king james vi

the signs as real witches
  • Aries: Agnes Waterhouse// Had a deal with the Devil and wasn't afraid to say so. The Brave witch.
  • Taurus: Joan Wytte// Clairvoyant and healer who eventually became possessed by the Devil, getting involved in many fights.
  • Gemini: Marie Laveau// Voodoo Queen. Performed necromancy, mind control, telekinesis and pinning.
  • Cancer: Chedipe// Witch-vampire who rode on tigers in the moonlight, choosing houses to visit to cast spells on men.
  • Leo: Agnes Sampson// Tried to sink the ship of Queen Anne, wife of King James VI of England.
  • Virgo: Isobel Gowdie// Could control the weather and would often write poetry about witch practices. Allegedly marked by the Devil.
  • Libra: Circe// Transformed random sailors into wolves and lions and all kinds of animals.
  • Scorpio: Mother Shipton// Clairvoyant, sorceress. An outcast with a great talent.
  • Sagittarius: Maret Jonsdotter// Frequently tricked men. Attended witch sabbaths.
  • Capricorn: Alice Kyteler// Poisoned her rich husbands, disappeared the night before her execution.
  • Aquarius: Angele de la Barthe// Allegedly had sex with the Devil.
  • Pisces: Catherine La Voisin// Fortune Teller & Love Potions expert. Plotted to murder Louis XIV.
‘Celtic’ Witchcraft

I remember in my early days trying to find resources on historical Celtic witchcraft. I wanted to learn about the witchcraft from the places I descended from. So, I searched for answers. I read book after book on the supposed witch practices found in Wales, Ireland, and Scotland (Raymond Buckland never steered me so wrong, and that’s really saying something). However, I remember feeling…unsatisfied. It didn’t seem historical or based in any pre-Gardnerian lineage. It seemed like Wiccan influenced witchcraft based in Gaelic and Gallic mythology. However, the authors of the books were claiming that it was truly historical and traditional. Lo and behold, I was correct. So then came the question “What is historical ‘celtic’ witchcraft and where can I find it?” 

First of all, there is no one Celtic witchcraft. The word ‘Celtic’ applies to both Gaels and Gauls (though it’s said that Gauls aren’t included in that term at all, but for now, we’ll use it). There are six nations covered under ‘Celt’; Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, The Isle of Man, and Cornwall. Any witchcraft that originates from those lands can be considered ‘Celtic’, but the use of that term can create confusion and misinformation. Though they may look similar at times, and though they are all witchcraft, they are not the same. Methods changed from environment to environment. The witchery has always been based in the Land. 

I’ll briefly describe the practices and lore found in each land, but it is by no means exhaustive. 

Cornwall

In the circles of traditional witchcraft, Cornish witchery has been made very clear and accessible with much thanks to the wonderful Gemma Gary. Cornwall has perhaps one of the strongest histories of magical practice out of the Celtic Fringe. Not only witches, but Pellars (cunning folk), were a large part of the culture. Folk magic, the basis of both witch and pellar magic alike, ran rampant through Cornwall. The Pellars of Cornwall held a very strong likeness to witches, so much so that some folklorists consider them the same. The Pellars made it a point to have a wide range of services available to their customer. That meant that they would both curse and cure. The magic of Cornwall often came in the form of small spell bags filled with either powders, folded written charms, or other magical ingredient. These bags did a number of things, from love conjuring, curse breaking, and spirit banishing to healing, luck magic, and finding lost possessions. According to Cornish witch lore, a witch’s power fluctuates with the seasons, and it was in the spring that a witch’s power was renewed. The different pellars and witches of Cornwall would also clash through reputation of power. Though they clashed, the witches of Cornwall would also gather for their sabbats, which were a strange thing to behold to outsiders. Witches, both young and old, would dance with the Devil around fires, faster and closer to the flames with each pass, and never be singed. The ability to spontaneously disappear is spoken of (which may suggest flying). Black animals, especially black cats, are often spoke of in Cornish witch lore. The association with witch and toad is especially strong here, and it can be seen as a familiar, a shapeshifting witch, a charm, or an indicator of a witch. 

Wales

Witchcraft that comes from Wales can be particularly tricky to find. The term ‘Welsh Witch’ has been popular since the early days of Stevie Nicks. This makes it notoriously difficult to find any historical references on actual Welsh witches. In actuality, there were two kinds of magical practitioner in Wales. The first was a wizard (known as a cunning man in England) and the second was a witch. Wizards were very popular and plenty in number in Wales. Their practice was based mainly in healing the ill and livestock. They also did favors, like giving love potions and undoing witch spells. One Welsh tale, however, tells about a conjuror who is unable to undo a witch’s spell on a butter churn, so the farmer must turn to another witch to reverse it. Welsh witches were thought to have great power. They were able to raise the dead, curse their enemies, and according to older legends, shape shift and fly. Observing the myth of a sorceress named Cerridwen and the legends of Morgan le Fey and Nimue, there comes a general idea of what a witch was in Wales and Welsh legend. The idea of someone brewing potions and poisons was most definitely associated with witches, but more broadly, elements of water and weather seem to have importance. Interaction with the fairies also holds a very strong importance in Welsh craft. Walking between worlds, particularly this world and the world of the Fairy (Avalon, anyone?), was a skill that many wizards, witches, and heroes of Welsh myth acquired. All in all, the witchcraft in Wales is quite similar to the witchcraft found in England, as is the interaction between Wizard (cunning folk or Wise Men and Women) and Witch. 

Brittany 

In Brittany, a very strong fear and dislike for witches is found that is unlike Wales. Witches in Brittany were thought to be many in number. The legends suggest that they targeted farmers especially, making sure always to turn milk sour and spoil butter. They were also accounted to be particularly dangerous and vicious. Any man who watched their Sabbat would either not be found, found dead, or found scared witless and unable to speak. The witches of Brittany, however, were also sought out by the townsfolk. Indeed, there were witch doctors to fix their issues, but the witches were sought out for love spells and favors. Witch-cats are also mentioned, which could be either a reference to familiars or shapeshifting. Most strangely, Breton witches are said to very rarely cast spells on their targets and instead cast spells on the animals and possessions of the target. Every village is said to have a local witch. Some villages are said to be completely filled with witches. Many of them carry cane-like sticks with which they cast their spells. They were also said to be skilled in spells to find things, like lost objects and buried treasure. The line between village conjuror/wizard and witch is difficult to draw here. They may choose to help or harm, depending on their inclinations. For that reason, they still hold a strong reputation in Brittany, despite it being a place noted for its skepticism. 

The Isle of Man

On the Isle of Man, both witches and magicians were an important part of the environment. The first thing you’ll find on the witches from the Isle is that they practiced much magic involving the weather and the sea. Magic was used to help the fishermen catch more fish, make sure the winds were good for travel, and settle storms at sea. A charm was made by a witch and given to a sailor that stored the winds inside. When he was at sea and in need of a gust, he would use the charm. Interestingly, the line between witch and cunning person seemed to blur here. Cunning folk were known as Charmers and Witch Doctors. Witches, however, were employed when needed. There was a perceived difference between the magic of different kinds of practitioners. Do not be mistaken, though. The fear and dislike of witches still existed. Many farmers feared the wrath of witches, especially when their crops failed and their cattle died. To reveal the witch responsible, they would burn whatever died. The person in pain the next day was thought responsible. As throughout all of Europe, witches were thought to have gained their power either through birth or through the Devil’s grace. However, witches were looked upon differently in the Isle than other places. Because of its long associations with magic, it had many kinds of magical practitioners and witches were not always considered to be the most powerful of them. Magicians, who practiced an art to compel and work with spirits and powers beyond other kinds of practitioners, were revered. They were usually compared to the image of Manannán Mac Lir, considered both a sea god and a powerful magician. The ability to fly and walk between worlds was also attributed to the witches and magicians of the Isle of Man, most likely due to the latter. 

Scotland

Witchcraft flourished in Scotland perhaps as much, if not more than, in Wales. Scotland’s witch trials are famous, and perhaps the most famous among them was Isobel Gowdie. In her free confession, she detailed a story that most labeled imaginary. She spoke of fairies, elf bolts, curses, shapeshifting, flying, and lewd activities with the Devil. When comparing it with the confession of Alison Pearson, another Scottish witch she had never met, a Scottish fairy tradition begins to appear. Alison also details stories of going under the hills to meet the fairies, as well as them making elf bolts. More trials begot more folklore and legends. Stories of witches working the weather to destroy crops, sink ships, and cause havoc spread. More tales of a Man in Black appearing to future-witches and witches alike began to run rampant. John Fian, a male witch, was famed for his botched love spell, teaching witchcraft, harshly bewitching people whom he didn’t like, and attempting to sink the fleet of King James VI with a storm. Much of Scotland’s witchcraft was influenced by Gaelic legend and myth. Scotland’s witchery was not Gaelic alone, however. Norse invaders came and brought their magic with them. In Orkney, a Scottish Isle filled with witch history, the Vikings came often. Their language and culture mingled with the Scots’. Soon, cunning women were referred to as Spae Wives. The word Spae comes from the Old Norse spá,which means ‘prophesize’These spae wives told fortunes, created charms, and protected against foul magical play. The witches of Scotland, however, proved a match for them. They killed cattle, cursed babies, and brought general havoc with them. 

Ireland

Historical Irish witchcraft is perhaps the most difficult to find out of all the Celtic regions, and this is for a few different reasons. The first being that many lineages of Wicca have taken Irish mythology and applied it to the Gardnerian influenced witchcraft that they have. Many times when the word ‘Celtic Witchcraft’ or “Celtic Wicca’ comes up, this is what is being referred to. The second reason that it’s difficult to find is because the witch trials in Ireland are few and far between. The trials barely touched Ireland, amounting to a whopping 4 trials. The generally accepted reason for this is that Ireland was extraordinarily lax with its witchcraft laws. Most times, using witchcraft against another person’s possessions or livestock resulted in prison time. Only by harming another magically would a witch be executed. Interestingly, many people took this as a sign that Irish witches were generally less severe than their other Celtic counterparts. Florence Newton, the famed witch of Youghal, put the assumption to rest. When a woman refused to give her any food, she kissed her on the street. The woman became extremely ill and began to see visions of Florence pricking her with pins and needles. Florence also kissed the hand of a man in jail. He became very ill, cried out her name, and died. In a Northern Ireland trial, eight women were accused of causing horrific visions and poltergeists in the home of a woman. The ability to create illusions is a trait attributed to fairies in Gaelic myth. Those fairies are said to have taught the witches their skills in both Ireland and Scotland. Irish witches were said to turn themselves into animals, especially hares and crows, to spy on their neighbors. They would also place spells on those whom they wish in their animal form. They were also said to have used bundles of yarrow and branches of elder to fly. These sticks they flew upon, before brooms, were known as ‘horses’. They were said to fly up out of the chimney of their own homes. A tale of witches using red caps to fly also appears in Irish lore. This is another example of their strong ties to the fairies. The similarity between Irish and Scottish witchery has been noted, as they both have strong ties to Gaelic lore.

Witchcraft from the Celtic lands is a complex and unique thing, changing between each of the six nations. To lump them under a single title would be to lose the subtleties and differences between each. Saying that Irish witchcraft and Welsh witchcraft are the same is a fool’s lie. Saying that they are similar is true. Shapeshifting, flying, fairies, storms, and charms are found in each. But they are different.
It isn’t a bad thing when the myths of these lands are paired with Wicca or Wiccan influenced witchcraft. However, the historical practices from those places mustn’t be overwritten. 

"Kings" ask game
  • Since so many people liked the “Queens” ask game, I decided to do the “Kings” ask game as well (yes, I know, I included emperors too).
  • Henry VIII.: most overrated ruler?
  • Alexander III of Russia: favorite historical person from your country?
  • Louis XIV: favorite crown jewels?
  • Frederick the Great: 3 things you love about your favorite ruler?
  • Philip II of Spain: favorite biography?
  • Richard III.: most interesting mystery in history?
  • Alexander the Great: favorite pharaoh?
  • Franz Joseph I. : favorite palace/castle?
  • Louis XVI: myth about your favorite ruler?
  • Gustav II Adolf: one question you would ask your favorite ruler?
  • Nicholas II of Russia: the most beautiful ruler?
  • James V of Scotland: favorite coat of arms?
  • Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor: favorite ruler with the same zodiac as you?
  • Frederick VI of Denmark: favorite era?
  • Maximilian I of Mexico: favorite royal house?
  • Genghis Khan: three facts about your favorite ruler?
  • George VI: favorite history blog on tumblr?

Silver Pocket Watch from Scotland dated to 1615 on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

Made by the famous Scottish watchmaker David Ramsay who moved to England with King James VI/I and was probably gifted by James to his favourite at the time, the Earl of Somerset. It is recorded that James fell for the young Earl of Somerset, then Robert Carr, when he was injured at a Joust.

The interior of the lid bears the Order of the Garter motto Honi soit qui mal y pense which in Old French can translate to “Shame be to him who thinks evil of it.”

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Stained Glass Kings of England: 

Henry III -  Henry of Winchester

28 October 1216 – 16 November 1272

Edward II -  Edward of Caernarfon

7 July 1307 – 25 January 1327

Henry IV -  Bolingbroke

30 September 1399 – 20 March 1413

Henry V - The Star of England

20 March 1413 – 31 August 1422

Henry VI - Henry of Windsor 

31 August 1422 – 4 March 1461  30 October 1470 – 11 April 1471

Edward IV - The Sun in Splendour

4 March 1461 – 2 October 1470  11 April 1471 – 9 April 1483

Edward VI - The Longed for Prince

28 January 1547 – 6 July 1553

James I - King of Scotland

24 March 1603 – 27 March 1625

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Cowane’s Hospital Stirling 


I’d never been inside here before and as I was nosing around saw some people go in so after I had taken a few shots decided to have a peek. I didn’t get far only into the meeting hall, it seems it was closed and some people were just dropping things off so only got a few from inside, the lady said they were just leaving but the building will be open to the public in April. 

Cowane’s Hospital is a 17th century almshouse in the historic city of Stirling. It is also known as The Guildhall, as the Stirling Guildry have held their meetings here for several centuries.  

 Cowane’s is in the area known as Top o’ the Town, just below the castle and next to the Church of the Holy Rude where King James VI was crowned.

Sadly the building is in state of disrepair but the good news is work will start next year on restoring the build with help of donations and a lottery funded grant. 

Cowane’s Hospital was built by in 1637 by rich local merchant John Cowane, that’s him with the hat on the front of the building and in the stained glass window, it was an Almshouse for ‘decayed members of the Guild of Merchants’.

After its time acting as a Guildhall, Cowane’s served as a school and a hospital during epidemics.   

According to local myth, people say the statue of ‘Auld Staney Breeks’, as he was known,  comes to life on Hogmanay and does a jig.

I posted picture of his house earlier. 

4

The Twelve Prodigies: Elementalism

Elementalism is the branch of Thaumaturgy that allows to manipulate or alter the elements of weather.

Magical and religious practices to control the weather are attested in a variety of cultures. In ancient India it is said that yajna or vedic rituals of chanting manthras and offering were performed to bring sudden bursts of rain fall in rain starved regions. Some American Indians like some Europeans had rituals to induce rain.

The Berwick witches of Scotland were found guilty of using black magic to summon storms to murder King James VI of Scotland by seeking to sink the ship upon which he travelled. In various towns of Navarre, prayers petitioned Saint Peter to grant rain in time of drought. If the rain was not forthcoming, the statue of St Peter was removed from the church and tossed into a river. Even today, we can find in Europe and Russia several cases of religious processions full of believers that pray for rain in times of drought.

As far as we know today, the grade of control over the weather may vary depending on the ability of the thaumaturge: there are cases of thaumaturges capable of consciously (and with huge concentration) cause little changes in the temperature and pressure of a room, and cases of thaumaturges that alter the weather of the surrounding areas without even knowing. 

As usually happens with the thaumaturgical abilities, the subconscious seems to have more capacity to alter reality than the conscious, and therefore it can become unstable.

8

Places to Go: Tolquhon Castle, Aberdeenshire

Tolquhon Castle is rather different to the types of ‘castle’ which usually appear on this blog- improved hugely in the late sixteenth century it was not really meant to be defensible, and was instead a stately residence, for the laird to demonstrate his cultured and sophisticated lifestyle to his peers. Situated a few miles from Ellon and Pitmedden, in the midst of rolling Aberdeenshire countryside, and probably once surrounded by gardens, it is still very possible to imagine how Tolquhon would have looked in its heyday, a comfortable country house in a distinctively Scottish style, with both historical and aesthetic appeal.

Tolquhon Castle is first mentioned in 1536, as a tower house with surrounding buildings but the oldest parts of the building seem to date back to the first half of the fifteenth century. Preston’s Tower- the hulking square tower to the right in the top picture- is the remains of what was very much an average Scottish tower house of that period, and may have been built either by Sir Henry Preston (d. 1420) or Sir John Forbes, who had married Henry’s daughter Marjorie Preston and thus acquired Tolquhon for a branch of the Forbes family (a very proliferate family- you will find Forbes castles all over Aberdeenshire and Buchan). The tower house would have been the main feature of the residence for the next century or so, until the time of William Forbes, the seventh laird, who opted for a much more comfortable residence. Sir William’s father had been killed at Pinkie Cleugh, and earlier his elder brother had been executed for treason by King James V but William it seems was made of different stuff and, having served for a while at James V’s court, when he became laird he turned his attentions to local charitable work and cultural interests, having a hospital constucted adjoining the kirk in Tarves, among other things. In his old age, he decided Tolquhon Castle was to be a symbol of his status and sophistication, and the new building work was begun in 1584 under the eye of local architect Thomas Leiper, whose family had already worked on several other castles in the area. It progressed quickly and in only five years the new residence was complete, with the laird proudly having an inscription detailing the achievement placed on the wall, and taking an inventory of his possessions there only a few weeks afterwards. For a relatively minor lord, Tolquhon was a pretty respectable manor and Forbes would have been even prouder when he got the opportunity to show off his new castle to King James VI, who visited soon after its completion. Forbes died only seven years later in 1596, having also had a tomb built for himself and his wife Elizabeth Gordon in the parish kirk at nearby Tarves, which may still be seen. Though his son had originally intended to continue the work at Tolquhon this never materialised and the castle remained much the same until its forfeiture during the Jacobite rising of 1715, after which it passed into the hands of the crown and then the earl of Aberdeen, before being used, like so many old castles during this period, as extra housing for farm workers. It passed into the hands of the state in 1929 and is now preserved for the nation by Historic Scotland and is open to the public. 

The castle has many interesting features, not least the gateway at the northern entrance, which would once have been turreted and is adorned with carvings, including the royal arms and a statue of Sir William Forbes in full period dress. In the southern range meanwhile were the family rooms, including the great hall with its hexagonal paving and the laird’s bedroom and other private rooms off it. On the west side of the castle was a long gallery, which would have housed books and portraits of the family, as well as providing an indoor entertainment space in case of bad weather. This probably overlooked gardens and traces of landscaping have been found in the grounds. In the long wall surrounding the forecourt there are also large holes which would have housed beehives, while the remains of a doocot may also be found. Despite all this apparent comfort, defensible and administrative features were not entirely neglected- there is a secret hiding spot in the family rooms on the south range, while next to the bakehouse is a pit for imprisoning wrongdoers which could only be accessed via a trapdoor in the room above. Nonetheless, Tolquhon’s main purpose was as a residence, not a fortress, and even today you can still get a sense of how it must have looked when it was a bustling lordly manor. 

The pictures are mostly mine except the painting obviously, which is by an artist James William Giles. It dates from 1857 and shows Tolquhon with some of the roofs still intact.

Hamilton Starbucks orders
  • Alexander: grande 5 pump dirty chai at 160 degrees no water extra foam . Yes he knows it's complicated and obnoxious but he tips well to make up for it
  • Eliza: tall mint majesty tea with 2 honey packets. She waits patiently and let's mothers with screaming children go ahead of her. Always says "don't worry about it!" And asks how the barista's day has been
  • Philip: tall double chocolaty chip frappucino. Insists to Eliza he wants a grande and says he can finish it. She gets it for him once. He doesn't finish it.
  • Angelica: trenta cool lime refresher extra ice. Finishes it before leaving the store and comes back in line for a refill. She's never satisfied.
  • Burr: grande bold coffee with no room. Immediately goes around the corner dumps half of it out and replaces it with cream and sugar. Wants everyone to think he can drink black coffee. No one believes him.
  • Washington: venti americano no room 1 pump of vanilla. Waits patiently by the counter with his headphones in listening to a podcast about foreign affairs
  • Laurens: tall black and white mocha extra whip. Pays for the guy behind him cause he seems like he's having a rough day
  • Mulligan: venti blond pour over. Everyone laughs cause they think blond is weak. He tells them over and over its the one with the most caffeine. They don't listen.
  • Lafayette: venti caramel machiatto 2 extra shots with caramel inside and outside. Says his order really fast and grins at watching the barista scramble to write the cup
  • King George: venti London fog misto. Says he's gonna order something different every time. Never does.
  • Jefferson: grande latte machiatto, which is pretty much the exact same thing as a regular latte but the shot is poured over top instead of at the bottom. Swears it tastes different. Claims he learned it in France. Believes he can tell exactly how long the shots pulled (none of these are true)
  • Madison: whatever Jefferson is having

May 1st 1707  brought together Scotland and England under a united Parliament at Westminster.

In January a poorly attended Scottish Parliament voted to agree the Union of Scotland and England and on 16 January 1707 the Act of Union was signed. The Act came into effect on May 1st 1707; the Scottish Parliament was dissolved and England and Scotland became one country. 

From the Union of the Crowns in 1603, England and Scotland had one monarch but two Parliaments. While this worked most of the time, there were occasions when the two institutions parted company - such as when England Executed King Charles I (to the distress of many in Scotland) and became a republic, while at the same time Scotland’s governing body resolved to appoint King Charles II as their monarch. From the perspective of the leaders in London, such a situation had to be avoided in the future and the removal of the Scottish Parliament was seen as a way of achieving this.

Following the abdication of King James VII and the accession of William and Mary, the Scottish Parliament were in agreement and declared a few months later that James VII had forfeited the Scottish throne. But there were many in Scotland who still supported the deposed monarch. There were even uprisings in Scotland in support of James and the Jacobite cause was still bubbling away at the turn of the century.

There was still a large measure of religious intolerance in both England and Scotland and those in power were determined that there should never again be a Catholic monarch. But the deposed Stuart line (with their Catholic sympathies) really had a stronger claim on the throne and again there were more in Scotland who felt that this should count. When the English Parliament decided, without consultation with their Scottish counterparts, that the crown should go via the Electress of Hanover, the German granddaughter of King James VI and through her to her son (the future King George I), the Scots Parliament made plain their resentment.

There were a number of poor harvests in Scotland in the 1690s and Scotland’s economic position was then drastically worsened by the ill-fated Darien Scheme to create a Scottish colony in Panama. Scotland lost 25% of its liquid assets. The Act of Union undertook to pay 400,000 pounds in compensation to those who had incurred these losses. This was of course blatant bribery as the people who were to benefit from this compensation were amongst those who voted in favour of the Union.

Scotland relied on 50% of its exports going to England. In an act of blackmail in 1705, the English Parliament closed their market to Scottish cattle, coal and linen and declared that all Scots would be treated a aliens. It showed the vulnerability of Scotland to a trade war. In addition, Scotland was excluded from England’s colonial territories - indeed early moves towards a union of the parliaments stumbled in England as they were reluctant to allow open access. But the Act of Union in 1707 created the greatest free trade area in the world at that time.

Of course the ordinary people of Scotland were not happy with this, the church bells of St Giles in Edinburgh are said to have played the tune “Why am I so Sad on my Wedding Day” and there were riots in Edinburgh and Glasgow. 

Much has been written since then, I like Roberts Burns observation that we were “bought and sold for English Gold, Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation.”

A character in Sir Walter Scott’s Heart of Midlothian said “ when we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament-men o’ our ain, we could aye peeble them wi’ stanes when they werena gude bairns - But naebody’s nails can reach the length o’ Lunnon.” 

The union was unpopular with many of the Highland clans. They wanted the return of the Stuarts to the throne in the hope that they would make Scotland a separate kingdom again. Uprisings in 1715 and of course the more famous ‘45 both ended in failure. 

To this day many of us believe this union should not have happened, a referendum in 2014 resulted in around a 55% voting to remain as part of the United Kingdom but the debate rumbles on. I believe that one day Scotland will be an Independent nation again, perhaps I wont live to see this, I do though think it inevitable. 

10

Let me take you a few centuries back to the time of knights and noble ladies. This time the magic place I’d like to share is the town of Stirling in Scotland - the key to the Highlands. It’s one of the most important places in Scottish history, where Mary Queen of Scots raised her son James (future King of Scotland James VI and King of England and  Ireland James I). 

The famous Stirling Castle and the Church of the Holy Rude by its side witnessed several generations of the Stewart dynasty, as well as the famous Battle on the Stirling Bridge, in which general William Wallace tricked and defeated the English (Edward I’s) army. William Wallace Monument is still there to remind of the glory of those days.

This is the place that opens up the doors to the Highlands and let’s you embrace the greatness of that upper Scotland from above. It carries lots of legends and secrets, and even has an imitation of the King Arthur’s Round Table - the King’s Knot. The trick to find it is to go up…

The beast of Stirling is a wolf. According to the legend, when Vikings were about to attack the city, a wolf howled, alerting the townspeople in time to save the town. Now that very wolf sits still by the path to the castle silently howling to the sky…

June 19th saw the birth of 1566 King James VI in Edinburgh Castle. 

It was a difficult birth and the child that was born was frail. Rumour soon spread which would haunt James for the rest of his life. The first of these rumours was that James was not Lord Darnley’s child but Bothwell’s. This can be dismissed by the fact that at the time of his conception, Mary was still infatuated with Darnley, and by the child’s resemblance to his father. Secondly, there is a theory that James actually died at birth and was replaced by one of Erskine, Lord of Mar’s child. This is substantiated by the remains of a baby skeleton found within the walls of Edinburgh Castle in the 18th century. This again is highly unlikely.

On 17 December 1566 James was christened at Stirling Castle according to Catholic rites. Darnley was as per usual absent, and so was the godmother, Queen Elizabeth I who merely sent a gold font and a representative who remained outside in protest of the Catholic ceremony.

James became King of Scotland when he was just thirteen months old, with his mother Mary being forced to abdicate, he was raised in Stirling Castle by the Earl and Countess of Mar, James was brought up in the Protestant faith. Although Scotland was ruled by several regents whilst James grew up, by the age of seventeen, he was largely in control of his Kingdom.

At the age of thirty seven he would become King of England, in the absence of an heir, to Queen Elizabeth, James was the next living relative in line to the throne and upon Queen Elizabeth I’s death in 1603, he became James I of England. On 5 April, James left Edinburgh for London, promising to return every three years, a promise he never kept,  he would only return to Scotland once in over 20 years.

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Blacklist Rewatch - T. Earl King VI

Just look what happens when the heart of the show once again becomes the focus of the show. A lovely entertaining episode that, besides Luther Braxton, is the best of season two. And as much as I love what is spoken between Red and Lizzie after the auction (take the boy and go) and in the car (I care about you etc) I really love the unspoken. The body language and little glances during the auction. How Red warns her the Kings are on to her just by the tilt of his head and how she understands perfectly. That scene is magic. Add to that the “Lizzie” and I was dying all over again. (But I’ll ignore skinhead Tom if it’s all the same to you)


So no new Blacklist but this is a great substitute