James I of England

James I of England

Overview
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

 as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns
Union of the Crowns
The Union of the Crowns was the accession of James VI, King of Scots, to the throne of England, and the consequential unification of Scotland and England under one monarch. The Union of Crowns followed the death of James' unmarried and childless first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I of...

 on 24 March 1603. The kingdoms of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

 were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciary, and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

.

He became King of Scotland at the age of thirteen months, succeeding his mother Mary, Queen of Scots, who had been compelled to abdicate
Abdication
Abdication occurs when a monarch, such as a king or emperor, renounces his office.-Terminology:The word abdication comes derives from the Latin abdicatio. meaning to disown or renounce...

 in his favour.
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Timeline

1567   Mary, Queen of Scots, is forced to abdicate and replaced by her 1-year-old son James VI.

1567   James VI is crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.

1600   The Gowrie Conspiracy against King James VI of Scotland (later to become King James I of England) takes place.

1600   The Gowrie Conspiracy against King James VI of Scotland (later to become King James I of England) takes place.

1603   James VI of Scotland also becomes James I of England.

1603   James VI of Scotland is crowned as king of England (James I of England), bringing the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland into personal union. Political union would occur in 1707.

1606   Gunpowder Plot: Guy Fawkes is executed for his plotting against Parliament and James I of England.

1606   The Charter of the Virginia Company of London is established by royal charter by James I of England with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.

1618   English adventurer, writer, and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I of England.

1622   King James I of England disbands the English Parliament.

 
Quotations

I will make them conform themselves, or else I will harry them out of the land, or else do worse.

Speaking of the Puritans at Hampton Court Conference|Hampton Court Conference (16 January 1604)

A custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.

Herein is not only a great vanity, but a great contempt of God's gifts, that the sweetness of man's breath, being a good gift of God, should be willfully corrupted by this stinking smoke.

A Counterblaste to Tobacco|A Counterblaste to Tobacco (1604)

I acknowledge the Roman Church to be our mother church, although defiled with some infirmities and corruptions...Let [the Papists] assure themselves, that, as I am a friend of their persons, if they be good subjects, so am I a vowed enemy, and do denounce mortal war to their errors.

On Roman Catholics, at the opening of parliament in 1604.

That which concerns the mystery of the King's power is not lawful to be disputed; for that is to wade into the weakness of Princes, and to take away the mystical reverence that belongs unto them that sit in the throne of God.

Speech in the Star Chamber|Star Chamber (June 1616)
Encyclopedia
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland refers to the country of Ireland in the period between the proclamation of Henry VIII as King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and the Act of Union in 1800. It replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171...

 as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns
Union of the Crowns
The Union of the Crowns was the accession of James VI, King of Scots, to the throne of England, and the consequential unification of Scotland and England under one monarch. The Union of Crowns followed the death of James' unmarried and childless first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I of...

 on 24 March 1603. The kingdoms of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

 were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciary, and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

.

He became King of Scotland at the age of thirteen months, succeeding his mother Mary, Queen of Scots, who had been compelled to abdicate
Abdication
Abdication occurs when a monarch, such as a king or emperor, renounces his office.-Terminology:The word abdication comes derives from the Latin abdicatio. meaning to disown or renounce...

 in his favour. Four different regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

s governed during his minority, which ended officially in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1583. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor
Tudor dynasty
The Tudor dynasty or House of Tudor was a European royal house of Welsh origin that ruled the Kingdom of England and its realms, including the Lordship of Ireland, later the Kingdom of Ireland, from 1485 until 1603. Its first monarch was Henry Tudor, a descendant through his mother of a legitimised...

 monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

, who died without issue. He continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, often using the title King of Great Britain and Ireland, until his death in 1625 at the age of 58. He based himself in England (the largest of the three realms) from 1603. James began the Plantation of Ulster
Plantation of Ulster
The Plantation of Ulster was the organised colonisation of Ulster—a province of Ireland—by people from Great Britain. Private plantation by wealthy landowners began in 1606, while official plantation controlled by King James I of England and VI of Scotland began in 1609...

 and of the New World.

At 57 years and 246 days, his reign in Scotland was longer than any of his predecessors. He achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot
Gunpowder Plot
The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.The plan was to blow up the House of...

 in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

. Under James, the "Golden Age" of Elizabethan
Elizabethan era
The Elizabethan era was the epoch in English history of Queen Elizabeth I's reign . Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history...

 literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, John Donne
John Donne
John Donne 31 March 1631), English poet, satirist, lawyer, and priest, is now considered the preeminent representative of the metaphysical poets. His works are notable for their strong and sensual style and include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs,...

, Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems...

, and Sir Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

 contributing to a flourishing literary culture. James himself was a talented scholar, the author of works such as Daemonologie
Daemonologie
Daemonologie is the book written and published in 1597 by King James VI of Scotland . In the book he approves and supports the practise of witch hunting...

(1597), True Law of Free Monarchies (1598), and Basilikon Doron
Basilikon Doron
The Basilikon Doron is a treatise on government written by King James VI of Scotland, later King James I of England, in 1599. Basilikon Doron in the Greek language means royal gift. It was written in the form of a private and confidential letter to the King's eldest son, Henry, Duke of...

(1599). He sponsored the translation of the Bible that was named after him: the Authorised King James Version. Sir Anthony Weldon
Anthony Weldon
Sir Anthony Weldon was an English 17th Century courtier and politician. He is also the purported author of The Court and Character of King James I, although this attribution has been challenged....

 claimed that James had been termed "the wisest fool in Christendom
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

", an epithet associated with his character ever since. Recent historians, however, have revised James's reputation and have treated him as a serious and thoughtful monarch.

Birth


James was the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Henry Stewart or Stuart, 1st Duke of Albany , styled Lord Darnley before 1565, was king consort of Scotland and murdered at Kirk o'Field...

. Both Mary and Darnley were great-grandchildren of Henry VII of England
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

 through Margaret Tudor
Margaret Tudor
Margaret Tudor was the elder of the two surviving daughters of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and the elder sister of Henry VIII. In 1503, she married James IV, King of Scots. James died in 1513, and their son became King James V. She married secondly Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of...

, the older sister of Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

. Mary's rule over Scotland was insecure, for both she and her husband, being Roman Catholics, faced a rebellion by Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 noblemen. During Mary's and Darnley's difficult marriage, Darnley secretly allied himself with the rebels and conspired in the murder of the Queen's private secretary, David Rizzio
David Rizzio
Davide Rizzio, sometimes written as Davide Riccio or Davide Rizzo , was an Italian courtier, born close to Turin, a descendant of an ancient and noble family still living in Piedmont, the Riccio Counts de San Paolo et Solbrito, who rose to become the private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots...

, just three months before James's birth.
James was born on 19 June 1566 at Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC, although the nature of early settlement is unclear...

, and as the eldest son and heir apparent of the monarch automatically became Duke of Rothesay
Duke of Rothesay
Duke of Rothesay was a title of the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Scotland before 1707, of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801, and now of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland....

 and Prince
Prince of Scotland
Prince and Great Steward of Scotland are two of the titles of the heir apparent to the throne of the United Kingdom. The current holder of these titles is HRH The Prince Charles who bears the Scottish titles of Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Lord of the Isles and Baron Renfrew, and is known...

 and Great Steward of Scotland. He was baptised "Charles James" on 17 December 1566 in a Catholic ceremony held at Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle, located in Stirling, is one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep...

. His godparents were Charles IX of France
Charles IX of France
Charles IX was King of France, ruling from 1560 until his death. His reign was dominated by the Wars of Religion. He is best known as king at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.-Childhood:...

 (represented by John, Count of Brienne), Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 (represented by the Earl of Bedford
Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford
Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford, KG was an English nobleman, soldier and politician and godfather to Sir. Francis Drake.-Early life:...

), and Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy
Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy
Emmanuel Philibert was Duke of Savoy from 1553 to 1580....

 (represented by ambassador Philibert du Croc). Mary refused to let the Archbishop of St Andrews
John Hamilton (archbishop)
The Most Rev. Dr. John Hamilton , Scottish prelate and politician, was an illegitimate son of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran....

, whom she referred to as "a pocky priest", spit in the child's mouth, as was then the custom. Entertainment at the subsequent supper, which offended the English guests, was devised by Frenchman Bastian Pagez
Bastian Pagez
Bastian Pagez was a French servant and musician at the court of Mary, Queen of Scots. He devised part of the entertainment at the baptism of Prince James at Stirling Castle in 1566. When Mary was exiled in England, Bastian and his family continued in her service...

.

James's father, Darnley, was murdered on 10 February 1567 during an unexplained explosion at Kirk o' Field
Kirk o' Field
Kirk o' Field in Edinburgh, Scotland, is best known as the site of the murder in 1567 of Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots....

, Edinburgh, perhaps in revenge for Rizzio's death. James inherited his father's titles of Duke of Albany
Duke of Albany
Duke of Albany is a peerage title that has occasionally been bestowed on the younger sons in the Scottish, and later the British, royal family, particularly in the Houses of Stuart and Hanover....

 and Earl of Ross
Earl of Ross
The Mormaer or Earl of Ross was the leader of a medieval Gaelic lordship in northern Scotland, roughly between the River Oykel and the River Beauly.-Origins and transfers:...

. Mary was already unpopular, and her marriage on 15 May 1567 to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell
James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell
James Hepburn, 1st Duke of Orkney , better known by his inherited title as 4th Earl of Bothwell, was hereditary Lord High Admiral of Scotland. He is best known for his association with and subsequent marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots, as her third husband...

, who was widely suspected of murdering Darnley, heightened widespread bad feeling towards her. In June 1567, Protestant rebels arrested Mary and imprisoned her in Loch Leven Castle
Loch Leven Castle
Loch Leven Castle is a ruined castle on an island in Loch Leven, in the Perth and Kinross local authority area of Scotland. Possibly built around 1300, the castle was the location military action during the Wars of Scottish Independence...

; she never saw her son again. She was forced to abdicate
Abdication
Abdication occurs when a monarch, such as a king or emperor, renounces his office.-Terminology:The word abdication comes derives from the Latin abdicatio. meaning to disown or renounce...

 on 24 July in favour of the infant James and to appoint her illegitimate half-brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray, as regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

.

Regencies


The care of James was entrusted to the Earl
John Erskine, 17th Earl of Mar
John Erskine, 17th Earl of Mar , regent of Scotland, was a son of John, 5th Lord Erskine, who was guardian of King James V, and afterwards of Mary, Queen of Scots....

 and Countess of Mar, "to be conserved, nursed, and upbrought" in the security of Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle, located in Stirling, is one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep...

. James was crowned King of Scots at the age of thirteen months at the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling
The Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling
The Church of the Holy Rude is the second oldest building in Stirling, Scotland, after Stirling Castle. The church was founded in 1129 during the reign of David I as the parish church of Stirling....

, by Adam Bothwell
Adam Bothwell
Adam Bothwell was the Bishop of Orkney.Bothwell was the eldest son of Francis Bothwell, Lord of Session, by his second wife Katherine Bellenden, daughter of Sir Thomas Bellenden. He was born about 1527; his epitaph states that he died ‘anno ætatis suæ 67.’He is said to have been versed both in...

, Bishop of Orkney
Bishop of Orkney
The Bishop of Orkney was the ecclesiastical head of the Diocese of Orkney, one of thirteen medieval bishoprics within the territory of modern Scotland. It included both Orkney and Shetland. It was based for almost all of its history at St...

, on 29 July 1567. The sermon at the coronation was preached by John Knox
John Knox
John Knox was a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation who brought reformation to the church in Scotland. He was educated at the University of St Andrews or possibly the University of Glasgow and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1536...

. In accordance with the religious beliefs of most of the Scottish ruling class, James was brought up as a member of the Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

. The Privy Council
Privy Council of Scotland
The Privy Council of Scotland was a body that advised the King.In the range of its functions the council was often more important than the Estates in the running the country. Its registers include a wide range of material on the political, administrative, economic and social affairs of Scotland...

 selected George Buchanan
George Buchanan (humanist)
George Buchanan was a Scottish historian and humanist scholar. He was part of the Monarchomach movement.-Early life:...

, Peter Young
Peter Young (tutor)
-Life:Young was the second son of John Young, burgess of Edinburgh and Dundee, and of Margaret, daughter of Walter Scrymgeour of Glasswell, and was born at Dundee on 15 August 1544. His mother was related to the Scrymgeours of Dudhope , and his father settled in Dundee at the time of his marriage...

, Adam Erskine (lay abbot of Cambuskenneth
Abbot of Cambuskenneth
The Abbot of Cambuskenneth or Abbot of Stirling was the head of the Arrouaisian monastic community of Cambuskenneth Abbey, near Stirling...

), and David Erskine (lay abbot of Dryburgh
Abbot of Dryburgh
The Abbot of Dryburgh was the head of the Premonstratensian community of canons regular of Dryburgh Abbey in the Scottish Borders. The monastery was founded in 1150 by canons regular from Alnwick Abbey with the patronage of Hugh de Morville, Lord of Lauderdale...

) as James's preceptor
Preceptor
A preceptor is a teacher responsible to uphold a certain law or tradition, a precept.-Christian military orders:A preceptor was historically in charge of a preceptory, the headquarters of certain orders of monastic Knights, such as the Knights Hospitaller and Knights Templar, within a given...

s or tutors. As the young king's senior tutor, Buchanan subjected James to regular beatings but also instilled in him a lifelong passion for literature and learning. Buchanan sought to turn James into a God-fearing, Protestant king who accepted the limitations of monarchy, as outlined in his treatise
Treatise
A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject.-Noteworthy treatises:...

 De Jure Regni apud Scotos.

In 1568 Mary escaped from her imprisonment at Loch Leven Castle
Loch Leven Castle
Loch Leven Castle is a ruined castle on an island in Loch Leven, in the Perth and Kinross local authority area of Scotland. Possibly built around 1300, the castle was the location military action during the Wars of Scottish Independence...

, leading to several years of sporadic violence. The Earl of Moray
James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray
James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray , a member of the House of Stewart as the illegitimate son of King James V, was Regent of Scotland for his nephew, the infant King James VI of Scotland, from 1567 until his assassination in 1570...

 defeated Mary's troops at the Battle of Langside
Battle of Langside
The Battle of Langside, fought on 13 May 1568, was one of the more unusual contests in Scottish history, bearing a superficial resemblance to a grand family quarrel, in which a mother fought her brother who was defending the rights of her infant son...

, forcing her to flee to England, where she was subsequently imprisoned by Elizabeth. On 23 January 1570, Moray was assassinated by James Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh. The next regent was James's paternal grandfather, Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox
Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox
Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox was the 4th Earl of Lennox, and leader of the Catholic nobility in Scotland. He was the son of John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Lennox. His grandson was James VI of Scotland....

, who a year later was carried fatally wounded into Stirling Castle after a raid by Mary's supporters. His successor, the Earl of Mar, died soon after banqueting at the estate of James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton
James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton
James Douglas, jure uxoris 4th Earl of Morton was the last of the four regents of Scotland during the minority of King James VI. He was in some ways the most successful of the four, since he did manage to win the civil war which had been dragging on with the supporters of the exiled Mary, Queen of...

, where he "took a vehement sickness", dying on 28 October 1572 at Stirling. Morton, who now took Mar's office, proved in many ways the most effective of James's regents, but he made enemies by his rapacity. He fell from favour when the Frenchman Esmé Stewart, Sieur d'Aubigny
Esmé Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox
Esmé Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox, 1st Earl of Lennox was the son of John Stewart, 5th Lord of Aubigny who was the younger brother of Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox...

, first cousin of James's father Lord Darnley, and future Earl of Lennox
Earl of Lennox
The Mormaer of Lennox or Earl of Lennox was the ruler of the long-lasting provincial Mormaerdom/Earldom of Lennox in the Medieval Kingdom of the Scots. The first Mormaer is usually regarded as Ailin I , but the genealogy of the Mormaers gives earlier names...

, arrived in Scotland and quickly established himself as the first of James's powerful male favourites. Morton was executed on 2 June 1581, belatedly charged with complicity in Lord Darnley's murder. On 8 August, James made Lennox the only duke in Scotland. Then fifteen years old, the king was to remain under the influence of Lennox for about one more year.

Rule in Scotland


Although a Protestant convert, Lennox was distrusted by Scottish Calvinists
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

, who noticed the physical displays of affection between favourite and king and alleged that Lennox "went about to draw the King to carnal lust". In August 1582, in what became known as the Ruthven Raid
Raid of Ruthven
The Raid of Ruthven was a political conspiracy in Scotland which took place on 22 August 1582. It was composed of several Presbyterian nobles, led by William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie, who abducted King James VI of Scotland. He was seized while staying at the castle of Ruthven , and kept under...

, the Protestant earls of Gowrie
William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie
William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie , known as The Lord Ruthven between 1566 and 1581, was a son of Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven.-Life account:...

 and Angus
Archibald Douglas, 8th Earl of Angus
Archibald Douglas, 8th Earl of Angus and 5th Earl of Morton was the son of David, 7th earl. He succeeded to the title and estates in 1558, being brought up by his uncle, James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton, a Presbyterian....

 lured James into Ruthven Castle
Huntingtower Castle
Huntingtower Castle once known as Ruthven Castle or the Place [Palace] of Ruthven is located near the village of Huntingtower beside the A85 and near the A9, about 5km NW of the centre of Perth, Perth and Kinross, in central Scotland, on the main road to Crieff.- History :Huntingtower Castle was...

, imprisoned him, and forced Lennox to leave Scotland. After James was liberated in June 1583, he assumed increasing control of his kingdom. He pushed through the Black Acts to assert royal authority over the Kirk
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

, and denounced the writings of his former tutor Buchanan. Between 1584 and 1603, he established effective royal government and relative peace among the lords, ably assisted by John Maitland of Thirlestane
John Maitland, 1st Lord Maitland of Thirlestane
John Maitland, 1st Lord Maitland of Thirlestane, , Knight , was Lord Chancellor of Scotland.He was the second son of Sir Richard Maitland of Thirlestane, Berwickshire, and Lethington, Haddingtonshire, who settled the lands of Thirlestane upon him, and he was sent abroad for his education.Upon John...

, who led the government until 1592. An eight-man commission, known as the Octavians
Octavians
The Octavians were a financial commission of eight in the government of Scotland first appointed by James VI in January 1596. James's minister John Maitland, 1st Lord Maitland of Thirlestane had died a few months earlier, and his financial situation was troubled. They were a reforming body, eager...

, brought some control over the ruinous state of James's finances in 1596, but it drew opposition from vested interests. It was disbanded within a year after a riot in Edinburgh, stoked by anti-Catholicism, led the court to withdraw to Linlithgow temporarily. One last Scottish attempt against the king's person occurred in August 1600, when James was apparently assaulted by Alexander Ruthven
Alexander Ruthven
Alexander Ruthven was a Scottish nobleman. He is most notable for his participation in the Gowrie conspiracy of 1600.-Early life:...

, the Earl of Gowrie
John Ruthven, 3rd Earl of Gowrie
John Ruthven, 3rd Earl of Gowrie was a Scottish nobleman, the second son of William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie and his wife Dorothea Stewart...

's younger brother, at Gowrie House, the seat of the Ruthvens. Since Ruthven was run through by James's page John Ramsay
John Ramsay, 1st Earl of Holderness
John Ramsay, 1st Earl of Holderness was an important Scottish aristocrat of the Jacobean era, best known in history as the first favourite of James I when he became king of England as well as Scotland in 1603....

 and the Earl of Gowrie was himself killed in the ensuing fracas, there were few surviving witnesses. Given his history with the Ruthvens, and that he owed them a great deal of money, James's account of the circumstances was not universally believed.

In 1586, James signed the Treaty of Berwick
Treaty of Berwick (1586)
The Treaty of Berwick was a 'league of amity' or peace agreement made on July 6, 1586 between Queen Elizabeth I of England and King James VI of Scotland....

 with England. That and the execution of his mother in 1587, which he denounced as a "preposterous and strange procedure", helped clear the way for his succession south of the border. Queen Elizabeth was unmarried and childless, and James was her most likely successor. Securing the English succession became a cornerstone of his policy. During the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
This article refers to the Battle of Gravelines, for the modern navy of Spain, see Spanish NavyThe Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England to stop English...

 crisis of 1588, he assured Elizabeth of his support as "your natural son and compatriot of your country".

Marriage


Throughout his youth, James was praised for his chastity, since he showed little interest in women; after the loss of Lennox, he continued to prefer male company. A suitable marriage, however, was necessary to reinforce his monarchy, and the choice fell on the fourteen-year-old Anne of Denmark
Anne of Denmark
Anne of Denmark was queen consort of Scotland, England, and Ireland as the wife of King James VI and I.The second daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark, Anne married James in 1589 at the age of fourteen and bore him three children who survived infancy, including the future Charles I...

, younger daughter of the Protestant Frederick II
Frederick II of Denmark
Frederick II was King of Denmark and Norway and duke of Schleswig from 1559 until his death.-King of Denmark:Frederick II was the son of King Christian III of Denmark and Norway and Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg. Frederick II stands as the typical renaissance ruler of Denmark. Unlike his father, he...

. Shortly after a proxy marriage in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 in August 1589, Anne sailed for Scotland but was forced by storms to the coast of Norway. On hearing the crossing had been abandoned, James, in what Willson calls "the one romantic episode of his life", sailed from Leith
Leith
-South Leith v. North Leith:Up until the late 16th century Leith , comprised two separate towns on either side of the river....

 with a three-hundred-strong retinue to fetch Anne personally. The couple were married formally at the Bishop's Palace
Old Bishop's Palace in Oslo
The Old Bishop's Palace in Oslo was the residence of the Catholic bishops of Oslo. The palace was built like a fortified castle. The construction was begun around 1210 by the then bishop, Nikolas Arnesson, continuing through to the early 14th century...

 in Oslo on 23 November and, after stays at Elsinore
Elsinore
Helsingør is a city and the municipal seat of Helsingør municipality on the northeast coast of the island of Zealand in eastern Denmark. Helsingør has a population of 46,279 including the southern suburbs of Snekkersten and Espergærde...

 and Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 and a meeting with Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe , born Tyge Ottesen Brahe, was a Danish nobleman known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations...

, returned to Scotland on 1 May 1590. By all accounts, James was at first infatuated with Anne, and in the early years of their marriage seems always to have showed her patience and affection. The royal couple produced three surviving children: Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales
Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales
Henry Frederick Stuart, Prince of Wales was the elder son of King James I & VI and Anne of Denmark. His name derives from his grandfathers: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Frederick II of Denmark. Prince Henry was widely seen as a bright and promising heir to his father's throne...

, who died of typhoid fever
Typhoid fever
Typhoid fever, also known as Typhoid, is a common worldwide bacterial disease, transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person, which contain the bacterium Salmonella enterica, serovar Typhi...

 in 1612, aged 18; Elizabeth
Elizabeth of Bohemia
Elizabeth of Bohemia was the eldest daughter of King James VI and I, King of Scotland, England, Ireland, and Anne of Denmark. As the wife of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, she was Electress Palatine and briefly Queen of Bohemia...

, later Queen of Bohemia
Royal Consorts of Bohemia
This is a list of the royal consorts of the rulers of Bohemia.The first Duchess of Bohemia was St. Ludmila, while the first Queen of Bohemia was Świętosława of Poland. Some of them were not crowned.There was only one queen regnant in Czech history - Maria Theresa...

; and Charles
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

, the future King. Anne died before her husband in March 1619.

Witch hunts


James's visit to Denmark, a country familiar with witch hunts, may have encouraged an interest in the study of witchcraft, which he considered a branch of theology. After his return to Scotland, he attended the North Berwick witch trials
North Berwick witch trials
The North Berwick witch trials were the trials in 1590 of a number of people from East Lothian, Scotland, accused of witchcraft in the St Andrew's Auld Kirk in North Berwick. They ran for two years and implicated seventy people. The accused included Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell on charges...

, the first major persecution of witches in Scotland under the Witchcraft Act 1563. Several people, most notably Agnes Sampson
Agnes Sampson
Agnes Sampson was a Scottish healer and purported witch. Also known as the "Wise Wife of Keith", Sampson is most famous for her part in the North Berwick witch trials in the later part of the sixteenth century....

, were convicted of using witchcraft to send storms against James's ship. James became obsessed with the threat posed by witches and, inspired by his personal involvement, in 1597 wrote the Daemonologie
Daemonologie
Daemonologie is the book written and published in 1597 by King James VI of Scotland . In the book he approves and supports the practise of witch hunting...

, a tract which opposed the practice of witchcraft and which provided background material for Shakespeare's Tragedy of Macbeth
Macbeth
The Tragedy of Macbeth is a play by William Shakespeare about a regicide and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607...

. James is known to have personally supervised the torture of women accused of being witches. After 1599, his views became more sceptical. In a later letter written in England to his son Prince Henry
Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales
Henry Frederick Stuart, Prince of Wales was the elder son of King James I & VI and Anne of Denmark. His name derives from his grandfathers: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Frederick II of Denmark. Prince Henry was widely seen as a bright and promising heir to his father's throne...

, James congratulates the Prince on "the discovery of yon little counterfeit wench. I pray God ye may be my heir in such discoveries ... most miracles now-a-days prove but illusions, and ye may see by this how wary judges should be in trusting accusations."

Highlands and Islands


The forcible dissolution of the Lordship of the Isles
Lord of the Isles
The designation Lord of the Isles is today a title of Scottish nobility with historical roots that go back beyond the Kingdom of Scotland. It emerged from a series of hybrid Viking/Gaelic rulers of the west coast and islands of Scotland in the Middle Ages, who wielded sea-power with fleets of...

 by James IV
James IV of Scotland
James IV was King of Scots from 11 June 1488 to his death. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from not only Scotland, but also from all...

 in 1493 had led to troubled times for the western seaboard. Although the king had subdued the organised military might of the Hebrides
Hebrides
The Hebrides comprise a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of Scotland. There are two main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides. These islands have a long history of occupation dating back to the Mesolithic and the culture of the residents has been affected by the successive...

, he and his immediate successors lacked the will or ability to provide an alternative form of governance. As a result the 16th century became known as linn nan creach – the time of raids. Furthermore, the effects of the Reformation were slow to impact the Gàidhealtachd
Gàidhealtachd
The Gàidhealtachd , sometimes known as A' Ghàidhealtachd , usually refers to the Scottish highlands and islands, and especially the Scottish Gaelic culture of the area. The corresponding Irish word Gaeltacht however refers strictly to an Irish speaking area...

, driving a religious wedge between this area and centres of political control in the Central Belt
Central Belt
The Central Belt of Scotland is a common term used to describe the area of highest population density within Scotland. Despite the name, it is not geographically central but is nevertheless situated at the 'waist' of Scotland on a conventional map and the term 'central' is used in many local...

. In 1540 James V
James V of Scotland
James V was King of Scots from 9 September 1513 until his death, which followed the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss...

 had toured the Hebrides, forcing the clan
Scottish clan
Scottish clans , give a sense of identity and shared descent to people in Scotland and to their relations throughout the world, with a formal structure of Clan Chiefs recognised by the court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms which acts as an authority concerning matters of heraldry and Coat of Arms...

 chiefs
Scottish clan chief
The Scottish Gaelic word clann means children. In early times, and possibly even today, clan members believed themselves to descend from a common ancestor, the founder of the Scottish clan. From its perceived founder a clan takes its name. The clan chief is the representative of this founder, and...

 to accompany him. There followed a period of peace, but the clans were soon at loggerheads with one another again. During James VI's reign the transformation of the 15th century image of the Hebrides as the cradle of Scottish Christianity and nationhood into one in which its citizens were regarded as lawless barbarians was complete. Official documents describe the peoples of the Highlands as "void of the knawledge and feir of God" who were prone to "all kynd of barbarous and bestile cruelteis". The Gaelic language, spoken fluently by James IV and probably by James V, became known in the time of James VI as "Erse" or Irish, implying that it was foreign in nature. The Scottish Parliament decided it had become a principal cause of the Highlanders' shortcomings and sought to abolish it.

It was against this background that in 1598 James VI authorised the "Gentleman Adventurers of Fife" to civilise the "most barbarous Isle of Lewis". James wrote that the colonists were to act "not by agreement" with the local inhabitants, but "by extirpation of thame". Their landing at Stornoway
Stornoway
Stornoway is a burgh on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.The town's population is around 9,000, making it the largest settlement in the Western Isles and the third largest town in the Scottish Highlands after Inverness and Fort William...

 was initially successful, but the colonists were driven out by local forces commanded by Murdoch and Neil MacLeod. The colonists tried again in 1605 with the same result although a third attempt in 1607 was more successful. The Statutes of Iona
Statutes of Iona
The Statutes of Iona, passed in Scotland in 1609, required that Highland Scottish clan chiefs send their heirs to Lowland Scotland to be educated in English-speaking Protestant schools. As a result some clans, such as the MacDonalds of Sleat and the MacLeods of Harris, adopted the new religion...

 were enacted in 1609, which required clan chiefs to: send their heirs to Lowland Scotland to be educated in English-speaking Protestant schools; provide support for Protestant ministers to Highland Parishes; outlaw bards; and regularly report to Edinburgh to answer for their actions. So began a process "specifically aimed at the extirpation of the Gaelic language, the destruction of its traditional culture and the suppression of its bearers."

Theory of monarchy


In 1597–98, James wrote two works, The True Law of Free Monarchies
The True Law of Free Monarchies
The True Law of Free Monarchies; or, The Reciprocal and Mutual Duty Betwixt a Free King and His Natural Subjects is a treatise or essay of political theory by James VI of Scotland...

and Basilikon Doron
Basilikon Doron
The Basilikon Doron is a treatise on government written by King James VI of Scotland, later King James I of England, in 1599. Basilikon Doron in the Greek language means royal gift. It was written in the form of a private and confidential letter to the King's eldest son, Henry, Duke of...

(Royal Gift), in which he argued a theological basis for monarchy. In the True Law, he sets out the divine right of kings
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

, explaining that for Biblical reasons kings are higher beings than other men, though "the highest bench is the sliddriest to sit upon". The document proposes an absolutist theory of monarchy, by which a king may impose new laws by royal prerogative
Royal Prerogative
The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy as belonging to the sovereign alone. It is the means by which some of the executive powers of government, possessed by and...

 but must also pay heed to tradition and to God, who would "stirre up such scourges as pleaseth him, for punishment of wicked kings". Basilikon Doron, written as a book of instruction for the four-year-old Prince Henry
Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales
Henry Frederick Stuart, Prince of Wales was the elder son of King James I & VI and Anne of Denmark. His name derives from his grandfathers: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Frederick II of Denmark. Prince Henry was widely seen as a bright and promising heir to his father's throne...

, provides a more practical guide to kingship. The work is considered to be well written and perhaps the best example of James's prose. James's advice concerning parliaments, which he understood as merely the king's "head court", foreshadows his difficulties with the English Commons: "Hold no Parliaments," he tells Henry, "but for the necesitie of new Lawes, which would be but seldome". In the True Law James maintains that the king owns his realm as a feudal lord owns his fief, because kings arose "before any estates or ranks of men, before any parliaments were holden, or laws made, and by them was the land distributed, which at first was wholly theirs. And so it follows of necessity that kings were the authors and makers of the laws, and not the laws of the kings."

Literary patronage



James was concerned in the 1580s and 1590s to promote the literature of the country of his birth. His treatise, Some Rules and Cautions to be Observed and Eschewed in Scottish Prosody, published in 1584 at the age of 18, was both a poetic manual and a description of the poetic tradition in his mother tongue, Scots
Middle Scots
Middle Scots was the Anglic language of Lowland Scotland in the period from 1450 to 1700. By the end of the 13th century its phonology, orthography, accidence, syntax and vocabulary had diverged markedly from Early Scots, which was virtually indistinguishable from early Northumbrian Middle English...

, applying Renaissance principles. He also made statutory provision to reform and promote the teaching of music, seeing the two in connection. In furtherance of these aims he was both patron and head of a loose circle of Scottish Jacobean
Jacobean era
The Jacobean era refers to the period in English and Scottish history that coincides with the reign of King James VI of Scotland, who also inherited the crown of England in 1603 as James I...

 court poets and musicians, the Castalian Band
Castalian Band
The Castalian Band was a group of Scottish Jacobean poets, or makars, which flourished between the 1580s and early 1590s in the court of James VI and was consciously modelled on the French example of the Pléiade. Its name is derived from the classical term Castalian Spring, a symbol for poetic...

, which included among others William Fowler and Alexander Montgomerie
Alexander Montgomerie
Alexander Montgomerie , Scottish Jacobean courtier and poet, or makar, born in Ayrshire. He was one of the principal members of the Castalian Band, a circle of poets in the court of James VI in the 1580s which included the king himself. Montgomerie was for a time in favour as one of the king's...

, the latter being a favourite of the King. James, himself a poet, was happy to be seen as a practising member in the group. By the late 1590s his championing of his native Scottish tradition was to some extent diffused by the increasingly expected prospect of inheritance of the English throne, and some courtier poets who followed the king to London after 1603, such as William Alexander, were starting to anglicise their written language. James's characteristic role as active literary participant and patron in the Scottish court made him in many respects a defining figure for English Renaissance poetry and drama, which would reach a pinnacle of achievement in his reign, but his patronage for the high style
Stylistics (linguistics)
Stylistics is the study and interpretation of texts from a linguistic perspective. As a discipline it links literary criticism and linguistics, but has no autonomous domain of its own...

 in his own Scottish tradition, a tradition which includes his ancestor James I of Scotland
James I of Scotland
James I, King of Scots , was the son of Robert III and Annabella Drummond. He was probably born in late July 1394 in Dunfermline as youngest of three sons...

, largely became sidelined.

Proclaimed King of England


From 1601, in the last years of Elizabeth I's life, certain English politicians, notably her chief minister Sir Robert Cecil
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, KG, PC was an English administrator and politician.-Life:He was the son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Mildred Cooke...

, maintained a secret correspondence with James
Secret correspondence of James VI
The secret correspondence of James VI of Scotland was communication between the Scottish King and administrators of Elizabeth I of England between May 1601 and the Queen's death in March 1603. In this period it was settled that James VI would succeed Elizabeth as James I of England, but the...

 in order to prepare in advance for a smooth succession. In March 1603, with the Queen clearly dying, Cecil sent James a draft proclamation of his accession to the English throne. Elizabeth died in the early hours of 24 March, and James was proclaimed king in London later the same day. On 5 April, James left Edinburgh for London, promising to return every three years (a promise he did not keep), and progressed slowly southwards, to arrive in the capital after Elizabeth's funeral. Local lords received him with lavish hospitality along the route, and his new subjects flocked to see him, relieved that the succession had triggered neither unrest nor invasion. When he entered London on 7 May, he was mobbed by a crowd of spectators.

His English coronation took place on 25 July, with elaborate allegories provided by dramatic poets such as Thomas Dekker and Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems...

. Even though an outbreak of plague restricted festivities, "the streets seemed paved with men," wrote Dekker. "Stalls instead of rich wares were set out with children, open casements filled up with women".

The kingdom to which James succeeded was, however, not without its problems. Monopolies and taxation had engendered a widespread sense of grievance, and the costs of war in Ireland
Nine Years' War (Ireland)
The Nine Years' War or Tyrone's Rebellion took place in Ireland from 1594 to 1603. It was fought between the forces of Gaelic Irish chieftains Hugh O'Neill of Tír Eoghain, Hugh Roe O'Donnell of Tír Chonaill and their allies, against English rule in Ireland. The war was fought in all parts of the...

 had become a heavy burden on the government.

Early reign in England


Despite the smoothness of the succession and the warmth of his welcome, James survived two conspiracies in the first year of his reign, the Bye Plot
Bye Plot
The Bye Plot was a conspiracy by a Roman Catholic priest, William Watson, to kidnap James I of England and to force him to repeal anti-Catholic legislation.-Background:...

 and Main Plot
Main Plot
The Main Plot was an alleged conspiracy of July 1603 by English courtiers, to remove King James I from the English throne, replacing him with his cousin Arabella Stuart. The plot was supposedly led by Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham, and funded by Spain...

, which led to the arrest, among others, of Lord Cobham
Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham
Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham was an English peer who was implicated in the Main Plot against the rule of James I of England.- Life :...

 and Sir Walter Raleigh
Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England....

. Those hoping for governmental change from James were at first disappointed when he maintained Elizabeth's Privy Council
Privy council
A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a nation, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on...

lors in office, as secretly planned with Cecil, but James shortly added long-time supporter Henry Howard
Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton
Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton was a significant English aristocrat and courtier. He was suspect as a crypto-Catholic throughout his life, and went through periods of royal disfavour, in which his reputation suffered greatly. He was distinguished for learning, artistic culture and his...

 and his nephew Thomas Howard
Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk
Admiral Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, KG, PC was a son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk by his second wife Margaret Audley, Duchess of Norfolk, the daughter and heiress of the 1st Baron Audley of Walden....

 to the Privy Council, as well as five Scottish nobles. In the early years of James's reign, the day-to-day running of the government was tightly managed by the shrewd Robert Cecil, later Earl of Salisbury
Earl of Salisbury
Earl of Salisbury is a title that has been created several times in British history. It has a complex history, being first created for Patrick de Salisbury in the middle twelfth century. It was eventually inherited by Alice, wife of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster...

, ably assisted by the experienced Thomas Egerton
Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley
Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley PC was an English Nobleman, Judge and Statesman who served as Lord Keeper and Lord Chancellor for twenty-one years.-Early life, education and legal career:...

, whom James made Baron Ellesmere and Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

, and by Thomas Sackville
Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset
Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset was an English statesman, poet, dramatist and Freemason. He was the son of Richard Sackville, a cousin to Anne Boleyn. He was a Member of Parliament and Lord High Treasurer.-Biography:...

, soon Earl of Dorset
Earl of Dorset
Earl of Dorset is a title that has been created at least four times in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1411 for Thomas Beaufort, who was later created Duke of Exeter. The peerages became extinct on his death....

, who continued as Lord Treasurer. As a consequence, James was free to concentrate on bigger issues, such as a scheme for a closer union between England and Scotland and matters of foreign policy, as well as to enjoy his leisure pursuits, particularly hunting.

James was ambitious to build on the personal union
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

 of the Crowns of Scotland and England
Union of the Crowns
The Union of the Crowns was the accession of James VI, King of Scots, to the throne of England, and the consequential unification of Scotland and England under one monarch. The Union of Crowns followed the death of James' unmarried and childless first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I of...

 to establish a single country under one monarch, one parliament and one law, a plan which met opposition in both realms. "Hath He not made us all in one island," James told the English parliament, "compassed with one sea and of itself by nature indivisible?" In April 1604, however, the Commons refused on legal grounds his request to be titled "King of Great Britain". In October 1604, he assumed the title "King of Great Britain" by proclamation rather than statute, though Sir Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

 told him he could not use the style in "any legal proceeding, instrument or assurance".

In foreign policy, James achieved more success. Never having been at war with Spain, he devoted his efforts to bringing the long Anglo–Spanish War to an end, and in August 1604, thanks to skilled diplomacy on the part of Robert Cecil and Henry Howard, now Earl of Northampton
Earl of Northampton
Earl of Northampton is a title that has been created five times.-Earls in for the Honour of Huntingdon, first Creation :*Waltheof *Maud, Countess of Huntingdon** m. Simon I de Senlis** m...

, a peace treaty was signed between the two countries, which James celebrated by hosting a great banquet. Freedom of worship for Catholics in England continued, however, to be a major objective of Spanish policy, causing constant dilemmas for James, distrusted abroad for repression of Catholics while at home being encouraged by the Privy Council to show even less tolerance towards them.

Gunpowder plot



On the night of 4–5 November 1605, the eve of the state opening
State Opening of Parliament
In the United Kingdom, the State Opening of Parliament is an annual event that marks the commencement of a session of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is held in the House of Lords Chamber, usually in November or December or, in a general election year, when the new Parliament first assembles...

 of the second session of James's first English Parliament, a soldier named Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes , also known as Guido Fawkes, the name he adopted while fighting for the Spanish in the Low Countries, belonged to a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.Fawkes was born and educated in York...

 was discovered in the cellars of the parliament buildings. He was guarding a pile of wood not far from 36 barrels of gunpowder with which Fawkes intended to blow up Parliament House the following day and cause the destruction, as James put it, "not only ... of my person, nor of my wife and posterity also, but of the whole body of the State in general". The sensational discovery of the Catholic Gunpowder Plot
Gunpowder Plot
The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.The plan was to blow up the House of...

, as it quickly became known, aroused a mood of national relief at the delivery of the king and his sons which Salisbury exploited to extract higher subsidies from the ensuing Parliament than any but one granted to Elizabeth. Fawkes and others implicated in the unsuccessful conspiracy were executed.

King and Parliament



The co-operation between monarch and Parliament following the Gunpowder plot was atypical. Instead, it was the previous session of 1604 that shaped the attitudes of both sides for the rest of the reign, though the initial difficulties owed more to mutual incomprehension than conscious enmity. On 7 July 1604, James had angrily prorogued
Parliamentary session
A legislative session is the period of time in which a legislature, in both parliamentary and presidential systems, is convened for purpose of lawmaking, usually being one of two or more smaller divisions of the entire time between two elections...

 Parliament after failing to win its support either for full union or financial subsidies. "I will not thank where I feel no thanks due", he had remarked in his closing speech. "... I am not of such a stock as to praise fools ... You see how many things you did not well ... I wish you would make use of your liberty with more modesty in time to come".

As James's reign progressed, his government faced growing financial pressures, due partly to creeping inflation but also to the profligacy and financial incompetence of James's court. In February 1610, Salisbury proposed a scheme, known as the Great Contract
Great Contract
The Great Contract was a plan submitted to James I and Parliament in 1610 by Robert Cecil. It was an attempt to increase Crown income and ultimately rid it of debt....

, whereby Parliament, in return for ten royal concessions, would grant a lump sum of £600,000 to pay off the king's debts plus an annual grant of £200,000. The ensuing prickly negotiations became so protracted that James eventually lost patience and dismissed Parliament on 31 December 1610. "Your greatest error", he told Salisbury, "hath been that ye ever expected to draw honey out of gall". The same pattern was repeated with the so-called "Addled Parliament
Addled Parliament
The Addled Parliament was the second Parliament of England of the reign of James I of England , which sat between 5 April and 7 June 1614...

" of 1614, which James dissolved after a mere nine weeks when the Commons hesitated to grant him the money he required. James then ruled without parliament until 1621, employing officials such as the businessman Lionel Cranfield
Lionel Cranfield, 1st Earl of Middlesex
Lionel Cranfield, 1st Earl of Middlesex was a successful merchant in London, England.-Life:He was the second son of Thomas Cranfield, a mercer at London, and his wife Martha Randill, the daughter and heiress of Vincent Randill of Sutton-at-Hone, Kent. He was apprenticed in to Richard Sheppard, a...

, who were astute at raising and saving money for the crown, and sold earldoms and other dignities, many created for the purpose, as an alternative source of income.

Spanish match



Another potential source of income was the prospect of a Spanish dowry from a marriage between Charles, Prince of Wales
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

, and the Spanish Infanta, Maria. The policy of the Spanish Match
Spanish Match
The Spanish Match was a proposed marriage between Prince Charles, the son of King James I of England, and Infanta Maria Anna of Spain, the daughter of Philip III of Spain...

, as it was called, was also attractive to James as a way to maintain peace with Spain and avoid the additional costs of a war. Peace could be maintained as effectively by keeping the negotiations alive as by consummating the match—which may explain why James protracted the negotiations for almost a decade.

The policy was supported by the Howards and other Catholic-leaning ministers and diplomats—together known as the Spanish Party—but deeply distrusted in Protestant England. When Sir Walter Raleigh
Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England....

 was released from his imprisonment in 1616, he embarked on a hunt for gold in South America with strict instructions from James not to engage the Spanish. Raleigh's expedition was a disastrous failure, and his son was killed fighting the Spanish. On Raleigh's return to England, James had him executed to the indignation of the public, who opposed the appeasement of Spain. James's policy was further jeopardised by the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

, especially after his Protestant son-in-law, Frederick V, Elector Palatine
Frederick V, Elector Palatine
Frederick V was Elector Palatine , and, as Frederick I , King of Bohemia ....

, was ousted from Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 by the Catholic Emperor Ferdinand II
Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand II , a member of the House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor , King of Bohemia , and King of Hungary . His rule coincided with the Thirty Years' War.- Life :...

 in 1620, and Spanish troops simultaneously invaded Frederick's Rhineland
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

 home territory. Matters came to a head when James finally called a Parliament in 1621 to fund a military expedition in support of his son-in-law. The Commons on the one hand granted subsidies inadequate to finance serious military operations in aid of Frederick, and on the other—remembering the profits gained under Elizabeth by naval attacks on Spanish gold shipments—called for a war directly against Spain. In November 1621, roused by Sir Edward Coke
Edward Coke
Sir Edward Coke SL PC was an English barrister, judge and politician considered to be the greatest jurist of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Born into a middle class family, Coke was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge before leaving to study at the Inner Temple, where he was called to the...

, they framed a petition asking not only for war with Spain but also for Prince Charles to marry a Protestant, and for enforcement of the anti-Catholic laws. James flatly told them not to interfere in matters of royal prerogative
Royal Prerogative
The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy as belonging to the sovereign alone. It is the means by which some of the executive powers of government, possessed by and...

 or they would risk punishment, which provoked them into issuing a statement protesting their rights, including freedom of speech. Urged on by the Duke of Buckingham
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham KG was the favourite, claimed by some to be the lover, of King James I of England. Despite a very patchy political and military record, he remained at the height of royal favour for the first two years of the reign of Charles I, until he was assassinated...

 and the Spanish ambassador Gondomar
Diego Sarmiento de Acuña, conde de Gondomar
Don Diego Sarmiento de Acuña, Count of Gondomar , was a Galician diplomat, the Spanish ambassador to England in 1613 to 1622 and afterwards, as a kind of ambassador emeritus, as Spain's leading expert on English affairs until his death...

, James ripped the protest out of the record book and dissolved Parliament.

In early 1623, Prince Charles, now 22, and Buckingham decided to seize the initiative and travel to Spain incognito, to win the Infanta directly, but the mission proved an ineffectual mistake. The Infanta detested Charles, and the Spanish confronted them with terms that included the repeal of anti-Catholic legislation by Parliament. Though a treaty was signed, the prince and duke returned to England in October without the Infanta and immediately renounced the treaty, much to the delight of the British people. Disillusioned by the visit to Spain, Charles and Buckingham now turned James's Spanish policy upon its head and called for a French match and a war against the Habsburg empire. To raise the necessary finance, they prevailed upon James to call another Parliament, which met in February 1624. For once, the outpouring of anti-Catholic sentiment in the Commons was echoed in court, where control of policy was shifting from James to Charles and Buckingham, who pressured the king to declare war and engineered the impeachment of Lord Treasurer Lionel Cranfield
Lionel Cranfield, 1st Earl of Middlesex
Lionel Cranfield, 1st Earl of Middlesex was a successful merchant in London, England.-Life:He was the second son of Thomas Cranfield, a mercer at London, and his wife Martha Randill, the daughter and heiress of Vincent Randill of Sutton-at-Hone, Kent. He was apprenticed in to Richard Sheppard, a...

, by now made Earl of Middlesex
Earl of Middlesex
Earl of Middlesex was a title that was created twice in the Peerage of England. The first creation came in 1622 for Lionel Cranfield, 1st Baron Cranfield, the Lord High Treasurer. He had already been created Baron Cranfield, of Cranfield in the County of Bedford, the year before, also in the...

, when he opposed the plan on grounds of cost. The outcome of the Parliament of 1624 was ambiguous: James still refused to declare war, but Charles believed the Commons had committed themselves to finance a war against Spain, a stance which was to contribute to his problems with Parliament in his own reign.

King and Church


After the Gunpowder Plot, James sanctioned harsh measures for controlling non-conforming
Nonconformism
Nonconformity is the refusal to "conform" to, or follow, the governance and usages of the Church of England by the Protestant Christians of England and Wales.- Origins and use:...

 English Catholics. In May 1606, Parliament passed the Popish Recusants Act
Popish Recusants Act 1605
The Popish Recusants Act 1605 was an Act of the Parliament of England which quickly followed the Gunpowder Plot of the same year, an attempt by English Roman Catholics to assassinate King James I and many of the Parliament....

 which could require any citizen to take an Oath of Allegiance
Oath of Allegiance of James I of England
The Oath of Allegiance of 1606 was an oath required of subjects of James I of England from 1606, the year after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 ; it was also called the Oath of Obedience . Whatever effect it had on the loyalty of his subjects, it caused an international controversy lasting a...

 denying the Pope's authority over the king. James was conciliatory towards Catholics who took the Oath of Allegiance, and tolerated crypto-Catholicism even at court. Henry Howard
Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton
Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton was a significant English aristocrat and courtier. He was suspect as a crypto-Catholic throughout his life, and went through periods of royal disfavour, in which his reputation suffered greatly. He was distinguished for learning, artistic culture and his...

, for example, was a crypto-Catholic, received back into the Church of Rome in his final months. On ascending the English throne, James, suspecting he might need the support of Catholics in England, had assured Catholic Lord Northumberland
Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland
Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland KG was an English aristocrat. He was a grandee and one of the wealthiest peers of the court of Elizabeth I. Under James I, Henry was a long-term prisoner in the Tower of London. He is known for the circles he moved in as well as for his own achievements...

 he would not persecute "any that will be quiet and give but an outward obedience to the law".

In the Millenary Petition
Millenary Petition
The Millenary Petition was a list of requests given to James I by Puritans in 1603 when he was travelling to London in order to claim the English throne. It is claimed, but not proven, that this petition had 1,000 signatures of Puritan ministers...

 of 1603, the Puritan
Puritan
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

 clergy demanded, among other things, the abolition of confirmation, wedding rings, and the term "priest", and that the wearing of cap and surplice
Surplice
A surplice is a liturgical vestment of the Western Christian Church...

 become optional. James was at first strict in enforcing conformity, inducing a sense of persecution amongst many Puritans; but ejections and suspensions from livings became fewer as the reign continued. As a result of the Hampton Court Conference
Hampton Court Conference
The Hampton Court Conference was a meeting in January 1604, convened at Hampton Court Palace, for discussion between King James I of England and representatives of the Church of England, including leading English Puritans.-Attendance:...

 of 1604, a new translation and compilation of approved books of the Bible was commissioned to resolve issues with different translations then being used. The Authorised King James Version, as it came to be known, was completed in 1611 and is considered a masterpiece of Jacobean prose. It is still in widespread use.

In Scotland, James attempted to bring the Scottish kirk "so neir as can be" to the English church and to reestablish episcopacy, a policy which met with strong opposition from presbyterians
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

. In 1617, for the only time after his accession in England, James returned to Scotland in the hope of implementing Anglican ritual. James's bishops forced his Five Articles of Perth
Five Articles of Perth
The Five Articles of Perth was an attempt by King James VI of Scotland to impose practices on the Church of Scotland in an attempt to integrate it with the episcopalian Church of England...

 through a General Assembly the following year; but the rulings were widely resisted. James was to leave the church in Scotland divided at his death, a source of future problems for his son.

Favourites




Throughout his life James had close relationships with male courtiers, which has caused debate among historians about their nature. After his accession in England, his peaceful and scholarly attitude contrasted strikingly with the bellicose and flirtatious behaviour of Elizabeth, as indicated by the contemporary epigram Rex fuit Elizabeth, nunc est regina Jacobus (Elizabeth was King, now James is Queen). Some of James's biographers conclude that Esmé Stewart
Esmé Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox
Esmé Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox, 1st Earl of Lennox was the son of John Stewart, 5th Lord of Aubigny who was the younger brother of Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox...

 (later Duke of Lennox), Robert Carr
Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset
Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset, , was a politician, and favourite of King James I of England.-Background:Robert Kerr was born in Wrington, Somerset, England the younger son of Sir Thomas Kerr of Ferniehurst, Scotland by his second wife, Janet, sister of Walter Scott of Buccleuch...

 (later Earl of Somerset), and George Villiers
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham KG was the favourite, claimed by some to be the lover, of King James I of England. Despite a very patchy political and military record, he remained at the height of royal favour for the first two years of the reign of Charles I, until he was assassinated...

 (later Duke of Buckingham) were his lovers. Restoration of Apethorpe Hall
Apethorpe Hall
Apethorpe Hall in Apethorpe, Northamptonshire, England is a Grade I listed country house, dating back to the 15th century.The house is built around three courtyards lying on an east-west axis and is approximately by in area...

, undertaken in 2004–08, revealed a previously unknown passage linking the bedchambers of James and Villiers. Others argue that the relationships were not sexual. James's Basilikon Doron
Basilikon Doron
The Basilikon Doron is a treatise on government written by King James VI of Scotland, later King James I of England, in 1599. Basilikon Doron in the Greek language means royal gift. It was written in the form of a private and confidential letter to the King's eldest son, Henry, Duke of...

lists sodomy
Sodomy
Sodomy is an anal or other copulation-like act, especially between male persons or between a man and animal, and one who practices sodomy is a "sodomite"...

 among crimes "ye are bound in conscience never to forgive", and James's wife Anne gave birth to seven live children, as well as suffering two stillbirths and at least three other miscarriages.

When the Earl of Salisbury died in 1612, he was little mourned by those who jostled to fill the power vacuum. Until Salisbury's death, the Elizabethan administrative system over which he had presided continued to function with relative efficiency; from this time forward, however, James's government entered a period of decline and disrepute. Salisbury's passing gave James the notion of governing in person as his own chief Minister of State, with his young Scottish favourite, Robert Carr, carrying out many of Salisbury's former duties, but James's inability to attend closely to official business exposed the government to factionalism.

The Howard party, consisting of Northampton, Suffolk, Suffolk's son-in-law Lord Knollys
William Knollys, 1st Earl of Banbury
Sir William Knollys, 1st Earl of Banbury, KG, PC was an English nobleman at the court of Queen Elizabeth I and King James...

, and Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham
Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham
Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham , known as Howard of Effingham, was an English statesman and Lord High Admiral under Elizabeth I and James I...

, along with Sir Thomas Lake, soon took control of much of the government and its patronage. Even the powerful Carr, hardly experienced for the responsibilities thrust upon him and often dependent on his intimate friend Sir Thomas Overbury
Thomas Overbury
Sir Thomas Overbury was an English poet and essayist, and the victim of one of the most sensational crimes in English history...

 for assistance with government papers, fell into the Howard camp, after beginning an affair with the married Frances Howard, Countess of Essex
Frances Carr, Countess of Somerset
Frances Carr, Countess of Somerset was an English noblewoman who was the central figure in a famous scandal and murder during the reign of King James I...

, daughter of the Earl of Suffolk, whom James assisted in securing an annulment of her marriage to free her to marry Carr. In summer 1615, however, it emerged that Overbury, who on 15 September 1613 had died in the Tower of London, where he had been placed at the King's request, had been poisoned. Among those convicted of the murder were Frances and Robert Carr, the latter having been replaced as the king's favourite in the meantime by Villiers. James pardoned Frances and commuted Carr's sentence of death, eventually pardoning him in 1624. The implication of the King in such a scandal provoked much public and literary conjecture and irreparably tarnished James's court with an image of corruption and depravity. The subsequent downfall of the Howards left Villiers unchallenged as the supreme figure in the government by 1619.

Final year


After about the age of fifty, James suffered increasing from arthritis
Arthritis
Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints....

, gout
Gout
Gout is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected . However, it may also present as tophi, kidney stones, or urate...

 and kidney stone
Kidney stone
A kidney stone, also known as a renal calculus is a solid concretion or crystal aggregation formed in the kidneys from dietary minerals in the urine...

s. He also lost his teeth, and drank heavily. During the last year of James's life, with Buckingham consolidating his control of Charles to ensure his own future, the king was often seriously ill, leaving him an increasingly peripheral figure, rarely able to visit London. One theory is that James may have suffered from porphyria
Porphyria
Porphyrias are a group of inherited or acquired disorders of certain enzymes in the heme bio-synthetic pathway . They are broadly classified as acute porphyrias and cutaneous porphyrias, based on the site of the overproduction and accumulation of the porphyrins...

, a disease of which his descendant George III of the United Kingdom
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

 exhibited some symptoms. James described his urine to physician Théodore de Mayerne
Theodore de Mayerne
Sir Théodore Turquet de Mayerne was a Swiss-born physician who treated kings of France and England and advanced the theories of Paracelsus....

 as being the "dark red colour of Alicante wine". The theory is dismissed by some experts, particularly in James's case, because he had kidney stones, which can lead to blood in the urine, colouring it red.

In early 1625, James was plagued by severe attacks of arthritis, gout and fainting fits, and in March fell seriously ill with tertian ague and then suffered a stroke. James finally died at Theobalds House
Theobalds House
Theobalds House , located in Theobalds Park, just outside Cheshunt in the English county of Hertfordshire, was a prominent stately home and royal palace of the 16th and early 17th centuries.- Early history :...

 on 27 March during a violent attack of dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

, with Buckingham at his bedside. James's funeral, a magnificent but disorderly affair, took place on 7 May. Bishop John Williams
John Williams (archbishop)
John Williams was a British clergyman and political advisor to King James I. He served as Bishop of Lincoln 1621–1641, Keeper of the Great Seal also known as Lord Keeper or Lord Chancellor 1621–1625, and Archbishop of York 1641–1650...

 of Lincoln preached the sermon, observing, "King Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

 died in Peace, when he had lived about sixty years ... and so you know did King James".

Legacy



James was widely mourned. For all his flaws, he had largely retained the affection of his people, who had enjoyed uninterrupted peace and comparatively low taxation during the Jacobean era
Jacobean era
The Jacobean era refers to the period in English and Scottish history that coincides with the reign of King James VI of Scotland, who also inherited the crown of England in 1603 as James I...

. "As he lived in peace," remarked the Earl of Kellie
Earl of Kellie
The title Earl of Kellie or Kelly is one of the peerage titles of in the Peerage of Scotland, created in 1619 for Sir Thomas Erskine, who was Captain of the Guard and Groom of the Stool for James VI...

, "so did he die in peace, and I pray God our king [Charles I] may follow him". The earl prayed in vain: once in power, Charles
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 and Buckingham
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham KG was the favourite, claimed by some to be the lover, of King James I of England. Despite a very patchy political and military record, he remained at the height of royal favour for the first two years of the reign of Charles I, until he was assassinated...

 sanctioned a series of reckless military expeditions that ended in humiliating failure. James had often neglected the business of government for leisure pastimes, such as the hunt; and his later dependence on male favourites at a scandal-ridden court undermined the respected image of monarchy so carefully constructed by Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

. According to a tradition originating with anti-Stuart
House of Stuart
The House of Stuart is a European royal house. Founded by Robert II of Scotland, the Stewarts first became monarchs of the Kingdom of Scotland during the late 14th century, and subsequently held the position of the Kings of Great Britain and Ireland...

 historians of the mid-seventeenth-century, James's taste for political absolutism, his financial irresponsibility, and his cultivation of unpopular favourites established the foundations of the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

. James bequeathed Charles a fatal belief in the divine right of kings
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

, combined with a disdain for Parliament, which culminated in the execution of Charles and the abolition of the monarchy. Over the last three hundred years, the king's reputation has suffered from the acid description of him by Sir Anthony Weldon
Anthony Weldon
Sir Anthony Weldon was an English 17th Century courtier and politician. He is also the purported author of The Court and Character of King James I, although this attribution has been challenged....

, whom James had sacked and who wrote treatises on James in the 1650s. Other influential anti-James histories written during the 1650s include: Sir Edward Peyton, Divine Catastrophe of the Kingly Family of the House of Stuarts (1652); Arthur Wilson, History of Great Britain, Being the Life and Reign of King James I (1658); and Francis Osborne
Francis Osborne
Francis Osborne was an English essayist, known for his Advice to a Son, which became a very popular book soon after the English Restoration.-Life:He was born, according to his epitaph, on 26 Sept...

, Historical Memoirs of the Reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James (1658). The stability of James's government in Scotland, however, and in the early part of his English reign, as well as his relatively enlightened views on religion and war, have earned him a re-evaluation from many recent historians, who have rescued his reputation from this tradition of criticism.

Under James the Plantation of Ulster
Plantation of Ulster
The Plantation of Ulster was the organised colonisation of Ulster—a province of Ireland—by people from Great Britain. Private plantation by wealthy landowners began in 1606, while official plantation controlled by King James I of England and VI of Scotland began in 1609...

 by English and Scots Protestants began, and the English colonisation
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

 of North America started its course with the foundation of Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607 , it was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke...

, in 1607. Cuper's Cove, Newfoundland, was founded in 1610. During the next 150 years, England would fight with Spain, the Netherlands, and France for control of the continent, while religious division in Ireland between Protestant and Catholic has lasted for 400 years
Segregation in Northern Ireland
Segregation in Northern Ireland is a long-running issue in the political and social history of Northern Ireland. The segregation involves Northern Ireland's two main communities – its nationalist/republican community and its unionist/loyalist community...

. By actively pursuing more than just a personal union
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

 of his realms, he helped lay the foundations for a unitary British state.

Titles and styles

  • 19 June 1566 – 24 July 1567: The Duke of Rothesay
  • 10 February – 24 July 1567: The Duke of Albany
  • 24 July 1567 – 20 October 1604: His Grace The King of Scotland
  • 24 March 1603 – 27 March 1625: His Majesty The King of England
  • 20 October 1604 – 27 March 1625: King of Great Britain


In Scotland, James was "James the sixth, King of Scotland", until 1604. He was proclaimed "James the first, King of England, France and Ireland, defender of the faith
Fidei defensor
Fidei defensor is a Latin title which translates to Defender of the Faith in English and Défenseur de la Foi in French...

" in London on 24 March 1603. On 20 October 1604, James issued a proclamation at Westminster changing his style to "King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc." The style was not used on English statutes, but was used on proclamations, coinage, letters, treaties, and in Scotland. James, in line with other monarchs of England between 1340 and 1800, styled himself "King of France", although he did not actually rule France.

Arms


As King of Scots, James bore the ancient royal arms of Scotland
Royal coat of arms of Scotland
The royal coat of arms of Scotland was the official coat of arms of the monarchs of Scotland, and was used as the official coat of arms of the Kingdom of Scotland until the Acts of Union of 1707...

: Or
Or (heraldry)
In heraldry, Or is the tincture of gold and, together with argent , belongs to the class of light tinctures called "metals". In engravings and line drawings, it may be represented using a field of evenly spaced dots...

, a lion rampant Gules
Gules
In heraldry, gules is the tincture with the colour red, and belongs to the class of dark tinctures called "colours". In engraving, it is sometimes depicted as a region of vertical lines or else marked with gu. as an abbreviation....

 armed and langued Azure
Azure
In heraldry, azure is the tincture with the colour blue, and belongs to the class of tinctures called "colours". In engraving, it is sometimes depicted as a region of horizontal lines or else marked with either az. or b. as an abbreviation....

 within a double tressure flory counter-flory Gules. The arms were supported by two unicorns Argent
Argent
In heraldry, argent is the tincture of silver, and belongs to the class of light tinctures, called "metals". It is very frequently depicted as white and usually considered interchangeable with it...

 armed, crined and unguled Proper, gorged with a coronet Or composed of crosses patée and fleurs de lys a chain affixed thereto passing between the forelegs and reflexed over the back also Or. The crest
Crest (heraldry)
A crest is a component of an heraldic display, so called because it stands on top of a helmet, as the crest of a jay stands on the bird's head....

 was a lion sejant affrontée Gules, imperially crowned Or, holding in the dexter
Dexter and sinister
Dexter and sinister are terms used in heraldry to refer to specific locations in an escutcheon bearing a coat of arms and by extension also to a crest. "Dexter" means to the right from the viewpoint of the bearer of the arms, to the left of that of the viewer...

 paw a sword and in the sinister
Dexter and sinister
Dexter and sinister are terms used in heraldry to refer to specific locations in an escutcheon bearing a coat of arms and by extension also to a crest. "Dexter" means to the right from the viewpoint of the bearer of the arms, to the left of that of the viewer...

 paw a sceptre both erect and Proper.

The Union of the Crowns of England and Scotland under James was symbolised heraldically by combining their arms, supporters and badges
Heraldic badge
A heraldic badge is an emblem or personal device worn as a badge to indicate allegiance to or the property of an individual or family. Medieval forms are usually called a livery badge, and also a cognizance...

. Contention as to how the arms should be marshalled
Quartering (heraldry)
Quartering in heraldry is a method of joining several different coats of arms together in one shield by dividing the shield into equal parts and placing different coats of arms in each division....

, and to which kingdom should take precedence, was solved by having different arms for each country.

The arms used in England were: Quarterly, I and IV, quarterly 1st and 4th Azure three fleurs de lys Or (for France), 2nd and 3rd Gules three lions passant guardant in pale
Pale (heraldry)
A pale is a term used in heraldic blazon and vexillology to describe a charge on a coat of arms , that takes the form of a band running vertically down the center of the shield. Writers broadly agree that the width of the pale ranges from about one-fifth to about one-third of the width of the...

 Or (for England); II Or a lion rampant within a tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland); III Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland
Coat of arms of Ireland
The arms of Ireland is blazoned as Azure a harp Or, stringed Argent . These arms have long been Ireland's heraldic emblem. References to them as being the arms of the king of Ireland can be found as early as the 13th century...

, this was the first time that Ireland was included in the royal arms). The supporters became: dexter a lion rampant guardant Or imperially crowned and sinister the Scottish unicorn. The unicorn replaced the red dragon of Cadwaladr
Cadwaladr
Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon was King of Gwynedd . Two devastating plagues happened during his reign, one in 664 and the other in 682, with himself a victim of the second one. Little else is known of his reign...

, which was introduced by the Tudors. The unicorn has remained in the royal arms of the two united realms
Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom
The Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. These arms are used by the Queen in her official capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom, and are officially known as her Arms of Dominion...

. The English crest and motto was retained. The compartment often contained a branch of the Tudor rose, with shamrock and thistle engrafted on the same stem. The arms were frequently shown with James's personal motto, Beati pacifici.

The arms used in Scotland were: Quarterly, I and IV Scotland, II England and France, III Ireland, with Scotland taking precedence over England. The supporters were: dexter a unicorn of Scotland imperially crowned, supporting a tilting lance flying a banner Azure a saltire Argent (Cross of Saint Andrew
Flag of Scotland
The Flag of Scotland, , also known as Saint Andrew's Cross or the Saltire, is the national flag of Scotland. As the national flag it is the Saltire, rather than the Royal Standard of Scotland, which is the correct flag for all individuals and corporate bodies to fly in order to demonstrate both...

) and sinister the crowned lion of England supporting a similar lance flying a banner Argent a cross Gules (Cross of Saint George). The Scottish crest and motto was retained, following the Scottish practice
Scottish heraldry
Heraldry in Scotland, while broadly similar to that practised in England and elsewhere in western Europe, has its own distinctive features. Its heraldic executive is separate from that of the rest of the United Kingdom.-Executive:...

 the motto In defens (which is short for In My Defens God Me Defend
In My Defens God Me Defend
In my defens God me defend is the motto of both the Royal coat of arms of the Kingdom of Scotland and Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom used in Scotland. Contemporary versions of the Royal arms show an abbreviated motto, in the form of IN DEFENS or, where Modern English is used as an...

) was placed above the crest.

As royal badges James used: the Tudor rose, the thistle (for Scotland; first used by James III of Scotland
James III of Scotland
James III was King of Scots from 1460 to 1488. James was an unpopular and ineffective monarch owing to an unwillingness to administer justice fairly, a policy of pursuing alliance with the Kingdom of England, and a disastrous relationship with nearly all his extended family.His reputation as the...

), the Tudor rose dimidiated
Dimidiation
In heraldry, dimidiation is a method of joining two coats of arms.For a time, dimidiation preceded the method known as impalement. Whereas impalement involves placing the whole of both coats of arms side by side in the same shield, dimidiation involves placing the dexter half of one coat of arms...

 with the thistle ensigned with the royal crown, a harp (for Ireland) and a fleur de lys (for France).




List of writings

  • The Essayes of a Prentise in the Divine Art of Poesie
    Some Reulis and Cautelis to be observit and eschewit in Scottis poesie
    Ane Schort Treatise conteining some Reulis and Cautelis to be observit and eschewit in Scottis poesie is the full title of a work of non-fiction prose in Scots, also called The Essayes of a Prentise in the Divine Art of Poesie, written by the 19-year old James VI of Scotland and first published...

    , (also called Some Reulis and Cautelis), 1584
  • His Maiesties Poeticall Exercises at Vacant Houres, 1591
    • Lepanto, poem
  • Daemonologie
    Daemonologie
    Daemonologie is the book written and published in 1597 by King James VI of Scotland . In the book he approves and supports the practise of witch hunting...

    , 1597
  • The True Law of Free Monarchies
    The True Law of Free Monarchies
    The True Law of Free Monarchies; or, The Reciprocal and Mutual Duty Betwixt a Free King and His Natural Subjects is a treatise or essay of political theory by James VI of Scotland...

    , 1598
  • Basilikon Doron
    Basilikon Doron
    The Basilikon Doron is a treatise on government written by King James VI of Scotland, later King James I of England, in 1599. Basilikon Doron in the Greek language means royal gift. It was written in the form of a private and confidential letter to the King's eldest son, Henry, Duke of...

    , 1599
  • A Counterblaste to Tobacco
    A Counterblaste to Tobacco
    A Counterblaste to Tobacco is a treatise written by King James VI of Scotland and I of England in 1604, in which he expresses his distaste for tobacco, particularly tobacco smoking. As such, it is one of the earliest anti-tobacco publications....

    , 1604
  • An Apologie for the Oath of Allegiance, 1608
  • A Premonition to All Most Mightie Monarches, 1609

Issue




James's wife, Anne of Denmark
Anne of Denmark
Anne of Denmark was queen consort of Scotland, England, and Ireland as the wife of King James VI and I.The second daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark, Anne married James in 1589 at the age of fourteen and bore him three children who survived infancy, including the future Charles I...

, gave birth to seven children who survived beyond birth:
  1. Henry, Prince of Wales
    Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales
    Henry Frederick Stuart, Prince of Wales was the elder son of King James I & VI and Anne of Denmark. His name derives from his grandfathers: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Frederick II of Denmark. Prince Henry was widely seen as a bright and promising heir to his father's throne...

     (19 February 1594 – 6 November 1612). Died, probably of typhoid fever
    Typhoid fever
    Typhoid fever, also known as Typhoid, is a common worldwide bacterial disease, transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person, which contain the bacterium Salmonella enterica, serovar Typhi...

    , aged 18.
  2. Elizabeth of Bohemia
    Elizabeth of Bohemia
    Elizabeth of Bohemia was the eldest daughter of King James VI and I, King of Scotland, England, Ireland, and Anne of Denmark. As the wife of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, she was Electress Palatine and briefly Queen of Bohemia...

     (19 August 1596 – 13 February 1662). Married 1613, Frederick V, Elector Palatine
    Frederick V, Elector Palatine
    Frederick V was Elector Palatine , and, as Frederick I , King of Bohemia ....

    . Died aged 65. The Hanoverian
    House of Hanover
    The House of Hanover is a deposed German royal dynasty which has ruled the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg , the Kingdom of Hanover, the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Kingdom of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

     monarchs and the current House of Windsor
    House of Windsor
    The House of Windsor is the royal house of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V by royal proclamation on the 17 July 1917, when he changed the name of his family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the English Windsor, due to the anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom...

     are descended from her.
  3. Margaret Stuart
    Margaret, Mary and Sophia Stuart
    Margaret, Mary and Sophia Stuart were three of the four daughters born to James VI & I, King of Scotland and England, and his wife, Anne of Denmark...

     (24 December 1598 – March 1600). Died aged 1.
  4. Charles I
    Charles I of England
    Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

     (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649). Married 1625, Henrietta Maria. Succeeded James I. Executed aged 48.
  5. Robert Stuart, Duke of Kintyre
    Robert Stuart, Duke of Kintyre
    Robert Bruce Stuart, Duke of Kintyre and Lorne was the fifth child of James VI of Scots and Anne of Denmark. On 2 May 1602 he was created 1st Duke of Kintyre and Lorne, 1st Marquess of Wigton, 1st Earl of Carrick, and 1st Baron of Annandale, all in the Peerage of Scotland...

     (18 January 1602 – 27 May 1602). Died aged 4 months.
  6. Mary Stuart
    Margaret, Mary and Sophia Stuart
    Margaret, Mary and Sophia Stuart were three of the four daughters born to James VI & I, King of Scotland and England, and his wife, Anne of Denmark...

     (8 April 1605 – 16 December 1607). Died aged 2.
  7. Sophia Stuart
    Margaret, Mary and Sophia Stuart
    Margaret, Mary and Sophia Stuart were three of the four daughters born to James VI & I, King of Scotland and England, and his wife, Anne of Denmark...

     (June 1607). Died within 48 hours of birth.

Ancestry





Further reading

  • Akrigg, G. P. V. (1978). Jacobean Pageant: The Court of King James I. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-70003-2.
  • Fraser, Antonia
    Antonia Fraser
    Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Fraser, DBE , née Pakenham, is an Anglo-Irish author of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction, best known as Antonia Fraser...

     (1974). King James VI of Scotland, I of England. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-76775-5.
  • Houston, S. J. (1974). James I. Longman. ISBN 0-582-35208-8.
  • Lockyer, Roger
    Roger Lockyer
    Roger Lockyer is an English historian, professor, and writer. He has been a Reader in History at Royal Holloway, University of London, from which he is now retired...

     (1998). James VI and I. Longman. ISBN 0-582-27961-5.

External links