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John Muir – Conservation’s Father

April 21, 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

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Scottish-born American naturalist, explorer & writer c.1900

John Muir is possibly better known in North America, where he is recognised as the ‘father of the National Parks’ of the United States. He was the first person to call for practical action to cherish the world’s wild places. He became a founding father of the world conservation movement, and devoted his life to safeguarding the world’s landscapes for future generations. His birthday, April 21, is celebrated as ‘John Muir Day’ across the U.S.

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John Muir lookalikes celebrate, Dunbar 2014

Born in 1838 in Dunbar, he was the third of eight children of Daniel Muir, a ‘corn dealer’. In 1849, his father who had become a convert to a religious sect called the ‘Disciples of Christ’, made the decision to emigrate. The Muir family arrived at the time of the Gold Rush and set up home at Kingston in Columbia County, Wisconsin. Life was harsh, with land to be cleared for the planting of crops. In 1861, he enrolled in the University of Wisconsin and picked his way through subjects haphazardly. It was a fellow student, Milton Griswold who introduced him to Botany and, in doing so, shaped Muir’s future and that of the landscape of the United States.

To Canada & the Travels Begin

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‘Protector of the Wilds’

In 1863, Muir fled to Canada to escape being drafted into the American Civil War. From there his travels began, including in 1867 his famous ‘Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf of Mexico’, the expedition that changed his life. With him, Muir, characteristically, took a New Testament and a copy of the poems of Robert Burns. From the Gulf, he moved on to Yosemite and viewed the Sierra Nevada mountain range and was committed to a life of exploration, writing and campaigning for conservation. His travels enjoyed none of the “luxuries” of modern day explorers. He travelled lightly in every day clothes and he did not carry a tent or a coat. In icy conditions, he simply hammered nails through his boots. It is unsurprising that he became a hero of the American West. He wrote and published, ‘My First Summer in the Sierra’ which propounded theories on the formation of the range in ‘New York Tribune’ articles and by 1871 was visited by the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson who was a lifelong influence on him.

The First National Park

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Cathedral Rocks tower above Yosemite Valley, California

Marriage in 1880, to Louie Strentzel, did not keep him at home. He travelled by ship to Alaska where he was adopted, with the name of ‘Great Ice Chief’ by a native American tribe. His interest in California also continued and, in 1889, he proposed the establishment of Yosemite Valley as a National Park. Congress ratified this and in 1890 the first National Park was created, followed quickly by the first forest reserves. In 1892 Muir was instrumental in setting up what was arguably, his most famous creation of all, the ‘Sierra Club’. Muir knew that attitudes rather than laws were most important in protecting Nature. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt camped with Muir in Yosemite and became an admirer and ally of the Scot. During Roosevelt’s term, National Forest land in the United States increased to almost 150 million acres. Included in this area were the Mariposa Grove of Sequoia trees and the Grand Canyon.

Lasting Testament

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John Muir Country Park coastal landscape

Muir died in 1914 from pneumonia, but the unified control which he believed necessary was achieved in 1916 when United States Congress passed a bill to create a National Parks Service, a model for this field throughout the world. The Sierra Club still exists as one of the major preservation organisations across the world. In Britain, the ‘John Muir Trust’ has, since its inception in 1983, adopted a policy of acquiring and managing wild land according to his ideals. In Dunbar, John Muir’s Birthplace has become a museum and the John Muir Country Park encompasses a variety of coastal habitats in East Lothian.

3659_24759_005-000-012-375-R_2014-05-06_15-35-05In 2014 Scotland’s then First Minister, Alex Salmond, opened the coast to coast pathway in Muir’s hometown of Dunbar on 21 April. Crowds enjoyed celebratory art, music and performance. John Muir lookalikes provided entertainment and thought-provoking quotes from his writings. Walkers, runners and cyclists participated by carrying flags, designed by local children, along the route. This was the first leg of a relay, ‘A Flag For John Muir’. On 26 April, the flags reached the other end of the John Muir Way, in Helensburgh. This is where the 11 year old John Muir and his family set sail for their new life in America, 1849.

Images © Hulton Getty, Abingdon Press, James Gardiner,
East Lothian Museums
 | Licensor Scran

April 15, 2016
by Scran
0 comments

Battle of Culloden

The battle at Culloden was fought on the 16th April 1746 and was the last major battle to be fought on British soil. It is commonly believed to have been a battle between the Scottish and the English, but in … Continue reading

366 Days of Architecture

April 4, 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

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1938 Crazy House by Thomas Tait the Architect-in-Chief of the Empire Exhibition

What do Elvis Presley, Toad of Toad Hall, Dennis the Menace, the residents of Ramsay Street, World Maths Day, coming-of-age film ‘The Breakfast Club’, and Scottish architects William Playfair, Basil Spence and Archibald Simpson have in common?

They all feature in the entries of ‘366 Days of Architecture’, a project that every day comes up with an image in the national record, Canmore, that relates to a fact specific to that day.  It’s one of Historic Environment Scotland’s contributions to the 2016 Festival of Architecture, for the Scottish Government’s Year of Architecture, Innovation and Design.  And it’s happening every day this year.

The image of the day can tie in with any associated event and demonstrates that diversity of digitised images in Canmore.  The whole year has already been pretty much mapped out and related events include anniversaries, birthdays, sporting competitions, the signs of the zodiac and saints’ days. The big names in Scottish architecture all feature in the project, along with links to their entries in the Dictionary of Scottish Architects.  Similarly, images connected to non-architectural historic events, current sporting championships and popular culture also crop up throughout the calendar. Social media is very much at the heart of ‘366 Days of Architecture’ and staff from the Communications team and Architecture and Industry section of the HES Survey and Recording group have been working together to deliver the project.  The daily image is tweeted on the twitter feed @rcahms, with a link to Canmore.

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Proposed designed of Usher Hall, Edinburgh.

Neil Gregory, Operational Manager for Architecture and Industry, and curator of January and March’s entries to date said: ‘The great thing about Canmore is that it features buildings that connect with anybody and everybody. Architecture has a place in everyone’s lives and buildings form a backdrop to every tangible cultural event. We hope that 366 Days of Architecture will bring new audiences to Canmore, entertain our current users and the wider public who enjoy using Twitter

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Usher Hall set up for Eurovision 1972

He added: ‘The great thing about the project is that there are always bags of images, film clips and sound snippets in Scran so we’ve had great fun finding complementary material on the Scran website. An event like the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest that took place at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh gives us a chance to showcase 1910 designs for the building that were never realised on Canmore and pictures of the contest happening that are held within Scran

Clare Sorensen, Architecture and Industry Projects Manager, and curator of February and April’s entries to date added: ‘The project is a real showcase for the historic collections that we care for here at HES as well as the sheer variety of buildings that we have recorded as part of our survey projects. We’ve so far featured buildings recorded in the early 20th century in RCAHMS’ infancy as well as sites that we’ve investigated in the last few months as part of the new organisation

‘366 Days of Architecture’ can be accessed via the daily tweet from @rcahms or directly from the front page of Canmore. To find out more about what’s happening in the Festival of Architecture, including other HES contributions, check out https://www.foa2016.com/

Images © Scottish Exhibitions Study Group, Crown Copyright: Historic Environment Scotland, The Scotsman | Licensor Scran 

A Day Trip to Dunoon

March 21, 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

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1950s booklet © Argyll & Bute Library Service

Scran paid a visit to Dunoon & it was a grand day out!

The purpsose of our visit was to meet the team of volunteers working with Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust as part of their Pop Up Programme. The Trust is in the midst of an exciting project to reclaim what is one of the town’s most important civic buildings. The 1873 Hall, listed on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland,  is currently undergoing a major refurbishment and restoration programme. If you are curious to see the before pictures, there are 99 images available via Historic Environment Scotland on Canmore.

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Zoomorphic figure at main entrance © Crown Copyright: HES

Meanwhile the volunteers are not letting the dust settle – they are investigating local heritage and all things relating to the history of this seaside town & the wider Dunoon community. During our visit we were able to show everyone how to access Scran, free of charge using their Argyll & Bute library cards. Together we looked at and discussed a host of collections material, including the day the Waverley ran aground – seen below in 1977. Some of the volunteers remembered it clearly & memories were exchanged. There were other reminiscences too, relating to more controversial events in 1984 when different peace demonstrations took place in Dunoon.

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The Waverley 1977 © The Scotsman

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Pop Up Scran! 2016 © Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust

Of course the relationship between Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust & Scran pre-dates this visit. The Trust previously contributed film footage from Holy Loch Heritage – the American Presence a project which aimed to bring to life the 30 year period when the American Naval Base was sited at nearby Holy Loch. We are delighted to say our partnership is set to extend into 2016, when we look forward to sharing more Dunoon ephemera surfacing from the restoration works. To see what’s been lurking under their floorboards, watch this space.

Images © Argyll & Bute Library Information Service, Historic Environment Scotland, The Scotsman, Dunoon Burgh Hall TrustLicensor Scran 

IWD – International Women’s Day

March 8, 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

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Glasgow munitions workers WW1 © Glasgow Caledonian University Library

International Women’s Day (IWD) emerged at the turn of the twentieth century in Europe and North America. It originated in labour movements and was initially linked to the causes of women workers and suffragists. Since 1913 it has been celebrated annually in various countries on the 8th of March. It has become a day for raising worldwide awareness of the need for women’s equality in the workplace, in education, politics and in the social sphere.

History of IWD

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Munitionettes pose with a cairn terrier 1917 © Falkirk Museums

What is now referred to as International Women’s Day started off as the National Women’s Day in 1908 in the US. 15,000 female garment workers marched through New York on strike, demanding better working conditions and the right to vote. In the following year, the US Socialist Party established the women’s day as an annual national celebration.

At the Socialist International meeting in Copenhagen in 1910, over 100 women from 17 countries attended. They agreed to establish Women’s Day as an occasion for speaking out against social, political and economic discrimination towards women.

World War One 

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VAD Voluntary Aid Detachment, France, WW1 © National Library of Scotland

In Russia, IWD has been held on every last Sunday in February since 1913. On IWD, in the war-ridden year of 1917, Russian women started a mass-demonstration for ‘Bread and Peace’. After four days the Czar abdicated and Russian women were given the right to vote. In the Gregorian calendar this Sunday fell on the 8th of March. It has been the date for the IWD in the rest of Europe ever since, although initially it was mainly celebrated in communist countries. Even though conditions were harsh and most female employees were paid less than their male counterparts, World War I provided an employment opportunity for women on a large societal scale. Most men were away fighting in the war so industries were reliant on the female workforce. Since women needed to make ends meet in the absence of their men, they worked, developed vocational skills and learned to handle financial matters independently.

Education

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Girls’ Science Class, Portobello High, Edinburgh, 1914 © The City of Edinburgh Council

Even though women from privileged backgrounds had limited access to university education in Britain from the 1870s onwards, it was several decades until it became more common for women to attend universities and also to be taught science subjects at school. The University of Edinburgh was the first university nationwide to admit women to study medicine (12 November 1862). Yet female students were initially not allowed to graduate and faced much opposition and discriminating regulations. This meant women could not work as professional doctors, with some remarkable exceptions, until decades later.

Cambridge University established two colleges for women in 1869 (Girton College) and 1872 (Newnham College). However, it took until 1947 for women to be accepted as full members of Cambridge university. The first university to admit female students on the same terms as male students was the University College of London in 1878. In the 1960s and 1970s, the second wave feminist movement in the UK addressed issues of gender inequality with a special focus on education. The Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 rendered unlawful the unfavourable treatment of women (or men) based on sex or marriage, at the workplace, in education or training. It had the function “of working towards the elimination of such discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity between men and women”.

Suffrage

Since the 1890s the suffrage movement in Britain had stood up for women’s right to vote. Following the movement’s activities, the Representation of the People Act in 1918 granted electoral rights to women of property, aged 30 years or older. (The Act also meant that men of any social standing were now in a position to vote.) In addition women were officially allowed to stand for parliament. Nancy Astor was the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons in 1919. Only in 1958, following the Life Peerages Act of that year, were the first women appointed to the House of Lords. In 1928, under the Equal Franchise Act, the right to vote was extended to women of any social standing, aged 21 years and older. Men and women in Britain had finally gained equal electoral rights.

Employment

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Jennie Lee, MP in 1947 © Hulton Getty

With increasing opportunities for vocational training and university learning in the 20th century, women have gained wider access to a range of occupations. (eg film director Jill Craigie.) The issue of equal pay for men and women has been addressed by equal rights campaigners since the 1940s (eg politician Jennie Lee) and increasingly so from the 1960s onwards.

Creating opportunities for women to enter a wider range of occupations as well as high level positions in the professional world is still an ongoing topic. To an extent, the objectives of women’s rights campaigners are somewhat in accord with those of the growing gender equality and Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual (LGBT) movement. (See also Discrimination – Sexuality.)

International Sport

In the world of international sport, such as the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, women (unlike men) were initially allowed to only participate in a limited number of sport contests. It was not until 1976 that the range of sports offered to women in the Olympics began to increase significantly. Images of female athletes and professional sportswomen then began to become more frequent in the media.

IWD more recently

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Scottish Women’s Banner 1996 © The City of Edinburgh Council

In the 1970s the United Nations began organising global IWD events to raise awareness of gender inequality issues. Since then, International Women’s Day has become a more widely-known event to promote female rights in many countries. Governments and women’s organisations worldwide, in the developing and the developed world, now use the day to run training, information and celebratory events.

In Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, Georgia, Mongolia, Russia, Uganda, the Ukraine, Zambia, and several other countries, IWD is celebrated as a public holiday.

Images © Glasgow Caledonian University Library, Falkirk Museums, Hulton Getty,  The City of Edinburgh Council | Licensor Scran 

Treasure, Targes & Tartan too.

February 25, 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

Following on from our engagement work discovering Jolomo, there was whole-school learning through the visual arts in both Dunbarney & Abernethy Primary Schools – it could be said there was a hive of artistic activity.  So, let’s have a look at some distinctly Scottish outcomes.

P1/2 – got to grips with all aspects of tartan, weaving & some Katie Morag for good measure

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P4 – carefully considered and constructed a targe each to carry into battle

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P5 – created treasures inspired by Mary Queen of Scots through jewellery design &  feltmaking

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P6 – updated Burnsimage using Pop Art to produce drawing & painting portrait work

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All of this fantastic artwork was celebrated in an exhibition Inspired by Scotland, visited by family & friends over the course of several days.  Pupils also performed song, dance & poetry in an expressive arts event, drawing the whole project to it’s conclusion. Finally Scran would like to congratulate the staff & pupils on a job well done!IMG_1125

Images © National Museums Scotland, Blairs Museum, James Gardiner | Licensor Scran 

Uptown Top Rankin

February 24, 2016 by User deactivated | 0 comments

Whenever new records (individual images, videos or sounds) get added to Scran, they’re uploaded in batches or, as we call them, Projects. These Projects are discrete blocks of material, usually on a particular topic or theme. If you find a Scran record that you enjoy, you can click the “View All Records in Project” link in the caption metadata- the bits of extra info under the postcard-sized image- and see more related materials. Similarly, you can see all the Projects that we’ve uploaded by clicking on the word Search in the red toolbar at the top of any Scran page, selecting Projects, and then selecting Find All.

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Click Search then Projects

The titles and subjects of these Projects vary. The first one uploaded (number 001) was The Kilmartin Monuments, while the most recent at the time of writing (number 1128) collects images of Edinburgh taken by Italian students. Between then and now, we’ve uploaded projects on Product Design (number 950), Montserrat (number 911), the collection of Orkney’s Pier Arts Centre (number 687), as well as over a thousand more. Sometimes these Projects contain only 20 images or so, occasionally even fewer. The largest, the V&A Collection (number 930), numbers nearly 26,000 images.

Usually these Projects, once loaded onto Scran, are not revisited or revised by our staff, save for minor edits, typos, additional info being added etc. All of which makes Project number 540, Scottish Writers, a little unusual. A few weeks ago, one of our IT staff- thanks, Sven- noticed that the project was never fully completed, and all the submitted video clips were not uploaded. Why this should have happened is unclear, the reasons lost in the mists of time.

However, we’ve now rectified this and, some 16 years after submission, the videos now appear in full on Scran!  They’re definitely of their time, being short and quite low resolution, BUT the content is terrific. You can now see Ian Rankin, Iain Crichton Smith, Theresa Breslin, Anne Lorne Gillies, Tom Pow, Julie Bertagna, Alan Spence, Alison Prince, Cathy MacPhail, Bernard MacLaverty, Carl MacDougall, Des Dillon, Dylis Rose, George Mackay Brown, janet Paisley, Janice Galloway and Joan Lingard talking about, and reading from, their work. This material will be particularly useful to language and literature teachers, but anybody interested in Scottish literature in its “golden age”, as Iain Crichton Smith described it, will find these archive clips fascinating.

Ian Rankin

Author Ian Rankin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image © SLAINTE | Licensor Scran

Dunbarney Discovers Jolomo

February 23, 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

IMG_1074Last month we told you about Scran working with Art & Design in Perth & Kinross, well here’s some of what we got up with Primary 7, in Bridge of Earn. Armed with a mobile art studio, laden with materials the class found inspiration in the work of Jolomo.

Through a series of research tasks and group conversations the class got to grips with heaps of visual and contextual information from Scran.  They expanded their visual literacy skills, extended their vocabulary with such terms as impasto and gained a new appreciation of Scottish Art.

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To deepen this understanding the pupils then created their very own paintings influenced by the techniques used by Jolomo.  The class had gone walk about with their cameras to capture the local landscape using photography. Their pictures were then used for each individual composition on canvas.

FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRender (3)FullSizeRender (2)The pupils were able to explore using new materials such as texture medium to build up the surface of their work. Next they considered the vibrant palette and colours often used by Jolomo and mixed similarly lively hues for their own landscapes.

FullSizeRender (4)FullSizeRender (5)FullSizeRender (6)IMG_1099The culmination of the P7s’ hard work & focused learning was a whole-school exhibition Inspired by Scotland, which not only included these great paintings but all sorts of  arts activity – but more about that later…

Meanwhile over in Abernethy, Primary 7 were busy exploring their locality through Jolomo as well! They got creative with their texture too, adding in mixed media & all sorts, to create impressive effects too.

IMG_1146IMG_1147IMG_1151IMG_1153Thanks to Mrs McLaren & P7, all the staff at both schools and not forgetting the pupils, for making this successful partnership project and learning adventure happen – keep on creating!

‘Calling Mr Bell!’

February 18, 2016 by User deactivated | 0 comments

00442889Phones are an integral part of daily life. But people still get excited at the announcement of the latest mobile phone. It was no different back in the late 19th century, when the notion of communicating to someone else miles away by means of a machine was something quite new. Crowds gathered to see demonstrations of this technology. Even Queen Victoria was delighted by it. And the man who pioneered it was Alexander Graham Bell.

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Alexander Graham Bell makes the first telephone call from New York to Chicago in 1892

Bell had a particular interest in the spoken word. His father and his grandfather were teachers of elocution and his father a pioneer in the teaching of speech to the deaf, a hitherto largely neglected area.

Bell was born in South Charlotte Street in Edinburgh on 3 March, 1847. He was educated at the Royal High School but left early to become involved in his father’s work and to spend time with his grandfather, the Professor of Elocution at the University of London. Young Bell was fascinated by devices and built a model ‘speaking machine’ which he based upon a sheep’s larynx.

An instrument called a ‘telephone’ already existed at this time. It had been invented by Philip Reis, who was also working in Edinburgh. It was a primitive piece of apparatus that transmitted sounds across space using electric wires and a battery. Bell would probably have heard of the ‘telephone’ but there had been no realisation of its potential. For a time, Bell taught ‘Visible Speech’ to deaf girls in Elgin. He used a system devised by his father that used symbols to represent groups of sounds. He also lectured in London. In 1870 the family emigrated to Canada and Bell took up the Chair of Vocal Physiology at the University of Boston, a leading centre for science and technology.

‘Watson, please come here, I want you’

Gower Bell Telephone, 1880

Gower Bell Telephone, 1880

Bell’s invention of the telephone arose from his continued interest in improving facilities for deaf people. He sought to devise an instrument, an artificial ear or hearing aid, and did so by linking two magnets by wire charged with a current from a battery. Vibrators at each end of the system allowed an electrical signal created by a sound to be reconverted to sound at the receiving end. It is traditionally thought that the first transmission by the prototype of the modern telephone happened by accident when Bell called to his assistant in the next room: ‘Watson, please come here, I want you’.

It is more likely that the potential of the device was realised earlier than this and there was certainly a period of development before Bell patented the invention in 1873. The following year the ability of the telephone to carry the human voice over a long distance was demonstrated at an exhibition in Philadelphia. The Bell Telephone Company was founded and advocates such as Lord Kelvin, who was responsible for the laying of the first transatlantic cable and the Emperor of Brazil, endorsed the new discovery.

Popular Acclaim

The telephone was also demonstrated to Queen Victoria who was delighted by it and by 1879 the first telephone exchange had opened in London. Although the telephone gained popular acclaim and interest quickly spread across the United States and the United Kingdom, Bell had great difficulty in proving his claim to be the inventor. In time, however, he became wealthy from it and turned his attentions back to his work with the deaf. In later life he went on to inaugurate the Volta Laboratory in Washington DC, for the ‘diffusion of knowledge for helping the deaf’. He worked with Thomas Edison on developing the phonograph. He also founded the American journal ‘Science’ and became interested in aeronautics, especially kites and gliders.

Bell became an American citizen but he returned to Scotland many times and during one visit set up a school for deaf children. From the 1880s he made his home in Nova Scotia. He died there, on Cape Breton Island, in 1922.

Images © Hulton Getty, National Museums Scotland | Licensor Scran

Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots

February 8, 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

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“Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots” by Robert Herdman, 1867

Mary, Queen of Scots is one of Scotland’s best known monarchs. She is also renowned for her involvement in plots and murder. Elizabeth I had Mary beheaded for treason on Wednesday, 8th February 1587.

Born on 2nd December 1542 at Linlithgow, she came to the throne as an infant, ruled France when only 16, lost her husband at 18, married two men who helped murder their rivals and came close to ruling all of Britain 35 years before her son, James VI of Scotland, was also crowned King James I of England on Elizabeth I’s death.

Turbulent Times

During the 16th century, Scotland witnessed great religious, political, social and economic change in the form of the religious Reformation and frequent power struggles between rival political factions. Mary had ascended to the Scottish throne when she was six days old but in 1548 was sent to France as the prospective bride of the French Dauphin, Francis, whom she married in 1558. She returned to Scotland to resume control in 1561, after Francis’s death. Mary’s reign was beset by plots and religious struggles. Although Mary had stated she had no particular wish to rule how her subjects should worship, she came under considerable attack from John Knox – the religious reformer.

Murderous Intent

The Catholic nobleman Lord Darnley, Mary’s cousin and second husband, was involved in the murder of her private secretary David Rizzio and was then strangled at Kirk o’ Field in 1567 by the Queen’s favourite James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell. They also blew up the house he was staying in.

Open Rebellion

Bothwell and Mary were married in a Protestant ceremony in 1567, an act which turned Scottish noblemen against her and led to open rebellion. Mary’s troops were defeated at Carberry Hill in June 1567 and she was forced to surrender, abdicating in favour of her son, James VI, who was crowned at Stirling. She escaped from her prison at Lochleven in May 1568 and gathered an army of 6,000 but was defeated again at Langside.

To England

Fleeing, Mary crossed the Solway Firth seeking refuge at the court of her cousin Queen Elizabeth I. She hoped for asylum and assistance from her cousin, but she was mistaken. In 1568, in York and Westminster, Mary’s representatives and opponents, debating her alleged complicity in Darnley’s murder, failed to reach a formal decision as to whether she should be restored to the Scottish throne. Elizabeth did not find in Mary’s favour. Mary was detained in England for 19 years before her execution on 8 February 1587. She feared that Mary would be a focus for catholic rebellion, especially after the Pope declared that if a catholic murdered Elizabeth, they would not be guilty of any sin.

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At first her imprisonment was relatively easy, but the continued plotting of catholic sympathisers forced Elizabeth to act. The more frequent the plots against Elizabeth, the greater the pressure on her to act against Mary. She was arrested for being involved in her page Babbington’s plot to murder Elizabeth I, which would have led to her becoming Queen of England, being next in line to that throne. Mary was tried and found guilty of treason by conspiring against the English queen in 1586. But Elizabeth still hesitated to sign Mary’s death warrant.

Final Days

Elizabeth was persuaded by Parliament and her councillors to do so on 1 February 1587.

Mary had been told of her execution on the afternoon of 7 February. Her last letter was completed at two o’clock in the morning on Wednesday, 8 February 1587, six hours before her execution at Fotheringhay Castle. It was to Henri III, her former brother-in-law, then King of France. In it Mary states that she is being put to death for her Catholic religion and her right to the English crown. She also asks him to take care of her servants.

Beheading

Mary was beheaded at Fotheringay Castle at 8.00am on Wednesday 8 February 1587, aged 44. At the Execution, Mary was heard to intone ‘Into thy Hands O Lord, do I commit my Spirit’. In the presence of the Commissioners and Ministers of Queen Elizabeth the executioner struck Mary with his axe, and after a first and second blow by which she was barbarously wounded, he cut off her head with the third stroke. She was first interred in Peterborough Cathedral, but later, in 1612, James VI had her remains removed and entombed in Westminster Abbey.

Lots more for teachers via this attachment Investigating Mary Queen of Scots.

 

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