Mary, Queen of Scots and the Scottish Reformation

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six nobles monarchy girl
Mary England Church France
The Church
In the 16th century, religion and the Church played a very important part in peoples’ lives. Everyone in Scotland belonged to the same Church – the Roman Catholic Church.
The Church was led by the Pope, who lived in the Vatican in the city of Rome, the capital of Italy. The Church believed that the Pope was as powerful as kings and queens.

Church was very different in those days and in using the teachings of the Old Testament, many priests described God as strict and who people are punished people if they disobey Him. At weekly services people were told about hell and the horrors that would await them there if they did not do what the Church said. Some priests told the people they would be told they were going to hell if they did not obtain an indulgence, which would take away some of the punishment. This could be as simple as saying a few prayers but often this meant that they were to give money to the Church.

This picture is called ‘Souls taken down to hell’.
The drawing is from St Peter’s Church in Suffolk, England.
It was painted in the Church to remind people what would happen to them if they sinned!

The Catholic Church also believed that marriages were forever. Only in very special circumstances could people get a divorce and they had to get permission from the Pope himself.

Activity – Enquiry skills
Look at the picture above.
How useful is this source in showing us what the Catholic Church taught its people?
Remember to go through the checklist in the introduction (PADD).
How the Church was organised




Section 2: Relations between Scotland and England
So far we have set the scene: we have looked at what life was like in the 16th century. In this part of the course we will look at the ways in which England tried to join with Scotland by using Mary as a means of achieving this.
We will also examine the ways in which her Catholic religion was going to cause problems for Mary.
In this section you will learn about:

The Treaty of Greenwich, 1543

The Rough Wooing

The Treaty of Haddington

Mary in France

Mary as Queen of England?

Scotland and England unite?
In the middle ages (the period of time we are studying), countries were either friends or enemies. If they were enemies, they would fight wars against each other. Scotland and England were enemies but the English monarch, King Henry VIII, wanted the fighting to stop. King Henry VIII wanted Scotland and England to become friends. At this time, the best way to do this was for members of each royal family to marry each other. King Henry VIII wanted his only son, Edward, to marry Mary. If this happened, Edward and Mary would be King and Queen of Scotland and England.
King Henry VIII was a Protestant, as was his son. He wanted Scotland to become a Protestant country but Mary was Catholic. Henry VIII was getting more worried about the fact that he was surrounded by Catholic countries: Scotland to the north and France to the south.

The Treaty of Greenwich, 1543
When Mary was less than one year old and Edward was six years old, Henry VIII of England and the Protestant nobles of Scotland decided that the two would be married when Mary was 11 years old. This was agreed in the Treaty of Greenwich, which was signed by Scotland and England in 1543. A treaty is a signed agreement between countries. Henry VIII wanted Mary to be raised in England but the Scottish nobles would not agree to this. It was also agreed that Scotland and England would remain separate countries: that the English would not try to take over Scotland.
However, some of the Scottish nobles did not trust King Henry VIII and with the permission of her mother, Mary of Guise, Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland on 9 September 1543 at Stirling Castle.

Breaking the Treaty of Greenwich

In December 1543, the Scottish nobles decided that they did not want to stay friends with England. King Henry VIII was asking more of Scotland. He had never been happy about Scotland’s close relationship with France, which was called the ‘Auld Alliance’. He wanted this friendship to end as England and France were enemies. Many Scots did not want this to happen, particularly Mary of Guise as she was French.

Answer the following questions.

  1. Why did countries become friends with each other?

  2. What did King Henry VIII of England want for his son, Edward?

  3. What did the Treaty of Greenwich say?

  4. What happened on 9 September 1543?

  5. Why were Scotland and France such good friends? Give two reasons.

  6. How do you think King Henry VIII would have felt when Scotland decided that they did not want to be friends with England? Why?

Peer assessment
Swap your answers with a classmate. Correct their answers and they will correct yours. Write a comment at the bottom of their work telling them what they have done well and how they could improve. (If you prefer, have a discussion instead of writing it down.)
Now change any of your answers you think you can improve on, based on what your partner has written or said.

Clip 4117

For King Henry VIII, paying for a wedding was cheaper than


The ‘Rough Wooing’
King Henry VIII was furious that Scotland had betrayed him and broken the Treaty of Greenwich. Over the next four years (1544–1548) he carried out a serious of attacks on Scotland which became known as the ‘Rough Wooing’. Wooing is an old fashioned term for trying to impress someone and getting them to like you. This period of time is called the ‘Rough Wooing’ because England was trying to get Scotland to be friends with them and get them to agree to the marriage of Mary and Edward by attacking and invading the country.
The people of Scotland fought to defend Mary and for her own protection she was moved around the country so the English would not be able to get to her. Even when King Henry VIII died in 1547 and his nine-year-old son Edward became king, the English still tried to force the marriage. The English were led by the Duke of Somerset because young King Edward was too young to rule.
There was a battle between the Scots and the English known as the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. It was a terrible defeat for the English and became known as ‘Black Saturday’.

The Duke of Somerset tried to enforce the terms of the Treaty of Greenwich but the Scots nobles decided to smuggle Mary out of the country and take her to France.
Copy out the following statements and decide who was most likely to say this. Write their name beside the statement.
‘I’m getting worried about France and Scotland’s close relationship.’
‘I am very scared for my daughter; I want her to go into hiding in my home country of France.’
‘I will take an army to Scotland to make Mary marry King Edward.’
Clip 4118
The Treaty of Haddington 1548
France wanted to help Scotland as they wanted Mary to marry the Dauphin of France, Francis. The Dauphin is the heir to the French throne, the person who will be the next king. The Scots agreed to this and the Treaty of Haddington was signed in July 1548. France wanted Mary and the Dauphin to marry as this would unite Scotland and France. In August 1548, Mary set sail for France.

Mary in France
Mary arrived in France when she was five and was brought up with her future husband, Dauphin Francis.

© Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Mary was incredibly happy growing up in the court of France. Mary spent a lot of this time in the Châteaux de Chambord.
On 24 April 1558, 15-year-old Mary married the Dauphin at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Activity – Computer task
As mentioned above, Mary spent much of her life growing up in the Châteaux de Chambord.
Using the computer, find out where this is. Is it in the city or in the countryside?
Try and find pictures of the castle. Why do you think Mary enjoyed living there?
Why would a young girl enjoy living there? Would YOU enjoy living there?

The picture opposite was drawn to show the marriage between the Dauphin of France and Mary, Queen of Scots.
It was made at the time of the marriage.

Queen Mary of France
By the time Mary was 15 years old, she was Queen of Scotland, living in France and married to a French prince. This meant she was now the future Queen of France. She also made an agreement with King Henry II of France that if she did not have a son with her husband then Scotland would belong to France. The Scots were not happy about this agreement and even refused to send the Scottish crown to Mary in France although she was Queen of Scotland.

A year later, on 30 June 1559, the King of France died and Mary and Francis became King and Queen of France. Mary carried on living in France whilst her mother, Mary of Guise, was ruling for her in Scotland. She was called the regent. This is like the acting queen.

© Scottish National Portrait Gallery

However, tragedy struck Mary as her young husband, King Francis II of France, died on 5 December 1560. The secret agreement was forgotten about as Mary and Francis did not have any children. At the age of 17, Mary was a widow. She was no longer Queen of France as the throne went to Francis’ brother.
Mary had no choice but to return to Scotland. However, there was a new monarch – a queen of England – and this was going to cause problems for Mary.
Activity – Discussion point
Mary had had a lot of drama in her life by the age of 17. She was a widow and was no longer Queen of France. Her father had died and she had grown up away from her mother. This was a lot for a 17-year-old girl to handle.
Think about what YOU hope to be doing when you are 17. Do you think you will still be at school or college? Do you hope to have a job?

Is it the same as Mary?

Elizabeth as Queen of England
In England, Elizabeth I became queen in 1558. She was a Protestant. Her father was King Henry VIII of England. Her mother was Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife. Henry VIII is famous because he had six wives. He divorced his first wife, Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. It is for this reason that Catholics in Scotland believed that Elizabeth should not be queen; Catholics did not believe in divorce and said that Henry and Anne were not really husband and wife, therefore, their only daughter was illegitimate, which means her parents were not married. If a child was illegitimate, that child could not be king or queen.

Henry VIII’s family tree
Henry VIII Catherine of Aragon Anne Boleyn Jane Seymour

Mary I Elizabeth I Edward VI
This is part of Henry VIII’s family tree. It shows three of his wives and his three children. Edward VI was king after Henry VIII died but he did not keep well and died when he was 15. His sister, Mary I, then became queen and when she died, Elizabeth became queen.
Many Roman Catholics believed that Mary Queen of Scots should therefore also be Queen of England. Queen Elizabeth of England was furious and distrusted Mary. She was worried that she would try to take her crown from her and rule Scotland and England.

Check the timeline at the back to see if any of the dates in this section are included.

Clip 4124

Why was Mary in a very powerful position?

In the first two sections of this course we learned about the first 19 years of Mary’s life. After her husband died, Mary had no choice but to return to Scotland to live.
Today, when we go to another country we have to have a passport. Imagine that Mary has to get a passport for her return to Scotland. Fill out the application below. Mary returned to Scotland on the 19 August 1561.
Application for passport

1. Name: Surname ________________

First name _______________

Title (s) _________________

2. Nationality _____________

3. Birth: Place_____________ Date_____________

4. Age ________

5. Male or female ________

6. Parents: Father (dead or alive) _________

Mother (dead or alive) _________

7. Married: yes or no. If answer is yes, please answer below

Full name of husband/wife ____________________

Date of marriage ____________________________

Place of marriage ___________________________

State of marriage: still married/divorced/widowed

(score out wrong ones)

8. If divorced or widowed, date this event _____________

9. Reason for visit to Scotland ______________________

10. Do you intend to stay in this country long? __________
Section 3: The Scottish Reformation
In the previous sections we have learned that Mary, Queen of Scots was a Catholic and was raised in Catholic France. But now, she was returning to Protestant Scotland. In this section we will examine how Scotland changed when she was away and consider the Scotland she came back to. We will also examine how Mary’s religion made her many enemies within Scotland.
In this section you will learn about:

The growth of Protestantism in Scotland

Wishart, Knox and Calvinism

Religious conflict

The Lords of the Congregation

Rebellion against Mary of Guise

The Treaty of Edinburgh

When James V (Mary’s father) was king, a period of change began in the way the Catholic Church ruled over the lives of the people.

Clip 4121

Why did some say the Church needed to be reformed?

The Reformation was a movement that began as a result of the actions of one priest called Martin Luther.
In 1517, he claimed the Roman Catholic Church in Rome was greedy and corrupt. He and his followers protested against this corruption and wanted to reform the Church.

They broke away from the Catholic Church and because of this were called Protestants. The Church was split into two parts. The Reformation spread throughout Europe and eventually Scotland changed from being a Catholic country to being a Protestant country.
We will now look at how this change came about and the effect that it still has on Scotland today.

The role of John Knox
John Knox was a very important leader of the Scottish Reformation, famous for standing against Mary, Queen of Scots. We are not certain when he was born but it is believed to be either 1513 or 1514. Knox was educated at St Andrews University in Fife. He later became a Catholic priest. However, he converted to Protestantism and travelled around

Scotland teaching others about what he believed to be the corruption of the Catholic Church. He was heavily influenced by an early Protestant, George Wishart.

The death of George Wishart
George Wishart, a good friend of John Knox, was burned at the stake. A very powerful cardinal at the time, David Beaton, accused Wishart of heresy, meaning he was being accused of going against Catholic religious beliefs. Beaton was a close friend and advisor to Mary of Guise. Wishart was killed outside St Andrews Castle in 1546. Knox went into hiding.
In retaliation, Cardinal Beaton was brutally killed by friends of George Wishart. They burst into his castle in St Andrews, burned down his bedroom door and stabbed him to death. They hung him outside the castle so that everybody could see. The Protestants supporters of George Wishart were then in charge of the castle.

Source A is a poem written at the time of the death of Cardinal Beaton called The Tragedie of the Cardinal

As for the Cardinal, I grant,

He was the man we weel could want'

And we’ll forget him soon!

And yet I think, the sooth to say,

Although the loon is well away,

The deed was foully done.

Clip 4119

The Scots asked the French for help as they were close allies. The Scots Queen, Mary, was living there and the French were Catholics too. The Protestants were either killed or forced to work as slaves on French ships. Knox was sent to work on a French ship. This only strengthened his belief in the Protestant faith.

Answer the following questions – it may be useful to work with a partner.

  1. What happened to Scotland during the Reformation?

  1. Who was John Knox?

  1. Why was George Wishart brutally killed?

  1. Why was Mary of Guise upset at the death of Cardinal David Beaton?

  1. Is Source A a primary or secondary source? Explain your answer.

  1. Look at Source A. Does the writer think that the death of Cardinal Beaton was fair? Explain your answer.

Knox and Calvinism
From hiding, John Knox returned to England in 1549. He was sent to Berwick-upon-Tweed by the newly formed Protestant Church to try and convert people to the Protestant faith. He was then called to be the official chaplain of King Edward VI, son of King Henry VIII. However, he had to leave again after King Edward died and his sister Mary Tudor, who was Catholic, became Queen of England. He went to Geneva in Austria and met a man called John Calvin. He too was Protestant. His ideas about the Protestant faith became known as Calvinism. Knox was influenced by Martin Luther, George Wishart and John Calvin. All their ideas greatly influenced the Protestant faith that he brought to Scotland.
We have four new characters who played a huge part in the Reformation of Scotland:
John Knox

George Wishart

David Beaton

John Calvin

As we discussed in the introduction, there were no computers in the 16th century, but imagine for this activity that there were computers and social networking sites like Bebo and Facebook.

Using the information above, complete these profiles on each of the men.


Complete the four profiles on the next page.

Catholic or Protestant ________________
Are you a friend of Mary, Queen of Scots?_____________
Four people have asked to add you as a friend. Do you accept or reject their request? Give reasons for your answer.
Martin Luther

John Knox

George Wishart

John Calvin

Catholic or Protestant ________________
Are you a friend of Mary, Queen of Scots?_____________
Four people have asked to add you as a friend. Do you accept or reject their request? Give reasons for your answer.
Martin Luther

John Knox

George Wishart

David Beaton

Catholic or Protestant ________________
Are you a friend of Mary, Queen of Scots?_____________
Four people have asked to add you as a friend. Do you accept or reject their request? Give reasons for your answer.
Martin Luther

John Knox

David Beaton

John Calvin

Catholic or Protestant ________________
Are you a friend of Mary, Queen of Scots?______________
Four people have asked to add you as a friend. Do you accept or reject their request? Give reasons for your answer.
Martin Luther

George Wishart

David Beaton

John Calvin

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