National Records of Scotland

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Adam Hepburn (d 1513)

Adam Hepburn (d 1513)

Master of the Royal Stables

Adam Hepburn was attached to the royal household. On 30 March 1498 James IV made him Master of the Royal Stables (magistro stabuli sui), in Edinburgh. On 24 March 1503 he and his wife, Helen Ogstoun, were granted a royal charter for the lands and barony of Craggis in the sheriffdom of Forfar. He also received a knighthood.

On 22 August 1513 the king led a force of between 20 and 30 thousand men across the Border against an army commanded by Thomas Howard, earl of Surrey (1443-1524), Henry VIII's lieutenant-general in the north. Surrey outflanked the Scottish army, who rushed to take up a position on Branxton Hill. Sir Adam had priced his household silver to pay his ransom in the event of capture, but was among the thousands of Scots killed along with his nephew Adam, 2nd earl of Bothwell (born circa 1492) and his 20-year-old scholarly son, Alexander of St Andrews. Erasmus was heartbroken when he received news of the death of his promising young pupil. The grandson of Sir Adam's nephew was James, 4th earl of Bothwell (1536?-1578), abductor and later husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Testament of Adam Hepburn of Craggs

National Records of Scotland, CC8/8/1A pp 3-7

Adam Hepburn drew up his last will and testament on 7 September 1513, two days before the Battle of Flodden. He made provision for his daughters Elizabeth, Helen and Janet, who lived on into the middle of the 16th century, and for his canonically illegitimate sons, Henry and Adam. At this time illegitimacy did not carry the same stigma. On 25 October 1513, during the minority of James V, the Register of the Great Seal records that the King declares 'ligitimate Henry Hepburn and Adam Hepburn natural sons of Adam Hepburn of Craggis knight, who died in service and in the Royal army finally finished in field of battle at Northumberland'. This legitimisation was perhaps a reward for his loyal service to the king.

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