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Ruthven, Patrick (1520?-1566) (DNB00)

RUTHVEN, PATRICK, third Lord Ruthven (1520?–1566), eldest son of William, second lord Ruthven [q. v.], and Janet, eldest daughter of Patrick, lord Haliburton, was born about 1520, and educated at the university of St. Andrews. While master of Ruthven he, in July 1544, commanded the forces of the town of Perth against Lord Gray, when an attempt was made by Cardinal Beaton to intrude John Charteris of Kinfauns as provost of the town in opposition to Lord Ruthven (Knox, Works, ii. 113). On 8 Aug. 1546 he received a grant under the great seal to him and his wife, Jean Douglas, of the lands of Humbie, and of Easter, Wester, and Over Newton (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1513–46, No. 3289). In 1548 the master delivered up St. Johnstoun [i.e. Perth] to the English (Cal. Scottish State Papers, p. 82); but, although for a time he pretended to be on the side of the English, he was latterly spoken of as a traitor (ib. p. 98). In 1552 he was appointed to the command of the footmen of the army sent to France (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 135). He succeeded his father before 15 Dec. of the same year, when the queen conceded to him and his wife, Janet Douglas, a third part of the lands of Dirleton, Haliburton, and Hassindean, Berwickshire (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1546–80, No. 735). From 1553 until his death he was annually elected provost of Perth, of which he was also hereditary sheriff.

When Ruthven in 1559 was requested by the queen regent to suppress the Reformation heresy among the inhabitants of Perth, he is reported to have answered ‘that he would make their bodies come to her grace, and to prostrate themselves before her,’ but that to ‘cause them do against their conscience he could not promise’ (Knox, i. 316). He is also supposed to have lent his countenance to the destruction of the monasteries at Perth on 11 May of the same year (Leslie, Hist. of Scotland, Bannatyne ed. p. 272); but when the army of the queen regent approached Perth, Ruthven, although deemed by many ‘godly and stout in that action,’ left the town and went to his own country residence (Knox, i. 337). The action of the queen regent, however, after her entrance into the town on 29 May, in deposing him and the bailies of the town from their offices (ib. p. 346) caused him immediately to join Argyll, Lord James, and other leaders of the congregation, who shortly afterwards held a council at St. Andrews, when it was resolved to begin the Reformation there by ‘removing all monuments of idolatry, which they did with expedition’ (ib. p. 350; Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1558–9, No. 862). In command of a number of horse he also joined the lords at Cupar-Muir, to oppose the progress of the queen regent eastwards (Knox, p. 350); and he took part in the capture of Perth from the French troops on 24 June, firing the first volley on the west side (ib. p. 358; Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1558–9, No. 880). He was one of the commissioners sent to treat with the queen regent at Preston; and subsequently, as the representative of the lords, succeeded in negotiating an agreement for which he and the laird of Pitarrow entered themselves as pledges (Knox, pp. 367–75, 378; Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1558–9, No. 1052). On 19 Sept. he signed the letter of the lords protesting against the siege of Leith by the French army (Knox, i. 414). Shortly afterwards the queen regent endeavoured to detach him from the lords by promises conveyed to him through Sir John Bellenden, lord justice clerk, and his wife, who was the daughter of Ruthven's second wife by her former marriage to Lord Methven (ib. p. 418); but the negotiation was the reverse of successful. Ruthven acted as president at the convention of the nobility, barons, and burgesses held at Edinburgh on 21 Oct., and made a strong speech in favour of the suspension of the queen dowager from the office of regent, which was carried (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1559–60, No. 234). Subsequently the lords came to entertain doubts of the faithfulness of Ruthven (Sadler to the Earl of Arran in Sadler's State Papers, i. 628; Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. No. 781); but if their suspicions were not quite groundless, Ruthven nevertheless did not finally commit himself against them. In January 1559–1560 he came to their aid against the French, whom he defeated in a skirmish near Kinghorn in Fife (Knox, ii. 6–7). Afterwards he was received into the full confidence of the lords, and he was appointed one of the commissioners who, on 27 Feb. 1559–60, signed the contract with the English commissioners at Berwick, and his son Alexander was one of the pledges for the performance of the treaty (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1559–60, No. 787). He also signed the band of 27 April 1560 in ‘defence of the liberty of the evangel,’ and for the expulsion of the French from Scotland (Knox, ii. 63).

In February 1563 Ruthven, at the instance of Maitland of Lethington, was chosen a privy councillor of Mary Queen of Scots. Referring to his election, Randolph affirmed that the appointment ‘misliked Moray’ on account of his sorcery; that ‘an unworthier there is not in Scotland than he,’ and that more might be spoken than he dared write (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1563, No. 370). In a later letter he also mentions that the queen ‘cannot abide him,’ and that ‘all men hate him’ (ib. No. 839). The explanation of these rumours regarding Ruthven is partly supplied by Knox, who states that the queen in conversation referred to the ‘offering of a ring to her by Lord Ruthven,’ and declared that, though at Maitland's instance he had been made one of her privy council, she ‘could not love’ him, for she knew him ‘to use enchantment’ (Knox, Works, ii. 373).

Ruthven, notwithstanding his admission to the privy council, continued to be a staunch defender of protestantism; and at a meeting of the council, before which Knox was brought in 1563, he defended Knox's right to ‘make convocation of the queen's lieges’ (ib. p. 406). On 22 Sept. of this year Ruthven was appointed to expel the clan Gregor out of the bounds of Strathearn (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 249); and on 8 May 1564 the queen conceded to him the office of sheriff-clerk of Perthshire. On 1 Dec. 1564 he received a grant of a waste house adjoining Holyrood House (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1546–80, No. 1567), which he presumably fitted up for a residence, and in which he may have been living at the time of the murder of Rizzio, a fact which would sufficiently explain his appearance there from a sick-bed, and also the first thought of Mary's attendants, that he had escaped from his chamber while raving in a fever. On the same date on which he received a grant of the waste house, Ruthven also obtained a grant to him and his second wife, Janet Stewart, widow of Lord Methven, of the lands and lordship of Methven, Perthshire (ib. No. 1568).

The first wife of Ruthven having been a Douglas, and his children by her being cousins-german of Lord Darnley, Ruthven was naturally a supporter of the Darnley marriage. Randolph represents him as the ‘chief councillor’ of those who were bent on the marriage (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1564–5, No. 1140); and Knox states that at Mary's council at this time were only the Earls of Atholl and Lennox and Lord Ruthven (Works, ii. 483). It was Ruthven and Atholl who, with three hundred horsemen, escorted the queen safely from Perth through Fife to Callendar House, when a plot was suspected to have been formed by Moray for her capture on the journey south. During the rebellion of Moray, after the queen's marriage to Darnley, Ruthven also joined the forces of the queen with a command in the rearguard of the battle (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 379).

The rise of Rizzio in the favour of the queen, accompanied as it was by the declining influence of Darnley and of the relatives and friends who had been the main supporters of the marriage, was observed by Ruthven with feelings of deep resentment. As early as 12 Oct. 1565 Randolph wrote that Morton and Ruthven ‘only spy their time, and make fair weather until it come to the pinch’ (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1564–5, No. 1580). It was probably at the suggestion of Morton or Ruthven that George Douglas inspired Darnley to apply to Ruthven to aid him against the ‘villain David.’ Ruthven, although then so ill that he ‘was scarcely able to walk twice the length of his chamber’ (Ruthven, Relation), agreed to assist him to the utmost of his power, and formally made known the proposal to Morton. It was Ruthven and Morton who agreed to undertake the management of the arrangements for seizing Rizzio. Their names are the only ones known to have been attached to the band signed by Darnley, and probably they were attached as witnesses. Ruthven, in complete armour and pale and haggard from his long sickness, was the first of the conspirators to enter into the queen's supper chamber after Darnley had taken his seat beside the queen (9 March 1565–6). The first conjecture of the queen and her attendants was that he was ‘raving through the vehemency of a fever.’ In a stern voice Ruthven commanded Rizzio to come out from the presence of the queen, ‘as it was no place for him;’ and as he was about to seize Rizzio, who clung to the garments of the queen, the other conspirators broke in and hurried Rizzio to the outer chamber. When Atholl, Huntly, Bothwell, and other nobles then in attendance on the queen in the palace, alarmed at the uproar, appeared to be meditating a rescue, Ruthven went down, and explaining to them that harm was intended to no one except Rizzio, and that they were acting at the instance of Darnley, who was present, persuaded them to retire to their chambers. He then returned to the queen's chamber, and, being faint, sat down and called for a cup of wine. Then followed the remarkable conversation with the queen detailed at length by Ruthven in his ‘Relation’ (Brit. Mus. MS. Cotton Calig. bk. ix. f. 219, printed in appendix to Keith's History of Scotland and also separately). After the murder, Ruthven, ill though he was, took part with the other conspirators in the deliberations as to the future government of the country. After the arrival of Moray the queen was also persuaded to admit him and Morton into her presence and grant them a promise of pardon; but on the queen's escape to Dunbar they fled into England. While in England Ruthven penned the description of the murder known as the ‘Relation;’ but as it was specially intended for the perusal of Elizabeth, and as a justification of the conspiracy on the only ground that would be acceptable to Elizabeth—that Mary had been unfaithful to her husband—its statements, notwithstanding the graphic ferocity of their tone, are open to suspicion. The excitement of the assassination, followed by a hurried flight into England, brought about a serious reaction in Ruthven's health, and after several months of great weakness he died at Newcastle on 13 June 1566. According to Calderwood he ‘made a Christian end, thanking God for the leisure granted to him to call for mercy’ (History, ii. 317).

By his first wife, Jean or Janet Douglas, natural daughter of Archibald, earl of Angus, he had three sons and two daughters: Patrick, master of Ruthven; William, fourth lord Ruthven and first earl of Gowrie [q. v.]; Alexander; Jean, married first to Henry, second lord Methven, and secondly to Andrew, fifth earl of Rothes; and Isabel, married to James, first lord Colville of Culross. By his second wife, Lady Jane Stewart, eldest daughter of the second earl of Atholl, and married three times previous to her marriage to Ruthven—first to Alexander, master of Sutherland; secondly, to Sir Hugh Kennedy; and thirdly to Henry, lord Methven—he had a son James, who in 1582 had a charter of a part of the barony of Ruthven.

[Histories by Knox, Buchanan, Leslie, Calderwood, and Keith; Cal. State Papers, For. Ser., Reign of Elizabeth; Cal. State Papers, Scottish Ser.; Reg. of Mag. Sig. Scot. 1546–80; Reg. Privy Council of Scotland, vol. i.; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 662–3.]

T. F. H.