Esme Stuart 1st duke of Lennox

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Lennox, Esmé Stewart, 1st duke of [S] (1542–83). Lennox was a comet who blazed across the Scottish sky and was gone. His father was a brother of Matthew Stewart, earl of Lennox and regent 1570–1. He held the seigniory of Aubigny in France, to which his son succeeded in 1567. In 1579 Lennox arrived in Scotland, an exotic visitor from the court of France, and captivated the 13-year-old James VI with his worldliness and sophistication. He was created earl of Lennox, his uncle resigning the title for him, and in 1581 was promoted to duke. Meanwhile he had announced his conversion to protestantism and brought down the regent, Morton. It has been presumed that his ulterior motive was the restoration of Mary, queen of Scots, but others have seen him as purely self-seeking. In 1582 James was seized by Gowrie and other lords in the Ruthven raid and forced to order Lennox to leave the kingdom. He died shortly afterwards. His young son was brought up in Scotland, given an English peerage as earl of Richmond in 1613, and raised to the dukedom in 1623.

J. A. Cannon

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