7th of October

St Justina of Padua, virgin and martyr. Saints Marcellus and Apuleius, martyrs at Rome. Saints Sergius and Bacchus, martyrs, 4th century. St Mark, pope and confessor, 336. 

Died. – Charles III., the Simple, king of France, 929, Castle of Peronne; Margaret, Maid of Norway, 1290, Orkney; Giovanni Battista Guarini, author of the Pastor Fido, 1612, Venice; Nicholas Heinsius, scholar and critic, 1681, Holland; Antonio Sacchini, composer, 1786, Paris; Dr John Brown, founder of the Brunonian system of medicine, 1788, London; Dr John George Zimmerman, celebrated author of the treatise on Solitude, 1795, Hanover; Dr Thomas Reid, eminent Scottish metaphysician, 1796, Glasgow; Edgar Allan Poe, American poet, 1849, Baltimore


The fate of this child-sovereign, who only reached her hereditary dominions to die, and through whose decease so protracted a series of disasters was entailed on Scotland, forms one of the interesting events in the history of a nation so noted for the misfortunes of its queens. What we really know of the ‘fair maid of Norroway’ is very little, however liberally we may draw on imagination to supply the deficiencies, and fill in the lights and shadows to a picture of which the chroniclers of the times have furnished us with nothing but the most meagre outlines. It is not to the brief and sententious records of the thirteenth century, that we are to look for narratives of domestic events, or the personal history of a little girl of seven years old, even though that little girl were a queen in her own right. 

Margaret, Princess of Norway, was the only child of Eric, king of that country, by his marriage with the daughter of Alexander III., of Scotland. Her mother died in giving her birth, and on the death of her maternal grandfather in 1285, by a fall from an unruly horse over the cliff at Kinghorn, she became sole inheritrix of the Scottish crown, being already, moreover, heiress-presumptive to that of Norway. Alexander III. had indeed been most unfortunate in his domestic relations, having seen one member of his family after another, including two promising sons, descend into the grave before him, whilst his second marriage, a short time before his death, with the beautiful French princess Joleta, had been unproductive of issue. Feeling sensibly his loneliness, and solicitous also for the careful upbringing of his little grand-daughter, in whom all his prospects of a successor rested, he sent over to Norway, shortly after her mother’s death, an embassy of Scottish nobles, requesting from his son-in-law the delivery of Margaret to these gallant knights, for the purpose of being brought over to, and educated in, Scotland. Eric refused his consent, and the deputation had to quit the Norwegian court with their master’s behest unaccomplished. None of them, however, were destined to set foot again in their native country, the ship in which they were conveyed foundering in sight of the Scottish coast. Margaret may thus be deemed fortunate in having had so narrow an escape of her life, though it was only to lengthen its duration by a very few years. 

On the melancholy death of Alexander III., the kingdom was thrown into a most distracted condition; but a great assembly of nobles and dignitaries was held, in which fealty was sworn to Margaret of Norway, as the sovereign of Scotland, and great anxiety expressed to have the young queen brought over to dwell among her subjects. The present conjuncture of affairs presented a strong temptation to the able and ambitious Edward I. of England, to form an advantageous connection with Scotland. A matrimonial alliance was proposed by him, between the young Scottish queen and his own son Edward, Prince of Wales. The offer was favourably entertained both by the Scottish nobles and Margaret’s father, King Eric, and negotiations were forthwith instituted for arranging the terms of the match. These were at length settled to the satisfaction of all parties, the principal conditions being that, notwithstanding this union with England, Scotland should retain all the rights and privileges of an independent kingdom, and that its sovereignty in the event of Edward and Margaret having no children, should revert to the young queen’s nearest lawful heir. With the view of hastening an adjustment of matters, it is said that money was freely distributed by Edward, in the shape of bribes and pensions among the leading-men of Eric’s court. It may not be a very profitable, but it is certainly a curious speculation, to ponder over the consequences of this marriage to Scotland, had the course of events permitted it to be carried into effect. The union of England and Scotland might thus have been accomplished on most honourable terms to the latter country, which would further have been spared the almost continuous series of wars and devastations, by which she was afflicted during upwards of three hundred years that intervened between Margaret’s death and the accession of James VI. to0 the English throne. The peaceful arts of commerce and agriculture might have been allowed full scope to develop themselves, and the national industry might have raised the country at a much earlier date to that state of prosperity and wealth, which she has only attained in later and more tranquil times. But in that case the purifying influences of adversity would have been unfelt, less occasion would have arisen for the display of manly heroism and independence, the national spirit would have languished, and a Scotchman at the present day would have been unable to quote the deeds of Wallace and Bruce. 

In addition to the stipulations regarding the succession to the crown, it had been agreed in the matrimonial treaty, that the young queen should be forthwith sent to Scotland, and be brought up either there or at Edward’s court, as might be found most suitable. When the time for her departure arrived, however, her father displayed a great reluctance to part with her; a reluctance which many will regard as a presentiment of the untoward occurrence, by which he was destined so soon to be deprived of her altogether. Both Edward and the Scottish council urged on Eric the fulfilment of his engagement, by sending over his daughter to her future husband and dominions. Two distinguished Scottish knights – Sir David Wemyss, and the famous Sir Michael Scott, of Balwearie, so renowned for his reputed necromantic lore – were despatched to Norway to fetch the young queen, and Eric now gave his consent that she should depart. We can imagine the little girl of seven, wholly unconscious of the important interests which centered in her, sorry to part with a loving and indulgent father, and carried down to the beach, to be intrusted to the care of some weather-beaten Norse admiral, who might possibly, in his youth, have taken part in King Haco’s expedition to Scotland, and the battle of Largs. A tender and delicate child, ill fitted, it would seem, for enduring the fatigues of a sea-voyage, she quitted, in September 1290, her father and her native land, never to see either of them again. 

Meantime the Scottish nation was expecting the arrival of its young sovereign with all the loyal enthusiasm for which it has ever been distinguished, and a great council was being convened at Perth for deliberating on the affairs of the realm. Suddenly, this august assembly was electrified by a rumour, which reached it from the north, that the young Queen Margaret was no more. The dismal news was soon confirmed, and the country learned with dismay that her father’s forebodings regarding her had proved but too true, and that her delicate frame had been unable to support the effects of sickness and exhaustion. Prostrated by illness shortly after commencing her voyage, she gradually sunk, and when at length the vessel reached Orkney, poor Margaret was carried ashore only to breathe her last. At the intelligence of her death, to use the words of an old chronicler [William Fraser, Bishop of St Andrews], ‘the kingdom was troubled, and its inhabitants sunk into despair.’ The disastrous interregnum that followed, and the disputes between the descendants of the Earl of Huntingdon, brother of William the Lion, as claimants of the throne, resulting in the attempt of Edward I. to annex Scotland to his dominions, are well known to all readers of history. it may be remarked that a claim to the Scottish crown was also put in by King Eric, as representing his daughter; but no active steps were taken to assert this alleged right. He died a few years afterwards, while only a young man of thirty, having been married to Margaret’s mother at an age little above fourteen. 

No particulars are known as to the precise spot where the Maid of Norway died, and even her place of burial has never been satisfactorily ascertained. Doubtless, however, she was interred in the venerable cathedral of St Magnus, at Kirkwall, in Orkney; but nothing definite as to this circumstance can be stated, and no known monument or sepulchral stone marks the site of her grave. Amid a number of tombs, however, within that ancient church, bearing no name or inscription, one was discovered, which, on being opened and examined, gave indications of its being the grave of a young person, whilst one or two other circumstances combined to favour the idea of its having been the resting-place of the remains of Margaret of Norway.

On this Day in Other Sources.

Tradition has assigned a very early origin to Banff as a royal burgh. In 1165, William the Lion gave a toft and garden in this burgh to the Bishop of Moray; and Robert I. confirmed its privileges. But the earliest charter extant is one of Robert II., dated October 7, 1372; and the governing charter is one of James VI., dated May 9, 1581, which was renewed when that sovereign attained the age of 25.

– Gazetteer of Scotland, pp.102-105.

The lords auditors decree and deliver that Adam Muir of Caldwell shall satisfy and pay Robert [Lyle], lord Lyle the sum of 37 merks of the rest of the payment of the last 100 merks, as is contained in certain indentures made between them thereupon, and ordain that letters be written to distrenzie him of his lands and goods for this. [James III: 1483, 7 October, Edinburgh, Parliament.] 

London Quarterly Review.

The Duke of Albany, the Governor, this year returns from France, escapes the English [trap] laid for him; he ships in at Brest, in Brittany, and lands at Kirkcudbright, the 7th of October [1523]

– Historical Works, pp.238-275.

In September, this year [1568], the Regent went to York, in England, the place appointed by Queen Elizabeth, of meeting to hear what the commissioners of the infant King of Scotland could object against Queen Mary. The Scottish commissioners were: 

James [Stewart], Earl of Moray, Regent; 
James [Douglas], Earl of Morton; 
Adam [Bothwell], Bishop of Orkney; 
Patrick, Lord Lindsay; 
Robert [Pitcairn], Commendator of Dunfermline; 
[Richard Maitland, Laird of] Lethington, Secretary; 
Mr James MacGill, Clerk Register; 
Mr Henry Balnaves [of Hallhill], and 
Mr John Wood, Senators of the College of Justice. 

The English commissioners were: 

Thomas [Howard], Duke of Norfolk; 
Thomas [Ratclyffe], Earl of Sussex, President of the North; 
Sir Ralph Sadler, Knight. 

Commissioners for Queen Mary were: 

John Lesley, Bishop of Ross; 
William, Lord Livingston; 
Robert, Lord Boyd; 
Gavin [Hamilton], Commendator of Kilwinning; 
John Gordon; and 
James Cochrane. 

They all of them met on the 7th day of October; and show each other their letters of commission. Secretary Lethington entreated all the commissioners, both of the King and his mother, to forbear as much as possible could be, in such a public judicial way, to defame the reputation of their [former] Queen, and still mother to their King, and that before English men, the professed enemies of the Scottish nation. So after many arguments and exaggerations, [for] and [against], that conference ended, after much debate, with the still keeping Queen Mary more close a prisoner. The Regent, the Earl of Moray, insinuating to Queen Elizabeth, that Queen Mary had devolved her right of England to [Henry] the Duke of Anjou, and that the transcription was confirmed at Rome. He likewise [showed] Queen Elizabeth letters written by Queen Mary’s own hand, wherein she both charged Queen Elizabeth as that she had not used her according to promise, and bragged of her hope of aid from some other persons, &c.*

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.

*  George Chalmers in ‘The Life of Mary, Queen of Scots‘, in the chapter entitled ‘From Mary’s Arrival in England, till the End of Elizabeth’s Enquiry‘, says,
“These commissioners went some steps further, in their clandestine career of knavery: They received, in private, Secretary Maitland, James McGill, George Buchanan, and Henry Balnavis, the habitual liars, and established forgers of Murray, to a secret conference; and after stating such circumstances, as induced a vehement presumption of the Scotish Queen’s guilt, in the murder of her husband, the same persons laid before Elizabeth’s commissioners various documents, all showing the guilty conduct of the Queen of Scots: They afterwards laid before the commissioners the whole contents of the gilt box, consisting of letters, sonnets, promises of marriage, and other writings, which discovered such inordinate love between her, and Bothwell, as every good, and godly man must abhor: The commissioners, in the same dispatch, sent up to their inquisitive mistress literal extracts, from the same letters, in the vulgar language: The commissioners do not express the least doubt of the genuineness of those writings; as those men, constantly, affirmed, and offered to swear, that they were all genuine documents. The world before never witnessed a more guilty scene.”
Mary herself, in her defense stated,
“In case Murray, and his associates, allege, that they have any writings of mine, whereby they infer presumptions against me, in that case, ye shall desire the principals to be produced, and that I myself may have inspection thereof, and make answer thereto: For, ye shall affirm, in my name, I never writ any thing concerning that matter to any creature: And, if any such writings be, they are false, and feigned, forged and invented, by themselves, only, to my dishonour, and slander: And there are divers, in Scotland, both men, and women, that can counterfeit my hand-writing, and principally such, as are in company with themselves.”



The vij day of October being Fuiresday in Edinbrughe.

   Item giffin to the blind puir man that playis throw the toun upon ane certane instrument 

xij d.

   Item giffin to Alexander Makkessake to drink with the ansor of the lettres he brocht fra the Pryor and his awin maister out of Striveling 

iij s. iiij d.

– Sketches, Appendix VIII.

The 7th of October, this year [1597], the Laird of Buccleuch, to satisfy Queen Elizabeth for his taking William Kinmont out of Carlisle castle, was by the King sent to England, to obey his will and pleasure; she used him courteously, and dismissed him honourably. 

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.

Lord Fountainhall gives us one scene acted in this chamber, which will suffice as an illustration, and so powerfully shows the spirit of the time that we are tempted to quote it at length. It refers to the trial or examination of a man named Garnock and five other Covenanters on the 7th of October, 1681:- 

“The King’s Advocate being in Angus, sent over a deputation to me to pursue; but God so ordered it that I was freed, and Sir William Purves eased me of the office. In fortification of what they said before the Duke and Council, they led the clerks and macers as witnesses, who deponed that they uttered those or the like words: ‘They declined the king, denied him to be their lawful sovereign, and called him a tyrant and covenant-breaker.’ And Forman had a knife with this posie graven on it – This is to cut the throats of tyrants; and said ‘if the king be a tyrant, why not also cut his throat, and if they were righteous judges, they would have the same on their swords, like Buchanan’s motto borrowed from the great Emperor Trajan, Pro me, sin mereor, in me.’ Garnock having at a Committee of Council railed at General Dalyell, calling him (with reference to his service in Russia) a Muscovia beast who used to roast men, the general in a passion struck him with the pommel of his shable on the face till the blood sprung. Garnock gave in a protestation signed with his own hand, calling them ‘all bloody murderers and papists, and charging all the Parliamenters to reverse the wicked laws they had made, and that Popish test they had been taking, and to put away that sinful man (the duke) or else the judgments of God were ready to break upon the land. Lapsley was wiser than the other five, for he owned the king, so far as he owned the ‘Covenant which he swore at his coronation at Scone.’” 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.157-166.

“The hall was beautifully and appropriately decorated under the superintendence of George Lamb, Esq., one of the associates. At the east end, over the Chairman’s table, there were suspended two royal standards of Scotland on blue coloured staves, with yellow tops, and tassels of yellow. This portion of the hall was also tastefully decorated with wreaths of evergreens and flowers. Over the Croupier’s chair, at the west end, and above the gallery, a union ensign was suspended on the wall, with wreaths of evergreens. On the north and south sides of the hall, the great windows were draped overwith curtains of the newly-arranged Scottish rights’ tartan, which does much credit to the taste of Mr James McKissock, 81 Wilson Street, Glasgow, the maker. Suspended from the curtains, and hanging over between the windows, were tastefully-arranged floral wreaths. On the north side, the St Andrew’s Ensign was suspended from a flag-staff, coloured blue with yellow top. The St Andrew’s Ensign is the Standard of Scotland, with the union in the corner. The English have their St George’s Ensign, and Scotland has her equal right to display her St Andrew’s, when and where she wills. On the south side of the hall there was displayed the Standard of Scotland. It is unnecessary, on Scottish ground, to describe the standard of our country. It is to be regretted that it is not oftener seen; it was the flag of our forefathers, and their descendants should be proud of it and its many glorious associations. In front of the chair were the Royal Arms of Scotland painted on canvass, and the Arms of the Earl of Eglinton, and Duke of Montrose; and below, festoons of evergreens and heather, &c.” 

– Glasgow Sentinel, Saturday 7th October, 1854. 
N.B. With regards the “Scottish rights’ tartan” made by James McKissock, I was curious as to what this tartan looked like and had a look through the ‘Scottish Register of Tartans‘ website and could not find it. Not with the creator’s name or the name of the tartan or the year in which it must have been made for this event. So I emailed them asking if they could help me out but for whatever reason they weren’t able to help me, which I found very strange, and referred me to enquire with the ‘Scottish Tartans Authority‘, which I did on 09/08/19, but I am, as yet, awaiting a response. 

Newspaper Articles and Letter Relating to the Treaty of Union, Articles 1850-1875.

   “I understand your able writer proposes to proceed with the history of most of the Scottish Earldoms. When he arrives at the period of the 16th century. I hope he will endeavour to write a separate history of Lord Kellie’s alleged new title of Mar, with documentary proofs of its creation and career; but I fear he will find this a somewhat difficult task, or it would surely have been published before the year of grace 1896!  

   Perhaps some day we shall be enlightened as to why the authorities for the ‘Decreet of Ranking’ in 1606 failed to rank, and were ignorant of an Earldom of Mar of only forty years’ standing, on Lord Kellie’s assumption; why the Erskine family never held or claimed that alleged new peerage till 1875; in what manner was it attainted, or restored from the Jacobite attainder? and by what authority a London Committee for ‘Privileges’ can call into existence a new Scottish Earldom, not on the ‘Union Roll’ of authentic Peerages in 1707, while by the Treaty of Union the Crown and Parliament are precluded from creating a Scottish Peerage? These are questions into which an inquiry has been persistently refused. – Yours, &c.,  


   Blaragie, Kingussie, October 2nd, 1896.”  

– Aberdeen Press and Journal, Wednesday 7th October, 1896.

– Treaty of Union Articles, 1875-1900.

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