November 30, 2017 | 0 Comments | Filed under: 2017, December 2017

This was the title of the talk given to Tideswell Local History Club by David Templeman at their November meeting.. There has always been a huge amount of interest shown in the Tudor period with many T.V. documentaries, scores of books and now, an upcoming big budget film about Mary. David has also recently produced a book in which some of the action takes place here in Derbyshire,

Brought up in France and mainly French speaking, Mary had to escape from Scotland after a very turbulent period, which resulted in a minor civil war. In 1568 she landed in Workington and stayed at Cockermouth Hall. However, this was to be her last night of freedom – ever. Queen Elizabeth the First had promised to help her to claim the Scottish throne, but now she was a threat to the crown here in England (she may have had a better claim to England’s throne than Good Queen Bess).

Mary was moved South to keep her clear of her Scottish supporters and Elizabeth settled on George Talbot the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury to keep Mary confined. Elizabeth was notoriously tight with expenses, and constantly moving and housing Mary’s huge entourage cost George about £2.4 million per year in today’s money. In this period England was predominantly Catholic and being Catholic herself, Mary had to be kept under close guard. Even though he was married to the wealthy Bess of Hardwick, George was in big financial difficulties  –“ My riches they talk of are in other peoples’ pockets”

A big catholic uprising in the north led by the Dukes of Northumberland and Westmorland had to be put down with the utmost severity – villages and houses burnt to the ground and about 1000 men “left rotting on the gallows”.

When she could safely be given exercise she was a great sportswoman, at 6ft. tall she excelled at

horse-riding, excelled with the longbow and was reputed to be the first woman ever to play golf. Her smooth blemish-free complexion was said to be because she bathed her face in white wine.

Sadly, her long incarceration in dark, damp, fortified houses and castles finally took a toll on her health. Tutbury Castle was a semi-ruin and Wingfield Manor became a disease-pit with 240 people confined in close quarters. She was moved many times – Sheffield Castle, Coventry, Chatsworth, Castle Bolton etc. but the place that she really appreciated was Buxton, staying at the Hall 6 times so that she could take the waters.

At this point and after 70 minutes of speaking David called a halt to the proceedings and promised to return later with the second part of Mary’s story – of being tricked by Walsingham and Cecil’s spies and of the fate of Anthony Babbington of Dethick.

Do please join us on Thursday January 11th. in the Institute at 8pm. when Lib Slattery ( nee Lennon), will be telling us about William Lennon’s, the last heavy-duty boot manufacturer in the U.K.


Brian Woodall.


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