MURRAY or MORAY, JAMES STUART, EARL OF (c. 1531-1570), regent of Scotland, was an illegitimate son of James V. of Scotland by Margaret Erskine, daughter of the earl of Mar. In 1538 he was appointed prior of the abbey of St. An drews in order that James V. might secure its funds, and later; he also received those of Pittenweem and Macon in France, but manifested no vocation for a monastic life. In fact, shortly after the return of Knox to Scotland in 1559, he joined the lords of the congregation, who resolved to abolish forcibly the Roman service. In 1562 he was created earl of Murray, a dignity also held by George Gordon, earl of Huntly, who, however, had lost the queen's favour. Only a few days later he was made earl of Mar, but as this title was claimed by John, Lord Erskine, Stuart resigned it.
Murray displeased the queen, his half-sister, by his efforts in behalf of Knox now accused of high treason ; and as he was also opposed to her marriage with Darnley, he was after that event declared an outlaw and took refuge in England. Returning to Scotland after the murder of Rizzio, he was pardoned by the queen. After her abdication in 1567, he was appointed regent of Scotland, and defeated the queen's forces at Langside, near Glas gow (May 13, 1568). He baffled Mary's schemes, suppressed the border thieves, and ruled firmly, resisting the temptation to place the crown on his own head while Mary remained a captive under suspicion of complicity in the murder of barnley.
Several events occurred for which Murray has been censured, but which were necessary for his security: the betrayal to Eliza beth of the duke of Norfolk and of the secret plot for the libera tion of Mary; the imprisonment of the earl of Northumberland, who after the failure of his rising in the north of England had taken refuge in Scotland; and the charge brought against Mait land of Lethington of complicity in Darnley's murder. Lethington was committed to custody, but was rescued by Kirkaldy of Grange, who held the castle of Edinburgh. Murray was afraid to proceed with the charge on the day of trial, while Kirkaldy and Maitland held the castle, which became the stronghold of the deposed queen's party. It has been suspected that Maitland and Kirkaldy were cognizant of the design of Hamilton of Bothwell haugh to murder Murray, for he had been with them in the castle. As he rode through Linlithgow Murray was shot on Jan. 21, 1570, from a window by Hamilton.
See the various Calendars of State Papers and the general bibliog raphy for Mary, Queen of Scots given in Camb. Mediaeval Hist. (vol. 3, chap. 8, 1904) .