A rather romantic family tradition has it that the Hamiltons were party to a plan to rescue Mary Queen of Scots, who was about to be kidnapped by Bothwell, so that he could force her into marriage and thereby help secure the throne of England for Elizabeth I. The Hamiltons along with the Gordons were defeated in a skirmish and fled from Scotland in two ships, one of which ended up in Ireland, carrying the Hamiltons. There may be some truth in the story as James Hepburn the 4th Earl of Bothwell did in fact kidnap Mary Queen of Scots and became her third husband in 1567. It is also a fact that Bothwell was responsible for the murder of the Earl of Darnley the Queen’s second husband. The Scots nobles rose against Bothwell and he was forced to flee to Denmark where he died insane. It is also a fact that James Hamilton, the Earl of Arran, an enemy of Bothwell did in fact help prevent the abduction of Mary at an earlier time.
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