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Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven

Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven

Scottish noble
The basics
Gender male
The details

Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven (c. 1520 – 13 June 1566), played an important part in the political intrigues of the 16th century. He succeeded to the lordship in December 1552. The Ruthven lordship encompassed the offices of Provost and Constable of Perth, and Sheriff of Strathearn.


Quest for wealth and advancement

During the war of the Rough Wooing, Patrick wanted to profit by delivering Perth to the English. His father was Provost of the town, and Patrick offered it to Sir Andrew Dudley, a brother of the Duke of Northumberland, who occupied Broughty Castle. After this war with England was concluded, in March 1551 he was in Paris and wrote to Mary of Guise asking for money she had promised him. Patrick also asked for political preferment;

"I haif evir bene and salbe at your grace' commandment. Fordir, pleis your grace, I think I have bene ane futtman lang aneuch, bot quhene it pless your grace ye will mak me ane hors man amangis utheris, ... I shall jeopard my lyfe in your service farder nor thame that giffis yow fairer wordis and gettis mair of your geir."

Religious and political stance

However, as a strong Protestant and a supporter of the Lords of the Congregation, he signed the Treaty of Berwick in 1560, and sent his son Archibald as a hostage to England and Westminster School. Ruthven wrote to William Cecil from Huntingtower Castle reminding him of their previous meetings in England during the time of Edward VI, and approving of Cecil's, "forth-setting of the union of these realms in greater amity than in times bypast has been." In conference with Mary of Guise on 12 May 1560, at Edinburgh Castle, Ruthven was more unyielding on all points than any of the other representatives of the Congregation.

Political office and other involvements

Thomas Randolph reported in June 1563 that he had joined Mary's privy council at the instance of William Maitland of Lethington, although the queen personally could not abide him. Later, he supported Mary's marriage with Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and was the leader of the band which murdered David Rizzio. This event was followed by his flight into England where he died.

On 2 April 1566, Ruthven and Morton sent their testimony on Riccio's murder to Queen Elizabeth, declaring they had acted the best for Darnley, Mary, state and religion.


Patrick married first Janet Douglas (d. around 1552), illegitimate daughter of Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, and had several children. Secondly, he married Janet Stewart, daughter of John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Atholl and widow of Henry Stewart, 1st Lord Methven. Patrick's two eldest children married their stepmother Janet Stewart's children; daughter Jean Ruthven married Henry Stewart, 2nd Lord Methven, and the heir, William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie, married Dorothea Stewart.

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