ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN: Mary Queen of Scots and the Scottish Civil Wars 1568-73

Katherine Thompson

Abstract


On 2 May 1568, Mary Queen of Scots escaped from Lochleven Castle where she had been held captive since her failed campaign at Carberry on 5 June the previous year. In July 1567, the queen had been forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son James VI. Mary's bastard half brother, James, Earl of Moray, had assumed the regency and thus governance of Scotland during the young King's minority. Many people domestically and internationally opposed the manner in which Moray's faction had induced the sovereign's relinquishment of her crown. Mary's escape now presented the opportunity for retaliation. From Lochleven Mary now fled immediately to the safe haven of Hamilton, eight miles from Glasgow, where her supporters now rallied. Moray upon hearing the news issued a proclamation in Glasgow on 7 May calling for all supporters of the royal authority to join with him against 'the tressonable conspiratouris.' 1 On 8 May Mary's supporters signed a bond for her restoration. Mary was able to rally six thousand men in just eleven days and would have had more if she had waited for Huntly's support from the North. But the impatience of Mary's supporters, particularly the Harniltons, caused the Queen's forces to forge ahead toward Dumbarton. Mary was aware of the military skills of her brother and Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange, but wanted to press her advantage of numbers. Moray, too was resolved to fight before fresh men from the North came to Mary's aid. Receiving intelligence that the Queen was upon the march he hastened to take advantage of the ground.Z Moray's faction chose a little village called Langside two miles from Glasgow to set up forces in anticipation of her arrival.

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