02 May, 2010

Hermitage Castle and a Short Summary of Mary Queen of Scots and Bothwell


Hermitage Castle was built around 1240 in the border region of Scotland by Nicholas de Soulis. It stayed in his family for 80 years when his descendant, William de Soulis was forced to forfeited the property after being accused of witchcraft and the attempted murder of a King. The castle passed to the Grahams and shortly afterward to the Douglas family. In 1342, Sir William Douglas abducted and imprisoned Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie. Ramsay was starved to death in the prison pit at Hermitage. Legend has it that he survived for seventeen days by eating small quantities of grain that fell through the cracks in the floor of the castle granary, which was located above the dungeon. After the death of Ramsay The castle came into the possession of the Hepburn family.

James Hepburn, (called Bothwell) was the 4th Earl of Bothwell. He held the castle in 1566 and it was in October of that year that his mistress, Mary of Scots made her famous 30 mile journey on horseback to see her wounded lover. This ride through the moors nearly killed the Queen.

After the murder of her husband (which Bothwell was suspected of)  the couple were married. Only months later Mary was imprisoned and forced to abdication the throne. Bothwell, facing charges of treason, fled to Norway and his titles and estates were forfeited by Act of Parliament. This was the last time the newlyweds would ever see each other. Bothwell did, however, attempt to raise an army to rescue Mary and restore her to the throne. He was captured and jailed in Denmark, where he died. His mummified body can still be seen at Fårevejle Church. Mary eventually escaped and fled to England, only to be imprisoned by her cousin Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen". Nineteen years after her detainment Mary was charged with treason and executed.

Images Via: Scotland Dreaming, Geograph Britain and Ireland, Garyjd, and Richard Kelly.


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