John Graham was born in 1547, the son of Lord Robert Graham and Margaretha La Fleming. He was born in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. Lord Robert Graham was 26 years old and Lady Margaret Fleming was 18 years old at the time of his birth. Lord Robert was killed in the battle of Pinkie Cleug on September 19, 1547 soon after John’s birth.
At the age of sixteen, John’s Grandfather had put him in the possession of the family castle and the barony of Mugdock. As master of the castle, he was presented with a seat in Parliament at Stirling. Throughout his life he was very involved with the Scottish government. John, the third Earl of Montrose, was renounced by Queen Mary of Scotland in 1567. He fought against Queen Mary at the Battle of Langside on May 13, 1568 where she was captured at Cranberry Hill and was force to abdicate. She was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle. Her half brother James Stewart, Earl of Moray was appointed Regent on behalf of the infant James VI, heir to the throne. John became Earl of Montrose when his Grandfather died in 1571.
In Scotland at this time, there was a period of instability within the government with no fewer than four different regents ruling the country in the space of seven years due to death and or assassination. Sir John was commissioned as a judge with Lord Glamis and Sir John Wishart from 1572 -1573 in an effort to regain stability to the country. There were intermittent civil war between the King’s forces and the Marians (supporters of Queen Mary). Finally, in 1573, through the good offices of Henry Killigrew, the English ambassador, a conference was held in Perth between the regent Morton with the King’s party and the leading supporters of Mary. As a result of the discussion all agreed to recognize Morton as regent, ended their allegiance to Mary, disbanded their forces and handed over all prisoners and property that they had taken. In return, those that had been in rebellion were allowed to reassert possession of their lands. In 1591 he was appointed and served as Extraordinary Lord of the Chancellor and President of the Council in 1591. In 1599, he served as the King’s Commissioner at the Union Conference and Viceroy of Scotland on 1604.
In addition, John Graham, the third Earl of Montrose was a Scottish Peer and Chancellor of the University of St Andrews for 1599 to 1604. He was the Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland, from 1605 to 1606. He was the Great Grandson of King James IV of Scotland and his Grandmother was Janet Fleming.
John Graham married Jean Drummon, daughter of Lord David Drummond and Lilias Ruthven on August 24, 1563 in Montrose, Angus, Scotland. This was a contract marriage and Jean was his second cousin with her dowry being paid to John’s Grandfather, William Graham. They had four children; Robert Graham of Scotston (1566), Countess Lilias Graham (1570), First Baronet William Graham of Braco (1572), Sir John Graham the 4th Earl of Montrose (1573).
Four hundred thirteen years ago today, on November 9, 1608, Sir John Graham died in Forfar, Angus, Scotland. He is buried at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Rest in peace, Sir John!
Sir John Graham is my 11 X Great Grandfather.