Dumbarton Castle: Women at Work

In March 2019 I looked at the history of Dumbarton Castle from 1500 to 1700 for Historic Environment Scotland, highlighting events and people. It was interesting to read of one of the keepers in 1620, Sir John Stewart of Methven who built a castle on his estate Ireland at Mongavlin, while neglecting his duties at…

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…

Three gold lockets in Edinburgh, 1600

  A reference from 1600 to gold lockets or ‘tablets’ can be found in Edinburgh’s ‘Register of Decreets’.[1] This is the record of a court convened by baillies and burgesses that dealt with debts. Anyone in the town, or anyone owed money by anyone from Edinburgh, could come to this baillies’ court, and obtain a…

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…