Kennedy, James, Bishop of St. Andrews

(c. 1406–1465)
   In the early 1460s, as a leading member of JAMES III’s regency council, James Kennedy, bishop of St. Andrews, was instrumental in securing asylum in SCOTLAND for the Lancastrian royal family.
   The youngest son of a Scottish GENTRY family, and a member, through his mother, of the Scottish royal family, Kennedy was sent to the continent to study theology and canon law. Named bishop of Dunkeld in 1437, Kennedy vigorously pursued ecclesiastical reform, even proposing a reform program to the pope while attending the Council of Florence in 1440. A leading figure in the minority government of JAMES II, Kennedy was appointed bishop of St. Andrews in 1440 and served briefly as chancellor in 1444. On the unexpected death of James II in 1460, Kennedy became a member of the regency COUNCIL chosen to govern during the minority of James III. Headed by Queen MARY OF GUELDRES, the council was soon confronted by a request for military assistance from Queen MARGARET OF ANJOU, who, since the capture of HENRY VI at the Battle of NORTHAMPTON, was an exile in Scotland with her son Prince EDWARD OF LANCASTER. Although victory at the Battle of WAKEFIELD in December 1460 allowed Margaret and the house of LANCASTER to temporarily regain the ascendancy, EDWARD IV’s triumph at the Battle of TOWTON in March 1461 forced the entire Lancastrian royal family to flee again into Scotland. Caught between Margaret’s pleas for help and Edward IV’s demands for the expulsion of her family, the regency council split, with Kennedy leading the pro-Lancastrian faction known as the “Old Lords.” Although the “Young Lords,” led by Queen Mary,were willing to talk to the Yorkists, Kennedy frustrated all attempts at negotiation, including a personal visit to the Scottish court in 1462 by Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick. As a result of Kennedy’s influence and Margaret’s willingness to surrender BERWICK, Scotland remained a safe haven and a source of military assistance for the Lancastrians until 1463.
   In August 1463, after the failure of a ScottishLancastrian invasion of northern England, Margaret and her son left for France, while Henry VI remained in Scotland under Kennedy’s protection. In October, LOUIS XI of FRANCE abandoned Scotland and the seemingly hopeless cause of Henry VI by concluding a truce with Edward IV; the agreement called upon both signatories to refuse assistance to the other’s enemies. In December, with Queen Mary dead, Kennedy suppressed his Lancastrian sympathies and negotiated a ten-month truce with the Yorkists. Edward agreed to cease supporting the rebel earl of Douglas and Kennedy agreed to give no more aid to the Lancastrians and to begin talks in March 1464 for a more permanent settlement. Although Kennedy at first violated the agreement by taking Henry VI deeper into Scotland for safety, in January 1464 he sent the exking into England to the Lancastrian-held castle of BAMBURGH. By Kennedy’s death in May 1465, Scotland had achieved a stable if uneasy peace with the Yorkist regime.
   Further Reading: Dunlop, Annie, The Life and Times of James Kennedy, Bishop of St.Andrews (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1950); Macdougall, Norman, James III (Edinburgh: J. Donald, 1982); McGladdery, Christine, James II (Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers, 1990).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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