Mary, Queen of Scots    

Mary Stuart, 1542-1587, Queen of Scotland and Dowager Queen of France. Daughter of James V of Scotland and Marie de Guise.

Mary was the daughter OF James V and Mary of Guise.  She married Francis II of France, and then she married Lord Darnley who was murdered in very mysterious circumstances. The Earl of Bothwell was suspected of his death.

Eventually, after an eventful time, Mary was executed at Fotheringay Castle, Northampton on the orders of Queen Elizabeth.

It is said that she died with dignity and great courage.


In the mid 16th century, such was the level of violence on the Border that the Earl of Bothwell was dispatched with a strong force to Liddesdale to deal with the troublemakers.

He arrived at Hermitage Castle about the same time as Mary arrived in Jedburgh to attend court and deal with wrongdoers. She arrived in Jedburgh 9th October 1566 

Bothwell initially met with some success. He apprehended the Armstrong lairds of Mangerton and of Whithaugh who were known to be active reivers.

While searching for other miscreants he came upon one named Little Jock Elliot who was wanted for many offences. 

Bothwell had, at that moment, become separated from his men but nevertheless challenged Elliot alone and succeeded in shooting him in the leg.

Bothwell dismounted and approached Elliot thinking him completely disabled but Jock was very much alive and, making huge effort, rose up and struck Bothwell a mighty blow with his two handed sword.

Bothwell's men found him severely injured and bore him to nearby Hermitage.

However, when they arrived, they found that their prisoners at Hermitage, mainly Armstrongs, had overpowered their guards and taken over the castle. They refused to allow the injured Bothwell to enter.

Led by Robert Elliot of the Shaws, the reivers negotiated with Bothwell who agreed to free all the prisoners and to grant them amnesty. Lying injured without medical help, Bothwell was probably past caring. His party were allowed into the castle where his wounds were attended to.

While attending to her civic duties in Jedburgh, news reached Mary that Bothwell had been seriously hut during an encounter with the reivers and lay helpless at Hermitage. She decided to go to Hermitage there and then to attend to him.

Accompanied by her half brother Moray and a body of officials, she set off on the long and hazardous journey to Hermitage. 

The route took the party over huge tracts of open moorland and bog. It was difficult terrain and the weather was foul.

More than once Mary's horse stumbled in the bog and only with difficulty found firm ground. On one occasion she lost her watch and other possessions.

Mary was only able to stay briefly as the party had to return to Jedburgh that same day.

Of the three possible routes to Hermitage, Mary selected the longest to avoid the pass of Note o' Gate and the high, bleak track by Wimburgh.

For 300 years Mary's watch lay where she had dropped it, until it was picked up by a farm worker digging a drainage channel. 
It had been well preserved and is now on display at QM House in Jedburgh. 

Little Jock Elliot is believed to have escaped and recovered.

Later, after being held in captivity by Elizabeth I of England, she said "Would that I had died in Jedburgh..."1587 

Mary was executed at Fotheringay Castle in 1587.