Monthly Archives: February 2015

1683 : Rediscovery of the tombs of James V Stuart and his two sons by Mary of Guise

Toom Tombs

Marie de Guise-Lorraine 1515-2015

Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh, Scotland. © A.B. Commemorative display in the ruined nave of Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh, Scotland © A.B.

When I was visiting the ruins of Holyrood Abbey some years ago, in search of Renaissance tombstones or effigies (one can always dream), I stumbled upon this simple plaque. This was it then, the end of all my marble hopes. The tombs of king James V Stuart, of little James and Robert, his two sons by Queen Mary of Guise, had been violated in 1688, and nothing was left of their former appearance (if there ever had been any). My next hope was that someone had visited the tombs in the Abbey, before they and the church were destroyed. There was a good chance: roughly 140 years lie between James’ death in 1542 and 1688, even if one considers the destructions of Holyrood Abbey by the English army in may 1544. I even started imagining the…

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King James V of Scotland

King James V by Susan Abernethy

The Freelance History Writer

King James V of Scotland King James V of Scotland

King James IV seemed to have recklessly led the flower of Scottish nobility into a deadly battle against the English at Flodden Field on September 9, 1513. He was to die in battle leaving his only legitimate surviving son and heir, James, as king when he was only seventeen months old. Half of James V reign was to take place during his minority.

James V was born on April 10, 1512 at Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgowshire. He was the son of King James IV of Scotland and his wife, Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England. Seventeen months later, his father was dead. James IV stipulated in his official will that Margaret would be the authorized guardian of their children as long as she was unmarried. Margaret immediately took James to Stirling and had him crowned in the Chapel Royal on September 21…

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The History of Craigmillar Castle

Informative post on the history of Craigmillar Castle by Susan Abernethy.

The Freelance History Writer

Ruins of Craigmillar Castle (Photo by the author) Ruins of Craigmillar Castle (Photo by the author)

Believe it or not, Edinburgh, Scotland has another beautifully preserved medieval castle. Yes, Edinburgh Castle is spectacular, sitting high up on the volcanic rock with a bird’s eye view of the whole city and the Firth of Forth. When I first visited Edinburgh Castle, I thought it was the coolest castle I’d ever seen. And I still think it is. But Craigmillar is a fine example of a medieval castle in and of itself and I really enjoyed my visit there. The castle has many connections with royalty and it has an especially interesting association with Mary Queen of Scots.

The site of Craigmillar Castle is in what is now called Craigmillar Castle Park which is adjacent to the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse. These lands were first granted to the monks of Dunfermline Abbey by King David I, the son of…

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Ada de Warenne, Mother of 2 Kings of Scotland

History... the interesting bits!

Ada de Warenne was born around 1120, daughter of William de Warenne 2nd Earl of Surrey and Isabel de Vermandois. Through her mother, she was a great-granddaughter of Henry I of France and half-sister to Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester and Hugh de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Bedford. Her niece, Isabel de Warenne, would marry William, the younger son of King Stephen and, following his death, Hamelin, half-brother of Henry II of England.

300px-Prince_Henry_of_Scotland_1139_692124Ada’s family connections were of the highest quality. As a consequence, in 1139 she married Henry of Scotland, only surviving son and heir of David I, King of Scotland. On her marriage, she became Countess of Huntingdon and Countess of Northumbria. The marriage produced 3 sons and 3 daughters.

Ada never became Queen of Scotland as Henry of Scotland died in 1152, a year before the death of David I. On his son’s death, David…

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The History of Fotheringhay Castle

The Freelance History Writer

Execution of Mary Queen of Scots by an unknown Dutch artist, 1613 Execution of Mary Queen of Scots by an unknown Dutch artist, 1613

While in the UK on my Mary Queen of Scots tour, we visited many historic sites associated with her life story. This included a trip to Fotheringhay Castle, the scene of her execution on February 8, 1587. There is virtually nothing left of this significant castle but I climbed twenty three feet up to the top of the motte, looking down on the River Nene and across to the village and church and couldn’t help but feel something significant happened here. It turns out this castle has a pretty incredible history encompassing more than just Mary’s execution.

The motte of Fotheringhay Castle (Photo by the author) The motte of Fotheringhay Castle (Photo by the author)

From the north, we entered the site through one of those crisscross gates. The land is a working sheep farm. To the west, there was a picturesque view of the village with…

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St Michael’s Church, Linlithgow

Stunning photography by Joanne Woolf of ST Michael’s Church Linlithgow

The Hazel Tree

Jo Linlithgow (8)Just a few footsteps away from the spectacular main entrance of Linlithgow Palace is the lovely church of St Michael.

When we last visited Linlithgow Palace – which must be nearly five years ago – I overlooked the church, and I must admit that I didn’t realise what an important role it played in the history of the Palace.

But in late January we went back to Linlithgow, and this time we took a look inside.

Linlithgow Colin 4Jo Linlithgow (7)

Linlithgow Church (23)

It was a bitterly cold day, and a fresh fall of powdery snow had been driven against all the gravestones in the churchyard.   An organist was practising as we stepped inside, filling the entire church with an immense and magnificent sound – I don’t know what the music was but it was brilliant, and a testament to both the player and the organ itself.

Linlithgow Church (12)Linlithgow Church (16)Colin Linlithgow 6The interior was surprisingly open and light, with sunlight streaming in…

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