The Rizzio Murder: Account by Lord Ruthven
One of the Chief Culprits

Submitted by Eileen Santen

Mary, Queen of Scots Home Page

The following is a contemporary account of the events leading up to, and the night of, the murder of David Rizzio, Mary's Secretary, at Holyrood Palace on 9 March 1566. Lord Ruthven was one of the prime leaders of this rebellion, but in this account, he throws all the blame on Lord Darnley, Mary's second husband. Note that this manuscript is erroneously dated 28 March 1565, while the murder of Rizzio did not take place until the following year!
The author of this relation, Lord Ruthven, at the age of forty six, was visited by the hand of God with great trouble and sickness, whereby he kept his bed continually by the space of three months, and was under the cure of physicians, as of the Queen’s French doctor, Dr. Preston, and Thomas Thompson, apothecary; and was so feebled and weakened through the sickness and medicines, that scarcely he might walk twice the length of his chamber unsitting down. During this time the King conceived hatred against an Italian called David Riccio; and about the 10th day of February, sent his dear friend and kinsman, George Douglas, son to Archibald, sometime Earl of Angus and declared to Lord Ruthven, how that the said David Riccio, had bused him in many sorts, and lately had stayed the Queen’s Majesty from giving him the crown matrimonial of Scotland, which her Majesty had promised to him divers times before; besides many other wrongs that David had done to him, which he could not bear with longer, and behoved to be revenged thereof. And because the Lord Ruthven was one of the nobility that he confided and trusted most unto, in respect that his children and he were sisters’ children’ therefore he desired his counsel and advice what way was best to be revenged on David. The Lord Ruthven hearing the message aforesaid, gave answer to George Douglas, that he could give no counsel in that matter, in respect he knew the King’s youth and facility; for he had sundry of the nobility that had given him counsel for his own honour and weal and immediately be revealed the same again to the Queen’s Majesty, who reproved them with great anger and contumelious words; so that he would have no meddling with the King’s proceedings until the time he could keep his own counsel. The said George departed with the answer about 12th of February. The King, hearing the answer, was very miscontented and said, it is a sore case that I can get none of the nobility that will assist me against yonder false villain Davie. George Douglas answered, the fault was in yourself that cannot keep your own counsel. Then the King took a book and swore thereon, that what counsel soever the Lord Ruthven should give him, he would not reveal, neither to the Queen’s Majesty, nor to any others; and immediately directed George to him again, declaring what oath the King hath made. Notwithstanding the Lord Ruthven was eight days after ere he would give any counsel therein; howbeit, the King sent George Douglas to him every day three or four times. After eight days were past, which was toward the 20th day of February, the Lord Ruthven perceiving that the King’s whole intent was but only the slaughter of Davie, resolved in his mind, and considered that he had a good time to labour for certain of the nobility, he brethren that were banished in the realm of England and in Argyle; and specially the Earls of Argile, Murray, Glencarn, and Rotes; the Lords Boyd and Ocheltrie, and the Lairds of Pittarro and Grange, with many other gentlemen and barons. Wherefore so soon as the said George was directed again from the King to him, he answered, that he could to meddle with the King’s affairs, without that he would bring home the noblemen before rehearsed, who were banished only for the Word of God. And after long reasoning, and divers days traveling, the King was contented they should come home into the realm of Scotland; so that the Lord Ruthven would make him sure that they would be his and set forward all his affairs. He gave answer to the King, and had him make his own security, and that he should cause it to be subscribed by the aforesaid Earls, Lords, and Barons. Immediately thereafter the King directed George Douglas to Lord Ruthven with certain articles, which he desired him to put in form of writing, to be subscribed by the Lords banished; the which he caused to be put in form. And having consideration that the King desired them to be bound to him, he caused to be drawn certain articles in the said Lords names for the King’s part towards them; which the King himself reformed with his own hand.

The articles being penned for both parties, and the King reading and considering the same, he was contented therewith, and subscribed his part, and delivered it to the Lord Ruthven, who sent the other articles to the Earl of Murray, and the remanent being within England; and to the Earl of Argile, and the remanent being with him in the west, who subscribed the same, and sent them to Lord Ruthven to be kept till their meeting with the King, and every one to have their own part; the tenour whereof followeth:

Certain Articles to be fulfilled by James, Earl of Murray; Archibald, Earl of Argile, Alexander, Earl of Glencarne; Andrew, Earl of Rothes; Robert, Lord Boyd; Andrew, Lord Ochiltree; and their Complices, to the Noble and Mighty Prince Henry, King of Scotland, husband to our Sovereign Lady: which Articles the said Persons offer with most humility, lowliness, and service to the said Noble Prince, for whom to God they pray, &c.

Imprimis. The said Earls, Lords, and their complices, shall become, and by the tenour hereof become, true subjects, men and servants, to the noble and mighty Prince Henry, by the grace of God King of Scotland, and husband to our Sovereign Lady; that they, and all others that will do for them, shall take a loyal and true part with the said noble Prince in all his actions, causes, and quarrels, against whomsoever, to the uttermost of their powers; and shall be friends to his friends, and enemies to his enemies and neither spare their lives, lands, goods, nor possessions.
  1. Item, The said Earls, Lords, and their complices shall, at the first Parliament, and other Parliaments that shall happen to be after their returning within this realm, by themselves and others that have voice in Parliament, consent, and by these presents do consent now as then, and then as now, to grant and give the crown matrimonial to the said noble Prince for all the days of his life. And if any person or persons withstand or gainsay the same, the said Earls, Lords, and their complices shall take such part as the said noble Prince taketh, in whatsoever sort, for the obtaining of the said crown, against all, and whatsoever that let or deny, as shall best please the said noble Prince.

  2. Item, The said Earls, Lords, and their complices shall fortify and maintain the said noble Prince to his just title to the Crown of Scotland, failing of succession of our Sovereign Lady, and shall justify and set forward the same at their utmost powers. And if any manner of person will usurp or gainsay the just title, then the said Earls, Lords, and their complices shall maintain, defend, and set forwards the same, as best shall please the said noble Prince, without fear of life or death; and shall seek and pursue them the usurpers, as shall please the said noble Prince to command, to extirp them out of the realm of Scotland, or take or slay them.

  3. Item. As to the religion which was established by the Queen’s Majesty our Sovereign, shortly after her arrival in this realm, whereupon Acts and proclamation was made, and now again granted by the said noble Prince to the said Earls, Lords, and their complices; they, and every of them, shall maintain and fortify the same at their uttermost powers, by the help, supply, and maintenance of the said noble Prince. And if any person or persons will gainsay the same, or any part thereof, or begin to make tumult or uproar for the same, the said Earls, Lords and Their complices to take a full, true, and plain part with the said noble Prince, against the said contemners and usurpers, at their uttermost.

  4. Item. As they are become true subjects, men and servants, to the said noble Prince, so shall they be loyal and true to his Majesty, as becometh true subjects to their natural prince; and as true and faithful servants serve their good master with their bodies, lands, goods, and possessions; and shall neither spare life nor death in setting forward all things that may be to the advancement and honour of the said noble Prince.

  5. Item. The said Earls, Lords, and their complices, shall labour at the Queen of England’s hands for the relief of the said noble Prince, his mother, and brother, by themselves and such others as they may procure, to the uttermost of their power, that they may be relieved out of war, or remain in England freely, or repair into Scotland, as they shall think most expedient, without stop or impediment to herself, her son their servants and moveables.

  6. Item. The said Earls, Lords, and their complices, shall, by themselves and others that will do for them, labour and procure, at the Queen of England’s hands, that she said noble prince may have her kindness, good-will, and assistance in all his Majesty’s honourable and just causes, against whatsoever foreign Prince.

Certain Articles to be fulfilled by the Noble and Mighty Prince Henry, King of Scotland, husband to our Sovereign Lady, of his Majesty’s mere clemency and good-will, to James, Earl of Murray; Archibald, Earl of Argile; Alexander, Earl of Glencarne; Andrew, Earl of Rothes; Robert, Lord Boyd; Andrew, Lord Stewart, of Ochiltrie, remaining in England, &c. Item. First, The said noble Prince shall do his good-will, to obtain them one remission, if they require the same, for all faults and crimes by-past, of whatsoever quality or condition they be. And if that cannot be obtained at the first time, shall persevere in suing of the same until it be obtained; and at the last shall give them a free remission of all crimes so soon as we are placed, by their help and supply to the crown matrimonial: And in the mean time shall stop and make impediments, so much as lieth in us, that they be not called nor accused for whatsoever crime: And presently remits and forgives the aforesaid Earls, Lords, and their complices, all crimes committed against us of whatsoever quality or condition they be; and do bury and put the same oblivion, as they had never been: And shall receive them at their returning, thankfully, and with heartiness, as others our true and faithful subjects and servants.
  1. Item. We shall not suffer, by our good wills, the foresaid Lords and their complices, to be called or accused in parliament, nor suffer any forfeitures to e laid against them, but shall stop the same at our uttermost power: And if any person or persons pretend otherwise, we shall neither consent to the holding the parliament, nor yet shall grant to their forfeiture willingly, but shall stop the same to our uttermost power, as said is.

  2. Item. That the said Earls, Lords, and their complices, returning within the Realm of Scotland, we shall suffer or permit them to use and enjoy all their lands, tackes, steedings, and benefices, that they or any of them had before their passage into England. And if any manner of persons do make them impediments in the peaceable enjoying of the said lands, steedings, tackes, benefices and possessions, it being made known to us, we shall fortify and maintain them to the uttermost of our powers, to the obtaining of the same.

  3. As to the said Earls, Lords, and their complices religion, we are contented and consent that they use the same, conform to the Queen’s Majesty’s act and proclamation made thereupon, shortly after her Highness’s return out of France. And if any person or persons pretend to make them impediment thereunto, or to trouble them for using the same religion, we shall take part with the aforesaid Earls, Lords, and their complices, at our utmost power. And after their returning upon their good bearing and service to be done to the said noble Prince, shall, by their advice, consent to the establishing the religion now professed, and shall concur with them, if any persons do withstand them.

  4. Item, We shall fortify and maintain the said Earls, Lords, and their complices, as a natural Prince should do to his true and obedient subject; and as one good master should fortify and maintain his true and natural servants against whatsoever, in all their just causes, actions and quarrels.
All this while the King kept secret from the Queen’s Majesty and whole proceedings; and as her Majesty sought by subtil means to learn of him what was in his mind, so crafted he with her to seek out her mind; And in the same time he daily sent to the Lord Ruthven, saying that he could not abide Davie any longer; and if his slaughter was not hastened, he would slay him himself, yea, though it were in the Queen’s Majestys own chamber. The Lord Ruthven counseled him to the contrary, and thought it not decent that he should put hand on such a mean person; yet always the King could not be content, without the Lord Ruthven affixed a day when Davie should be slain. The said Lord considering with himself that it was not convenient nor honourable to slay Davie, notwithstanding the offences he had made; but rather to take him, and give him judgment by the nobility, the King’s Majesty answered, it was cumbersome to tarry in such a cause; but always he could be contented that he were taken and hanged, or dispatched otherwise. In the mean time the King and Queen’s Majesties rode to Seaton; the King so burning in his desire towards the slaughter of David, that he sent divers privy writings written in his own hand, and also messages by tongue to George Douglas, to be shewed to the Lord Ruthven was practicing with the Earl of Morton, who was the King’s near kinsman, and with the Lord Lindsey, because his wife was a Douglas, and of consanguinity to the King; and with a great number of barons, gentleman, and freeholders, to assist the King in such affairs as he had to do; and then they should have their religion freely established conformable to Christ’s book, and to the articles the King had subscribed to the Lords. And after the Kings return out of Seaton, he directed George Douglas to the Earl of Morton and Lord Ruthven, to see what day should be appointed, with place and time, for the performance of the enterprise against David. The said Earl and Lord sent answer to the King, and declared they should have a sufficient number ready against Friday or Saturday the 8th or 9th of March, to do what he pleased; and enquired of the King what time he would have it the ratherest performed; for, according to their opinion, they thought it best to take them when David should be in his own chamber in the morning, or in passing through the close; which the King refused simpliciter, and said he could not be well taken in his own chamber, nor no time in the morning, by reason that at night he tarried late with the Queen’s Majesty: he lay in the over cabinet, and other whiles in Signor Francisco’s chamber, and sometimes in his own, to which he had sundry back doors and windows that he might escape at, and if so it were, all were lost. Therefore he would have him taken at the time of the supping, sitting with her Majesty at the table, that he might be taken in her own presence; because she had not entertained him, her husband, according to her accustomed manner, nor as she ought of duty. To the which the said Earl and Lords were very loth to grant, and gave many reasons to the contrary, that it was better to have been done out of her presence, not in the same. Notwithstanding no reason might avail, but the King would have him taken in her Majesty’s presence, and devised the manner himself, as after followeth: That upon the Saturday, at supper time, the Earl of Morton, Lord Ruthven, and Lord Lindsey should have ready so many as would be assistants and partakers with the King, in their houses, against he should send them word: and so soon as he sent them word, that the Earl of Morton should come in, and come up to the Queens utter chamber, and a company with him; and the Lord Ruthven was to come through the King’s secret chamber; and that the King would pass up before by a privy passage to the Queen’s chamber, and open the door, through which the Lord Ruthven and his company might enter; and that the King himself should be speaking with the Queen’s Majesty sitting at supper; the remanent barons and gentlemen to be in the court of the palace for keeping of the gates, and defending of the close in case any of the Lords or officers would endeavour to gainstand the King’s enterprise. The Earl of Morton and Lord Ruthven having consideration of the King’s desire towards the taking of Davie in the Queen’s Majesty’s chamber were loth to grant thereto; yet the King would not otherwise, but have it done as he had devised. The Earl and Lords considering he was a young Prince, and having a lusty Princess to lie in his arms afterwards, who might persuade him to deny all that was done for his cause, and to allege that others persuaded him to the same, thought it necessary to have security thereupon: and a bond was made in the King’s name to the Earls, Lords, Barons, freeholders, merchants, and craftsmen, declaring all that was to be done was his own devise, invention, and fact; and bound and obliged himself, his heirs and successors, to them their heirs and successors, to keep them skathless, and unmolested or troubled for the taking and executing of Davie in the Queen’s presence or otherwise, like as the bond specified hereafter word by word.

“Be it Kend to all men by these present letters: We, Henry by the grace of Good King of Scotland, and Lieutenant to the Queen’s Majesty; for so much we having consideration of The gentle and good nature, with many other good qualities in her Majesty, we have thought pity, and also think it great conscience to us that are her husband, to suffer her to be abused or reduced by certain privy persons, wicked and ungodly, not regarding her Majesty’s honour ours, nor the nobility thereof, nor the common-weal of the same, but seeking his or her own commodity and privy gains, especially a stranger Italian called Davie; which may be the occasion of her Majesty’s destruction, ours, the nobility, and common-weal, without hasty remedy be put thereto, which we are willing to do; and to that effect we have devised to take these privy persons, enemies to her Majesty, us, the nobility, and common-wealth, to punish them according to their demeritis; and in case of any difficulty, to cut them off immediately, and to take and slay them wherever it happeneth. And because we cannot accomplish the same without the assistance of others therefore have we drawn certain of our nobility, Earls, Lords, Barons, freeholders, gentlemen, merchants, and craftsmen, to assist us in our enterprise, which cannot be finished without great hazard. And because it may chance that there be sundry great personages present, who may endeavour to gainstand our enterprise, where through some of them may be slain, and likewise of ours, where through a perpetual feud may be contracted betwixt the one and the other; therefore we bind and oblige us, our heirs and successors, to the said Earls, Lords, Barons, gentlemen, freeholders, merchants, and craftsmen, their heirs and successors, that we shall accept the same feud upon us, and fortify and maintain them at the uttermost of our power, and shall be friend to their friends, and enemy to their enemies; and shall neither suffer them nor theirs to be molested nor troubled in their bodies, lands, goods, nor possessions, so far as lieth in us. And if any person would take any of the said Earls, Lords, Barons, gentlemen, freeholders, merchants, or craftsmen, for enterprising and assisting with us for the achieving our purpose, because it may chance to be done in presence of the Queen’s Majesty, or within her Palace of Holyrood House, we, by the word of a Prince, shall accept and take the same on us now as the, and then as now, and shall warrant and keep harmless the foresaid Earls, Lords, Barons, freeholders, gentlemen, merchants and craftsmen, at our utter power. In witness whereof we have subscribed this with our own hand at Edinburgh, the 1st of March, 1565”.

Upon Saturday the 9th day of March, as is conform to the King’s ordinance and device, the Earl Morton, Lords Ruthven and Lindsey, having their men and friends in readiness, abiding for the King’s advertisement; the King having supped, and the sooner for that cause, and the Queen’s Majesty being in her cabinet within her inner chamber at the supper, the King sent to the said Earl and Lords, and their complices; and desired them to make haste and come into the Palace, for he should have the door of the privy passage open, and should be speaking with the Queen before their coming, conform to his device rehearsed before. Then the Earl of Morton, Lord Ruthven and Lord Lindsey, with their complices, passed up to the Queen’s utter chamber, and the Lord Ruthven passed in through the King’s chamber, and up through the privy way to the Queen’s chamber, as the King had learned him, and through the chamber to the cabinet, where he found the Queen’s Majesty sitting at her supper, at the middest of a little table, the Lady Argile sitting at one end, and Davie at the head of the table with his cap on his head, the King speaking with the Queen’s Majesty, and his hand about her waist. The Lord Ruthven at his coming in said to the queen’s Majesty, “It would please your Majesty to let yonder man Davie come forth of your presence, for he hath been over-long here.” Her Majesty answered, “What offence hath he made?” The said Lord replied again that he had made great offence to her Majesty’s honour, the King her husband, the nobility and commonweal of the realm. “And how?” saith she, “It will please your Majesty,” said he, “he hath offended your Majesty’s honour, which I dare not be so bold to speak of: As to the King your husband’s honour, he hath hindered him of the crown matrimonial, which your grace promised him, besides many other things which are not necessary to be expressed. And as to the nobility, he hath caused your Majesty to banish a great part, and most chief thereof, and fore-fault them at this present Parliament, that he might be made a lord. And as to your commonweal, he hath been a common destroyer thereof, in so far as he suffered not your Majesty to grant or give anything but that which passed through his hands, by taking of bribes and goods for the same: and caused your Majesty to put out the Lord Ross from his whole lands, because he would not give over the lordship of Melvin to the said Davie; besides many other inconveniences that he solicited your Majesty to do.” Then the Lord Ruthven said to the King, “Sir, take the Queen’s Majesty your sovereign and wife to you,: who stood all amazed, and wyst not what to do. Then her Majesty rose on her feet and stood before Davie he holding her Majesty by the plates of the gown , leaning back over in the window, his whiniard drawn in his hand. Arthur Erskine and the Abbot of Holyrood-house, the Laird of Creech, master of the household with the French apothecary, and one of the Grooms of the Chamber, began to lay hands upon the Lord Ruthven, none of the King’s party being present. Then the said Lord pulled out his whiniard, and freed himself while more came in, and said to them, “Lay not hands on me, for I will not be handled;” and at the incoming of others into the cabinet, the Lord Ruthven put us his whiniard. And with the rushing in of men the board fell to the wallwards, with meat and candles being thereon; and the Lady of Argile took up one of the candles in her hand: and in the same instant Lord Ruthven took the Queen in his arms, and put her into the King’s arms, beseeching her Majesty not to be afraid; for there was no man there that would do her Majesty’s body more harm than their own hearts; and assured her Majesty, all that was done was the King’s own deed and action. Then the remanent gentlemen being in the cabinet, took Davie out of the window; and after that they had him out in the Queen’s chamber, the Lord Ruthven followed, and bad take him down the privy way to the King’s chamber; and the said Lord returned to the cabinet again, believing that Davie had been had down to the King’s chamber, but the press of the people hurled him forth to the utter chamber, where there was a great number standing, who were so vehemently moved against the said Davie, that they would not abide any longer, but slew him at the Queen’s far door in the utter chamber. Immediately the Earl of Morton passed forth of the Queen’s Majesty’s utter chamber to the inner court for keeping of the same and the gates, and deputed certain barons to keep Davie’s chamber till he knew the Queen’s Majesty’s pleasure and the King’s. Shortly after their Majesties sent the Lord Lindsey and Arthur Erskine to the said Earl of Morton, to pass to David’s chamber to fetch a black coffer with writings and ciphers, which the said Earl of Morton delivered to them, and gave the chamber in keeping to John Semple, son to the Lord Semple, with the whole goods there; gold, silver, and apparel being therein. In this meantime the Queen’s Majesty and the King came forth of the cabinet to the Queen’s chamber, where her Majesty began to reason with the King, saying, “My Lord, why have you caused to do this wicked deed to me, considering I took you from a base estate, and made you my husband? What offence have I made you, that ye should have done me such shame?” The King answered and said, “I have good reason for me; for since yon fellow Davie fell in credit and familiarity with your Majesty ye regarded me not, neither treated me nor entertained me after your wonted fashion: for every day before dinner, and after dinner, ye would come to my chamber and pass time with me, and this long time ye have not done so; and when I come to your Majesty’s chamber ye bear me little company, except Davie had been the third marrow; and after supper your Majesty hath a use to set at the cards with the said Davie, till one or two of the clock after midnight; and this is the entertainment I have had of you this long time. Her Majesty’s answer was, it was not gentlewomen’s duty to come to their husband’s chamber, but rather the husband to come to the wive’s chamber, if he had anything to do with her. The King answered, “how came ye to my chamber at the beginning, and ever, till within these few months that Davie fell in with familiarity with you? Or am I failed in any sort? Or what disdain have you at me? Or what offence have I made you that you should not use me at all times alike? Seeing that I am willing to do all things that becometh a good husband to do to his wife, for since you have chose me to be your husband, suppose I be of the baser degree, yet I am your head, and ye promised obedience at the day of our marriage, and that I should be equal with you, and participant in all things. I suppose you have used me otherwise by the persuasions of Davie.” Her Majesty answered, and said, “that all the shame that was done to her, that my Lord, ye have the weight thereof; for the which I shall never be your wife, nor lie with you; nor shall never like well, till I gar you have as sore a heart as I have presently.” Then the said Lord Ruthven made answer, and besought her Majesty to be of good comfort, and to treat herself and the King her husband, and to use the counsel of the nobility, and he was assured her government should be as well guided as ever it was in any King’s days. The said Lord being so feebled with his sickness, and wearied with his travel, that he desired her Majesty’s pardon to sit down upon a coffer, and called for a drink for God’s sake; so a French man brought him a cup of wine and after that he had drunken, the Queen’s Majesty began to rail against the said Lord: “Is this your sickness, Lord Ruthven?” The said Lord answered, God forbid that your Majesty had such a sickness; for I had rather give all the moveable goods that I have. Then said her Majesty, if she died, or her bairn or common-weal perished, she should leave the revenge thereof to her friends to revenge the same upon the Lord Ruthven and his posterity; for she had the King of Spain her great friend, the Emperor likewise, and the King of France her good brother, the Cardinal of Lorrain, and her uncles in France, besides the Pope’s Holiness, with many other Princes in Italy. The said Lord answered, that these noble Princes were over-great personages to meddle with such a poor man as he was, being her Majesty’s own subject; and where her Majesty said, that if either she, her bairn, or the common-weal perished, the Lord Ruthven should have the weight thereof, and should be accused as well before God as the world; for there was no man there within that palace, but they that would honour and serve her Majesty, as becometh true subjects; and would suffer no manner of harm to be done to her Majesty’s body than to their own hearts; and if anything be done this night that your Majesty mislikes, charge the King your husband, and none of us your subjects; which the King confessed was of verity. In the same instant one came knocking fast at the Queen’s chamber door, declaring that the Earls Huntly, Athol, Bothwell, Caithness and Sutherland with the Lords Fleming, Levingstone, secretary, Tillibarn, the comptroller, and the Laird of Grant, with their own servants and officers of the palace, were fighting in the close against the Earl of Morton and his company, being on the King’s party. The King hearing the same, would have gone down, and the Lord Ruthven staid him, and desired him to intreat the Queen’s Majesty, and he would go down and take order amongst them. So he passed to the close, borne under the arm; and before his coming the officers were going into their houses; and the Lords were holden in at the gallery door by the Earl of Morton and others being with him, and were constrained to pass up to the gallery and to their chambers. So the said Lord Ruthven passed up to the Earl Bothwell’s chamber, where he found the Earls of Huntley, Sutherland, Caithness, the Laird of Grant, and divers others, to whom he shewed that the whole proceeding that was done that night, was done and invented by the King’s Majesty’s own devise, Like as his hand written was to shew thereupon; and how he had sent for the Lords that were banished in England and Argyle, who would be there before day: And because there was some enmity unreconciled betwixt the Earls of Huntley and Bothwell, and the Earls of Argyle and Murray, and their colleagues, the said Lords promised in their names, that it should be mended at the sight of two or three of the nobility, they doing such like to them; whereupon the said Earls of Huntly and Bothwell gave the Lord Ruthven their hands, and received his for the other part: and after they had drunken, the Lord Ruthven took his leave of them, and passed to the Earl of Athol’s chamber, accompanied with the Earls of Caithness, Sutherland, and the Laird of Grant; and found with the said Earl the comptroller, secretary, Mr. James Balfour, and divers others; and because of the familiarity and kindness betwixt the Earl of Athol, and the Lord Ruthven, the Earl began to be angry with the said Lord, for that he would not shew him what enterprise soever that he had to do; whose answer ws, that it was the King’s action and the King’s devise, and that none of them had further meddling therewith than the King had commanded, like as his hand-written did testify. Yet the Earl enquired further upon the Lord Ruthven, why he would not let him know thereof; he answered, it was the King’s secret and feared if he had given knowledge thereof, he would have revealed it to the Queen’s Majesty, which might have been a hindrance of the purpose, and caused the King to have holden me unhonest for my part. The Earl perceiving that all that was done was the King’s own deed, desired the said Lord Ruthven to pass to the King, and get him leave to pass to his country, and so many as were presently in the chamber with him.

In this meantime the Earls of Bothwell and Huntley, taking a fear of the other Lords returning out of England and Argyle, and because they were hardly imprisoned before, thought it better to escape too than to remain; so they went out at a low window, and passed their ways. In the meantime, while the Lord Ruthven was with the Earl of Argot, the King declared to the Queen’s Majesty that he had sent for the Lords to return again; whereunto she answered, she was not in the blame that they were so long away, for she could have been content to have brought them home at any time, had it not been for angering the King; and to verify the same, when her Majesty gave a remission to the Duke, the King was very miscontent therewith; whereto the King answered, that it was true that he was miscontented then, but now he was content, and doubted not but she would also be content to persevere in the good mind to them as she had done before. At the same time came the Provost of Edinburgh, and a great number of men of the town with him, in arms, to the utter court of the Palace of Holyrood House, where the King called out of the window to them, commanding them to return to their houses, like as they did; for he declared to them that the Queen’s Majesty and he were in good health. The Lord Ruthven being come up to the Queen’s chamber again, where the King was beside her, he shewed them that there was no hurt done, and that the Lords and all others were merry, and no harm done. Then her Majesty enquired what was become of Davie. The said Lord Ruthven answered, that he believed he was in the King’s chamber; for he thought it not good to shew her as he died, for fear of putting her Majesty in greater trouble presently. Then the Queen’s Majesty enquired of the said Lord what great kindness was betwixt the Earl of Murray and him, that rather than he and the remanent should be forfaulted that he would be forfault with them. “Remember ye not,” said she, “what the Earl of Murray would have had me done to you for giving me the ring?” The Lord Ruthven answered, “That he would bear no quarrel for that cause, but would forgive him and all others for God’s sake; and as to that ring, it had no more virtue than another, and was one little ring with a pointed diamond in it.” “Remember ye not,” said her Majesty, “that ye said it had a virtue to keep me from poisoning?” “Yea, Madam, I said so much, that the ring had that virtue, only to take that evil opinion out of your head of poisoning, which you conceived that the Protestants would have done; which the said Lord knew the contrary, that the Protestants would have done no more harm to your Majesty’s body than to their own hearts; but it was so imprinted in your Majesty’s mind, that it could not be taken away without a contrary impression.” “Then,” said her Majesty, “what fault or offence have I made to be handled in this manner?” “Inquire,” said he, “of the King your husband.” “Nay, but I will enquire of you,” who answered, “Madam, ye well remember that ye have had this long time a few number of privy persons, and most special Davie, a stranger Italian, who have guided and ruled you contrary to the advice of your nobility and counsel; and especially against those noblemen that were banished. But were ye not one of my council? What is the cause that ye should not have declared if I had done anything amiss against them that became me not?” “Because your Majesty would hear no such thing; for all the time that your Majesty was in Glasgow or Dumfriese, let see if ever ye caused your council to sit, or to reason upon anything, but did all things by your Majesty’s self and your privy persons, albeit the nobility bare the pains and expences. Well, said her Majesty, ye find great fault with me, I will be contented to set down my crown before the Lords of the articles; and if they find I have offended, to give it where they please. God forbid, madam, that your crown shold be in such hazard; but yet, madam, who chose the Lords of the articles? "Not I,” said she, “saving your Majesty’s reverence,’ said the Lord Ruthven, ye chose them all in Seaton, and nominated them” And as for your Majesty’s council, it hath not been suffered to wait freely this long time, but behooved to say what was your pleasure. And as to the Lords of the articles, your Majesty chose such as would say whatsoever you thought expedient to the forfaulters of the Lords banished: And now when the Lords of the articles have sitten fourteen days reasoning on the summons of treason, have ye found a just head wherefore they ought to be forfaulted? No, madam, not so much as one point, without false witness be brought in against them. Whereunto she gave no answer.

The Lord Ruthven perceiving that the Queen’s Majesty was weary, said to the King, “Sir, it is best ye take your leave at the Queen’s Majesty, that she may take rest: so the King took his good-night, and came forth of the Queen’s chamber, and we with him, and left none there but the ladies, gentlewomen, and the grooms of the Queen’s Majesty’s chamber. And as soon as the King came to his own, chamber, the Lord Ruthven declared the message he had from the Earl of Athol, to the King, that he might have license to return home to Athol: Which the King as loth to do without he gave him a bond that he should be his. The Lord Ruthven answered, that he was a true man of his promise, and would keep the thing he said, as well as others would do their handwriting and seal. Then the King desired him to fetch the Earl of Athol to him, which he did: And after the King and Earl of Athol had talked together, he desired the Earl to be ready to come whensoever he should send for him. His answer was, that whensoever it pleased the Queen’s Grace and him to send for him, that he would come gladly: And the Earl desired the King that he might speak with the Queen’s Majesty, which the King refused. And then the Earl took his good-night, and passed to his chamber, and the Lord Ruthven with him, where he made him ready and his company to pass forth, like as they did; and in his company were the Earls of Sutherland and Cathness, the Master of Cathness, the secretary, and controller, Mr. James Balfour, the Laird of Grant, with divers others. Immediately the King directed two writings, subscribed with his hand, on Saturday after the slaughter of Davie, to certain men of Edenburg bearing office for the time, charging them to convene men in arms, and make watch within the town upon the Calsay; and to suffer none others to be seen out of their houses, except Protestants, under all highest pain and charge that after may follow. And on the morrow after, which was Sunday the 10th of march, the King directed a letter, subscribed with his hand, making mention that it was not his will that the Parliament should hold, for divers causes, but discharged the same by the tenor thereof: And therefore commanding all Prelats, Earls, Lords, Barons, Commissioners, and Barrowis, and others that are warned to the said parliament, to depart from Edenburgh within three hours next after that charge, under the pain of life, lands, and goods, except so many as the King by his special command caused to remain; which letter was openly proclaimed at the market-cross and fully obeyed. The gates being locked, the King being in his bed, the Queen’s Majesty walking in her chamber, the said Lord Ruthven took air upon the lower gate, and the privy passages; and at the King’s command, in the mean time, Davie was hurled down the steps of the stairs from the place where he was slain, and brought to the porter’s lodge; where the potter’s servant taking off his clothes, said, “This hath been his destiny; for upon this chest was his first bed when he entered into this place; and now here he lieth again, a very ingrate and misknowing knave. The King’s whiniard was found sticking in Davie’s side after he was dead; but always the Queen inquired of the King where his whiniard was? Who answered, that he wit not well: Well, said she, it will be known afterwards.

The King rose at eight of the clock, and passed to the Queen’s chamber, where he and she fell to reasoning of the matter proceeded the night afore, the one grating on the other till it was ten o’clock, then the King came down to his chamber; and at his coming from her, she desired him to let all the ladies and gentlewomen come unto her, which the King granted, and at his coming down shewed the same to the Earl of Morton and Lord Ruthven, who were not contented with the same; and shewed the King, that they feared that the Queen’s Majesty would traffick by them with the Lords, and all other that would do for her, like as it followed indeed; For instantly her Majesty wrote some writing, and caused them to write others in her name to the Earls of Argile, Huntley, Bothwell, Athol, and others. After that the King had dined, he passed up to the Queen’s Majesty’s chamber, where the Queen made as she would have parted with bairn, and caused the midwife to come and say the same. So her Majesty complained that she could get none of the gentlewomen to come up to her Scots nor French. The King sending his word to the Earl of Morton and Lord Ruthven, all were let in that pleased. At the same time the Queen’s Majesty thought that the Lord Ruthven would do her body harm, and sent John Semple to Lord Ruthven to enquire what her Majesty might lippen unto in that behalf: Whose answer was, that he would do no more harm to her body, than to his own heart; if any man intended to do otherwise, he should defend her Majesty’s body at the uttermost of his power. And further said, her Majesty had experience of his mind in that night’s proceeding, when he suffered none to come near her Majesty to molest and trouble her. John Semple brought this message to the Lord Ruthven at two of the clock afternoon, sitting then in the King’s utter chamber at his dinner. At four of the clock the King came down to his chamber, where the Lord Ruthven shewed him that the Queen’s Majesty was to steal out among the throng of the gentlewomen in their down coming, as he said he was advertised. So the King commanded him to give attendance thereto, which he did, and put certain to the door, and let no body nor gentlewomen pass forth undismuffled.

After, about seven or eight of the clock, the Earls of Murray and Rothes, with their complices, came out of England, and lighted at the Abbey, and were thankfully received of the King; and after certain communing, the Earl of Murray took his good night of the King, and passed to the Earl of Morton’s house to supper. Immediately thereafter, the Queen’s Majesty sent one of her ushers, called Robert Phirsell, for the Earl of Murray; who passed to her Majesty, whom she received pleasantly, as appeared; and after communing, he passed to the Earl of Morton’s house again, where he remained that night. At this time the King remained communing with the Queen’s majesty, and after long reasoning with her, she granted to lie with him all night, he coming to her chamber, and putting all men out of his utter chamber, except the waiters of the chamber, and made a complaint that her gentlewomen could not go forth at the door undismuffled at the King’s coming down. He shewed the Earl of Morton and Lord Ruthven the whole manner of his proceedings with the queen’s majesty, which they liked no way, because they perceived the King grew effeminate again; and said to him, we see no other but ye are able to do that thing that will gar you and us both repent. Always he would have the said Earl and Lord to rid all the house, conform to the Queen’s Majesty’s desire; which they did, and the Lord Ruthven passed and lay in the King’s wardrobe; and after he was lien down, George Douglas came to him, and shewed him that the King was fallen asleep. He caused George to go to wake the King; and after that he had gone in twice or thrice, finding him sleeping so sound, he would not awake him. Thereat the said Lord was very miscontented; the King slept still till six in the morning, that the Lord Ruthven came and reproved him, that he had not kept his promise to the Queen’s majesty, in lying with her all that night. His answer was, that he was fallen on such a dead sleep that he could not awaken; and put the blame to William Tellor, one of his servants that permitted him to sleep. But always, said he, “I will take my night-gown and go up to the Queen.” The Lord Ruthven answered, “I trust she shall serve you in the morning as you did her at night.” Always the King passed up, being Monday the 11th of March, at six of the clock, to her Majesty’s chamber, and sat down on the bed-side she being sleeping, or at least made herself so, and sat there by the space of one hour e’re she spoke word to him. Then when her Majesty waked, she enquired of the King; why he came not up yesterday night conform to his promise? He answered, he fell in so dead a sleep, that he awaked not afore six. Now, saith he, am I come, and offered to like down beside her Majesty; but she would not suffer him, for she said she was sick, and would ride incontinent. Then the King fell in reasoning with her Majesty towards the returning of the said Lords that were banished, and forgiving of them all offences, and likewise for the slaughter of Davie; and as appeared to him her Majesty was content; for the King came down to his own chamber at eight of the clock very merrily, and shewed the Earl of Morton and Lord Ruthven the proceedings betwixt him and the queen’s Majesty; who answered him, and said, “all was but words that they heard.” For look how ye intend to perswade her Majesty; we fear she will persuade you to follow her will and desire, by reason she hath been trained up from her youth in the court of France, as well in the affairs of France as Scotland, in the privy council. Well, said the King, will ye let me alone, and I will warrant to dress all things well. And after that the King had put on his clothes, he passed at nine to the queen’s chamber, where he reasoned of many things with her Majesty; and at his returning to his dinner at eleven, he declared to the Earls of Murray and Morton, Lords Ruthven and Lindsay, that he had addressed the Queen’s Majesty; that the said two Earls and Lord Ruthven, should come to the presence of the Queen’s Majesty, that she would forgive, and put in oblivion all things by past, and bury them out of her Majesty’s mind, as they had never been. The said Earls and Lords answered, “that all that speaking was but policy; and suppose it were promised, little or nothing would be kept.” Always the King took freely in hand, and had them make such security as they pleased, and the queen’s Majesty and he should subscribe the same. And then after dinner the King passed up again to the queen’s chamber, where the midwife was made to come to him, and said, “that the queen would not fail to part with Bairn, if her Majesty went not to some other place where there were more freer air;” and in like manner divers of the Lords said the same. And the King returning to his chamber at three afternoon, declared the same to the Earls and Lord Ruthven: And in the meantime in came the French doctor, who declared to the King, that it was unable to the Queen’s Majesty to eschew a fever; which, if she take, she will not fail to part with bairn, without she were transported from that place to some better aired place. After they were departed, the King inquired of the said Earls and Lords, what they thought of their speaking? Who answered, “they feared all was but craft and policy that was spoken and done.” Always the King would not trow the same, and said, “that she was a true Princess, and that thing she promised, he would set his life for the same.” And between four and five afternoon, the King passed to the Queen’s chamber, and took the Earls of Morton, Murray, and Lord Ruthven with him; and after they had come to the Queen’s utter chamber, the King went in and left the Lords, to know her pleasure, whether her Majesty would come out of her utter chamber, or if the Lords should come into her Majesty. She took purpose, and came out of the Utter chamber, led by the King; the said Earls and Lords sitting down upon their knees, made their general oration by the Earl of Morton, chancellor, and after, their particular orations by themselves. And after that her Majesty had heard all, her answer was, that it was not unknown to the Lords, that she was never blood-thirsty, nor greedy upon their lands and goods, sithence her coming into Scotland; nor yet would he upon theirs that were present, but would remit the whole number that was banished, or were at the last deed; and bury and put all things in oblivion as if they had never been; and so caused the said Earls, Lords, and Barons to arise on their feet. And afterwards her Majesty desired them to make their own security in that sort they pleased best, and she should subscribe the same. Thereafter her Majesty took the King by the one hand, and the Earl of Murray by the other, and walked in her said utter chamber the space of one hour; and then her Majesty passed into her inner chamber, where she and the King appointed that all they that were on the King’s party, should go forth of the place after supper. The King coming down to his chamber afore six of the clock, the articles which were the security that were on the King’s party, were given by the Earls of Ruthven and Morton, and Lords Ruthven and Lindsey to the King, to be subscribed by the Queen, which the King took in hand so soon as he had supped to be done; and he desired the said Lords to remove themselves out of the palace, to that effect, that her Majesty’s guard and servants might order all as they pleased. The Lords answer was to the King, ‘you may well cause us to do that thing that is your pleasure, but it is sore against our wills; for we fear al this is but deceit that is meant towards us” and that the Queen’s Majesty will pass away secretly, and take you with her, either to the castle of Edenburg, or else Dunbar. And here the Lord Ruthven protested, that what end followed thereupon, or what blood was shed for the same, that it should come upon the King’s head and posterity, and nought upon theirs. The King said, “he should warrant all.” So they departed, and took their leave of the King, and passed all forth of the palace of Holyrood-house to the Earl of Morton’s house, where they supped; and after supper directed Mr. Archibald Douglas to the King, to see if the Queen’s Majesty had subscribed the articles of the Lords and Barons security. The King gave answer that he had let the Queen’s Majesty see them, who found them very good; and because she was sick and going to her bed, she delayed the subscribing of them to the morning; and immediately after Mr. Archibald returned to the Lords with answer. The Laird of Traquair, master of the guard made an errant to the Earl of Murray, to see what the Lords were doing, and after he was departed, the whole Earls, Lords, and Barons, with gentlemen, passed to the town of Edenburg to their beds, believing surely the Queen’s Majesty’s promise, and the King’s.

The same night about one o’clock after midnight, the Queen’s Majesty and the King with her, went out at a back-door that passed through the wine-cellar; where Arthur Erskin, the captain of the guard, and other six or seven persons, met her Majesty with her horses, and rode towards Dunbar; and on the morrow, which was Tuesday the 12th of March, the Lords hearing how the Queen’s Majesty was departed, and taken the King with her, convened the Earls, Lords, Barons, and gentlemen, and after the matter was appointed, enquired every man’s opinion, which concluded all to remain in the town of Edenburg, till such time they might send some noblemen to her Majesty for performance of the articles promised for their security; and to that effect sent for the Lord Semple, and desired him that he would pass to Dunbar, with a writing of the Lords, which he granted to do, and received the same with a copy of the articles that the King received before, and promised to do his utter diligence to get the same immediately sped, if it were the King and Queen’s Majesties pleasure so to do. After the Lord Semple’s coming to Dunbar, having presented the Lords writing to their Majesties, he was evil taken with the Queen’s Majesty, who caused him to remain three days; he reported at his returning, that there was no good way to be looked for there, but extremity to the Earls, Lords, and gentlemen, who had been at the slaughter of David, notwithstanding her Majesty’s promise made before. At that time her Majesty being in Dunbar, wrote to all Earls, Lords, and Barons to meet her in Haddington town the 17th or 18th of March, and likewise directed universal letters, charging all manner of men betwixt sixty and sixteen to be there, day and place aforesaid, being in arms in fear of war; and also sent divers charges to the Lord Erskine, captain of the castle of Edinburgh, to shut up the town unless the Lords departed out of it. In this time it was declared to the Earl of Murray, that if he would sue address to the Queen’s Majesty, he would obtain the same, who shewed it to the Lords, who counseled him to write to her Majesty to that effect; which he did, and received her Majesty’s answer with certain articles. In this time the Earls of Glencairn and Rothes took their appointment of the Queen’s Majesty. The Earl of Morton, Lord Ruthven, and the remanent their complices, perceiving that the Queen was willing to remit the Lords banished into England and Argyle, and bare her Majesty’s whole rage against them that were with the King at the slaughter of Davie, thought best to retire themselves into England, under the Queen’s Majesty of England’s protection, till such time as the nobility of Scotland, their peers, understood their cause; for they have done nothing without the King’s command, as is before mentioned, and doubt not but their cause shall be found just and honest whatsoever the same be tried; and lament the extream handling contrary to order and justice, that they may not compear for fear of their lives; in respect that her Majesty hath caused a band to be made, and all Earls, Lords, and Barons, that resorted to her Majesty, to subscribe the same, that they shall pursue the said Earl Morton, Lord Ruthven, and Lindsay, and their complices with fire and sword; which is against all order of the law. And on Saturday, the 22d of March, her Majesty hath caused to be summoned the Earl of Morton, Lords Ruthven and Lindsay, the Master of Ruthven, Lairds of Ormyston, Brinston, Halton, Elvelston, Calder, Andrew Carr of Faldomside, Alexander Ruthven, brother to the Lord Ruthven, Patrick Murray of Tippermure, William Douglas of Whittingham, Archibald Douglas his brother, George Douglas, Lyndsay of Prystone, Thomas Scott of Cambysmichet, William Douglas of Loch Leven, James Jeffert of Shreffal, Adam Erskine, commendator of Camskinnel, Mentershfear of Kars, Patrick Ballenden of Stenehouse, brother to Justice Clerk, Patrick Wood of Conyton, Mr. James Magill, Clerk of Registers, with others, to compear before her Majesty and secret council within six days, under the pain of rebellion, and putting them to her horn, and eschetting and bringing of all their moveable goods, the which like order is not used in any Christian realm; nor is it the law of Scotland of old, but new cropen in, and invented by them that understand no law nor yet good practice; and how her Majesty hath handled the Barons of Lothian our brothers, it is known; and in likewise our poor brethren of Edinburgh, merchants and craftsmen, and how they are oppressed by the men of war, God knoweth, who will put remedy hereto when it pleaseth him best; and how the Lords and Barons wives are oppressed in spoiling of their places, robbing of their goods without any fine for the same, it would pity a godly heart. And where her Majesty alledgeth, that night that Davie was slain, some held pistols to her Majesty; some stroke whiniards so near her, that she felt the coldness of the iron, with many other such like sayings which we take God to record was never meant nor done; for the said Davie received never a stroke in her Majesty’s presence, nor was not stricken till he was at the farthest door of her Majesty’s utter chamber, as is before rehearsed. Her Majesty makes all these allegations to draw the Earl Morton the Lords Ruthven and Lindsay, and their complices, in greater hatred with other foreign princes, and with the nobility and commonalty of the realm, who have experience of the contrary, and know that there was no evil meant to her Majesty’s body. The eternal God who hath the rule of Princes hearts in his hands, send her his Holy Spirit, to instruct her how she should rule and govern with clemency and mercy over her subjects.

Written at Berwick the 28th day of March, 1565

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