The Chain Mail

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Following Mary

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Now that it’s February, we introduce the theme of ‘Royalty’ for the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology. What better way to introduce the theme than taking a step back in time and following the trail of Mary, Queen of Scots, the most famous and intriguing of all Scottish monarchs, in her early years in Scotland.

Mary Queen of Scots portrait

Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots

1. Linlithgow Palace

 Linlithgow Palace is where everything began for Mary, Queen of Scots. She was born here on 8 December 1542, to King James V and Queen Mary of Guise. At six days old, the young princess became the Queen of Scots when her father died. She was baptised at St Michael’s Church, opposite Linlithgow Palace, and remained at Linlithgow Palace until she was nine months old.

Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace

2. Stirling Castle

King Henry VIII of England launched a military campaign against Scotland that is now known as the “Rough Wooing”. His idea was to force Scotland into agreeing to a marriage between their queen and his son, Prince Edward. This meant that Scotland would effectively be under Henry VIII’s control. The “Rough Wooing” involved English armies attacking Scottish towns, cities and castles. In 1545 the town of Edinburgh was sacked however Edinburgh Castle was not captured. Linlithgow Palace was not fortified enough to keep Mary safe, and so she was taken to Stirling Castle. She was also crowned at Stirling Castle, and raised here for a few years until even Stirling was no longer safe.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

 3. Inchmahome Priory

After the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh near Musselburgh, where the Scottish Army was massacred, Mary was transferred to Inchmahome Priory for a few weeks whilst the Scots asked France for assistance.

Inchmahome Priory

Inchmahome Priory

4. Dumbarton Castle

Dumbarton Castle was Mary, Queen of Scots’ last place of residence in Scotland before French help arrived. She remained at Dumbarton for a number of months before she finally set sail for France in August 1548. By this time, King Henry VIII was dead, but the “Rough Wooing” continued into the reign of his son King Edward VI. It would be 13 years before Mary would see her homeland again.

Dumbarton Castle

Dumbarton Castle

Visit these beautiful castles and follow in the footsteps of Mary, Queen of Scots. We’d love to see your photos @welovehistory! #historicitinerary

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About Author

Laura Brown

Laura works in the Membership team, and was previously based at Craigmillar Castle. She is fascinated by Scottish history, and especially the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Her must-see sites include Crichton Castle, Linlithgow Palace and Dryburgh Abbey

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