The History of Leith

March 2, 2012

The body of James V

James V contemplated some reform in the then dissolute Church. But the rout at Solway followed; his heart was broken, and on learning the birth of his daughter Mary, he died in despair at Falkland, yet, says Pitscottie, holding up his hands to God, as he yielded his spirit. He was interred in the royal vault, in December, 1542, at Holyrood, where, according to a MS. in the
Advocates’ Library, his body was seen by the Earl of Forfar, the Lord Strathnaver, and others, who examined that vault in 1683. “We viewed the body of James V. It lyeth within ane wodden
coffin, and is coverit with ane lead coffin. There seemed to be hair upon the head still. The body was two lengths of my staff with twa inches more, which is twae inches and more above twae
Scots elms, for I measured the staff with an ellwand afterward. The body was coloured black with ye balsam that preserved it, and which was lyke melted pitch. The Earl of Forfar took the measure
with his staf lykewayes.” On the coffin was the inscription, Illustris Scotorum, Rex Jacobus, ejus Nominis V., with the dates of his age and death.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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