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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