9th of March

St Pacian, Bishop of Barcelona, 4th century. St Gregory, of Nyssa, bishop, 400. St Frances, widow of Rome, foundress of the Collatines, 1440. St Catherine, of Bologna, virgin, 1463.

Born. – Lewis Gonzaga (St Aloysius), 1568; Dr Joseph Franz Gall, founder of phrenology, 1757, Tiefenbrunn, Suabia. 
Died. – Sultan Bajazet I., Antioch; David Rizzio, 1566, murdered, Holyrood; Cardinal Jules Mazarine, 1661, Vincennes; John Calas, broken on the wheel, 1762, Toulouse; William Guthrie, historical and geographical writer, 1771, London; Professor Oersted, Danish natural philosopher, 1851.

On this Day in Other Sources.

The arched gate at the foot of the first bend in the Bow is distinctly shown in Rothiemay’s map [see chapter 12]. Within this and the old city wall, on the west side, was an ancient timber-fronted tenement, known as “Lord Ruthven’s Land,” being the residence of the gloomy and daring Patrick third Lord Ruthven, whose son was the first Earl of Gowrie – the same dark and terrible lord who rose from his sick-bed (a few months after to be his death-bed, though he fled to Newcastle in the interim), and, donning his armour, drew back the arras of the Queen’s chamber, looking like a pale spectre under his steel-barred helmet, on that fatal night [9th] March of 1566, when he planted his dagger into David Rizzio, whose death was mainly his contrivance; and in the demolition of this house a singular relic of him apparently was discovered. 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.315-321.

“Upon the 9th day of March [1566,] we being at even, about seven hours, in our cabinet, at our supper, sociated with our sister, the Countess of Argyle, our brother, the commendator of Holyrood-house, the laird of Creich [Beaton] Arthur Erskin, and certain others our domestic servitors, in quiet manner, especially by reason of our evil disposition [illness] being counselled to sustain ourselves with flesh, having then passed almost to the end of seven months in our birth, the King, our husband, come to us, in our cabinet, and placed himself beside us, at our supper. The Earl of Morton, and Lord Lindsay, with their assisters, boden in warlike manner [properly armed] to the number of eighteen persons, occupied the whole entry of our palace of Holyrood-house, so that, as they believed, it was not passable for any person, to escape forth of the same. In that mean time, the Lord Ruthven, boden in like manner [equally armed] with his accomplices, took entry perforce, in our cabinet; and there seeing our secretary David Riccio, among others our servants, declared he had to speak with him. In this instant, we required the King, our husband, if he knew any thing of that enterprize, who denied the same: Also, we commanded the Lord Ruthven, under the pain of treason, to avoid him forth of our presence, (he [Riccio] then for refuge took safeguard, having retired him behind our back) but Ruthven, with his complices cast down our table upon ourself put violent hands on him, struck him over our shoulder with whinyards [hangers,] one part of them standing before our face, with bended dags [cocked pistols,] most cruelly took him out of our cabinet, and at the entry of our chamber, gave him fifty six strokes with whinyards, and swords. In doing whereof, we were not only struck with great dread, but also by sundrie considerations was, most justly induced to take extreme fear of our life. After this deed, immediately the said Lord Ruthven, coming again into our presence, declared how they, and their complices, were highly offended with our proceedings, and tyranny, which was not to them tolerable; how we were abused, by the said David, whom they had actually put to death, namely, in taking his counsel, for the maintenance of the ancient religion; debaring of the lords, who were fugitives, and entertaining of amity with foreign princes, and nations, with whom we were confederate; putting also upon council, the lords Bothwell, and Huntley, who were traitors, and with whom he [Riccio] associated himself.” 

– Life of Mary, pp.98-126.

This year, 1566, the 9th day of March, David [Rizzio,] an Italian, secretary to the Queen for the French tongue, was forcibly drawn out of the parlour where the Queen was at supper, to [another] room, and stabbed by some noblemen, animated to that homicide by the King, the Queen’s husband; his corpse was interred in the [churchyard] of Holyroodhouse abbey. The Queen being great with child, did all she could to have saved his life; yea, when strength could not do, she bitterly wept, but to no end, he was so quickly dispatched. 

– Historical Works, pp.275-340.

Riccio was assassinated at Holyroodhouse, in the queen’s presence (March 9, 1566). The horrible outrage took a strong hold of Mary’s feelings, and was allowed too much to sway her subsequent actions. She seemed, however, to be reconciled to her husband; and not long after, her son, who afterwards became James VI., was born. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.30-34.

The result of this compact was that on the 9th of March, 1566, Morton, the chancellor, having the king with him, took possession of the great gate and all the outlets of the palace of Holyrood. Darnley took some of the conspirators to his own room, whence he led Ruthven by a secret stair to the queen’s apartments. [Queen Mary] was seated on a couch at a small table. Beside her sat the Lady Argyle and Rizzio with his cap on. They seemed to have no thought of danger. Darnley put his arm round the queen’s waist. Ruthven, clad in armour and haggard from recent sickness, said to the queen, “Let yonder man, Davie, come forth of your presence, for he hath been overlong there.” The queen desired to know why her servant was wanted, and on being told, she stood up, while Rizzio crouched behind her, clutching at the folds of her gown. The queen’s attendants laid hold of Ruthven, but he shook them off, while the other conspirators rushed in and filled the room. Ruthven placed the queen in her husband’s arms, telling her not to be afraid. Rizzio was dragged out of the queen’s presence, and all that could get near enough stabbed him until “they slew him at the queen’s far door in the outer chamber.”

– A History of Scotland, Chapter XIV.

The winter 1634-5 is described by a contemporary as ‘the most tempestuous and stormy that was seen in Scotland these sixty years past, with such abundance of snow and so rigid a frost, that the snow lay in the plains from the 9th of December to the 9th of March.’ – Bal

– Domestic Annals, pp.228-256.

On the 9th March, 1659, “there were,” says Nicoll, “fyve wemen, witches, brint on the Castell Hill, all of them confessand their covenanting with Satan, sum of thame renunceand thair baptisme, and all of them oft tymes dancing with the devell.” 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.79-87.

   “… The speeches, eloquent in many respects though they were, scarcely unfolded a single point that has not been times without number repeated, and with which every one must be quite familiar. The two following resolutions, which, with others, were heartily and unanimously approved of, will give some idea of the matters treated:-  

   ‘That in violation of the terms and spirit of the Treaty of Union, the Privy Council of Scotland, the office of Secretary of State for Scotland, the Scottish High Court of Admiralty, and Board of Customs, and Excise, and other branches of local administration, have been abolished or placed under English control, to the great loss and detriment of the people of Scotland. That Scotland is entitled to claim their restoration, and that the same should be restored accordingly.’  

   ‘That the representatives returned by Scotland to the House of Commons, and as contemplated by the new Reform Bill, are not in the relative proportion of the number of the people or the amount of the revenue as compared with those of England; and that this meeting is of opinion that, in order to give the voice of Scotland its just weight in Parliament, their members should be increased to its fair proportion.’  

   At the conclusion of the speeches a vote of thanks was awarded the speakers and the chairman, and the meeting retired, having occupied about three hours.”  

– Northern Warder and General Advertiser for the Counties of Fife, Perth and Forfar, Thursday 9th March, 1854.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1850-1875.

THE EDINBURGH ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION visited (9th March [1895]). – Liberton House, the former residence of the Littles, the owners of the barony. The house belongs to a transition period when defensive architecture, even in the case of structures without any claim to rank as castle of fortress, had not yet been wholly abandoned, and when the state of society made it necessary to retain safeguards against sudden attack. Though disfigured extremely by an alteration in the height of the walls, which have been considerably raised, and in the pitch of the roof, which has been depressed, the outlines of the original elevation are still clearly traceable. The bold and picturesque corbelling in the upper part of the tower and the quaintly-inscribed sundial, built into the angle of the outer walls, were pointed out. The interior part of the house has undergone a complete though strictly conservative restoration. It was explained how, by the removal of modern lath and plaster, one by one the many interesting features of the building were opened out and eventually brought back as far as possible to their original condition. 

– Scots Lore, pp.231-236.

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