The Tudor Society

20 June – The Casket Letters and Mary, Queen of Scots

On this day in Tudor history, 20th June 1567, a silver casket of eight letters, which have become known as the Casket Letters, were allegedly found in the possession of James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, the third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

These letters were instrumental in bringing down Mary, Queen of Scots, so in today's video, I tell you a bit more about these letters and why they were "dynamite" for Elizabeth I's advisors.

Book recommendation: "My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary, Queen of Scots" by John Guy -

You can also read more on these letters here.

Also on this day in history:

  • 1540 – Anne of Cleves complained to her brother's ambassador, Karl Harst, about Henry VIII's attraction to Catherine Howard.
  • 1560 – Death of Francis Hastings, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon, at Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Francis was married to Katherine Pole, daughter of Henry Pole, Baron Montagu, but was fortunate to survive the fall of the Poles in 1538. His son, Henry, was educated with Henry VIII's son, the future Edward VI, who made Hastings a member of his Privy Council in 1550. Hastings and his son were imprisoned in the Tower by Mary I for their support of Lady Jane Grey in 1553, but were pardoned a few months later. He served Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I as Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire.
  • 1565 – Margaret Douglas was sent to the Tower of London by Elizabeth I after the announcement of the betrothal of Mary, Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley, Margaret's son. She was released after Darnley's murder in February 1567.
  • 1568 – Death of Armagil Waad (Wade), Chief Clerk of the Privy Council and member of Parliament during Edward VI's reign, at Belsize Park, Hampstead. He was buried in Hampstead Church. Waad lost his office and his seat in Parliament in Mary I's reign.
  • 1584 – Hanging of Dermot O'Hurley, Catholic Archbishop of Carshel and martyr, at Hoggen's Green, just outside Dublin. He had been linked with the Roman Inquisition and was tortured by having his feet put in tin boots and then put in front of a fire. He was beatified 27th September 1992.
  • 1585 – Death of Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland, on the night of the 20th/21st June in the Tower of London. Northumberland had, allegedly, shot himself through the heart, although it was rumoured that he was murdered by Sir Christopher Hatton on the orders of Elizabeth I's government. Northumberland had been imprisoned in the Tower in January 1584 for his Catholic beliefs and his involvement in plots to do with Mary, Queen of Scots. He was laid to rest in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower.
  • 1595 – Burning of Walter Marsh, spy and Protestant martyr, in Rome's Campo dei Fiori. Click here for more on Marsh.

Only 1 comment so far Go To Comment

  1. M

    Fascinating, thanks Claire! I have just put Guy’s book on my Amazon wish list.


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20 June – The Casket Letters and Mary, Queen of Scots