Mary Queen of Scots

This is out first topic of 2021, we will be looking at historical evidence and getting an idea of the chronology of Scotland’s history.  We will be learning about people and events and putting then in sequence. We will practise our research skills and learn more about the people and events from the time of Mary Queen of Scots.


Week Beginning 8 March: Prison and Execution

Read: the Keynote below, Look at: The drawing of The Surrender of Mary Queen of Scots, The Cobham Portrait and the drawing of The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots and read the texts.

Answer these questions:

  1. Who was Mary’s third husband? Why didn’t people want Mary to marry him?
  2. What is happening to Mary on the drawing of the surrender? What did she give up? Where did she go? What happened when she got there?
  3. Where was Mary when the Cobham portrait was painted? Why were several copies made? Why is she wearing crosses?
  4. On the drawing of the execution, were many people watching? How can you tell that it was a cold day? Was Mary blindfolded? How many blows did it take to chop Mary’s head off?

Week beginning 22 February: The Mysterious case of Lord Darnley

Lord Darnley, husband on Mary Queen of Scots was found murdered on 10 February 1567

Imagine you are investigating Lord Darnley’s murder. Look at the picture drawn at the time and read these notes:

Lord Darnley was recovering from an illness at a house at Kirk o’ Field near Edinburgh.

On the 9 of February Mary was visiting him at the house. She was going to stay the night but at the last minute she decided to return to the palace for the wedding celebration of Bastian Pagez a musician.

Lord Darnley’s chamber servant Thomas Nelson mentioned how the queen and Margaret Beaton, Lady Reres would play and sing in the garden at night time. This sounds like Mary and Darnley were on good terms.

On her way home she met a palace servant. He had soot on his face. Mary commented on it. The servant went red and said nothing.

Strangely, that night Lord Darnley had given orders for his horses to be ready at five o’clock next morning. This was unusually early. Especially for a sick man.

Mary arrived back at the palace and went to bed. She was awoken by a great explosion. The Earl of Bothwell sent messengers to find out what had happened.

They found that the house where Lord Darnley was staying had been blown up. All that remained of it was a pile of rubble. People began digging a for survivors. They found some bodies but they could not find Lord Darnley’s.

Then someone found the bodies of Lord Darnley and his servant in a garden near by. Next to the bodies were a chair, a dagger, a cloak and a coat. The bodies were dressed in their nightshirts, There was no sign that they had been blown up. Nor was there any other sign of how they had died.

What do you think happened? Did Mary plan to have Darnley killed. English spies were known to be active, were they trying to destabilise Mary and Scotland? Was Mary trying to get revenge for the murder of Rizzio? Was Bothwell, who on to marry Mary a few moths later involved?

Create a report on what you think happened, illustrate it. You can present your ideas in any way you like, video, audio, written.

Week Beginning 15th February

There are two main tasks this week.  1. Darnley & Riccio 2. The Murder of Lord Darnley

Darnley & Riccio

Mary married her cousin, Lord Darnley. People did not like him. Mary soon went off him, too. Lord Darnley was jealous of Mary’s friend, David Riccio. Lord Darnley and his friends murdered him.

Watch the video, listen and read. Look at the paintings and then answer the questions.

  1. How old was Lord Darnley in the painting with his younger brother? How old was he when he married Mary?
  2. Look at the room in the painting. What sort of building do you think it comes from? Does this show if Lord Darnley was rich or poor?
  3. What did Lord Darnley and his friends do to David Riccio? Why did they do it?
  4. When was the painting of Mary and her son James painted? How do you know that it was not painted from life? Compare Mary’s costume and face with the Cobham Portrait. Do you think the artist may have copied Mary from the Cobham Portrait?

Answer and add to the 📥 IDL Tray please.  Bonus points for beautiful and illustrated work.


The Murder of Lord Darnley

Lord Darnley was murdered a few months afterwards Riccio. The murder is still a mystery.
Lord Darnley was recovering from an illness at a house at Kirk o’ Field near Edinburgh… listen

This sketch was drawn by an unknown artist soon after the murder of Lord Darnley on 10th February 1567. The house in the town square where Lord Darnley was staying is drawn as a pile of rubble. It had been blown up by a great explosion of gunpowder. His body lies next to his servant’s in a garden. Near by are a chair, a dagger, a coat and a cloak. Lord Darnley’s body is also shown in the bottom left-hand corner being carried away. In the top left-hand corner Mary and Lord Darnley’s son, James, calls for revenge from his cot.

  1. Find out when Lord Darnley was murdered. Do we know what happened?
  2. Why was Lord Darnley staying at Kirk o’ Field? Who was visiting him? Did she change her plans?
  3. What did Mary see on her way home? What unusual orders did Lord Darnley give that night? What woke Mary up?
  4. How is the house where Lord Darnley was staying shown on the drawing? Where is his body? What is laid out nearby? Who is sitting up in his cot? Do we know how Lord Darnley died?

Answer and add to the 📥 IDL Tray please.  Bonus points for beautiful and illustrated work.

Week Beginning 1st February

There are two main tasks this week.

1. A Tragic Queen

Queen of Scots led an interesting, but tragic, life. She was six feet tall and thought to be very beautiful. She married three times. She was queen of two countries and claimed to be queen of a third. She was involved in two murders. She was put in prison for eighteen years and finally had her head chopped off.

Read the information above and look at these paintings, use them to answer the questions below.

PowerPoint Version PDF Version

  1. Find out how many times Mary married. Where did she spend 18 years of her life? How did she die?
  2. Of how many countries was Mary queen? Did she claim to be queen of another?
  3. Do you think Mary looks tall? Find out how tall she was?
  4. Do you think she looks beautiful? Find out if people thought she was beautiful when she was alive. Do you think ideas of beauty change?

Answer and add to the 📥 IDL Tray please.  Bonus points for beautiful and illustrated work.

2. Queen of Two Countries

Mary became Queen of Scotland when she was six days old.

When she was fifteen, she married a French prince. He became King Francis Il of France. Mary became his queen.

She also claimed to be Queen of England. This was because she was related to Henry VIll.

But when Francis Il died a year later Mary was no longer Queen of France. She had to return to Scotland.

The Scots had changed their Church while she had been away. This caused problems because Mary preferred the old Church. But she solved her problems and reigned well for a few years.

Look at: The Miniature of Mary Queen of Scots  and the portrait of Mary Queen of Scots in Mourning in the slides above, read the text.

  1. Find out how old Mary was when she became Queen of Scotland.
  2. Look at the Miniature on the Royal Collection  Trust page, where you can zoom inand see the detail . Read the text above.  When was it painted? How old was Mary? Where was she? What was she doing in the picture? Who was she marrying?
  3. When was the portrait of Mary Queen of Scots in Mourning painted? How old was Mary? Whose death was she mourning? What had she become as a result?
  4. Why did Mary return to Scotland? What had changed when she got there? Why was this a problem? Did Mary solve the problem?

Answer and add to the 📥 IDL Tray please.  Bonus points for beautiful and illustrated work.

Week Beginning 25 January

Visit this page Mary Queen of Scots Sort

Sort out the list into the correct order.  Screenshot it and put it in the Teams Other Tray assignment on the day you do it.

Choose 1 or 2 of the years to find out more about. Create a slide or image to show what you have learnt. Upload it to the Teams Other Tray assignment on the day you do it. Bring it along when you come to the Friday Meet.

Week Beginning 18 January

Spend some time getting an idea about Mary’s life. Don’t try to read all these pages, just finds one that suits you.

Use one of these files to record some of your findings.

Add your work to the IDS assessment in our Team or share it to Share Work.


Author: John Johnston

I am a teacher, currently working in Banton Primary for North Lanarkshire Council. I also act as Product Owner/provide support for Glow Blogs.

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