By the time James VI came to England in 1603, he had 26 years experience of kingship, and had established his authority in Scotland, and was a self confident ruler, and author with a clear sense of what monarchy was about.
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Today we are going to talk about James while he was just plain old James VI, just one more in a chain of Scottish James’, so that you may understand a bit the James that came to inhabit the English, Welsh and Irish thrones too. And remember that basic historiography of old – that in James we have a king of great successes in his native land, a player of some talent, so surely whatever goes wrong in the England years – if anything does go wrong of course, no plot spoilers here, thank you very much – can’t be laid at the door of a James of Weldon’s crude caricature.
James was born into a truly extraordinary situation, when he became king at a rather lonely ceremony at Scone, traditional location for the crowning of Scottish kings, when he was but one year old, in 1567. Not that being crowned while a minor was anything new for Scotland, oh no. James II was 7 when he became king, James III was 8, James IV, from whose wife, Margaret Tudor derived James VI’s claim to the English throne, was practically drawing his pension when he came to the throne at 15 years old, but the pattern re-established itself with James V who was one and a bit. There was a sort of a pattern to these minorities – to a greater or lesser extent, the result was factionalism and infighting. I know we have spoken many times of the importance of the monarch as a manager of the medieval great men; this was a role even greater than normal in Scotland, where the tradition of government was very much the regional devolution of power to super powerful regional magnates; one historian has argued that Scotland was ‘all country and no court’, which is definitely going too far, but given the strength of the regional magnates, having an umpire was critical. By and large there was a very strong tradition of the Scottish magnates accepting the arbitration of the king, but it meant that when there was no adult monarch things could get feisty.
What was extraordinary about James’ position was that when he came to the throne there was a person who firmly believed she was the ruling monarch of Scotland – Mary I, known to us as Mary Queen of Scots, who had been deposed by her magnates, and imprisoned in England, a story we have of course been through. That must have given James pause for thought about the relationship between a king and his subjects.
He was to be given further thoughts about such a relationship by a schoar of European renown who was his tutor – one George Buchanan; he had another, a good Calvinist theologian Peter Young, with whom he seems to have got on very well, unlike George. The two tutors managed to inculcate a love of classical learning in their young charge. In addition to his knowledge of biblical and classical texts, he was taught history, political theory, theology, languages, geography, mathematics. Languages figured highly – Latin first so that James would proudly declare that he was taught to speak Latin before he could speak Scots. But he also grew up to speak fluent Greek, French, and English.
James however had a very unhappy relationship with George, on account of a couple of major issues. One was that George was very keen on child-centred learning, in the sense that he felt strongly that children who fail to learn should swiftly feel the application of the clip round the ear, or worse, the rod. Not for James the existence of a whipping boy. The experience seems to have given James nightmares, and he never forgot the brutality. The second reason was that George fiercely and shamelessly denounced James’ mother as a tyrant, murderer and witch. That can’t have been a positive experience for the young lad, and I doubt appears as an approach in the social workers training programmes these days.
Now I mentioned the relationship between monarch and subject, and George espoused resistance theory – the idea that the people were fully entitled to rebel against a tyrant, who broke the social contract of monarchy – especially if the monarch happened to choose the wrong religion, as had his mother, of course, in George’s view.
This philosophy was strongly reinforced by Scotland’s religious establishment. Scotland’s reformation seems very much more decisive and straightforward than England’s – none of this hokey Cokey approach, one religion in, one religion out, in out in out shake it all about. No, the Scots had a Reformation parliament in 1560, everyone decided they were Calvinists now, wham bang thank you Sam. Not only that, but the church of Scotland established a structure around the church according to the Genevan advice to bring about the Godly society; this consisted of court sessions, local courts built around each parish’s elders and ministers, that made sure uniformity was strictly enforced, and morality too. At the top of the kirk was the general Assembly, to which all the ministers of every one of the 9,000 parishs were entitled to come. The word to use about the Scottish framework was Presbyterian, from Presbyter, for Elder, it is a term of which your ears will be filled. The structure of the church was thus very flat and egalitarian, ministers were all of equal rank, although there were to be 13 regional Presbyteries too.
You will notice I have not yet mentioned Bishops, or a Supreme Governor of the Church, or indeed the king. And if you were one of the more radically minded ministers of the new kirk, like a man called Andrew Melville, that was for good reason. For as Melville was to thunder at his king at lovely Falkland Palace, the king had no special place in a proper kirk at all, not like that Eton Mess of a confection south of the border:
Their is twa kings and twa kingdoms in Scotland. There is Christ Jesus the King, and his kingdom, the kirk, whose subject King James the Sixth is, and of whose kingdom not a king, nor a lord, nor a head, but a member!
Now is a time for qualification. It’s by no means quite as neat as it at first appears. Catholicism survived to an extent, particularly among some of the nobility and in the North East – the Earls of Huntly, for example. And the reach of the kirk in the Highlands and Western isles was much more patchy; it’s not necessarily that they remain defiantly wedded to the old religion, just that there is a lack of ministers, and a lack of push from many of the regional magnates – though the Campbells were an exception, being strongly protestant, and ensuring that their lands including Argyl were fully converted. Despite these problems, by the way, Education was a major focus and a success of the Scottish kirk, aiming to establish a school in every parish and making some progress towards it, and with 5 universities to train their ministers.
In political terms, James was looked after at Stirling for much of his early life by the Earl of Mar, and the next Earl was a friend to James, and would be one of those who advised Charles on his accession in 1625. It is not totally clear when James threw off the shackles of his minority and placed his hand unequivocally on the tiller of state, but said hand was probably in place by 1587. But before that James was beginning to throw his weight around.
The super summary is that James did not buy the education handed out to him by George Buchanan and Andrew Melville, and indeed he reacted very firmly against it, in the opposite direction – a good old traditional teenage rebellion in fact, testing the boundaries, staying up late, drinking too late and dropping Es, that sort of thing. As far as he was concerned, no way did his subjects have any right to depose their king; and while we are on it, the king was absolutely the head of the church. The story of his reign was a long rearguard action against the attempts of the more radical clerics to get secular power out of the church. He was helped that the real heart of the reformation was in Lothian, Fife, Angus, maybe the Borders; and that although Melville and his radical clerics were very powerful, and activist, away in their parishs many ministers were much more traditional. So it took until 1580 for the Kirk to actually agree that Bishops were unscriptural, and in 1584 James struck back with the so called Black acts at the parliament of that year to establish that Bishops were indeed a part of the kirk. Why was this important? Well because Bishops were royal hierarchy – they reported to the king, they were his eyes and ears in managing their dioceses, they could sit in secular councils and support the king. So the Black Acts, declared that James had power over ‘all estates temporal and spiritual’. Note the and spiritual and watch Melville and Buchanan coming out n spots, calling for matron and reaching for the smelling salts. He also made sure that the General Assembly of the kirk could only meet when called by the king – just like a parliament, and of course his Bishops would be there to make sure the royal agenda held sway.
That was by no means the end of the affair – the radical wing of the kirk would fight back, and early in the reign, although Bishops were still part of the formal structure, none were in place, but through the first 10 years of the 17th century, James forced Bishops back onto their sees, running their provinces.
OK, so why am I telling you all of this, I hear you eye roll? Is this the History of England or what? Well I need you to take a couple of things away with you. First of all, James was a self confident ruler, who took on very formidable opponents from a comparatively young age, and who had a very clear sense of what he was aiming for. Whatever his odd personal habits, he was no pushover. Secondly, James was used to a Presbyterian system, and shared a sense of pride at Scotland’s achievement in the strength of its reformation – the Scots felt very strongly that their’s was a leading example of a Reformed church in Christendom. But thirdly, the strength of that Reformation and its Presbyterian nature presented a challenge to James; as the struggles between him and the kirk leadership wore on, back and forth, it began to be a little unclear as to where the real heart of Scotland lay. What I mean by that, is the kirk and kirk session was very effective at a parish level of becoming the fundamental factor in the lives of ordinary Scots; its quality was part of Scottish pride in their kingdom. Now, the monarch had always worn that particular badge, the monarch had been what really symbolised Scotland, and held it together across the Northern Isles, the Western Isles and Highlands, and the lowlands. Slowly for some, that was not quite the case anymore; if they were to look for the defender of Scotland, it’s heritage and traditions, well it might just be the kirk to which they turned, rather than the king.
Just as James was determined to assert his control over the national church, so was he determined to do the same over his nobility, and would have no more truck with his nobility controlling his actions than he would the kirk trying to do so. And it has to be said, that had James decided to be become a blood letting despot in the guise of an Ivan the Terrible he would have had some justification for swinging his rucksack onto his back, taking his walking stick of oppression in hand and setting off down the road to the black gates of Mordor. After all there was the small matter of his mum being deposed; at the age of 5 he’d watched his protector the Earl of Lennox bleed to death in Stirling castle as the result of factional in fighting. And the young prince remained blown around by the winds of factionalism as late as 1582, and the reasonably terrifying series of events known as the Ruthven raid. This requires a bit of explanation, so, if you are all sitting comfortably, then I shall begin.
The young James developed early a facet of his personality that would remain strongly in evidence throughout his life – which we mentioned last time, namely, his very strong attachment to a series of men that would acquire the convenient tag of royal favourite. People have speculated that the tendency came from James’ emotionally lonely upbringing shorn of his mother, deprived of informal family relationships, giving him a life long search for emotional satisfaction. But then, you know how people will talk. But what is not speculation is that he did indeed favour a series of male companions – and the first of this ilk was a young Frenchman, oddly enough, the Seigneur d’Aubigny, one Esme Stuart. Esme was vaguely related to the Scottish royal house, and was cordially invited to visit, and so he did, kissed his family goodbye, and tipped up at the French court. Where he very quickly became the king’s dearest friend, confidente and indeed supporter – there’s no doubt of real affection on both sides. Yet Esme’s rise to the Dukedom of Lennox generated unsurprisingly conflicted feelings in the breast of other Scottish courtiers; coupled with fear of Esme’s religion – originally Catholic, though he converted to Protestantism. The result was that the person of the king, still in his minority was half inched by Lords Gowrie and Athol and incarcerated in Ruthven castle, and Esme Stuart was forced to leave the realm, at which point James wrote him a poem called the Phoenix, as you do when times are tough or the Tigers get walloped by the Saints at Welford road..
It was not long before James re-asserted himself and gained his revenge and by 1587 had attained full control of the reins of state. But there can be little doubt that these events and the challenge to his authority affected his thinking; rather than caving in and becoming a pawn in the power brokers of church and state, James systematically placed the crown once more where it had always sat in the Scottish polity – at the centre, the arbiter of faction that maintained balance between the various regional powers and magnates. That does not mean therefore that James started some war against his nobility; far from it he absolutely believed that their role was central to the success of the kingdom, and was determined to preserve their status and authority. He wrote that he would
Draw his nobility to unity and concord…as a universal king impartial to them all
He had a deep faith in the role and inherent value of aristocracy writing that ‘vertue followeth oftest noble blood’, so you know let’s banish that trendy idea that that nobility is defined by behaviour – nah, we are still in the time when such an attitude would earn you nobbut a snigger and clip round the earhole, despite what the lovely Heath Ledger says in a Knight’s Tale. Here from James is a restatement of that traditional central tenet of successful Scottish governance; the king let the magnates reign in the regions as long as they were loyal and obedient to his will, he sat above factionalism.
However, he did indeed demand their obedience, and had a talent for managing the relationship. At court, observers remarked on his informality and the strength of his relationship with his great men. But he also had a skill for employing talented administers from the lairdly class in Scotland, minor nobility you might say, in particular men like John Maitland of Thirlstone. James managed his parliaments expertly, controlling and setting the agenda of each, bending the body politic to his will.
By the time James became king of England, he was therefore, a successful, self confident ruler with a clear sense of mission. He had put the chaos of his mother’s reign behind him, and established control over both court and kirk. James ruled a kingdom of multiple traditions; from the Norse Northern Isles, to the Gallic Western Isles and Highlands, to the Scots lowlands and borders. He, like many other states of Europe, was keen to bring together these different entities into one, unified kingdom. In Scotland, James shared the lowland concept that the Gallic highlanders and western islanders needed to be civilised; in Basilikon Doron, his book on kingship, he wrote that there were two types of highlander
Those that dwelleth in our mainland, that are barbarous for the most part and yet mixed with some show of civility; the other that dwelleth in the Isles are utterly barbarous, without any show of civility
The Scottish parliament appeared to agree and proclaimed that the Gaelic language should be ‘abolisheit and removeit’ from Scotland because it was
‘one of the chief and principall causis of the continewance of barbaritie and incivilitie amongis the inhabitantis of the Ilis and Heylandis’
There is a parallel between English and lowland Scots attitude towards Gaeldom. As indeed there was also in identifying solutions; James was also a believer in planting communities of the so called civilised lowlanders to bring lowland civilisation to the Islands. So in the 1590s, he focussed on the island of Lewes; he proclaimed that the MacLeod had forfeited their rights, and formed a society, the Gentlemen Adventurers of Fife. 500-600 Fifers set out for Lewes, to set up a community in Stornoway. James was unconcerned about local feeling – the Adventurers were to proceed ‘not by agreement with [Lewis people] but by extirpation of thame’. Which is again, rude.
This thinking, then, would inform James’ policy towards Ireland, as we shall see, in the fullness of time. The policy of trying to standardise Scottish culture continued after James moved to England – the stature of Iona in 1609 ordered that any man of means were to send their eldest sons to be Educated in English at Lowland schools, the right to carry arms was restricted, fugitives and beggars not to be protected, and Gaelic bards and other bearers of the traditional culture controlled; the Statute was followed up by a proclamation from the Scottish Privy Council in 1616.
In 1589, James was betrothed in absentia to Anne of Denmark, the 15 year old daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark. This was a big deal for James and for Scotland – a royal bride of Anne’s status was real diplomatic coup, plus, James was fully prepared to be as romantically swashbuckling as possibly could be, writing poems of delighted and declarations of love for his bride to be. And by George he was to have his chance, because Anne’s fleet hit very bad weather, all news was lost and the worst was feared, even worse it seems she might have ended up in Leith – just a joke Leithians, had she landed there no doubt she’d have been bathed in sunshine – anyway, everyone was laying eggs. Then it was discovered that she’d been blown to Oslo, so with wavy locks flowing our young hero took ship with 300 companions to Oslo to rescue his paramour.
There is something of a dispute as to what happens next. The Norwegians described a grand, formal entrance with heralds, the Scottish account relates a love story without utensils, of the young king turning up unannounced and over her protests, he kissed her, and I quote, in the ‘Scottish fashion’. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to forgive me, but since first writing of James’ romance for the Members’ history of Scotland, I have mused long into the night about what kissing in the Scottish fashion might be – I mean when we were nippers we were vaguely aware of French kissing, but no more. Enlightenment has since not arrived, so any answers – break out the postcards once more.
Anne of Denmark brought lustre and culture to the Scottish court; and by and large she and James defended each other’s good name and interests. Though it must be said that Anne was not above playing her cards for her own ends, including some intriguing against James’ chief minister, John Maitland. When Anne set up her household at Dunfermline, her court became a cultural centre that allowed her to experiment with new architecture and to patronize musicians, players, and poets; this would be important also when she got to England. The pair were not without their disagreements, and James was rumoured, well more than rumoured, to have had a mistress for 3 years between 1593 and 6. Of course since Anne didn’t immediately give birth, although she may in fact have had a miscarriage, there was the entirely predictable pressure; and some libels appeared in print archly mentioning James’ fondness for male company, nudge nudge, and if you will, wink and possibly even wink. But Ann gave birth to 7 children, though 4 of them died painfully young.
One thing rather drove the couple apart. Their firstborn was Prince Henry, born in 1594 and he quickly became showered with praise and the hopes of a nation, was seen as the bright and promising future for the Scottish monarchy. Everyone was over the moon, Anne luxuriated in praise – and relief probably- as she cradled her tiny son. But then – a hammer blow – James dictated that little Henry should not be kept and looked after by his mother – but instead by Annabel Murray and John Erskine, the Earl of Mar at Stirling. Anne was furious, and her fury runed bitter when James refused to back down. Why, why would James do such a thing to his wife? A couple of theories have been advanced; firstly, maybe it was James’ paranoia about security – it was the Earl and Countess of Mar who had kept him safe through many of the vicissitudes of his minority. Or maybe it was that old chestnut religion; Anne, though nominally a Lutheran, had started flirting with Catholicism, and would indeed convert – and maybe James saw trouble ahead if Henry was not brought up in the national religion. But as you can imagine, it soured Anne and James’ relationship, and some, although not to the extent of a full estrangement.
It was for Little Prince Henry that James wrote the Basilikon Doron and the Trew laws of Free Monarchies in 1598-9. By this stage, James was secure on this throne, an experienced successful and capable monarch, lord of all he surveyed, in his pomp. These books were his mature reflections on the nature of kingship. It was also quite possibly his revenge on the shades of George Buchanan and Andrew Melville, with their outrageous theories of a contractual monarchy, and the right of people to resistance. And we should note that these ideas were not restricted to Scotland; in England in the 1550s John Ponet in Marian exile had written in the same vein, as had Theodore Beza at Geneva; and indeed the Jesuits had also argued the same should a kingdom be unlucky enough to be ruled by a heretic. The Basilikon Doron, or Royal Gift, was firstly a very private letter to Henry; but in 1603 when he arrived in England, a new edition was made public so that people could see with what they would be dealing.
There’s something of a tussle here amongst historians, of which I think you should all be made aware. When we get to the civil wars and all of that we’ll have a hoot about historiography in what is the second most interesting period of English history, but very broadly speaking, there are big enders and little enders, those that think the causes of the conflict stretch back to unfinished business in Elizabeth and James’ reign, and those that think it’s all because of a series of political crises that came about which even Solomon would have struggled with, and Charles was no Solomon. Anyway, one of the strands is about Absolutism – oh look, the people say, here’s this Stuart and his son, they come onto the thrones of the kingdoms, and they start chucking their weight about with all this Absolutism stuff, the supreme right of kings. Whereas other voices, among whom I include the excellent Tim Harris and Jenny Wormald who say it’s all wildly exaggerated – look, James was claiming nothing new.
In my humble opinion, and it is humble compared to those luminaries, the problem is that it depends on how you read the tea leaves, and what you want said leaves to tell you. So first of all – what did Jimmy write? Well in essence, he did indeed make it quite clear that the King was
Accountable to none but God only
If he rules badly, he was responsible not to the people, no no no, he would receive his judgement at God’s hand alone – and no one would be selling tickets for the show either. The king was absolute – that is to say, his power was full and complete. And while we are at it, James was firm about the superiority of King over parliament; he argued that kings came before parliaments, and therefore were the original law makers;
‘and so it follows of necessitie, that the Kinges were the authors & makers of the lawes, and not the laws [makers] of Kings
Well OK, that does sounds pretty absolutist. But Tim Harris makes the point that these things were widely accepted; the likes of the 15th century jurist John Fortesque who talked of power deriving from the people were relatively obscure, many would simply have agreed that the job of the subject was to obey, and that without that there would be death and chaos – and so we come back to the later writings of Hobbes, the Leviathan who has absolute power, without which life would be
continual fear of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short
Jenny Wormald also makes the point that James in no way intended to be a tyrant – far from it, the Basilikon Doron is full of witty humorous advice on how to rule well; a king should accept there are ways in which he is expected to exercise his power, consultation he must make, that he must rule for the betterment of his people, that although his nobility must be controlled and not become overmighty, yet they must be part of a partnership.
Th point is though, for the other side of the argument, that such limits as he accepted were limits that the king graciously granted to his people; whereas in fact the constitutional history of England had established that there were practical limits on royal power; and indeed even during the frankly very mighty Tudors, theory had been embedded that royal power was greatest when exercised as the king in parliament – a concept which still, deeply buried, underlies the British Constitution. And also it has to be said that the likes of Edward Coke would have nothing to do with this the king is above the law stuff. They read the same leaves very differently
Eitherway, I think the takeaways are that James had a very exalted view of royal power; and that in exercising that power he had the weight of a successful reign behind him when he came south. But that he was to find in England a quite different point of view at least among some of his MPs, which would remove the royal nose from its most comfortable joints.
OK I think that’s quite enough about Jimmy as king of Scotland for now – let’s see if we can’t get him over the border. Now James had been aware of the English throne job for sometime – it had been no secret of course that he was probably next in line, although Elizabeth had resolutely refused to make herself a lame duck queen by announcing her successor. The relationship with the English court had been tricky and been through rocky times – after all, the English had, you know – publicly executed his mum which tends to get in the way of a positive relationship. James had negotiated the Scylla of war with the English and the Charybodis of his Scottish subjects’ fury with some skill and statesmanship, appearing suitably outraged without actually picking up the musket. And although he seemed the obvious choice there were other factors – under English law a furriner including a potential king was not able to own land; Henry VIII’s will had debarred the line of Margaret Tudor to which James belonged.
So James was understandably a little touchy about the subject, he was jumpy, on edge – because let’s be clear, he wanted the job. In 1596 he heard rumours that there’d been people badmouthing his mother in the English parliament, and he harangued the Scottish parliament about Queen Elizabeth’s ‘false and malicious and envious dealings’, and got his ambassadors to try and drum up support for his claims. Elizabeth sent him a letter written in the strongest possible terms, and Robert Cecil intimated that his standing at the English court had been damaged – such is the ‘we are not angry just disappointed’ language of international diplomacy.
James tried to build up a party of supporters in the English court, and selected the Earl of Essex as his ally; and at the same time actually went as far as trying to persuade the conventions of Scottish estates and burghs and tried to raise taxation to prepare for an invasion to assert his rights by law – I mean, the lad was serious about this, and was livid when the estates told him that invading England would be nutty, and refused to support him.
Now it has to be said that any English party at Elizabeth’s court faced something of a problem talking to James – because having conversations about how best to succeed to the English throne constituted, of course, what’s that word – oh yes, Treason, and treason, as listeners to this podcast will surely know by now, led to a messy sort of death. So Essex had been taking something of a risk, but as you know of course Essex was a bit of a one for taking risks, a habit which eventually rather blew up in his face. Essex’s execution left James without his private communication channel to the English court.
Enter Robert Cecil, stage left. Cecil was something of a chip off the old block, and was aware that others were writing to James, including Lord Henry Howard, a man of Catholic leanings who had supported Mary. Henry Howard had been in receipt of a chequered career it must be said, almost from birth in 1540; he was constantly suspected of being a Catholic, and was imprisoned and released no fewer than 5 times during Elizabeth’s reign, and then banged up in Nicholas Bacon’s house. Howard was a mam besotted with the mystique of nobility, not a man in favour of social mobility, in fact social mobility was a four letter word – but then you know how idiosyncratic Tudor spelling was. And yet, hauled in and out of prison constantly out of favour, he was dependant on hand outs from his numerous Howard relatives, which must have been humiliating. However his star began to rise when he attached himself to the Earl of Essex – and then cleverly detached himself before Essex’s fall, and attached himself to the Robert Cecil faction.
Cecil’s interest meanwhile was to achieve a smooth transition here to the throne when Elizabeth finally shuffled off her mortal coil; because people were worried, some Londoners were filling their houses with military kit in preparation for violence and confusion. Cecil’s aim was to take the heat out of the situation as far as possible – to reassure James as far as he was able so that he’d stop his sabre rattling, reassure him so that he felt comfortable he would not be denied his due. In this Henry Howard was a useful intermediary; Howard had been secretly, and possibly dangerously, in contact with this foreign ruler, and built up a relationship – though, it must be said, sometimes boring the bejesus out of his future king with a correspondence which James described as of ‘ample Asiatic and endless volume’. All this, though potentially dangerous, would work heavily in Howard’s favour come 1603. It might also be that Henry Howard drew into this chain of correspondence his Uncle, Thomas Howard, a man who had been much more popular with Elizabeth, and a seafaring man in the Spanish wars. Certainly, Thomas Howard would also do well under James.
For now, it was Robert Cecil who made the most of this channel to the Scottish king, and He told James that his position as an alien would not get in the way of his inheritance, he persuaded Elizabeth to increase James’ pension to £5,000, James appreciated his efforts, and responded with admiration for his new-found ally. In March 1603 as Elizabeth’s health declined, Cecil drafted a proclamation and sent it for James’ approval; when the Queen looked beyond repair in the early hours of 24th March, Cecil sent a messenger north at breakneck speed – Robert Carey, who arrived 3 days later at Holyrood house. By the time he arrived, James had already been proclaimed king at Whitehall and London, the announcements received calmly and without objection, which was something of a win for the Tudors. James received, of course, numerous other letters from anxious English courtiers as the sharpest of elbows started sticking into ribs, including one from Francis Bacon, desperate for high legal office
Now the corner-stone is laid of the mightiest monarchy in Europe
He proclaimed in best brown nosing fashion – exaggeration no doubt, but James was most well aware and thoroughly enthusiastic about the fact that he would be acquiring 3 kingdoms and a Principality.
On 5th April, James left Edinburgh for his new kingdom, promising to his Scottish Privy Council that he would return at least once every 3 years – a promise he no doubt sincerely believed at the time, and which would have been a good idea, but which was to turn out to be a porky.
We shall join him on the journey south next time.