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Joan Stewart, Princess of Scotland

December 8, 2014 9 Comments

My 16th great-grandmother was deaf, and used sign language. Joan died after 16 October 1486, she was buried at Dalkeith Church, Midlothian. Joan’s effigy on the Morton Monument is said to be the world’s oldest image of a known deaf person

Joan Stewart (1428 – 1486)
is my 16th great grandmother
John Gordon (1450 – 1517)
son of Joan Stewart
Robert Lord Gordon (1475 – 1525)
son of John Gordon
Catherine Gordon (1497 – 1537)
daughter of Robert Lord Gordon
Lady Elizabeth Ashton (1524 – 1588)
daughter of Catherine Gordon
Capt Roger Dudley (1535 – 1585)
son of Lady Elizabeth Ashton
Gov Thomas Dudley (1576 – 1653)
son of Capt Roger Dudley
Anne Dudley (1612 – 1672)
daughter of Gov Thomas Dudley
John Bradstreet (1652 – 1718)
son of Anne Dudley
Mercy Bradstreet (1689 – 1725)
daughter of John Bradstreet
Caleb Hazen (1720 – 1777)
son of Mercy Bradstreet
Mercy Hazen (1747 – 1819)
daughter of Caleb Hazen
Martha Mead (1784 – 1860)
daughter of Mercy Hazen
Abner Morse (1808 – 1838)
son of Martha Mead
Daniel Rowland Morse (1838 – 1910)
son of Abner Morse
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Daniel Rowland Morse
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse
Born in Scotland c.1428, she was the third daughter of James I of Scotland and Joan Beaufort. Joan had two older brothers, including the future King of Scotland, James II, and five sisters. She had “the misfortune to be deaf and dumb”, and was known as muta domina or “the mute lady”. Joan was reported to have used sign language to communicate, even in public (although it was considered at that time to be impolite).

Joan was originally contracted to marry James Douglas, 3rd Earl of Angus on 18 October 1440, but he died (without issue) in 1446 before the marriage could take place.   In 1445 she was sent to France and did not return home to Scotland until 1457. She had been promised in marriage to the Dauphin of France but the marriage did not take place, probably due to her inability to articulate. Joan married James Douglas, 4th Baron Dalkeith before 15 May 1459, who at the time of their marriage was raised to the peerage as the first Earl of Morton.  They were granted a dispensation on 7 January 1463-4 for being consanguineous in the second and third degrees.  Joan and her husband James were both aware of their close relationships but were persuaded to marry by her brother King James II of Scotland and applied for the dispensation to legitimize their marriage. The Countess Joanna died in 1493, predeceasing her husband, James, by several months.

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