The subject of the TillVAS James IV Memorial lecture on Etal Village Hall was James’ granddaughter Mary Queen of Scots.
Former Holyrood Palace guide Jordan Evans, who is now attached to the Royal Household, delivered the lecture on the controversial monarch who spent 19 years of her life in captivity.
Born in 1542 Mary was sent to France and in 1558 was married to the heir to the French throne. A year later, following his death, she returned to Scotland as a widow and heir to the Scottish throne.
Being a catholic she faced some opposition and when the question of an heir raised the subject of marriage, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley (grandson of Margaret, sister of Henry VII) was chosen as consort for Mary. In England, Elizabeth’s right to be Queen was being questioned increasing Mary’s future children’s claim to the English throne.
Darnley was an unsuitable consort and Bothwell, who had designs on the Scottish throne, attempted to persuade her to marry him and when she refused she was imprisoned in Dunbar Castle. Finding that she was pregnant, after being raped, she agreed to marry Bothwell, to avoid losing the Crown.
Scottish Lords were concerned by Bothwell’s ambitions and after the battle at Carberry Hill in 1567, Mary surrendered on condition that Bothwell was allowed to return to Dunbar and go into exile. Mary was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, then Loch Leven Castle where she renounced the throne in favour of her baby son, who became James VI of Scotland.
Dressed as a laundry maid she escaped, raised an army and marched on Glasgow. The rising was crushed and Mary fled to England to seek the protection of her cousin Elizabeth. However, Elizabeth’s advisers persuaded her to hold her cousin Mary prisoner and eventually Mary was put on trial.
The next TillVAS meeting is on Wednesday, November 1, 7.30pm in Crookham Village Hall. Professor Ian Haynes will speak on ‘Roman Temples at Maryport’. Visitors £4.