Four hundred, nineteen years ago, today, James Charles Stuart was crowned James I, King of England and Ireland, after the death of Elizabeth I. Though England and Scotland were sovereign, individual states, he ruled them in personal union.
He was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots and the great-great grandson of Henry VII. He was thirteen months old when his mother abdicated and he succeeded to the Scottish throne, though he had regents governing due to his minority status. He took full control of the government in 1583 and succeeded Elizabeth I, whom was childless, the last monarch from the House of Tudor, in 1603.
He ruled over all three kingdoms for 22 years during the Jacobean Era until his death in 1625 (also in March, on the 27th). During his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and the Colonisation of the Americas began.
He was the longest reigning Scottish monarch, ruling nearly 58 years, surpassed only by crazy King George III (59 years), Queen Victoria (nearly 64 years) and current Queen Elizabeth II at 70 years. He was on the throne during the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 (see my post on Guy Fawkes) and, during the Elizabethan literature Golden Age, with writers such as William Shakespeare and Sir Francis Bacon. He sponsored the English translation of the Bible, the most widely read version and was a poet, himself. He preferred peace to war, steering clear of the Thirty Years’ War that involved most of Europe. There are indications that he was bi-sexual.
He died young at the age of 58 and was succeeded by his second son, King Charles I, a poor ruler that was executed in 1649.
Who Was King James VI & I
King James I
The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, […] often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason [in earlier centuries], was a failed assassination attempt against King James I by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.
The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on [November] 5, 1605, as the prelude to a popular revolt in the Midlands, during which James’s nine-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, was to be installed as the Catholic head of state. Catesby may have embarked on the scheme after hopes of securing greater religious tolerance under King James had faded, leaving many English Catholics disappointed. His fellow plotters were John and Christopher Wright, Robert and Thomas Wintour, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby and Francis Tresham. Fawkes, who had 10 years of military experience fighting in the Spanish Netherlands in the failed suppression of the Dutch Revolt, was given charge of the explosives.
The plot was revealed to the authorities in an anonymous letter sent to William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle, on [October] 26, 1605. During a search of the House of Lords in the evening on [November] 4, 1605, Fawkes was discovered guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder, enough to reduce the House of Lords to rubble, and [was] arrested. Most of the conspirators fled from London as they learned of the plot’s discovery, trying to enlist support along the way. Several made a stand against the pursuing Sheriff of Worcester and his men at Holbeche House […]. [In] the ensuing battle, Catesby was one of those shot and killed. At their trial on [January] 27 1606, four hundred, fifteen years ago, today, eight of the survivors, including Fawkes, were convicted and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
The thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot was commemorated for many years afterwards by special sermons and other public events such as the ringing of church bells, which evolved into the British variant of Bonfire Night of today.
The Trial of the Gunpowder Conspirators (The Tudor Society/Claire Ridgway/January 27, 2018)