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February 23rd 1573

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Mary, Queen of Scots and the Pacification of Perth

In 1567 Queen Mary was forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son James 6th and was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle. A year later she escaped but though many rallied to her cause she was defeated at the Battle of Langside and fled to England where she eventually met her death.

In Scotland, there was a period of unstable government with no fewer than four regents, through death or assassination, ruling the country in the space of seven years During this time there was intermittent civil war between the King’s forces and the Marians (supporters of Queen Mary). Finally, in 1573, through the good offices of Henry Killigrew, the English ambassador, a conference was held in Perth between the regent Morton with the King’s party and the leading supporters of Mary. As a result of the discussion all agreed to recognise Morton as regent, ended their allegiance to Mary, disbanded their forces and handed over all prisoners and property that they had taken. In return, those that had been in rebellion were allowed to reassert possession of their lands.

This so called ‘Pacification of Perth’ effectively ended any chances of Mary returning to Scotland as queen. It created a period of stability in the country and once again made very plain that under no circumstances was Roman Catholicism to be tolerated. For the moment Knox and his followers were dominant, but later when James 6th consolidated his own power the balance between church and state changed once again.

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