Chapter XIII; Mary Queen of Scots, 1542-1560, 18 Years, pp.109-124.

[History of Scotland Contents]

Accession of Mary Queen of Scots,                        1542 
Hertford burns Edinburgh,                                      1544 
Hertford’s second expedition,                                  1544 
Martyrdom of Wishart,                                            1546 
Battle of Pinkie,                                                           1547 
The Queen sent to France,                                         1548 
Mary of Guise made Regent,                                    1554 
The Queen married to the Dauphin,                         1558 
The Reformation accomplished,                                1560

    1.  On the 14th December, 1542, Mary Stuart, an infant seven days old, became Queen of Scotland. Cardinal Beaton endeavoured to obtain possession of the queen by a written testament of the late king, which was said to be either forged or obtained by fraud; but the Estates conferred the regency on James Hamilton, Earl of Arran, who was next heir to the throne, and allowed the infant queen to remain at Linlithgow in charge of her mother. 

    2.  Henry VIII. thought that he had now a good opportunity of uniting the two kingdoms by the marriage of the young Queen of Scots to his only son, Edward, Prince of Wales; and had he been less impatient, and more moderate in his demands, he might have succeeded. Henry had in his possession the Earl of Angus and a number of the Scottish nobility who had been taken prisoners at Solway Moss. These men, who afterwards were called the “Assured Scots,” or the “English Lords,” he agreed to send home on condition that they would endeavour to get the young queen and the fortresses of the country placed in his hands. They promised what Henry demanded, and gave their sons or other near relations as hostages for their fidelity. The forfeiture against Angus was reversed by the Scottish Parliament, and he and his brother, Sir George Douglas, together with the Lords Cassilis, Glencairn, Fleming, Maxwell, Somerville, and Oliphant, returned to Scotland, pledged to carry out the wishes of Henry VIII. They had, however, promised more than they were able, perhaps more than they were quite willing, to perform. The great body of the Scottish people were jealous of England, because the English policy seemed always directed towards the annexation of Scotland. 

    3.  The Scots had no such jealousy towards France, because though the French were sometimes insolent they had often sided them in times of danger, and had never as yet threatened their independence. So strong was the Scottish love of independence that the “Assured Lords,” when suspected of being Henry’s emissaries, could not even count on the support of their own vassals. They could neither induce the Scots to give up the child to Henry, nor to abandon the French league. Treaties, however, were drawn up for an alliance between England and Scotland, including their allies, and for the marriage of Prince Edward to the Queen of Scots. The queen was to be given up after ten years, and then the marriage ceremony was to be performed. There were careful stipulations for the independent sovereignty and name of Scotland being preserved, even though the two countries should come to have one king. 

   4.  While these treaties were being adjusted in London, the party that stood out most strenuously for national independence and the French alliance resolved to get possession of the queen. At the head of this party was Cardinal Beaton. At his instigation Lennox, Argyle, Huntly, and others mustered their forces to the number of 20,000, and carried off the queen and her mother from Linlithgow Palace to Stirling Castle, which they thought, from its vicinity to the Highlands and greater distance from England, would be a safer residence than wither Linlithgow or Edinburgh. 

    5.  In August, 1543, the treaties were ratified at Edinburgh in the absence of the cardinal and his party, but with their consent. In September, Arran, the governor, repented of what he had done, joined the cardinal’s party, and agreed to co-operate with them in opposing the English policy. The Scots now said that the treaties had been ratified in a packed Parliament, and that a full meeting of the Estates would require to be held before they were finally confirmed. This delay and the conduct of Arran enraged King Henry. He swore that he would seize the child and drag her out of the strongest fortress the Scots could put her in. In his fury he ordered certain Scottish merchant vessels, that had taken refuge in English ports, to be seized and detained. This the Scottish Estates declared to be a violation of the truce, and in December the treaties were repudiated as having been broken by King Henry, and the ancient leagues with France were renewed. 

    6.  Early in 1544 Henry declared war, and sent Hertford by sea with an army to Scotland. Hertford’s orders directed him to wanton devastation and destruction rather than to victory or conquest. On the 1st of May, 1544, the English force under command of Hertford landed at Granton. Leith was sacked and burned. Edinburgh was set on fire; and the beautiful city on its mountain ridge blazed for three days and three nights in sight of Fife and the Lothians, and kindled in the hearts of the people a deeper hatred than ever against the King of England. After attacking the towns on the coast of Fife the English forces retired by the east coast, destroying and plundering as they went. 

    7.  Sir Ralph Evers and Sir Brian Latour, who had done great service in Hertford’s burning and slaying expedition, got a grant of territory, comprising the counties of Berwick and Roxburgh. They entered this territory to subdue and take possession with a force of 5000 men. Angus, whose lands they encroached on, and whom they meant to punish for his failure to fulfil his promises to the King of England, had the mortification of seeing them burn Jedburgh, destroy Melrose, and break up the tombs of his ancestors there. In his indignation at the insult done to the ashes of the Douglases he recklessly attacked the sacrilegious invaders, and was repulsed; but he was reinforced by Leslies and Lindsays from the north, and by Buccleuch the chief of the Scots, and other Border chiefs with their followers. Near Ancrum he fell upon the English, who had not been aware of the gathering of such forces, and completely defeated them, 1544. Evers and Latour were found among the slain. 

    8.  This success encouraged the Scots to make further resistance, and a considerable army was sent to the Border; but as part of it was composed of the “Assured Lords” and their followers, who could not be depended on, it did no effectual service. The defeat at Ancrum was very exasperating to Henry. In the following year another expedition was fitted out and sent under Hertford to complete the ruin of the Border districts. This time the raid was not from the sea, but from the English Border. September was the month chosen for the work of devastation, because then the corn would be cut, and gathered, and ready for destruction. Scarcely ever was there so much wanton mischief done in Scotland as in that autumn of 1545. Kelso Abbey made some resistance, but it was attacked and a breach made in it with cannon. Of towns, towers, and parish churches, 192 were destroyed, of villages 243. Seven monasteries and friar-houses were battered down and sacked, including Kelso, Melrose, Roxburgh, Dryburgh, and Coldingham. These buildings were never restored, and it should be remembered that their ruin is due to the Earl of Hertford, and not to John Knox and the Reformers. 

    9.  During these two years of wanton destruction on the eastern coasts and the Borders there was a stirring up of Protestant feeling in Scotland. In 1544 George Wishart, a native of the Mearns, who had been driven into banishment by the Bishop of Brechin for teaching the Greek New Testament at Montrose, and who had resided for some time at the University of Cambridge, returned to his native country. In the winter of 1545 he preached at Haddington, where John Knox for the first time came forth from the obscurity in which he had previously lived, and attached himself to him. The boldness of Wishart’s preaching gave offence to Cardinal Beaton, at whose instigation the reformer was apprehended, tried, condemned, and burned opposite the Castle of St. Andrews. The cardinal looked on at the burning from one of its windows. 

    10.  Three months later, in May, 1546, Norman Leslie and two companions slipped in at the castle gate early in the morning along with some workmen who were employed on the building, and after them came to the gate James Melville and other three, asking interview with the cardinal. While they were speaking, Kirkcaldy of Grange came up with eight armed men. Their appearance roused the suspicion of the porter, but ere he could bar their entrance he was stabbed and pitched into the moat. The few defenders and the workmen were driven out before they could organize any resistance, and the gates were closed. The cardinal, hearing the din, came up the turnpike stair of the keep to ascertain the cause of the commotion. He was met by the invaders and out to death. 

    11.  An alarm was soon spread by those who had been expelled. The common bell was rung, and the townsfolks, headed by the provost, came with great tumult to the castle gate demanding to see the cardinal. The conspirators hung his dead body over the wall, and showed them that they were too late to save him. The castle was too strong to be assailed except by an army, and the sixteen invaders kept possession of it. They were soon joined by a number of determined men, mostly Protestants and favourable to the English interest. Among them was John Knox, who became their pastor. The place was besieged by the regent, but the garrison got supplies by sea from English ships, and for fourteen months they defied all his efforts. A French force, however, under the command of Leo Strozzi was brought over, and an attack was opened both by sea and land. The garrison surrendered, and the castle was completely destroyed in August, 1547. The prisoners were treated as criminals and sent to France, where John Knox and other men of position had to work in chains as galley-slaves. 

    12.  Early in 1547 Henry VIII. died, but Hertford, now Duke of Somerset, and protector during the minority of Edward VI., continued to carry out the policy of aggression. He led 15,000 men into Scotland, and passed along the coast to Musselburgh. This army was supported by a powerful fleet. A Scottish force of about 30,000 men under the regent took up a strong position at Pinkie Cleugh, near Musselburgh, with the view of opposing the invaders, and protecting Edinburgh. The Scots, however, left their vantage-ground on the west bank of the Esk, and went to meet the English. The English cavalry charged the Scottish pikemen, and were repulsed. The Scots pursued, but were checked by a ditch, behind which the cavalry re-formed. The main body of the English army, hitherto concealed behind a ridge, now made a general charge on the Scots. The charge was a surprise, and as the bowmen on the flanks and the artillery on the ridge were at the same time making dreadful havoc among the thick clumps of the Scottish spearmen, it was very effective. The Scots fled in utter rout, and the slaughter was terrible. The defeat of Pinkie Cleuch on the 10th September, 1547, was the last great disaster sustained by the Scots in their contest for national independence. Somerset, after destroying the church of Holyrood Abbey, and doing other mischief in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, had to return to London to put down intrigues that were forming against him there. 

Blackie's History of Scotland (1881) p115

    13.  On the approach of Somerset before the battle of Pinkie the Scots had, for greater safety, removed their young queen from Stirling Castle to the island of Inchmahome, in the Lake of Menteith, in Perthshire. After their defeat the Scots were more determined than ever against the English alliance, and looked to France for aid and protection. They did not look in vain, for in June, 1548, a French fleet came to Leith with 6000 auxiliaries and a supply of cannon. 

    14.  The Scottish Estates soon after met at Haddington, and entered into an arrangement with D’Essé, the French ambassador, for the marriage of the Queen of Scots to the Dauphin of France. The Scots took all manner of securities for the independence of their country, and agreed that D’Essé should take Mary away with him to France. When the English heard of this they made arrangements for intercepting D’Essé and his precious charge. The French squadron sailed down the Forth, but instead of sailing southward with the young queen as the English expected, turned suddenly northwards, and went round Scotland by the Pentland Firth to Dumbarton. Mary had been brought from her island home to that fortress. There, having embarked, she was conveyed southward along the west coast, and landed safely at Brest on the 30th of August. 

    15.  For nearly two years after this the war continued, and during that time the Scots, with the aid of the French, recovered from the English Broughty Castle, Inchkeith, and other fortresses, which the English had erected on points commanding the seaports and waterways of the country. 

    16.  In 1550 Scotland was included in a treaty of peace between France and England. The old boundaries were restored, and peace was for a short time established. 

    17.  Mary of Guise, the queen’s mother, became regent in 1554, and Arran, whom she superseded, received, as some compensation for the loss of his dignity, the French Dukedom of Chatelherault. When Mary of Guise became regent she gave offence to the Scots by promoting Frenchmen to the offices of trust. She made De Roubay vice-chancellor, and M. Boutot governor of Orkney. She contemplated turning the strongholds of the nobles into royal fortresses, which she might garrison with French troops. This policy tended to bring the French alliance into disfavour, for though the Scots would accept aid from foreigners in time of need, and give aid in return, they would not tolerate any interference on the part of foreigners which seemed to endanger the independence of their country. When the regent told Angus that his castle of Tantallon might do for a royal fortress, he answered that it might if he were governor, for he was sure no one else could hold it. 

    18.  In April, 1558, Mary Queen of Scots was married to the Dauphin of France. Six commissioners were sent from Scotland to Paris on that occasion. They stipulated for the preservation of the separate nationality of Scotland. The dauphin was allowed to take the title of King of Scots, but when he demanded the regalia, his demand was refused. The Scots were suspicious that the house of Valois wanted more than the mere title of king for the dauphin, and had they known that the queen a few days before the marriage signed documents conveying her kingdom to that house, suspicion would have been changed to certainty. When the six commissioners were on their way home, three of them became suddenly ill and died at Dieppe. There was a suspicion that they were cut off by poison, lest they should make known in Scotland what they had learned with respect to the designs of the French against the national independence. 

    19.  In 1559 Henry II. of France died, and the dauphin succeeded his father as Francis II. His wife, the Queen of Scots, thus became Queen of France. The French court now became patronizing and even domineering in its treatment of Scotland, and seemed to regard that country as if it were a province of France. 

    20.  Mary, Queen of England, had died in 1558, and her sister Elizabeth had succeeded her. As Henry VIII. had not been divorced by the pope from his first wife Catherine, and as the pope had declared the marriage of Henry with Anne Boleyn null and void, the Catholic powers refused to acknowledge that Anne Boleyn’s daughter Elizabeth was legitimate, and that she could be the rightful heir to the crown of England. They held that the Queen of Scots was the true heir, and she at once assumed the title of Queen of England, and quartered the arms of France and Scotland with those of England. 

    21.  As it was necessary for the safety of Elizabeth that Scotland should not combine with France and Spain against England, her great minister, Cecil, directed all his efforts to make friends with the Scots, and to get them to contract an alliance with England. 

    22.  The relation of Scotland to France and England was gradually becoming the reverse of what it had been at the beginning of Mary’s reign. The conduct of Mary of Guise, and the overbearing attitude of the court of France, had alienated the minds of the Scots from their ancient ally, and the conciliatory policy of England led them not only to regard the more friendly feelings their old enemies on the other side of the Border, but even to look to them for aid. The dread of French supremacy, and the spread of Protestant doctrines, brought the Scots into closer relations with Protestant England, and hastened on that crisis in our history called the Reformation. 

    23.  On being released from the galleys John Knox took refuge in England, where he remained four years, and was appointed chaplain to Edward VI. He returned to Scotland in 1555 and taught there for a short time, but for some reason he left for Geneva, and took charge of the English congregation in that city, where he formed an intimacy with Calvin. In 1559 he returned to Scotland at the urgent request of many of his countrymen, and became the leader of the Reformation movement. 

    24.  In 1557 a number of the landed gentry signed a bond to co-operate with each other in protecting the Protestant preachers and spreading the new doctrines. This bond was called the First Covenant, and its subscribers became known as the “Lords of the Congregation.” 

    25.  In 1558 there were several outbreaks of popular fury against the Catholics. The image of St. Giles at Edinburgh was thrown into the North Loch, and afterwards burned. In the same year the burning at St. Andrews of Walter Mill, a quiet country priest, a man of blameless life and more than eighty years of age, made a great impression on the minds of the people, and deepened the hatred that had long been growing towards the churchmen. 

    26.  Early in 1559 the church made an attempt at reformation, but it was too late; for the council which met at Edinburgh for that purpose rose in April and adjourned till next year, but it never met again. When John Knox came to Scotland in May the country was ready to put itself under his guidance. 

    27.  Mary of Guise, who for a time had seemed to favour the cause of the Reformation, now made a stand against it. She summoned certain preachers to answer for their conduct before the privy council at Stirling. Many of the nobles assembled at Perth to accompany them thither. The regent, in alarm, begged them not to come and she would withdraw the citations. They complied, but she did not keep her promise. The ministers’ names were called in court, and they, for non-appearance, were outlawed and proclaimed as rebels. News of this came to Perth, where many of the nobles and others were assembled to hear the newly arrived Knox preach and exhort. Next day, which was the 11th of May, Knox preached a vehement sermon against idolatry. A priest thereafter attempted to say mass. A riot ensued, and the “rascal multitude,” as Knox called them, made a complete wreck of the monasteries and churches of Perth. 

Blackie's History of Scotland

    28.  This was followed by uprisings of the people in other parts of the country to destroy the altars and images and other symbols of the Roman Catholic worship. Care was in many cases taken not to destroy the buildings themselves, and it should be remembered that the ruin of most of the grand old cathedrals and abbeys is due more to neglect and the wasting influences of time than to the violence of the Reformers. 

    29.  The regent attempted to stem the tide of reformation by French money and French troops. She occupied Perth in violation of a treaty that she had made with the Lords of the Congregation. The Reformers took possession of St. Andrews, and held that city against the regent. Thence, in June, 1559, they marched to Edinburgh and occupied it. The court and the French retired before them. 

   30.  The regent got more troops from France, and fortified Leith. The Lords of the Congregation obtained aid from Queen Elizabeth, in terms of a treaty made at Berwick, in January, 1560. The Scots, assisted by an English force of 6000 men, laid siege to Leith. The garrison held out bravely, but suffered much from famine. While the siege was going on Mary of Guise, the regent, died in Edinburgh Castle. Troubles in France not only prevented the French from sending more troops to Scotland, but required the withdrawal of those that were already there. The French were therefore compelled to agree to a treaty which was ratified at Edinburgh in July, 1560. By this treaty it was agreed that both the French and the English forces should retire to their own countries, and that Mary Queen of Scots should acknowledge Elizabeth as Queen of England. 

    31.  On the 25th of August the Estates met and adopted the Confession of Faith drawn up by John Knox, and abjured the authority of the pope. Thus was accomplished the Reformation of 1560

   Summary. – Mary Stuart, when seven days old, became Queen of Scots in 1542, and Arran, the next heir to the throne, was made regent. henry VIII. desired that the young queen should be married to his son, and had he been a little less imperious in his wooing the match might have taken place. Henry set free Angus and the noble prisoners taken at Solway Moss on the understanding that they would advance his interests in Scotland; but, as they were suspected by the Scots, they could do little to further his designs. A treaty, however, was drawn up and ratified for the marriage of the queen after ten years. But Beaton and the French party carried her off from Linlithgow to Stirling, and said that the treaty, having been ratified in a packed Parliament, could not hold good. Henry in a rage sent Hertford with an army to plunder and destroy, Edinburgh was burned, and the towns on the Fife coast were not spared. To Evers and Latour for their services in Hertford’s expedition were given the counties of Berwick and Roxburgh. Angus, not relishing their encroachment on his lands, defeated and slew them at Ancrum Moor. This enraged Henry VIII. more than ever, and he again sent Hertford to Scotland, who burned and destroyed villages, towns, churches, and abbeys. Protestantism was meanwhile spreading in Scotland, and George Wishart was burned for heresy at St. Andrews. Three months after, Cardinal Beaton was murdered for his share in that martyrdom. Henry VIII. died in 1547, but Hertford, now Duke of Somerset and Protector of England, tried to carry out the policy of the late king. He led an army to Scotland and defeated the Scots at Pinkie in 1547, but had to retreat after burning the Church of Holyrood, and doing other mischief near Edinburgh. On Somerset’s approach the young queen had been removed from Stirling to Inchmahome in the Lake of Menteith, whence she was soon after removed to Dumbarton, and then taken to France by a French fleet, the Scots having agreed that she should be married to the Dauphin. In 1554 Mary of Guise was made regent and Arran was created Duke of Chatelherault. The new regent became unpopular by giving high offices of state to Frenchmen. In 1558 Queen Mary was married to the Dauphin, and when Henry II. died, in 1559, she became Queen of France. As the legitimacy of Queen Elizabeth was not acknowledged by the pope, Mary laid claim to the crown of England. The Protestant doctrines were spreading in Scotland, and the Scots were becoming more favourable to Protestant England. John Knox, who had been for some time at Geneva, returned to Scotland in 1559 and became leader of the Reformers. Mary of Guise did all she could to stop the progress of the Reformation, but she was powerless against the preaching of Knox and the influence of the Protestant nobles. She got aid from France, and the Protestant Scots obtained assistance from England. While the Scots and their allies were besieging the French troops in Leith, Mary of Guise died. A treaty was then made, providing that both the French and English forces should be withdrawn, and that Mary should acknowledge Elizabeth as Queen of England. The Estates met in August, 1560, adopted Knox’s Confession of Faith, and abjured the authority of the pope. Thus the Reformation was accomplished.

   Questions:- What did the Estates do with respect to the regency and the young queen? What was the policy of Henry VIII. in regard to the infant queen, and how did he try to carry it out? What treaties were drawn up and ratified? How were the treaties observed? Describe the conduct of Henry, the first expedition of Hertford, the fate of Evers and Latour, and the second expedition of Hertford. Give an account of the burning of Wishart, the murder of Cardinal Beaton, the surrender of the castle of St. Andrews, and the fate of John Knox and the other prisoners. Describe the battle of Pinkie. Whither did the Scots successively send their young queen? Give an account of Mary of Guise and her policy; the marriage of the Queen of Scots, and the titles she assumed. What causes led to the Scots becoming more friendly to England? Describe the movements of John Knox from the time of his release from the galleys till his return to Scotland in 1559. What do you know of the first covenant, of the popular outbreaks of 1558, and the death of Walter Mill? How did Mary of Guise treat the preachers? What was the result? What attempts did Mary of Guise make to stop the progress of the Reformation? What treaty was made in July, 1560, and what did the Estates do in August of the same year?
tes’-ta-ment, a will.  stren’-u-ous-ly, vigorously, boldly. 
hos’-ta-ges, pledges, securities.  vi-cin’-i-ty, nearness. 
fi-del’-i-ty, faithfulness.  con-firmed’, established, ratified. 
re-versed’, annulled, undone.  de-tained, kept. 
in’-so-lent, haughty, contemptuous.  re-pu’-di-at-ed, rejected. 
em’-is-sa-ries, secret agents.  wan’-ton, unrestrained. 
ad-just’-ed, made exact, settled.  ridge, top, summit-line. 
en-croached, intruded.  sus-tained, borne, suffered. 
morti-fi-ca’-tion, humiliation.  bound’-a-ries, borders, confines. 
sac-ri-le’-gious, violating sacred things.  su-per-sēd-ed, took the place of. 
sul’-len-ly, gloomily.  vice-chan’-cel-lor, one who acts in absence of the chancellor. 
ex-as’-per-at-ing, irritating, causing anger.  re-ga’-li-a, the crown and other ensigns of royalty. 
breach, break, opening, gap.  dau’-phin, title of the eldest son of the King of France. 
fri’-ar-hou’-ses, abodes of friars.  dom-i-neer’-ing, overbearing. 
at-tached, joined.  null and void, of no effect. 
ap-pre-hend’-ed, seized.  su-prem’-a-cy, superior authority. 
in’-ter-view, formal meeting.  cri’-sis, turning point. 
as-certain, learn.  sub-scrib’-ers, persons who write their names under a declaration on paper. 
com-mo’-tion, stir, disturbance.  ad-journ’-ed, put off. 
pro’-vost, chief magistrate of a royal burgh or city.  out-lawed’, deprived of the benefit of law. 
gal’-ley-slaves, persons condemned to work at the oar on board a galley ship.  ve’-he-ment, strong, powerful. 
ag-gres’sion, encroachment.  sym’-bols, signs. 
van’-tage-ground, favourable position.  ab-jured, gave up, renounced. 
clumps, clusters.  mar’-tyrdom, suffering death for the sake of the gospel. 

Gran’ton, a harbour on the Forth, near Edinburgh. 

Leith, a seaport town on the Forth, near Edinburgh. 

Loth’ians, a name given to the counties of Linlithgow, Edinburgh, and Haddington. 

An’crum-moor, near the junction of the Ale with the Teviot in Roxburghshire. 

Dry’burgh Abbey, four miles south-east of Melrose in Berwickshire. 

Cold’ingham, a village with ruins of a priory, near St. Abb’s Head, in Berwickshire. 

Mearns, ancient name of Kincardineshire. 

Bre’chin, a city on the South Esk, in Forfarshire. 

Montrose’, a town, at the mouth of the south Esk, in Forfarshire. 

Mus’selburgh, a town on the Firth of Forth, in Edinburghshire. 

Brough’ty Castle, on the Firth of Tay, four miles east of Dundee. 

Inchkeith, an island in the Firth of Forth. 

Dieppe’, a seaport town on the north coast of France. 

Gene’va, a town on the Lake of Geneva in Switzerland. 

Inch’mahome, an islet in the Lake of Menteith, Perthshire.

4 thoughts on “Chapter XIII; Mary Queen of Scots, 1542-1560, 18 Years, pp.109-124.

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