Biography of Sir James Hamilton 1st Baron Hamilton
Hamilton Charter, p1, 6th of January 1460
In 1460 Sir James Hamilton of Cadzow (c1410-1479), 1st Baron Hamilton, gifted a tenement of buildings and some ground to the principal regent in the University's Faculty of Arts. The gift was vital to the survival of the University, providing substantial buildings for teaching in the heart of the city. The University remained on the site, rebuilding and expanding its premises there, until the move to Gilmorehill in 1870.
The tenement lay on the east side of High Street, to the north of a church belonging to the Dominicans (the "Black Friars") and to the south of land belonging to the chaplain, Thomas Arthurlie. The land included 4 acres of Dovehill, on the opposite bank of the Molendinar Burn. Historians have speculated that the University may have rented the buildings from Hamilton prior to receiving them as a gift.
In return for the gift of land and buildings, Hamilton imposed certain conditions. The beneficiaries were required to pay the Bishop of Glasgow his dues; the University's regents were obliged to provide advice to the family of the founder when it was sought; and, at dinner and supper each day, the principal regent, the other regents and the students were to stand and pray for the state of the universal church, for the king and queen and for the souls of the founder (Hamilton) and his wife, predecessors and successors.
Hamilton was the eldest son of James Hamilton of Cadzow. In 1445 his lands and baronies were erected into a lordship called Hamilton. He married Euphemia, the widow of Archibald, 5th Earl of Douglas and was an ally of the Douglases in their struggles against King James II. He was imprisoned in Roslin Castle for a short time but regained the King's favour and was appointed Sheriff of Lanarkshire in 1455. In 1474 he married Mary Stewart (1451-1488), the sister of King James III.