The History of Leith

August 25, 2012

The death of Mary of Guise

On March 28, 1559, Mary of Guise, with a
sorely diminished court, took up her residence in
the fortress (Edinburgh Castle) she was received with every respect
by Lord Erskine, who, as the holder of the Queen’s
garrison, was strictly neutral between the contending
parties. The Reformers were now in arms with
the English auxiliaries, so the French, who had
waged war through all Fife and the Lothians, were
compelled to keep within the ramparts of Leith,
the operations against which the fair Regent, though
labouring under a mortal illness, which the cares of
state had aggravated, watched daily from the summit
of David’s Tower. Her illness, a virulent dropsical
affection, increased. She did not live to see the
fall of Leith, but died on the icth of June, 1560.
Her death-bed was peaceful and affecting, and by
her own desire she was attended by Knox’s particular
friend, John Willox, an active preacher of
the Reformation. Around her bed she called the
great leaders of that movement, and with cold and
hard hostility they gazed upon her wasted but once
beautiful features, as she conjured them in moving
terms to be loyal men and true to Mary, the girlqueen
of Scotland and of France, and touchingly
she implored the forgiveness of all. The apartment
in which she expired is one of those in the
royal lodging, within the present half-moon
battery. The rites of burial were denied her
body, and it lay in the Castle lapped in lead till
the 19th October, when it was borne to Leith by
a party of soldiers, and conveyed to Rheims, in
Champagne, where her sister was prioress of a
convent.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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