Mary's return to Scotland

Mary returned to Scotland in August 1561. This delay is said to have aided the Protestant cause in Scotland.

Siobhon Redmond describes the problems facing Mary on her return to Scotland in the video below.

While in France, Mary had become increasingly concerned about the situation in Scotland. She was a Catholic and did not accept the decision of Parliament to abolish the celebration of Mass.

The Pope, the French and Spanish all wanted Mary to restore Catholicism to Scotland.

Neil Oliver describes Protestantism after Mary's return to Scotland in the video below.

However on her return Mary did nothing to reverse the Reformation.

She announced that she was 'forbidding meantime any change in religion'.

She also looked for support from her half-brother Lord James Stewart who guaranteed her personal religion.

Catholics were disappointed. However, in the early years of her reign Mary stood firm and showed that she would stand against Catholic citizens who opposed her.

The issue of religion was important to Mary, but linked to this were relations between Mary and the nobility. There were disputes between different families as to who would help Mary rule Scotland.

It was always difficult for Mary to keep control as she was a young woman, with a French background and this helped shape the views of nobles towards her.

The Huntly Revolt

The Huntly Revolt was an example of nobles trying to influence Mary.

  • The Earl of Huntly was a Catholic and wanted to influence the Queen’s decisions.
  • At the end of 1561, Huntly took over the Earl of Moray’s lands without permission.
  • Mary travelled north and gave the lands to James Stewart instead, so Huntly tried to raise an army against her.
  • Huntly was defeated and he died soon after but his son was beheaded.