James Dunbar Earl of Murray
of Frendraught, Scotland
Born: early 1400 and died 1442.
Son of: Alexander Dunbar (1373-1421?) and Maude Dunbar (nee Fraser).
Brother of: not known.
James married: Isabel Dunbar (nee Innes) and then Jean Dunbar (nee Gordon).
James and Isabel had issue:
1. Sir Alexander Dunbar (1425-1497?)who married Isabel Sutherland.
James and Jean had issue:
2. Lady Janet Dunbar who married James, second Lord Crichton.
3. Lady Elizabeth Dunbar (1425-1494) who married Archibald, third son of James, seventh Earl of Douglas.
James Dunbar: An Overview
We know about James from the book "Records of the Heath Family", by George Heath 1907. The entry is as follows:
James Dunbar of Frendraught, who, upon the death of his cousin Thomas
without male issue, succeded to his earldom, was fifth Earl of Murray
of the name of Dunbar, and was one of the hostages for King James'
ransom anno 1425.
He succeeded as Laid of Frendraught 28th January 1421-2, and his yearly rent of the estate of Frendraught was then estimated at 500 marks sterling.
He was twice married: first to Isabel Innes, daughter to Sir Walter Innes, of Innes, and by her had a son, Alexander, afterwards Sir Alexander Dunbar, of Westfield. He married secondly, Lady Jean Gordon, daughter of Alexander, Earl of Huntly, and had only two daughters.
1. Lady Janet Dunbar, who married James, second Lord Crichton.
2. Lady Elizabeth Dunbar, who married Archibald, third son of James, seventh Earl of Douglas, who, by the then prevailing interest of his family, obtained the Earldom of Murray, in prejudice of the said Sir Alexander Dunbar, the Earl's son, and the Lord Crichton, who was married to his eldest daughter. But it was not long enjoyed by this family, for it was forfeited for their rebellion, and annexed to the Crown anno 1455.
"Alexander, son of Earl James, ought to have succeeded his father both in the earldom and honors of Murray and in the barony of Frendraught, but was deprived of both. James, Earl of Douglas, whos power was already too great for a subject, having got his brothers Hugh and John raised to the peerage, wanted to increase his power by making his brother Archibald, Earl of Murray. To compass that end, he got the clergy to pronounce a nulity in Earl James's marriage with Isabel Innes, on the score of consanguinity, because she died before a dispensation was obtained to make their marriage canonical. The consanguinity was this: Earl James was son of Alexander of Frendraught and son of Earl John, and Isabel Innes was daughter of Eupheme Fraser, daughter of Jane Dunbar (Lady Lovat) daughter of Earl Thomas, son of Earl John; so they stood in the second and fourth descent from Earl John; and on this the nullity proceeded. The Earl of Douglas having thus, thou unjustly, got Alexander Dunbar declared incapable of succeding to his father, had another bar to remove; for the Lady Crichton, the eldest daughter, ought to have been prefered to the second, who was Archibald Douglas's wife; but he soon surmounted this difficulty, by prevailing with Crichton and his Lady to renounce and resign their right, in favour of his brother Archibald, and Crichton got the estate of Frendraught. In this maner did Archibald Douglas, become Earl of Murray, in 1449. But he did not long enjoy it, for having joined his brother in the rebellion of 1455, he was killed in Annandale by Lord Carlyle, of Torthorald, and the Laid of Johnston; and the Earldom of Murray was forfeited to the crown."
Earl James was killed near Frendraught in 1442, before the 26th April, on which date he is called "the late Earl of Moray", and was succeded in his estates, but not in his titles, by his only son Sir Alexander Dunbar.
If you have any information to add to what is listed please contact