Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mary, Queen of Scots and Jame Hepburn, Earl Bothwell Wed

On May 15, 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Earl of Bothwell, James Hepburn married.  Their time together was to prove short, and they were on the run for most of that time, as there were powerful interests opposed to their marriage.  Only a month later (June 15, 1567), Bothwell left Mary at the Battle of Carberry Hill, where their forces, consisting largely of Hamilton men, were defeated by a larger, well-trained force under Earls Morton, Hume, Mar, Glencairn, and Atholl.

The two sides met, with the Lords offering terms to Bothwell and Mary's.  The options to avoid all out battle were for Bothwell to meet one of the Lords in a one-on-one duel, or for Mary to leave Bothwell for the Lords, who promised their loyal support. 

Bothwell chose the duel, and Lord Patrick Lindsay was selected to oppose him.  In the meantime, the Lords' forces were maneuvering for position to gain advantage.  As told in "Life of James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell" by Frederik Schiern, before the duel began, Mary mounted her steed, and summoned the Laird of Grange, who had offered terms saying "Laird of Grange, I render myself unto you, upon the conditions you ' rehearsed unto me, in the name of the Lords."  Mary thus surrendered to the Lords, while Bothwell left the field of battle.

Just prior to their marriage (May 12, 1567), Mary had conferred on Bothwell the title Duke of Orkney.  Orkney, until 1472, had been under the rulership of the Sinclair's from which family Hepburn's mother Agnes Sinclair derived.  It was to Orkney that Bothwell fled, after Carberry Hill.  Mary, as Bothwell had forseen, was betrayed, and was ultimately imprisoned at Lochleven Castle.

Walter Scott's "The Abbot" focuses on Mary, beginning at the time of her incarceration at Lochleven.

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