flight to England in 1568.  On his return to Scotland in 1569 he attempted to hold the Castle of Dumbarton for the Queen, but had to flee to France to escape capture.  He returned home in May of 1572 and was mortally wounded in Edinburgh by French soldiers.  He was carried in a litter to Biggar, his family seat, where he died on 6 Sept. 1572.  It was his granddaughter Mary Fleming who married Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig in 1581 and became the mother of William Douglas the 1st Earl of Queensbury, ancestor of Clementina Douglas.

It was during this period on May 15th, 1567 that Janet Stewart’s nephew, James 4th Earl of Bothwell and Duke of Orkney, Lord High Admiral of Scotland, married Mary Queen of Scots as her third husband.  He must have been the male counterpart of his aunt, a charming matinee-idol type over whom women swooned.  There were several relationships and one marriage in which he participated without clearly dissolving them, before he took up with Mary.  One was with Anna Tronds, a Norwegian noblewoman, daughter of a famous Norwegian Admiral.  He met her on a trip to Copenhagen where her father was serving as Danish Royal Consul.  He traveled with her to Flanders where he jilted her after taking all her money.

The nobles of Scotland ganged up on Bothwell after his marriage to Queen Mary, and he had to separate from her after only a month of marriage.  He made the mistake of fleeing to Denmark where he was imprisoned on the complaint of the family of Anna Tronds.  He died at Dragsholm Castle in Denmark, on April 14, 1578.  An illegitimate son, William Hepburn, was his co-heir with the Earl’s wife, Lady Jean Gordan, whose marriage he never seemed to have properly terminated!  Queen Mary was left pregnant and she miscarried twins some months after they parted in 1567.

Mary’s brief second marriage in 1565 had been with her half-first cousin Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.  They shared a grandmother, Margaret Tudor, the daughter of Henry VII, King of England and a granddaughter of Margaret Beaufort, who had many descents from Magna Carta Barons as mentioned earlier. A son was born to them in June of 1566, later King James VI of Scotland and James I of England.  It was a tempestuous and loveless marriage.  When Darnley murdered David Rizzo, her secretary, in front of his pregnant wife, the marriage was definitely at an end.  Darnley himself was murdered in February of 1567.  Some claimed that Bothwell did the deed.  Mary abdicated in favor of her year-old son after her miscarriage.  The story of her end is sad.  In 1587 at the age of 45, she was executed for treason at the command of her cousin, Elizabeth I of England, in whose country she had taken refuge.

From the time that Joan Beaufort arrived in Edinburgh in 1424, until the death of James Hepburn in 1578, the various Royal Bastards of this period and their children left their mark on Scottish history.  By the 19th century their descendants did not care to contemplate this era.  However, through their descents from these bastards, they received the blood of many Magna Carta Barons, as well as descents from King John.