The History of Leith

August 23, 2011

King of Traitors

From the date of the cruel assassination of James I—the poet, soldier, and lawgiver—may be considered the time when Edinburgh became really the permanent and undisputed capital of Scotland.
Sorrow and indignation spread over all the realm when the fate of James was heard, and no place seemed to afford such security to the royal person as the impregnable Castle of Edinburgh; thus Queen Jane, ignorant of the ramifications of that conspiracy by which her princely husband was slain (actually in her arms), instantly joined her son James II., who since his birth had dwelt there. It was then in the hands of William Baron of Crichton—a powerful, subtle, and ambitious statesman, who was Master of the Household.
Within forty days nearly all concerned in the murder of the late king were brought to Edinburgh, where the ignoble were at once consigned to the hangman; but for the Earl of Athol and other titled leaders were devised tortures worthy alone of Chinese or Kaffir ingenuity. Crowned by a red-hot diadem as ” King of Traitors,” at the Market Cross, after undergoing three days of unexampled
agonies in sight of the people and the Papal Nuncio, afterwards Pius II., the body of the earl was dragged nude through the streets; it was then beheaded and quartered.

Source-Old and New Edinburgh

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