Bolton Castle

Mary, Queen of Scots Home Page

Bolton Home The Mary, Queen of Scots Room The Solar


Elizabeth I moved Mary to Bolton Castle primarily to isolate her and remove her from the dangerous Catholic influence in the north. Mary put up strong resistance to the idea at first, but gave in on condition that she may dispatch messengers to Scotland. The journey from Carlisle to Bolton took two days and Mary stayed overnight at Lowther Castle and Wharton. Still playing for time, Elizabeth answered Mary's pleas for assistance by requesting that the murder accusations against her be "debated" at the Conference of York. In fact, on 20th September, Elizabeth had secretly written to Moray assuring him that she had no intention of restoring Mary to the Scottish throne. Full of hope, Mary agreed to the demands of the English queen and occupied herself with learning English (which was a different language from Scot) under the tuition of Knollys. Desperate to make a good impression on Elizabeth, Mary now also took a vivid interest in the new religion, while placating the English Catholics by re-affirming her faith in the Great Hall of Bolton. However, as her letter to her former sister-in-law, Elisabeth de Valois (who died in childbirth before receiving it), shows she remained a fervent catholic. On the eve of her death, she still insisted on justifying herself for listening to Protestant sermons. Knollys worried himself constantly over Mary's possible escape but Mary, choosing to see herself as a guest rather than captive, made no such attempt during that time. But at the Conference of York the falsified evidence of the "Casket Letters" was presented, and the case was concluded to be not proven by either side. Mary was of course not allowed to be present at this "trial", nor to see the so-called evidence. Moray returned to Scotland with a hefty 5,000 subsidy courtesy of Elizabeth, while Mary remained a prisoner, all hopes dashed to the ground. In January 1569 during a particularly bad spell of winter weather, Mary was moved to the hated Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire.

Mary's Chamber on the 3rd floor Mary looks out the window while her lady plays with her little skye terrier

Bolton Castle corresponded with the earlier part of Mary's imprisonment and, as such, was still reasonably comfortable. She was allowed 51 people to attend her including: Mr Nawe, Secretary & his servant; Mr Melvin, Mr. of the House & his servant; Mr Curle, Mr. of the Horse & his servant, his wife & her woman, his sister; Mr Burbon, Physician & his servant; Mr Prewe, Reader & his servant; an apothecary; a surgeon; an embroiderer; four grooms of the chamber; two yeomen of the pantry; two yeomen of the warder; two cooks; a pastelar; four turn broches; four grooms of the stable; Mrs Bastion & her son and two daughters; two others; Mrs Pearpoint & her woman and three laundresses; Mrs Bewregarde; Mrs Mowbraye; Mrs Camdaye; two English sisters.

Lord Scrope's Bedchamber on the 4th floor

Click on the links below to see:

The view across the courtyard

The view of the surrounding countryside

A monk in his cell adjacent to the Chapel

The downstairs pantry

The stables

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