The History of Leith

March 6, 2012

Mary and the Mass

She was only nineteen, with few advisers and none on whom she could rely, and was ignorant of the people over whom she had been called to govern. Protestantism was now the only legal religion of the land, yet on the first Sunday subsequent to her return she ordered mass to be said in the chapel royal. Tidings of this caused a dreadful excitement in the city, and the Master of Lindsay, with other gentlemen, burst into the palace, shouting, ” The idolatrous priest shall die the death !” for death was by law the penalty of celebrating mass; and the multitude, pouring to wards
the chapel, strove to lay violent hands on the priest. Lord James—afterwards Regent—Moray succeeded in preventing their entrance by main strength, and thus gave great offence to the people, though he alleged, as an excuse, he wished to prevent ” any Scot from witnessing a service so idolatrous.”
After the function was over, the priest was committed to the protection of Lord Robert Stuart, Commendator of Holyrood, and Lord John of Coldingham, who conducted him in safety to his residence. ” But the godly departed in great grief of heart, and that afternoon repaired to the Abbey in great companies, and gave plain signification that they could not abide that the land which God had, by His power, purged from idolatry should be polluted again.” The noise and uproar of these ” companies” must have made Mary painfully aware that she was without a regular guard or armed protection; but she had been barely a week in Holyrood when she held her first famous interview with the great Reformer, which is too well known to be recapitulated here, but which— according to himself—he concluded by these remarkable words :—” I pray God, madam, that ye may be as blessed within the commonwealth of Scotland, if it be the pleasure of God, as ever Deborah was in the commonwealth of Israel.”

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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