[MR] Wikipedia: Mary of Guise and Scottish Protestants
Garth Groff and Sally Sanford
mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Mon Feb 27 03:38:00 PST 2023
Noble Friends, Especially Fellow Scots:
On this date in 1560, the Scottish Lords of the Congregation and the
English Crown agreed to the Treaty of Berwick by which an occupying French
army was to be ousted from Scotland. You are going to need a scorecard to
keep all the players and factions sorted out, so . . .
The chief players:
Mary of Guise, Dowager Queen of Scotland (second wife of the late King
James V), mother of Mary Queen of Scots, and Regent of Scotland for the
young Mary from 1554 to 1560. Mary of Guise was backed by pro-French and
largely Catholic Scottish lords, and propped up by a French army. Mary of
Guise died on June 11, 1560.
Mary Queen of Scots ("reigned" 1542-1567) was the only legitimate child of
James V, and became Queen of Scots in name just days after her birth. Mary
was raised as a staunch Catholic. In 1558 she married the Dauphin of
France, later (briefly) King Francis II and became Queen consort of France
in 1559. Upon Francis' death in 1560, Mary was no longer welcome in France
and in 1561 was dumped back in Scotland.
Henry II, King of France. He arranged for the marriage between Mary and his
son in the hope of acquiring Scotland as a French domain. Henry was killed
in a jousting accident in 1559.
The Lords of the Congregation were various Protestant and pro-English
nobles who wanted to make Scotland officially a Protestant country, and put
an end to French influence. They had opposed Mary Queen of Scots' marriage
to Dauphin Francis. The Lords of the Congregation were led by Archibald
Campbell, the powerful Earl of Argyll, and James Douglas, Earl of Morton.
The Lords of the Congregation were closely allied with the Protestant
firebrand preacher John Knox.
Queen Elizabeth I of England. Elizabeth was naturally concerned about
French influence, and potential control in Scotland. She also had reason to
fear Mary Queen of Scots' very real claim to the English throne.
So the stage was set for civil war in Scotland, and potential conquest by
the French. Partly at issue was the 1295 "Auld Alliance" between Scotland
and France, a rather hazy mutual defence treaty which asked the Scots to
die for France in any war between England and France. In return the French
would thank the Scots and click their tongues over the sad deaths among
their allies. The French build-up in Scotland under Mary of Guise was the
closest the French ever came to major direct assistance to the Scots
against the English.
Fear of English domination had slacked as the Protestant reformation gained
Scottish adherents. Protestant Scots saw an alliance with England as the
best assurance their religion would be protected.
The Treaty of Berwick was negotiated on 27 February 1560 at
Berwick-on-Tweed. It was hammered out between Thomas Howard, Duke of
Norfolk, and Scots led by James Stewart, Earl of Moray. Note that this
treaty was not backed by the Scottish Parliament, which was divided into
Catholic pro-French and Protestant pro-English factions. Technically the
treaty was treason against Scotland. The treaty allowed Elizabeth to send
an English fleet and expeditionary force to Scotland to expel the French,
and would subsequently recognize Scotland's independence from France. This
treaty effectively dismantled the Auld Alliance.
Mary of Guise died in June. The Scottish Parliament became dominated by
Protestants. Catholic opposition in Scotland largely collapsed (for a
while). An English siege of French forts at Leith (Edinburgh's port) ended
in July. Under a further treaty, the 1560 Treaty of Edinburgh, the French
and the English both packed up their armies and went home. French forts
were destroyed, and Scotland became officially a Protestant country.
Such was the situation when Mary Queen of Scots returned in 1561 to begin
her personal rule in Scotland. It wasn't long before Scotland was again
tearing itself apart along Protestant-Catholic lines, but that's another
story (or several) for another day.
You can read about Mary of Guise at
The Treaty of Berwick is discussed at
Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge 🦆
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