Saturday, January 1, 2011

Coronation of Charles II at Scone

Charles II of England was the last monarch crowned at Scone.  The coronation occurred on January 1, 1651, and the following description is included in "A collection of scarce and valuable tracts: on the most interesting and Entertaining Subjects", bu Sir Walter Scott and Baron John Somers Somers:

'The following account of the coronation at Scone, when the Scottish clergy, content to have established their superiority over the crown, were in the mood of admitting Charles II. to some external marks of dignity, affords abundant illustration of Clarendon's account of his reception and treatment in the hereditary kingdom of his ancestors.

" The king was received by the Marquis of Argyle with all the outward respect imaginable; but within two days after his landing, all the English servants he had of any quality were removed from his person, the Duke of Buckingham only excepted.

" He was not present in their councils; nor were the results thereof communicated to him; nor was he in the least degree communicated with in any part of the government; yet they made great shew of outward reverence to him ; and even the chaplains, when they used rudeness and barbarity in their reprehensions and reproaches, approached him still with bended knees, and in the humblest postures. There was never a better courtier than Argyle, who used all possible address to make himself gracious to the king, entertained him with very pleasant discourses, with such insinuations, that the king did not only very well like his conversation, but often believed that he had a mind to please and gratify him ; but then, when his majesty made any attempt to get some of his servants about him, or to reconcile the two factions, that the kingdom might be united, he gathered up his countenance and retired from him, without ever yielding, to any one proposition that was made to him by his majesty. In a word, the king's table was well served: there he sate in majesty, waited upon with decency: he had good horses to ride abroad to take the air, and was then well attended; and in all public appearances seemed to want nothing that was due to a great king. In all other respects, with power to oblige or gratify any man, to dispose or order any thing, or himself to go to any other place than was assigned to him, he had nothing of a prince, but might very well be looked upon as a prisoner. — Clarendon's History, III. 286.

It is singular that, on the very day of Charles's coronation, the themes on which the clergy who officiated enlarged with most unction, were the backslidings and covenant-breaking of his grandfather and father, with the guilt of encouraging sectaries and Erastians, and the solemn, burden, that he should beware, " Ne quid detriment! ecclesia capiat"

First the king's majestic, in a princes robe, was conducted from his bed chamber, by the constable on his right hand, and the marishall on his left hand, to the chamber of presence, and there was placed in a chaire, under a cloath of slate, by the Lord of Angus, chamberlayne appointed by the king for that day, and there, after a little repose, the noblemen, with the commissioners of barons and burroughes, entered the hall, and presented themselves before his majesty.

There-after, the lord chancellour spoke to the king to this purpose: Sir, your good subjects desire you may be crowned, as the righteous and lawful heire of the crown of this kingdome; that you would maintain religion as it is presently professed and established, conform to the nationall covenant, league and covenant, and according to your declaration at Dumfermring in August last; also that you would be graciously pleased to receive them under your highnesse protection, to govern them by the laws of the kingdome, and to defend them in their rights and liberties, by your royall power, offering themselves in most humble manner to your majestic, with their vowes to bestow land, life, and what else is in their power, for the maintainance of religion, for the safety of your majesties sacred person, and maintainance of your crowne, which they intreat your majestic to accept, and pray Almightie God that for man) years you may happily enjoy the same.

The king made this answer: I do esteeme the affections of my good people more than the crownes of many kingdomes, and shall be ready, by Gods assistance, to bestow my life in their defence, wishing to live no longer then 1 may see religion and this kingdome flourish in all happiness.

Thereafter the commissioners of burroughes and of barrones, and the noble-men, accompanied his majestic to the kirk of Scoone, in order and rank according to their qualitie, two and two.

The spurres being carried by the Earle of Eglinton.  Next, the sword by the Earle of Rothes.  Then the scepter by the Earle of Craufurd and Lindesay.  And the crown by the Marques of Argyle, immediately before the king.

Then came the king, with the great constable on his right hand, and the great marishall on his left hand, his train being carried by the Lord Erskine, the Lord Montgomery, the Lord Newbottle, and the Lord Machlene, four carles eldest sonnes, under a canopy of crimson velvet, supported by six earles sonnes, to wit, the Lord Druinmond, the Lord Carnegie, the Lord Ramsay, the Lord Johnstoun, the Lord Brechin, the Lord Yester, and the six carriers supported by six noble-men's sounes.

Thus the kings majestic entereth the kirk.

The kirk being fitted and prepared with a table whereupon the honours were layed, and a chaire in a fitting place for his majesties hearing of sermon, over against the minister, and another chaire on the other side, where he sate when he received the crowne, before which there was a bench decently covered, as also seats about for the noblemen, barons, and burgesses.

And there being also a stage in a fit place erected of 14 foot square, about four foot high from the ground, covered with carpets, with two stairs, one from the west, and another to the east, upon which great stage there was another little stage erected, som two foot high, ascending by two steps, on which the throne or chaire ot state was set.

The kirk thus fittingly prepared, the kings majestie entereth the same, accompanied as aforesaid, and first setteth himself in his chaire, for hearing of sermon...'

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