07/08/2017
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Edinburgh in 101 Objects - Mary Queen of Scots connections

e902e7b8-7aa1-4a46-b49d-bc5c1d4e0abc

The story of Edinburgh in 101 Objects project includes five items with connections to the life and times of Mary Queen of Scots.

Edinburgh in 101 Objects is a project led by Edinburgh World Heritage which tells the story of Scotland's capital city through 101 historical objects, which are located in easy to access spots around the city.

1. The Maiden, National Museum of Scotland

The Maiden is kept in the Kingdom of the Scots Gallery at National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. This four-metre tall oak shaft with weighted iron blade was introduced to Scotland during the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, and used between 1564 and 1710. It was believed to be a humane means of carrying out an execution, as opposed to beheading or burning.

2. Bloodstain of Rizzio, Palace of Holyroodhouse

This darkened area of floorboards within the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where Mary Queen of Scots had her royal court, is marked by a brass plaque and commemorates the death of Mary's companion David Rizzio, who was murdered at the palace in 1566, whilst married was married to Henry Lord Darnley and pregnant with their child, the future James VI/I.

The 'bloodstain' may have been painted on at some stage subsequent to the murder, and the floorboards have been replaced several times since Mary's day, but it stands as a reminder of the terrible deed.

3. The Scottish Crown Jewels, Edinburgh Castle

The Honours of Scotland (crown jewels) are the oldest royal regalia in Britain and the crown, sword of state and sceptre of Scotland were used to crown the infant Mary Queen of Scots at Stirling Castle in 1543. Each of these was fairly new to Scotland at the time of Mary's coronation - the crown had been refashioned for the use of her father James V, and the sword and sceptre had been gifted to James IV in 1494 and 1507 respectively.

4. Processional freize, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

This work of art decorates the Great Hall of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Mary Queen of Scots is one of only eight women who make the line up of this Victorian view of history - the other seven are queens and Jacobite heroine Flora MacDonald. The procession also includes popular figures from history including William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Robert Burns.

5. Craigmillar Castle yew tree

This yew tree at Craigmillar Castle was first recorded in 1890 and stands within the walls of Craigmillar Castle, which was built in the fourteenth century and so the tree may well have existed during the lifetime of Mary Queen of Scots. Mary convalesced at Craigmillar in 1566, following the birth of her son James - did she gaze out of a window onto this tree?

Explore the history of Edinburgh in 101 Objects on the project website.

Images: processional freize copyright Brian McNeil; Craigmillar Yew copyright Jonathan Oldenbruck.

Mary Queen of Scots Month

Back to "Mary Queen of Scots" Category

07/08/2017 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

King Alexander III married Yolande of Dreux - On this day in Scottish history

King Alexander III married Yolande of Dreux on 14 October 1285. ...


Scottish painter Allan Ramsay was born on 13 October 1713

Scottish painter Allan Ramsay was born on 13 October 1713.


Magnus Magnusson was born - On this day in Scottish history

Broadcaster and author Magnus Magnusson was born on 12 October 1929.


William Wallace and Andrew Murray wrote the Lubeck Letter - On this day in Scottish history

William Wallace and Andrew Murray wrote the Lubeck Letter on 11 October 1297.


Other Articles

Churchill, Remember the man, not the myth : The real price of ale. Part 6

If Churchill wasn’t an alcoholic, but if he fanned tall drinking tales about himself, then what was he at ...


Churchill: Remember the man not the myth – history series by Alastair Stewart

So many myths surround the life and work of Sir Winston Churchill but what is the real evidence? In this ...


Who was Mary Queen of Scots? History Scotland's ultimate guide to the life of the Stewart queen

Who was Mary Queen of Scots? Why was she executed? Discover everything you need know about the life of Mary ...


Scottish geologist Hugh Miller was born - On this day in Scottish history

Scottish geologist and author Hugh Miller was born on 10 October 1802.