Historic Mary Queen of Scots documents found at Museum of Edinburgh

Some important documents signed by Mary Queen of Scots have just been found at Museum of Edinburgh . They were gifted to the museum in 1920 and then ‘lost’ until recent work by curators to inventory and restore them.

They are handwritten, dated numbered and signed and reveal some interesting facts about Edinburgh in the 16th century.

Mary Queen of Scots tours from Private tours Edinburgh

There are permits for London salt sellers allowing them to operate in Edinburgh and a permit to build a wall in Leith for the city’s defences.

Some documents are signed by Mary Queen of Scots and others by her husband James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell and her grandson, James Duke of Châtellerault. Mary married James Hepburn after the death of her husband Lord Darnley.

The documents are in safekeeping at the Museum of Edinburgh but are very fragile. They will be assessed by a conservator and hopefully they will be exhibited in due course.

The 16th century documents are in the museum of Edinburgh

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener at City of Edinburgh Council said “Museum & Galleries Edinburgh hold thousands of historic treasures on behalf of the City and its visitors, many of which are on display in our venues. However, some items, such as these documents, are too fragile to be on long-term display, so putting them online is a great way to showcase them and tell their stories.”

Museum of Edinburgh sign

Vicky Garrington, History Curator at Museum of Edinburgh said: “The documents provide us with an amazing bridge to the past. It’s incredible to think of Mary Queen of Scots reading through these documents before carefully applying her signature. We all know the story of Scotland’s Queen, her eventful life and eventual execution, but in these documents, we see a different side to Mary. Here, she can be seen carefully managing the everyday affairs of Edinburgh and Scotland. These documents help us to better understand her reign”.

Frank Little, Service Manager, Cultural Venues, Museums & Galleries Edinburgh said: “Our hope is that ongoing inventory work within Museums & Galleries Edinburgh will turn up new treasures. We are constantly reviewing, caring for and researching our collections, and look forward to sharing more of the City’s rich heritage with residents and visitors through our programme of exhibitions and online activities.”

Mary Queen of Scots tours

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Mary Queen of Scots film day tour

Mary Queen of Scots film day tours

Our tour features a visit to the key places in the life of Mary Queen of Scots including Linlithgow Palace and Stirling Castle plus a visit to Blackness Castle, one of the locations used in the film . The new Mary Queen of Scots film features Oscar Nominee Saoirse Ronan performs the role of the ambitious Mary, whose attempts to reclaim the throne of Scotland incurs the wrath of the maniacal virgin queen, Elizabeth I, played by Margot Robbie.

Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace is where Mary was born in 1542.

Linlithgow Palace tours

Next to the Palace is the medieval St Michael’s Parish Church where Mary was baptised . A new bronze statue of Mary has been erected next to the church .

Linlithgow Palace featured as Wentworth Prison in Outlander.
This royal pleasure palace and birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots

Stirling Castle is where Mary was brought to be crowned as an infant.

This was her home until she was 5 years old. The castle features the Royal Palace , rose gardens and Royal Apartments. In the castle Mary saw the baptism of her son, James VI . Sadly this is also the place where she sees him for the last time.

Loch Leven

Loch Leven recalls one of the more sombre periods in Mary’s life. Loch Leven Castle is where Mary was imprisoned for nearly a year, suffered a miscarriage and was forced to abdicate in favour of her son James. She eventually escaped with the help of George Douglas but went on to suffer defeat at The Battle of Langside, and on to imprisonment in England. The tour visits Loch Leven to see the location of Loch Leven Castle on an island . A trip to the castle is not included .

falkland palace

Falkland Palace, the favourite retreat of the Stewarts. Mary is thought to have enjoyed some of her happiest days here, enjoying hunting and hawking and playing tennis on the world’s oldest tennis court. On a more haunting note, it is here that her father James V was said to utter the prophecy of The Stewart Dynasty “It cam’ wi’ a lass and it’ll gang wi’ a lass” and you can also see a copy of her death mask.

Blackness Castle

Blackness Castle was used as a location in number of scenes in the film. The castle tower features in a few scenes .

Nine key dates in the life of Mary Queen of Scots

  1. Born 8 December 1542 in Linlithgow Palace.
  2. Crowned Queen of Scots in the Chapel Royal, Stirling Castle, aged just nine months.
  3. Smuggled to France aged five, where she lived until she was 18.
  4. Gave birth to her only child in Edinburgh Castle. He would rise to become James VI of Scotland and I of England.
  5. Some believe she arranged to have her second husband, Lord Darnley, assassinated.
  6. Married for a third time to Lord Bothwell – some believe he abducted her against her will.
  7. Imprisoned for almost a year in Lochleven Castle in Kinross before managing to escape.
  8. Last hours in Scotland were spent in Dundrennan Abbey in Dumfries & Galloway before journeying to England to seek protection from her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.
  9. Confined in England for 18 years before Elizabeth sanctioned her death warrant and she was beheaded. She died 8 February 1587 in Fotheringhay Castle.

The new Mary Queen of Scots film features Oscar Nominee Saoirse Ronan performs the role of the ambitious Mary, whose attempts to reclaim the throne of Scotland incurs the wrath of the maniacal virgin queen, Elizabeth I, played by Margot Robbie. Former Dr Who David Tennant also features in the film as John Knox . Much of the filming for the £180 million project has taken place in Edinburgh, 20 miles from the queen’s birthplace in Linlithgow, with scenes also shot in Glencoe, Blackness Castle , Oxford and Derbyshire. The film also features a digital recreation of Linlithgow Palace ,  birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.

Mary Queen of Scots film day tours . Tour price £250 . Phone 07305-294773 or book online .

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