MO4807 Mary Queen of Scots: Queen in Three Kingdoms
Lecturer Dr Amy Blakeway (71 South St, room 7)
Credits 60
Availability Semesters 1 and 2, 2019-20
Class Hour Wednesday 10 - 1


Mary, Queen of Scots, has been controversial for five hundred years: the resulting mass of source material (including a wealth of original items right here in St Andrews) makes her an excellent topic for a special subject. Taking a chronological approach to the reign, we will examine both Scotland during Mary's minority and her political training in France before commencing a detailed thematic examination of the different facets of her personal rule in Scotland, her downfall, and execution. Although our focus will be on Scotland Mary was of course Queen of France and (in the eyes of Catholic Europe) rightful Queen of England too. Accordingly, we will also consider the ways in which Mary's actions and those of her powerful Guise kin affected life and France, and the anxious observation taking place from south of the border.


Basic Reading

Jane Dawson, Scotland Re-formed 1488-1587 (2007)
John Guy, ‘My Heart is My Own’: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots (2004)
Kristen Post Walton, Catholic Queen, Protestant Patriarchy: Mary Queen of Scots and the Politics of Gender and Religion (2007)


Course Structure

Semester 1

1 Introduction to the module
2 Myths and national histories: King Fergus, Queen Scota, King Achius and the ‘Auld Alliance’
3 James V and the revival of the ‘auld alliance’
4 Mary’s entry into the world, 1542-3: the death of James V, Henry VIII, Governor Arran and the Assured Lords
5 The Rough Wooings 1: 1544-1546 (incl. trip to St Andrews Castle)
6 The Rough Wooings 2: 1547-50
7 A War of Words
8 The peace and the regency of Marie de Guise or the Protectorate of Henri II?
9 Mary in France
10 The Scottish Reformation Rebellion
11 The Monstrous Regiment of Women: the gynecocracy debate

Semester 2

1 The politics of the personal rule
2 Religion
3 Court Culture
4 Diplomacy
5 Deposition in practice
6 Deposition in theory
7 Escape to England and the York-Westminster Conference
8 The Marian Civil War
9 English allies: the Northern Rising and the plots
10 Mary, Queen and Martyr: the execution and the European response
11 Revision

Assessment 30% examination - two 3-hour papers
70% coursework

Blog 5% - 500 words
Essay 20% - 3000 words
Essay 25% - 4000 words
Gobbet Exercise 10% - 1500 words
Source Analysis 10% - 1500 words
3-Hour exam (1 Paper)


Learning Outcomes

  • In depth knowledge of a critical period in British and European history
  • Understanding of the differences and continuities between past and present
  • Historiographical awareness and conceptual sophistication