Catalogue description Secretaries of State: State Papers Scotland Series I, Elizabeth I

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Details of SP 52
Reference: SP 52
Title: Secretaries of State: State Papers Scotland Series I, Elizabeth I

Letters between the Queens of England (Elizabeth I) and Scotland (Mary), or the regents of Scotland; the treaties which were made between them; letters between their Secretaries of State; and letters sent to the secretaries in London by ambassadors, special commissioners, leaders of armies, spies, and other agents. The series includes an entry book, transcripts of 14th century royal charters and papal bulls illustrating Anglo-Scots relations, law treatise and some papers relating to the English/Scottish border (originally in SP 59)

Of the English agents in Scotland the ambassadors Randolphe, Killigrew and the two Bowes, and the secretarial assistant Nicolson stand out.

The records for the reign are large in number owing mainly to the problems of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her son James VI, the heir to Elizabeth's throne.

Date: 1558-1603

Most records are arranged chronologically.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English, French and Latin
Physical description: 72 bundles and volumes
Publication note:

This series was briefly calendared in the Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland preserved in H.M. Public Record Office ed M J Thorpe 2 vols (Edinburgh 1858). It was more fully calendared in the Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland and Mary Queen of Scots 1547-1603 ed J Bain W K Boyd H W Meikle A I Cameron M S Guiseppi and J D Mackie 13 vols (Edinburgh 1898-1969). The series down to the year 1577 was calendared in Volumes 3 to 11 of the Calendar of State Papers Foreign Series eds Rev J Stevenson and A J Crosby (London 1863-1880). Please speak to staff at the Map and Large Document Room enquiry desk for the precise location.

Administrative / biographical background:

Mary Stuart was Queen of France when the English, following a Scots declaration of war, invaded Scotland in 1560, relying on support from the Protestant party there. They made little progress, and Mary returned after her husband's death as Queen of Scots and 'douarière' of France in 1561.

Her next husband, Darnley, a claimant to the English throne, was not a choice calculated to please Elizabeth, but Darnley's part in the murder of Mary's Secretary Riccio led to his own destruction. His child by Mary, James VI, became heir to both thrones, uniting them on Elizabeth's death in 1603.

In 1568 Mary, in thrall to the Earl of Bothwell, threw herself on Elizabeth's mercy rather than remain a pawn of faction in Scotland, and remained a prisoner in England until her execution in 1587. Her young son, a Protestant, survived the regencies of the Earls of Murray, Lennox, Mar and Morton (two of them assassinated and the last executed). Elizabeth gave him a pension, and they both co-existed.

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