From the Roman invasion of Caledonia in 80AD to the present day, George Chamier recounts the essential facts, figures and personalities of the history of Scotland. Who was the real King Macbeth? What were the origins of the ‘Auld Alliance’? When was the ‘Year of the Sheep’?
In a series of short entries the nation’s story is revealed for all who had forgotten what they were taught in class or have never been had the opportunity. Intertwined with entries covering the major events and ideas, Chamier also offers pen portraits of some of the great Scots throughout history – writers, politicians, economists, warriors and preachers.
1587 The execution of Queen Mary
Mary mounted the scaffold at at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire on 8 February. After forgiving her executioner, she removed her outer clothing to reveal a chemise of deep red, the colour of Catholic martyrdom. It took two strokes of the axe to sever her neck – ‘Sweet Jesus’, she was heard to murmur after the first blow – and when the executioner lifted her head Mary’s auburn wig came away in his hand to reveal a grey stubble.