As a son of Scots I grew up with a lot of great stories but few were as terrible as the tale of Mary Queen of Scots. Born of a Royal bloodline, intelligent and beautiful, she should have had it all but she was doomed, She was proclaimed Queen of Scots at six days old. She married a prince of France, became a queen consort of that country but was widowed before the age of eighteen.
Returning to Scotland she married her cousin, Lord Darnley. However her husband was jealous of her friendship with her secretary David Rizzio and organized a conspiracy to murder him. The conspirators, accompanied by a body of armed thugs, carried out the killing in front of Mary (who was seven months pregnant with James VI at the time) after she was forced to hand over Rizzio at gunpoint. They stabbed the Italian courtier fifty-six times. The conspirators were funded by several persons who wished to destabilise Scotland and included Elizabeth I of England, who also provided the conspirators with sanctuary.
Soon after Darnley was murdered in a massive explosion and then things went from bad to worse when Mary married the man accused of Darnley’s murder. As public support for her collapsed in Scotland Mary looked for mercy and protection to Elizabeth and England: the last in a long line of bad decisions.
Initially described as a guest, Mary was politically too important to be left at liberty and she became a captive of the English queen, ending up at Bolton Castle in Wensleydale. She was given many of the trappings of a queen: a chamber in the south-west tower, and fifty-one attendants including a secretary, a master of horse and three laundresses. She was also allowed, under tight supervision, to join the hunt. She used this opportunity to gain knowledge of the area so that, if the chance came to run, at least she would know which direction to take.
One day, with the help of a servant, she managed to escape from the castle and made for the nearest town - Leyburn. She took the east lane out of Castle Bolton and made her way to Warren Wood, at which point she would have been able to hear the hue and cry closing on her. At last she came to the long ridge west of Leyburn and the tale has it that the brambles tore her shawl from her shoulders. She was captured at what has come to be known as Queen’s Gap, and the ridge has become known as The Shawl.
Mary was never free again and, before her beheading at Fotheringhay asked her executioner to “make an end of all my troubles”. Fearing she might be made a martyr, anything her blood touched was burned including her clothes and the execution block.
The Road to Penyghent
This story comes from:
Tales From The Dales
A major exhibition of new paintings based on stories from the Yorkshire Dales collected over the last two years. In addition to artwork the exhibition sees the launch of a book for children: The Penhill Giant, which is an illustrated retelling of events which took place on the hill overlooking the exhibition location. The exhibition will also see the launch of a book, illustrated with paintings created for the exhibition, which will include a collection of Dales stories, many of which will be appearing in print for the first time. The exhibition will be on at:
Wensley Church, Wensley, N Yorks.
10 am - 5 am 27 July – 11 August 2013
Preview: 7 - 9 pm Friday 26th July
A chance to see the paintings and meet the artist.
Stories of the Dales: 5.00 - 6.30 Saturday 27th July
Four Yorkshire writers read from and talk about their work.
Open Mic Night: 7 - 9 pm Saturday 10th August
A great evening of music with musicians from the Yorkshire Dales.
If you would like to perform CLICK HERE
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