Francis Bothwell

Francis Bothwell of Edinburgh, Lord of Session, was a Scottish merchant, landowner, judge and politician. As a university graduate, he was called Master Francis Bothwell, or "Dominus" in Latin documents; however, this has been misunderstood by some writers, so he is occasionally, inaccurately, referred to as "Sir" Francis Bothwell.

Francis Bothwell
OccupationMerchant, Judge and Politician


The elder son of Richard Bothwell, a Provost of Edinburgh during the reign of James III, Francis served as Procurator (1513–14) of the Scottish Nation at the University of Orléans in France, and was appointed a Burgess of Edinburgh in 1515, and Provost of Edinburgh in 1525.

Francis Bothwell was a Burgh Commissioner, for Edinburgh, in the parliaments of 1524, 1525, 1526, 1528, 1531, 1532 and 1535. He served as Lord Auditor of Causes, Lord of the Articles, and was one of the first Lords of Session when the College of Justice was founded on 27 May 1532. For his service in the first year of the Session, Francis was paid £133-6s-8d.[1]

In June 1528, Bothwell took possession of a house on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. The house in Byer's Close had been forfeited to the Crown of Scotland because the owners had gone to England without permission, and was granted to Francis in January 1528. The present house on the site is called "Adam Bothwell's House", after his son.[2]

Bothwell was a business partner of Adam Hopper, another Provost and merchant of Edinburgh. In 1529, the year of Hopper's death, they had been exporting fish to England.[3] Bothwell later married Hopper's widow Katherine Bellenden. Francis Bothwell was recorded as being seriously ill in December 1535, but his date of death in unknown.


Bothwell married firstly Janet Richardson, daughter and co-heir of Patrick Richardson of Meldrumsheugh, and thus got lands in the regality of Broughton.

Their children included:

It is unclear if Adam Bothwell was a son of Francis Bothwell's first wife Janet Ricardson, or his second wife Katherine Bellenden. Katherine was involved in the supply of cloth to the royal court; in July 1537 "Master Francis Bothuilis wyfe" delivered purple velvet for use at the funeral of the Queen of the Scots, Madeleine of Valois.[4]


  1. ^ Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, Edinburgh (1905), p.153
  2. ^ Durkan, John, ed., Protocol Book of John Foular, 1528-34, SRS (1985), pp.8-9, no.23:Register of the Great Seal, 1513-46, (1883), p.120 no.537: Howard, Deborah, Scottish Architecture, 1560-1660, EUP (1995), p.156
  3. ^ Letters & Papers Henry VIII, vol.4 (1875), no.5059
  4. ^ Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, Edinburgh (1905), p.332