9th February 1567

Conspirators assemble to murder Lord Darnley

Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, was strangled to death, and an explosion was almost simultaneously staged at the Kirk o’ Field where he was staying. The explosion was so fierce it reduced much of the building to rubble.

Mary was not present at the time although she had visited her husband earlier in the evening on 9 February and the explosion occurred very early on the 10th. Thus, the 10th is commonly cited as the date of Darnley’s death.

Mary remarries

James Hepburn, the 4th Earl of Bothwell was suspected of involvement in the killing, but two months later he was found not guilty of the crime and, the month after that, he married Mary – Darnley’s widow.

Not everyone got off so lightly, with several apparent conspirators hung, and still others among them hung, drawn, and quartered. Nicholas Howbert, a servant of the queen better known as French Paris, was one of those upon whom suspicion fell and who, following conviction, was hung, drawn, and quartered. Robert Pitcairn’s Ancient Criminal Trials in Scotland, published in 1883, details how, “charges [were] made for sending two of the quarters of his body to Perth and Dundee, and his head and one of his legs to St Andrews.”

There was some suspicion that Mary herself was involved in the plot, and her hasty marriage to James Hepburn might appear to support this, but it has never been proved.



Other events that occured in February

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