19th of April

St Ursmar, bishop and abbot, 713. St Leo IX., Pope, 1054.


Died. – King Robert II. of Scotland, 1390, Dundonald Castle, Ayrshire; Philip Melanchthon, German Protestant scholar, 1560, Wittenberg; Queen Christina, of Sweden, 1689, Rome; Jean Gallois, French scholar and critic, 1707; Professor Robert Jameson, naturalist, 1854, Edinburgh.


On this Day in Other Sources.


At the end of March 1562, Arran, with frantic inconsistency, charged Bothwell, with conspiring, with himself, and Gawin Hamilton, the commendator of Killvenning, to carry off the Queen to Dunbarton castle, and to slay her principal ministers. The charges were too serious to be quite disregarded. Bothwell, and Hamilton, were imprisoned. And Arran, being examined before the privy council, at St. Andrews, was soon discovered to be insane. He seems to have been sent to Edinburgh castle, to prevent further mischief from him: Such was the sad fate of the earliest lover of Mary, and of the proffered husband of Elizabeth! On the 19th of April, the privy council required the Duke, his father, to surrender Dunbarton castle to the Queen’s officer; a measure of precaution this, to which there could be no valid objection. 

– Life of Mary, pp.42-61.


A new conspiracy was now formed; to carry into full effect what had been left undone, by the old; that is, the old conspirators formed a new plot, to build another revolution upon the old grounds: Morton, and Maitland, were the chief, and active members of the former conspiracy, so were they of this; and as Murray was the concealed partner, but real gainer, by the former, so was he chief in this, though he was, in France, and obtained, by it, the vice-regal chair, the great object of all his aims. All the associate nobles, except Athol, and Mar, subscribed the writing, of the 19th-20th of April [1567]; declaring, Bothwell, fairly, and legally, acquitted; and recommending him, as the properest husband for the Queen; And, yet, this marriage was no sooner effected, than they denounced Bothwell, as the King’s murderer, and held forth the Queen’s marriage with him, as a proof, that she was privy to the murder. Like the foul fiend, they tempted, and deluded; and then, betrayed, and accused their sovereign. 

– Life of Mary, pp.155-184.


In the next letter written from Padua, and dated the 19th of April [1582], Crichton excuses himself for not having sent letters by the last courier, he having been at Codivio “attending to his soul”;1 and too far away from the Cornaros to write before the departure of the despatches. He again refers to Cornaro’s letters for further information, and concludes announcing his early return. Something must have happened to change his plans, however, for not until three weeks later do we find him reporting his arrival to Zibramonti. 

– Scots Lore, pp.181-192.

1 … per attendere all’anima…


During this age of general violence, the rights of women were, as a matter of course, little respected.* Abductions, both under the impulse of passion and from motives of cupidity, were frequent. The young Duke of Lennox, the cousin and favourite of the king, had contracted a violent attachment to Lady Sophia Ruthven, one of the numerous children left by the unfortunate Earl of Gowrie at his death in 1584. By the order of the king, the young lady was placed in seclusion at Easter Wemyss in Fife. The duke, crossing the Firth (April 19 [1591]), took the Lady Sophia out of the house where she lived, and ‘carried her away on his awn horse all the night, and on the morn married the said gentlewoman, contrair the ordinance of the kirk; whereat the king was greatly commoved.’ – Jo. Hist. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.124-176.

*  I urge you to check out just how very little women were thought of by the white, middle class, male writers of the 19th century, London-based, Punch magazine. Two articles in particular from May 23rd & 30th , 1857, during the discussion of the new Divorce Bill in parliament.


In May, 1592, Sophia Ruthven, the young Duchess of Lennox, was buried with great solemnity at the east end of the church. She was a daughter of the luckless Earl of Gowrie, who died in 1584, and was forcibly abducted from a house in Easter Wemyss, where she had been secluded to secure her from the violence of the Duke’s passion. But he carried her off on his own horse in the night, and married her in defiance of king and kirk. This was on the 19th of April, 1591, consequently she did not long survive her abduction. 

Old and New Edinburgh, pp.300-309.


Very different was the aspect of society at the time when the Edinburgh Gazette of 19th April, 1703, put forth the following advertisement:- 

“There is a boarding-school to be set up in Blackfriars Wynd, in Robinson’s Land, upon the west side of the Wynd, near the middle thereof, in the first door of the stair leading to the said land, against the latter end of May, or first of June next, when young ladies and gentlemen may have all sorts of breeding that is to be had in any part of Britain, and great care taken of their conversation.” 

Old and New Edinburgh, pp.258-266.


A vast mob followed [Charles Edward’s] coach, which passed through the Grassmarket, and quitted [Edinburgh] by the by the West Port, en route to Culloden, and “at mid-night on Saturday the 19th of April [1746] Viscount Bury, colonel of the 20th Regiment, aide-de-camp top the Duke of Cumberland, reined up his jaded horse at the Castle gate, bearer of a despatch to the Lieutenant-General, announcing the victory; and at two o’clock on the morning of Sunday a salute from the batteries informed the startled and anxious citizens that, quenched in blood on the Muir of Drummossie, the star of the Stuarts had sunk for ever.” 

Old and New Edinburgh, pp.329-334.


One feature of the heart-harrowing case is the shocking and barbarous cruelty that was practised on this occasion upon the female portion of the evicted clan. Mr. D. Ross, in a letter addressed to the Right Hon. the Lord Advocate, Edinburgh, dated April 19, 1854, thus writes in reference to one of those clearances and evictions which had just then taken place under the authority of a certain Sheriff of the district, and by means of a body of policemen as executioners:- ‘The feeling on this subject, not only in the district, but in Sutherlandshire and Ross-shire is, among the great majority of people, one of universal condemnation of the Sheriff’s reckless conduct, and of indignation and disgust at the brutality of the policemen. Such, indeed, was the sad havoc made on these females on the banks of Carron, on the memorable 31st March last, that pools of blood were on the ground – that the grass and earth were dyed red with it – that the dogs of the district came and licked up the blood; and at last, such was the state of feeling of parties who went from a distance to see the field, that a party (it is understood by order or instructions from head-quarters) actually harrowed the ground during the night to hide the blood!’ 

– Gloomy Memories, pp.191-202.

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