Furnishing the tower house: nobles, lairds, merchants & craftsmen

This post is about the furnishings of tower houses, and the documentary record. The first thing to note is that Scottish furnishings from the sixteenth- and seventeenth centuries are very rare. This may be contrasted with the apparent survival of quantities of English chunky Jacobethan furniture, and it occurs to me that a rather smaller…

Anna of Denmark: Costume, Colours, and Identities in Scotland

This is a transcript of a talk I gave at Riddles Court in Edinburgh and Jesus College, Oxford, in 2019 about Anna of Denmark in Scotland, 1589 to 1603 Introduction In Scotland Anna of Denmark had her own household separate from the kings’. These people lived with her and worked with her. An ambassador called…

Physic and lace bonnets

Grace Mildmay's interest in physic has been described by Linda Pollock. Her daughter Mary Fane, Countess of Westmorland is rather less well-known, except for her letter to Secretary Windebank in May 1639 urging peace with Scotland, which has been published many times. Her eldest daughter Grace married James, Earl of Home in 1626, after the death of…

Inchkeith: The Island of Women

An English diplomat Thomas Randolph wrote that merry men in Edinburgh had a joke that Inchkeith Island in the Forth, between Edinburgh and Fife, ought to be called the Isle des Femmes, because there were so many women on it. Usually called the Island of Horses, Mary of Guise, queen regent of Scotland preferred the…