On this day in history, 14 December 1542, James V of Scotland died, leaving his only child, Mary, the Queen of Scotland. She was aged just 6 days.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.
Poor, tragic, Catholic Mary. As the grand-daughter of Henry VIII’s sister, Margaret Tudor, she had a strong claim to the English throne – a throne that belonged to Elizabeth I, the Protestant daughter of Henry VIII. Executed at Fotheringhay Castle on 8 February 1587, Mary Queen of Scots was originally buried in Peterborough Cathedral by the gravedigger, Old Scarlett, but her son, James I of England (VI of Scotland), had her remains removed and reburied in Westminster Abbey in 1612.
‘Mistress of Scotland by law, of France by marriage, of England by expectation,
thus blest, by a three-fold right, with a three-fold crown’
Translation of part of the Latin inscriptions on her tomb,
from Westminster Abbey’s Online History
Mary Queen of Scots
Famous Scots – Mitchell’s Cigarette Cards 1933
The cards below are all from Scotland’s Story – Mitchell’s Cigarette Cards 1928
Notes about the Nursery Rhyme, ‘Mary, Mary’
‘Popular tradition has it that the original Mary was Mary, Queen of Scots, who with her gay, French, and Popish inclinations much displeased the dour John Knox. In this case ‘the pretty maids’ might be the renowned ‘Four Marys’, her ladies-in-waiting, and it has even been stated that the ‘cockleshells’ were the decorations upon a particular dress she was given by the Dauphin. Such assertions are, of course, the work of the ‘happy guessers’. No proof has been found that the rhyme was known before the eighteen century. It is to be remarked, however, that a lost ballad ‘Cuckolds all a row‘ was registered in June 1637, and that there is a tune ‘Cuckolds all a row’ in the 1651 edition of Playford’s Dancing Master.’ From Iona and Peter Opie (Editors) The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (2nd Edition, Oxford 1997) page 355.
You may also be interested in the following posts
– Arthur – Prince of Wales
– A Tudor Gravedigger
– History Howlers – Elizabeth I
– History Howlers – Mary I
– History Howlers – Henry VIII
– Tudor Coronations
– Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper
School Trip Friday will return in the New Year.