17th July 1537

Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis, is burned at the stake

Janet Douglas was burned at the stake on this day in 1537. She’d been accused of murder, witchcraft, and attempting to poison the king, James V.

Janet was Lady Glamis, and the sister of Margaret Tudor’s second husband. Margaret Tudor had ruled Scotland as Queen Dowager until James V had become old enough to rule the country in his own right in the 1510s, and Janet’s brother – the king’s stepfather – would have exerted his influence on the king during his formative years.

When the James V eventually came to the throne, he needed to assert his influence. Unfortunately for Janet, this meant that his attention turned to her family. She was accused of being part of a conspiracy to poison the king, and of having likewise killed her first husband.

She was tried, and there is a suggestion among some quarters that charges of witchcraft were also laid, but this is disputed. Evidence was seemingly hard to come by, and the king resorted to torturing members of her family and staff, who eventually gave him what he wanted, even if it was not the truth. Perhaps inevitably, she was convicted of treason, and sentenced to death.

She was burned at the stake in Edinburgh Castle, aged around 33.



Other events that occured in July

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