Losing Our Heads (Online) – Mary Queen of Scots and 16th Century Surveillance

The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots "The executioner then picked up the severed head and, showing it to those present, cried out: 'God save Queen Elizabeth! May all the enemies of the true Evangel thus perish!'"

Mary Stewart, Queen of Scots was beheaded about 8am on Wednesday, 8 February 1587 for plotting the assassination of her cousin Queen Elizabeth I of England (and Ireland).

Mary had not confessed to any crime. The evidence that led to her death came from her intercepted letters. Other letters implicating Mary in the murder of her second husband had led to a cold reception when she first arrived in England. Both cases give an insight into how insecure communication is by no means a modern worry - even if, hopefully, having your emails and Facebook posts read today doesn't lead to an executioner's axe.


Flodden Field

With Henry VIII away fighting in France, the Scottish King James resolved to invade England. The decision was to cost him his life.

In 1513, King Henry of England, together with Maximilian, the Holy Roman Emperor, was besieging the city of Therouanne during the Catholic' League's war against France. The French Queen Mary persuaded James IV, the Scottish king, to revive "The Auld Alliance" and divert Henry's attention by invading England and sent him money and weapons to arm and equip his army. Henry had recently angered James and opened old wounds by claiming to be the overlord of Scotland and the Scot relished the opportunity to get back at Henry, despite being married to Margaret Tudor, Henry's sister.