Monthly Archives: November 2014

Marie of Guise, Queen of Scotland

The Freelance History Writer

Marie of Guise, c. 1537, by Corneille de Lyon Marie of Guise, c. 1537, by Corneille de Lyon

Marie of Guise was born on November 22, 1515 in the castle of Bar-le-Duc in northeast France. Her father was Claude, Duke of Guise and her mother was Antoinette of Bourbon. The Guises were one of the most powerful families in France being very astute in politics and military concerns. They were to dominate Scottish and French affairs for fifty years. Marie was able to learn all the fundamentals of politics from her family.

Marie was an only child for four years but then many brothers and sisters came along. When she was eleven, she was sent to live with her grandmother, Philippa of Guelders at her home in Pont-à-Mousson where she was educated. She may have been destined for a convent but her uncle Antony, Duke of Lorraine, while visiting his mother, met Marie when she was about fourteen…

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St Andrews: the legacy of St Rule

St Rule’s Tower St Andrews. St Rule (or Regulus) is said to have brought the relics of St andrew to Scotland.

The Hazel Tree

St Rule's Tower (3)

The long, narrow finger of St Rule’s Tower rises above the grounds of St Andrews Cathedral, reaching a height of over 100 feet and offering spectacular views of the coastline and the city below.   Built in the 12th century, it would have been a welcome sight for pilgrims who had travelled from far and wide to worship the relics of St Andrew, which were housed within the church.

St Andrew was one of Christ’s disciples. How on earth did his relics arrive at a small town in Fife?

Flag CropAbout St Andrew…

According to the Gospels, Andrew and his brother, Simon, who were fishermen from Galilee, were invited by Christ to become ‘fishers of men‘.   Andrew was present at the Last Supper and in the garden at Gethsemane, and he saw the risen Christ after the Resurrection.

In his mission to spread the message of Christianity, Andrew travelled widely through Greece…

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St Andrews: the glorious Cathedral

St Andrew’s Cathedral after the ‘rascal multitude’ of John Knox’s followers destroyed it.

The Hazel Tree

In 1160, the Augustinian canons who had taken over the incumbency of St Rule’s church at St Andrews began to lay the foundations for a much larger building on the same site.

The Cathedral took almost 150 years to build, and it was consecrated in July 1318 in the presence of Robert the Bruce.  Bad weather had prolonged the construction work – the west wall was blown down in a storm in 1272 – and during the first War of Independence with England some of the lead was stripped from the roof.  But when it was finally ready to receive worshippers it must have been a spectacular sight, one which I would love to have seen.

St Andrews (3)The new building was ambitious in its magnificence, designed to be worthy of the precious relics of St Andrew which were attracting thousands of pilgrims from all over Europe.   No simple, unadorned walls for…

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Loch Leven Castle

Absolutely stunning photos of Loch Leven Castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned with interesting article.

The Hazel Tree

Loch Leven Castle (Colin) 81It was May Day, 1568, and most of the guests at Loch Leven Castle had had far too much to drink.   The young Willie Douglas, disguised as the Abbot of Unreason, had made sure of that.   In fact, he had a deep and very dangerous reason for doing so, one which would land him in serious trouble if he were found out.

The Queen, although appearing to enjoy the evening’s celebrations, was on tenterhooks, aware that her chance to escape was tantalisingly close.   One of her pearl earrings, given to Willie as a secret token, had been mysteriously returned to her a few days before.  She knew that this was a signal.

As Willie plied the revellers with more alcohol, she muttered something about feeling unwell and slipped upstairs to her room at the top of the tower.  There, aided by her maid, she quickly changed into…

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