James VI & I
(19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625)
was King of Scots
from 1567 to 1625, and King of England
as James I
from 1603 to 1625.
He became King of Scots as James VI on 24 July 1567, when he was
just thirteen months old, succeeding his mother Mary, Queen of Scots
governed during his minority, which ended
officially in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his
government until 1581. On 24 March 1603, as James I, he succeeded
the last Tudor
monarch of England and
Ireland, Elizabeth I
died without issue. He then ruled the Kingdom of England
, Scotland, and Ireland
for 22 years, often using the title King of Great Britain, until
his death at the age of 58.
Under James, the "Golden Age" of Elizabethan
literature and drama continued,
with writers such as William
, John Donne
, Ben Jonson
, and Sir Francis Bacon
contributing to a flourishing
literary culture. James himself was a talented scholar
, the author of works such as Daemonologie
(1597), True Law of Free Monarchies
(1598), and Basilikon Doron
(1599). Sir Anthony Weldon
that James had been termed "the wisest fool in Christendom
", an epithet associated with his
character ever since.
James Charles Stuart was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots
, and her second
husband, Henry Stuart, Lord
. He was a descendant of Henry VII of England
great-grandmother Margaret Tudor
older sister of Henry VIII
Mary's rule over Scotland was insecure, for both she and her
husband, being Roman
, faced a rebellion by the Protestant
population. Lord Darnley secretly
allied himself with the rebels and murdered the Queen's private
secretary, David Rizzio
born on 19 June 1566 at Edinburgh Castle, and as the eldest son of the monarch and
heir-apparent, automatically became Duke of Rothesay and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.
Elizabeth I of England
godmother in absentia
, sent a
magnificent gold baptismal font
father, Henry, was murdered on 10 February 1567 at the
Hamiltons' house, Kirk o'
Field, Edinburgh, perhaps in revenge for Rizzio's
Mary was already an unpopular queen, and her marriage
on 15 May 1567 to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of
, who was widely suspected of murdering Henry,
heightened widespread bad feeling towards her. In June 1567,
Protestant rebels arrested Mary and imprisoned her in Loch Leven
Castle; she never saw her son again.
She was forced
on 24 July in favour of
the infant James and to appoint her illegitimate half-brother,
James Stewart, Earl of
, as regent
. James was known to be
of James was entrusted to the Earl and Countess of Mar, "to
be conserved, nursed, and upbrought" in the security of Stirling Castle. The boy was formally crowned at the age of
thirteen months as King James VI of Scotland at the Church of
the Holy Rude, Stirling, on 29 July 1567.
The sermon was preached by
the Calvinist John
. And, in accordance with the religious beliefs
of most of the Scottish ruling class, James was brought up as a
member of the Protestant national
Scotland, his education supervised by historian and poet
George Buchanan, who
subjected him to regular beatings but also instilled in him a
lifelong passion for literature and learning.
In 1568 Mary escaped from prison, leading to a brief period of
violence. The Earl of
defeated Mary's troops at the Battle of Langside
, forcing her to flee
to England, where she was subsequently imprisoned by Elizabeth. On
22 January 1570, Moray was assassinated
by James Hamilton of
, to be succeeded as regent by James's paternal
Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox
, who a year later was carried
fatally wounded into Stirling Castle after a raid by Mary's
supporters. The next regent, John Erskine, 1st Earl of Mar
died soon after banqueting at the estate of James Douglas, 4th Earl 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
, first cousin of James's father Lord Darnley,
and future Earl of Lennox
, 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.
Personal rule in Scotland
James in 1586, age 20
Although a Protestant convert, Lennox was distrusted by Scottish
Calvinists, 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, the Protestant earls
of Gowrie and
James into Ruthven
Castle, imprisoned him, and forced Lennox to leave
After James was freed in June 1583, he assumed
increasing control of his kingdom. He pushed through the Black Acts to assert royal authority over the
Kirk and between 1584 and 1603 established effective
royal government and relative peace among the lords, ably assisted
Maitland of Thirlestane, who led the government until
One last Scottish attempt against the king's person
occurred in August 1600, when James was apparently assaulted by
, the Earl of Gowrie
brother, at Gowrie House, the seat of the Ruthvens. Since Ruthven
was run through by James's page John Ramsay
Earl of Gowrie
himself killed in the ensuing fracas, James's account of the
circumstances, given the lack of witnesses and his history with the
Ruthvens, was not universally believed.
In 1586, James signed the Treaty of Berwick
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. During the Spanish Armada
crisis of 1588, he assured
Elizabeth of his support as "your natural son and compatriot of
your country", and as time passed and Elizabeth remained unmarried,
securing the English succession became a cornerstone of James's
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
(born December 1574), younger daughter of the Protestant Frederick II
. Shortly after a proxy
marriage 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 with a
three-hundred-strong retinue to fetch Anne personally.
couple were married formally at the Old Bishop's
Palace in Oslo on 23 November and, after stays at Elsinore and Copenhagen, returned to Scotland in May 1590.
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. But between 1593 and 1595, James was romantically
linked with Anne Murray, later Lady Glamis, whom he addressed in
verse as "my mistress and my love". The royal couple produced three
surviving children: Henry Frederick, Prince of
, who died of exhaustion, after playing a game of "real
tennis" having not fully recovered from pneumonia
, in 1612, aged 18; Elizabeth
, later Queen of Bohemia
; and Charles, the
future King Charles I of
. Anne died before her husband in March 1619.
Theory of monarchy
In 1597–98, James wrote two works, The Trew Law of Free
), in which he established an
ideological base for monarchy. In the Trew Law
, he sets
out the divine right of kings
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
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
, written as a book of instruction for the four-year-old
provides a more practical guide to kingship. Despite banalities and
sanctimonious advice, the work is well written, 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 Trew 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."
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
maintained a secret correspondence with James 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. As James headed south on April 3
his courtiers and advisors, his new subjects flocked to see him,
relieved that the succession had triggered neither unrest nor
invasion. When he entered London on May 7
was mobbed. He then stayed for several nights at the
His English coronation took place on 25
July, with elaborate allegories provided by dramatic poets such as
and Ben Jonson
, though an outbreak of the plague
Early reign in England
Despite the smoothness of the succession and the warmth of his
welcome, there were two unsuccessful conspiracies in the first year
of his reign, the Bye Plot
and Main Plot
, which led to the arrest, among others,
of Lord Cobham
Sir Walter Raleigh
. Those hoping for
governmental change from James were at first disappointed when he
maintained Elizabeth's Privy
in office, as secretly planned with Cecil, but
James shortly added long-time supporter Henry Howard
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
, ably assisted
by the experienced Thomas Egerton
James made Baron Ellesmere and Lord
, and by Thomas Sackville
Earl of Dorset
, who continued as
. As a consequence,
James was free to concentrate on bigger policy 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,
James was ambitious to build on the personal union of the crowns of
Scotland and England to establish a permanent Union of the Crowns
under one monarch,
one parliament and one law, a plan which met opposition in both
countries. "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
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
to an end, and in August 1604, thanks to skilled diplomacy on the
part of Robert Cecil and Henry Howard, now Earl of Northampton
, 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.
Under King James I, expansion of English international trade and
influence was actively pursued through the East India Company
. An English settlement
was already established in Bantam, Indonesia, and in 1613, following an invitation by the
English adventurer William
Adams in Japan, the English
captain John Saris arrived at Hirado in the ship Clove with the intent of
establishing a trading factory. Adams and Saris
travelled to Shizuoka where they met with Tokugawa Ieyasu at his principal residence
in September before moving on to Edo where they met Ieyasu's son
Hidetada. During that meeting,
Hidetada gave Saris two varnished suits of armor for King James I, today housed
in the Tower of
On their way back, they visited Tokugawa
once more, who conferred trading privileges on the English through
a Red Seal
permit giving them "free
license to abide, buy, sell and barter" in Japan. The English party
headed back to Hirado on October 9, 1613. However, during the
ten-year activity of the company between 1613 and 1623, apart from
the first ship (the Clove in 1613), only three other English ships
brought cargoes directly from London to Japan.
On the eve of the state
of the second session of James's first Parliament, on 5
November 1605, a soldier named Guy Fawkes
was discovered in the cellars of the parliament buildings guarding
a pile of wood, not far from 36 barrels of gunpowder with which he
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
, 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.
King and Parliament
The moment of co-operation between monarch and Parliament following
the Gunpowder plot represented a deviation from the norm. 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
Parliament after failing to
win its support either for full union of the crowns
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 tolet liberty with more modesty in time
As James's reign progressed, his government faced growing financial
pressures, due partly to creeping inflation but also to the
and financial incompetence of
James's court. In February 1610 Salisbury, a believer in
parliamentary participation in government, proposed a scheme, known
as the Great Contract
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
" of 1614, which James
dissolved after a mere eight weeks when Commons hesitated to grant
him the money he required. James then ruled without parliament
until 1621, employing officials such as the businessman Lionel Cranfield
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.
Another potential source of income was the prospect of a Spanish
dowry from a marriage between Charles, Prince of Wales
, and the
Spanish Infanta, Maria
policy of the Spanish Match
, as it was
called, also attracted James as a way to maintain peace with Spain
and avoid the additional costs of a war. The peace benefits of the
policy 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.
Supported by the Howards and other Catholic-leaning ministers and
diplomats—together known as the Spanish Party—the policy was deeply
distrusted in Protestant England.
The outbreak of the Thirty Years
, however, jeopardized James's peace policy, especially
after his son-in-law, Frederick V, Elector Palatine
was ousted from Bohemia
by Emperor Ferdinand II
1620, and Spanish troops simultaneously invaded Frederick's
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 gold shipments from the New World—called for a war
directly against Spain. In November 1621, led by Sir Edward Coke
, 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
or they would risk
punishment, which provoked them into issuing a statement protesting
their rights, including freedom of speech. James ripped the protest
out of the record book and dissolved Parliament once again.
In 1623, Prince Charles, now 23, and Buckingham decided to seize
the initiative and travel to Spain incognito, to win the Infanta
directly, but the mission proved a desperate mistake. The Infanta
detested Charles, and the Spanish confronted them with terms that
included his conversion to Catholicism and a one-year stay in Spain
as, in essence, a diplomatic hostage. 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. Their eyes
opened 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 1623. 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 the Lord
, Lionel Cranfield, 1st
Earl of Middlesex
, 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 financing a war against Spain, a stance
which was to contribute to his problems with Parliament in his own
The Gunpowder Plot reinforced James's oppression of non-conforming
English Catholics; and he sanctioned harsh measures for controlling
them. In May 1606, Parliament passed the Popish Recusants Act
every citizen to take an Oath
denying the Pope's authority over the king. James
was conciliatory towards Catholics who took the Oath of Allegiance,
and he tolerated crypto-Catholicism even at court. However, in
practice he enacted even harsher measures against Catholics than
were laid upon them by Elizabeth. Towards the Puritan
clergy, with whom he debated at the Hampton Court Conference
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 wore on. A notable success
of the Hampton Court Conference was the commissioning of a new
translation and compilation of approved books of the Bible
to confirm the divine right of kings
to rule and to
maintain the social hierarchy, completed in 1611, which became
known as the King James
In Scotland, James attempted to bring the Scottish kirk "so neir as
can be" to the English church and reestablish the episcopacy, a
policy which met with strong opposition. In 1618, James's bishops
forced his Five Articles of
through a General Assembly; 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.
Throughout his life James was rumoured to have had love affairs
with male courtiers
, in particular Esmé Stewart, 6th Lord
(later 1st Duke of Lennox); Robert Carr, 1st Earl of
; and George Villiers, 1st
Duke of Buckingham
. In his own time he was notorious for his
male loves, and it was said of him that Elizabeth was King, now
James is Queen (Rex fuit Elizabeth, nunc est regina Jacobus).
referring to his position of power in post-elizabethan times.
However, this was often misread to mean other things. Some modern
historians disagree: "The evidence of his correspondence and
contemporary accounts have led some historians to conclude that the
king was homosexual
. In fact, the issue is murky." (Bucholz,
2004) In Basilikon Doron
, James lists sodomy
among crimes "ye are bound in conscience never
to forgive". At age 23, James and 300 of his men
performed a dramatic rescue of Anne of
Denmark when she was stranded on the coast of Norway.
married and she gave birth to seven children, some sources say nine
children, only three of whom survived. James also had a documented
two year affair with Anne Murray, later with Lady Glamis, to whom
he wrote poetry.
restoration of Apethorpe
Hall, undertaken 2004-2008, revealed a previously
unknown passage linking the bedchambers of James and his favourite,
The Overbury Affair
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, Viscount Rochester, carrying
out many of Salisbury's former duties, but James's inability to
attend closely to official business exposed the government to
The Howard party, consisting of Northampton, Suffolk, Suffolk's
, and Charles Howard, Earl of
, 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
for assistance with
government papers, fell into the Howard camp, after beginning an
affair with the married Frances Howard, Countess of
, 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 Howard and Robert Carr, the latter having been
replaced as the king's favourite in the meantime by Villiers. 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 1618.
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. In early 1625, James was plagued by
severe attacks of arthritis
and fainting fits, and in March fell seriously ill
with tertian ague
and then suffered a
. James finally died at Theobalds
House on 27 March during a violent attack of dysentery, with Buckingham at his bedside.
James’s funeral, a magnificent but disorderly affair, took place on
7 May. Bishop John
of Lincoln preached the sermon, observing, "King
died in Peace, when he had lived
about sixty years...and so you know did King James".
The king was widely mourned. For all his flaws, James had never
completely lost the affection of his people, who had enjoyed
uninterrupted peace and comparatively low taxation during the
. "As he lived in peace,"
remarked the Earl of Kellie
, "so did
he die in peace, and I pray God our king [Charles] may follow him".
The earl prayed in vain: once in power, Charles
sanctioned a series of reckless military expeditions that ended in
humiliating failure. James bequeathed Charles a fatal belief in the
divine right of kings
combined with a disdain for Parliament
, which culminated in the
English Civil War
execution of Charles. 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
. 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
religious issues and war, have earned him a re-evaluation from many
recent historians, who have rescued his reputation from a tradition
of criticism stemming back to the anti-Stuart
historians of the mid-seventeenth
The King James Version
("KJV") of the Bible
was dedicated to him,
being published in 1611 as a result of the Hampton Court Conference
had convened to resolve issues with translations then being used.
This translation of the Bible is still in widespread use
During the reign of James, the English colonization
started its course. In 1607, Jamestown was founded in Virginia, and in 1620 Plymouth in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
During the next 150 years, England would fight with Spain, the
Netherlands, and France for control of the continent.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 19 June 1566 – 24 July 1567: Prince James
- 19 June 1566 – 24 July 1567: The Duke of
Rothesay (Earl of Carrick, Lord Renfrew)
- 10 February – 24 July 1567: The Duke of Albany
(Earl of Ross, Lord Ardmannoch)
- 24 July 1567 – 27 March 1625: His
Grace James VI, King of Scots
- 24 March 1603 – 27 March 1625: His
Majesty King James I of England
As King of England and Scots, James's full style was His
Majesty, James VI, by the Grace of God, King of England, France and Ireland, King of Scots, Defender of the Faith, etc.
Prior to his ascension in Scotland, his full style was Prince
James Stuart, Duke of Rothesay, Duke of Albany, Earl of Carrick,
Earl of Ross, Lord Renfrew, Lord Ardmannoch, Lord of the Isles,
Prince and Great Steward of Scotland
File:Arms of the Duke of Rothesay.svg|Arms as Prince James,
Duke of Rothesay
File:Royal coat of
arms of Scotland.svg|Arms as James VI, King of Scots
, prior to Union of the Crowns
, 1603File:James I
& VI Scottish Arms 1603.PNG|Scottish quarterings of the Royal
arms of James VI & I, post 1603File:England Arms
1603.svg|Quarterings of the Royal arms of James I & VI, post
1603, outwith Scotland
List of writings
- His Maiesties Poeticall Exercises at Vacant Houres,
James's wife, Anne of Denmark, gave birth to seven children who
survived beyond birth:
- Henry, Prince of
Wales (19 February 1594 – 6 November 1612). Died, probably of
typhoid fever, aged 18.
- Elizabeth of Bohemia (19
August 1596 – 13 February 1662). Married 1613, Frederick V, Elector Palatine.
Died aged 65.
- Margaret Stuart (24 December 1598 – March 1600). Died aged
- Charles I of England (19
November 1600 – 30 January 1649). Married 1625, Henrietta Maria. Executed aged 48.
- Robert Stuart, Duke
of Kintyre (18 January 1602 – 27 May 1602). Died aged 4
- Mary Stuart (8 April 1605 – 16 December 1607). Died aged
- Sophia Stuart. (Died in June 1607 within 48 hours of
Image:James I and his royal progeny by Willem van de Passe
cropped.jpg|James I with his children, engraved by Willem de Passe
Image:Anne of Denmark
mourning the death of her son Henry in 1612.jpg|wife: Anne of Denmark
Henry Frederick, Prince
Image:Charles_I_by_Daniel_Mytens.jpg|son: Charles I of England
Honthorst 007.jpeg|daughter: Elizabeth of Bohemia
- Stewart, p 47; Croft, p 16; Willson, pp 29–31.
- By the normal rules of succession James did have the best claim
to the English throne, as the great-great-grandson of Henry VII.
However, Henry VIII's will had passed over the
Scottish line of his sister Margaret in favour of that of their younger
sister Mary Tudor. In the event,
Henry's will was disregarded. Stewart, pp 159–161; Willson, pp
- After the Union of the Crowns James was the first
to style himself "King of Great
Britain", but the title was rejected by both the English
Parliament and the Parliament of Scotland, and its legal
basis was open to question. Croft, p 67; Willson, pp 249–52. See
also: the early history of the
- Milling, p 155.
- "James VI and I was the most writerly of British monarchs. He
produced original poetry, as well as translation and a treatise on
poetics; works on witchcraft and tobacco; meditations and
commentaries on the Scriptures; a manual on kingship; works of
political theory; and, of course, speeches to parliament...He was
the patron of Shakespeare, Jonson, Donne, and the translators of
the "Authorized version" of the Bible, surely the greatest
concentration of literary talent ever to enjoy royal sponsorship in
England." Rhodes et al., p 1.
- "A very wise man was wont to say that he believed him the
wisest fool in Christendom, meaning him wise in small things, but a
fool in weighty affairs." Sir Anthony Weldon (1651), The Court
and Character of King James I, quoted by Stroud, p 27; "The
label 'the wisest fool in Christendom', often attributed to
IV of France but possibly coined by Anthony Weldon, catches
James’s paradoxical qualities very neatly." Smith, p 238.
Tudor was the mother of Margaret Douglas, the future Countess of
Lennox and mother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. She was also
the grandmother of Mary, Queen of Scots, through her son
James V. Guy, p 54.
- Guy, pp 248–50.
- Croft, p 11.
- Elizabeth I wrote to Mary: "My ears have been so astounded, my
mind so disturbed and my heart so appalled at hearing the horrible
report of the abominable murder of your late husband and my
slaughtered cousin, that I can scarcely as yet summon the spirit to
write about it… I will not conceal from you that people for the
most part are saying that you will look through your fingers at
this deed instead of avenging it and that you don't care to take
action against those who have done you this pleasure." Historian
John Guy nonetheless concludes: "Not a
single piece of uncontaminated evidence has ever been found to show
that Mary had foreknowledge of Darnley's murder." Guy,
pp 312–13. In historian David Harris Willson's view, however:
"That Bothwell was the murderer no one can doubt; and that Mary was
his accomplice seems equally certain." Willson, p 18.
- Guy, pp 364–65.
- Letter of Mary to Mar, 29 March 1567. "Suffer nor admit no
noblemen of our realm or any others, of what condition soever they
be of, to enter or come within our said Castle or to the presence
of our said dearest son, with any more persons but two or three at
the most." Quoted by Stewart, p 27.
- Willson, p 18; Stewart, p 33.
- Croft, pp 12–13.
- Croft, p 13.
- Stewart, p 45; Willson, pp 28–29.
- Croft, p 15.
- Stewart, pp 51–63.
Calderwood wrote of Morton's death: "So ended this nobleman,
one of the chief instruments of the reformation; a defender of the
same, and of the King in his minority, for the which he is now
unthankfully dealt with." Quoted by Stewart, p 63.
- Stewart, p 63.
- Willson, p 35.
- Croft, p 15.
- James's captors forced from him a proclamation, dated 30
August, declaring that he was not being held prisoner "forced or
constrained, for fear or terror, or against his will", and that no
one should come to his aid as a result of "seditious or contrary
reports". Stewart, p 66.
- Croft, p 17, p 20.
- Stewart, pp 150–157.
- "The two principal characters were dead, the evidence of
eyewitnesses was destroyed and only King James version remained".
Williams, 61; George Nicolson reported: "It is begun to be noted
that the reports coming from the King should differ". Stewart, p
154. Pauline Croft calls the Gowrie plot "the most obscure of all
Scottish noble conspiracies". Croft, p 45.
- James briefly broke off diplomatic relations with England over
Mary's execution, but he wrote privately that Scotland "could never
have been without factions if she had beene left alive". Croft, p
- Croft, p 23.
- Croft, pp 23–24.
- Willson, p 85.
- James heard on 7 October of the decision to postpone the
crossing for winter. Stewart, pp 107–110.
- Willson, pp 85–95.
- "Kings are called gods by the prophetical King David because they sit
upon God His throne in earth and have the count of their
administration to give unto Him." Quoted by Willson,
- Croft, pp 131–33.
- Willson, p 133.
- A king, James advised, should not look like "a deboshed waster"
(Croft, p 135) and should avoid the company of women, "which
are no other thing else but irritamenta libidinis"
(Willson, p 135).
- "The Basilikon Doron is the best prose James ever
wrote." Willson, p 132; "James wrote well, scattering engaging
asides throughout the text." Croft, pp 134–35.
- Croft, p 133.
- Quoted by Willson, p 132.
- James described Cecil as "king there in effect". Croft, p
- Croft, p 49; Willson, p 158.
- Croft, p 50.
- Stewart, p 169.
- Stewart, p 172.
- Croft, p 51.
- Croft, p 51.
- Croft, p 51; The introduction of Henry Howard, soon to be Earl
of Northampton, and of Thomas Howard, soon to be Earl of Suffolk,
marked the beginning of the rise of the Howard family to power in
England, which was to culminate in their dominance of James's
government after the death of Cecil in 1612. Henry Howard, son of
poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey,
had been a diligent correspondent with James in advance of the
succession (James referred to him as "long approved and trusted
Howard"). His connection with James may have owed something to the
attempt by his brother Thomas Howard, Duke of
Norfolk, to free and marry Mary, Queen of Scots, leading to his
execution in 1572. Willson, p 156; Guy, pp 461–468. For details on
the Howards, see The Trials of Frances Howard by David
Lindley. On Henry Howard, a traditionally reviled figure (Willson
 called him "A man of dark counsels and creeping schemes,
learned but bombastic, and a most fulsome flatterer". p 156) whose
reputation has been upgraded in recent years (Croft, p 6), see
Northampton, by Linda Levy Peck.
- Croft, p 51.
- Croft, p 51.
- Croft, pp 52–54.
- English and Scot, James insisted, should "join and coalesce
together in a sincere and perfect union, as two twins bred in one
belly, to love one another as no more two but one estate". Willson,
- Willson, pp 249–52.
- Croft, pp 52–53.
- Croft, p 118.
- Notice at the Tower of London
- The Red Seal permit was re-discovered in 1985 by Professor
Hayashi Nozomu, in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Reference
- Stewart, p 219.
- Croft, p 64.
- Croft, p 63.
- Quoted by Croft, p 62.
- Croft, p 69.
- "All wise princes, whensoever there was cause to withstand
present evils or future perils...have always addressed themselves
to their Parliaments." Quoted by Croft, p 76.
- Croft, pp 75–81.
- Croft, p 80.
- Willson, p 348.
- Willson, p 409.
- Willson, p 357.
- Simon Schama, A History of Britain, Vol. II, p 59 (New
York, Hyperion, 2001).
- J.P. Kenyon, Stuart England, pp 88–89 (Harmondsworth,
England, Penguin Books, 1978).
- Willson, pp 408–416.
- Willson, p 417.
- Willson, p 421.
- Willson, p 442.
- James wrote: "We cannot with patience endure our subjects to
use such anti-monarchical words to us concerning their liberties,
except they had subjoined that they were granted unto them by the
grace and favour of our predecessors." Quoted by Willson, p
- Willson, p 243.
- They traveled under the names Thomas and John Smith. Croft, p
- Croft, pp 118–119.
- Shama, p. 64. "There was an immense outbreak of popular joy,
with fireworks, bell ringing and street parties." Croft, p
- Croft, pp 120–121.
- "The aging monarch was no match for the two men closest to him.
By the end of the year, the prince and the royal favourite spoke
openly against the Spanish marriage and pressured James to call a
parliament to consider their now repugnant treaties...with
hindsight...the prince’s return from Madrid marked the end of the
king’s reign. The prince and the favourite encouraged popular
anti-Spanish sentiments to commandeer control of foreign and
domestic policy." Krugler, pp 63–4.
- "The lord treasurer fell not on largely unproven grounds of
corruption, but as the victim of an alliance between warmongering
elements at court and in Parliament." Croft, p 125.
- "On that divergence of interpretation, relations between the
future king and the Parliaments of the years 1625–9 were to
founder." Croft, p 126.
- Stewart, p 225.
- Willson, p 228.
- A crypto-Catholic was someone who outwardly conformed to
protestantism but inwardly remained a Catholic. Henry Howard, for
example, was a crypto-Catholic, received back into the Church in
his final months. Before ascending the English throne, James,
suspecting he might need the support of Catholics in succeeding to
the throne, had assured Northumberland he would not persecute "any
that will be quiet and give but an outward obedience to the law".
Croft, p 162.
- Croft, p 156; In the Millenary Petition of 1603, the Puritan
clergy demanded, among other things, for the abolition of
confirmation, wedding rings, and the term "priest", and that the
wearing of cap and surplice, "outward badges of Popish errours",
become optional. Willson, p 201.
- “In things indifferent,” James wrote in a new edition of
Basilikon Doron, "they are seditious which obey not the
magistrates". Willson, p 201, p 209; Croft, p 156; "In seeking
conformity, James gave a name and a purpose to nonconformity."
Stewart, p 205.
- In March 1605, Archbishop Spottiswood wrote to James
warning him that sermons against bishops were being preached daily
in Edinburgh. Croft, p 164.
- Croft, p 166; Willson, p 320.
- Historians have differed in their assessments of the kirk at
James's death: some consider that the Scots might have accepted
James’s policies eventually; others that James left the kirk in
crisis. Croft, p 167.
- MOntgomery Hyde, The Love That Dared Not Speak its
- Bucholz, p 208 Google Book links retrieved 17
- To the manor bought, BBC News Online, 5 June
- Northampton, who assumed the day-to-day running of government
business, spoke of "the death of the little man for which so many
rejoice and few do as much as seem to be sorry." Willson, p
- "Finances fell into chaos, foreign affairs became more
difficult. James exalted a worthless favourite and increased the
power of the Howards. As government relaxed and honour cheapened,
we enter a period of decline and weakness, of intrigue, scandal,
confusion, and treachery." Willson, p 333.
- Willson, pp 334–5.
- Willson, p 349; "Packets were sent, sometimes opened by my
lord, sometimes unbroken unto Overbury, who perused them,
registered them, made table-talk of them, as they thought good. So
I will undertake the time was, when Overbury knew more of the
secrets of state, than the council-table did." Sir Francis Bacon, speaking
at Carr's trial. Quoted by Perry, p 105.
- The commissioners judging the case reached a 5–5 verdict, so
James quickly appointed two extra judges guaranteed to vote in
favour, an intervention which aroused public censure. When, after
the annulment, the son of Bishop Bilson, one of the added
commissioners, was knighted, he was given the nickname "Sir Nullity
Bilson". Lindley, p 120.
- It is very likely that he was the victim of a 'set-up'
contrived by the earls of Northampton and Suffolk, with Carr's
complicity, to keep him out of the way during the annulment
proceedings. Overbury knew too much of Carr's dealings with Frances
and, motivated by a deep political hostility to the Howards, he
opposed the match with a fervour that made him dangerous. It cannot
have been difficult to secure James's compliance, because he
disliked Overbury and his influence over Carr. Lindley, p 145;
(1553–1628) reported at the time that the King "hath long had a
desire to remove him from about the lord of Rochester, as thinking
it a dishonour to him that the world should have an opinion that
Rochester ruled him and Overbury ruled Rochester". Willson, p
- Lindley, p 146; "Rumours of foul play involving Rochester and
his wife with Overbury had, however, been circulating since his
death. Indeed, almost two years later, in September 1615, and as
James was in the process of replacing Rochester with a new
favourite, George Villiers, the Governor of the Tower of London
sent a letter to the king informing him that one of the warders in
the days before Overbury had been found dead had been bringing the
prisoner poisoned food and medicine." Barroll, Anna of
Denmark, p 136.
- "Probably no single event, prior to the attempt to arrest the
five members in 1642, did more to lessen the general reverence with
which royalty was regarded in England than this unsavoury episode."
Davies, p 20.
- Willson, p 397.
- Some historians (for example Willson, p 425) consider James,
who was 58 in 1624, to have lapsed into premature senility; but he
suffered from, among other ailments, an agonising species of
arthritis which constantly left him indisposed; and Pauline Croft
suggests that in summer 1624, afforded relief by the warm weather,
James regained some control over his affairs, his continuing
refusal to sanction war against Spain a deliberate stand against
the aggressive policies of Charles and Buckingham (Croft, pp
126–127); "James never became a cypher." Croft, p 101.
- A medicine recommended by Buckingham had only served to make
the king worse. "The disparity between the foreign policy of the
monarch and the favourite was so obvious that there was a
widespread rumour that the duke had poisoned him." Croft, pp
- John Williams's sermon was later printed as "Great Britain’s
Salomon" (sic). Croft, pp 129–130.
- Croft, p 130.
- "A 1627 mission to save the Huguenots of La Rochelle ended in an
ignominious siege on the Isle of Ré, leaving the Duke as the
object of widespread ridicule." Stewart, p 348.
- Croft, p 129.
- Croft, pp 6–8.
- Jones, Emrys. Othello, Lepanto, and the Cyprus wars,
1968, from The Cambridge Shakespeare Library, Vol. 1,
Catherine M. S. Alexander ed., University of Cambridge, 2003.
- Stewart, p 140, p 142.
- John Chamberlain
(1553–1628) recorded: "It was verily thought that the disease was
no other than the ordinary ague that had reigned and raged all over
England". Alan Stewart writes: "Latter day experts have suggested
enteric fever, typhoid fever, or porphyria, but at the time poison was the most
popular explanation." Stewart, p 248.
- Willson, p 452; Barroll, Anna of Denmark, p 27.
- Croft, p 55; Stewart, p 142; Sophia was buried at King Henry's
Chapel in a tiny tomb shaped like a cradle. Willson, p
- Atherton, Ian; and David Como (2005). The Burning of Edward
Wightman: Puritanism, Prelacy and the Politics of Heresy in Early
Modern England. English Historical Review, Volume 120,
December 2005, Number 489, 1215–1250. Oxford: Oxford University
- Barroll, J. Leeds (2001). Anna of Denmark, Queen of
England: A Cultural Biography. Philadelphia: University
of Pennsylvania. ISBN 0812235746.
- Barroll, J. Leeds and Susan P. Cerasano (1996). Medieval
and Renaissance Drama in England: An Annual Gathering of Research,
Criticism and Reviews. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
- Bucholz, Robert and Newton Key (2004). Early Modern
England, 1485–1714: A Narrative History. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Croft, Pauline (2003). King James. Basingstoke and New
York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-61395-3.
- Davies, Godfrey ( 1959). The Early Stuarts.
Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0198217048.
- Guy, John (2004). My
Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots. London and
New York: Fourth Estate. ISBN 1-84115-752-X.
- Krugler, John D. (2004). English and Catholic: the Lords Baltimore in the
Seventeenth Century. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Press. ISBN 0801879639.
- Lindley, David (1993). The Trials of Frances Howard: Fact
and Fiction at the Court of King James. Routledge. ISBN
- Milling, Jane (2004). "The Development of a Professional
Theatre", in The Cambridge History of British Theatre.
Jane Milling, Peter Thomson, Joseph W. Donohue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN
- Noble, Mark (1795). An Historical Genealogy of the Royal
House of Stuarts, from the Reign of King Robert II to that of King
James VI. London: R. Faulder. Read complete digitized copy at Google Books.
Retrieved 19 April 2007.
- Perry, Curtis (2006). Literature and Favoritism in Early
Modern England. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University
Press. ISBN 0521854059.
- Rhodes, Neil; Jennifer Richards; and Joseph Marshall (2003).
King James VI and I: Selected Writings. Ashgate
Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 0754604829.
- Sharpe, Kevin M. (2000). Remapping Early Modern England:
The Culture of Seventeenth-century England. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521664098.
- Smith, David L (2003). "Politics in Early Stuart Britain," in
A Companion to Stuart Britain. Ed. Barry Coward. Blackwell
Publishing. ISBN 0631218742.
- Solt, Leo Frank (1990). Church and State in Early Modern
England: 1509–1640. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN
- Stewart, Alan (2003). The Cradle King: A Life of James VI
& I. London: Chatto and Windus. ISBN 0-7011-6984-2.
- Stroud, Angus (1999). Stuart England. Routledge ISBN
- Watts, Michael R (1985). The Dissenters: From the
Reformation to the French Revolution. Oxford: Oxford
University Press. ISBN 0198229569.
- Williams, Ethel Carleton (1970). Anne of Denmark.
London: Longman. ISBN 0 582 12783 1.
- Willson, David Harris ( 1963 ed). King James VI &
I. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd. ISBN 0-224-60572-0.
- The Diary Of Samuel Ward: A Translator Of The 1611
King James Bible, edited by John
Wilson Cowart and M.M. Knappen.
- Akrigg, G. P. V (1978). Jacobean Pageant: The Court of King
James I. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-70003-2.
- Houston, S J. James I. Longman Publishing Group (June
1974), Seminar Studies ISBN 0582352088.
- Lockyer, Roger (1998). James
VI and I. Longman. 2nd edition.
- Lockyer, Roger (1999). The
Early Stuarts: The Political History of England 1603-1642.
- Lynch, Michael (1991).
Scotland: A New History. Ebury Press. ISBN
- "Preaching to the Converted? Perspectives on the Scottish
Reformation," in The Renaissance in Scotland: Studies in
Literature, Religion, History and Culture. - AA MacDonald, M.
Lynch and IB Cowan (Leiden, 1994)
- Peck, Linda Levy (1982). Northampton: Patronage and Policy
at the Court of James I. Harper Collins. ISBN 0049421778.
Books about James I available online
- The Historie and Life of King James the Sext.
Written towards the Latter Part of the
Sixteenth Century by John Colville (1804)
- An Historical and Critical Account of the Lives and
Writings of James I and Charles I, and the Lives of Oliver Cromwell
and Charles II by William Harris (1814): Volume I, Volume II, Volume III, Volume IV, Volume V
- Memoirs of the Court of King James the First by
Lucy Aikin (1822): Vol. I, Vol. II
- Papers Relative to the Marriage of King James the
Sixth of Scotland, with the Princess Anna of Denmark; A.D.
M.D.LXXXIX., and the Form and Manner of Her
Majesty's coronation at Holyroodhouse. A.D. M.D.X.C by James T. Gibson-Craig (1828)
- Extracts from the Accounts of the Revels at Court, in
the Reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I by Peter Cunningham (1842)
- Original Letters Relating to the Ecclesiastical Affairs of
Scotland: Chiefly Written by, or Addressed to His Majesty King
James the Sixth after his Accession to the English throne
(1851): Vol. I, Vol. II
- Correspondence of King James VI. of Scotland with Sir
Robert Cecil and Others in England, During the Reign of Queen
- The Essayes of a Prentise, in the Divine Art of
Poesie. Edinburgh. 1585. A Counterblast to Tobacco. London, 1604 by King James I (1869)
- The Literary Character: or, The History of Men
of Genius, Drawn from their own Feelings and Confessions; Literary
Miscellanies; and An Inquiry into the Character of James the
First by Isaac D'Israeli
- History of England from the Accesion of James I to the
Outbreak of the Civil War, 1603-1642 by Samuel Rawson Gardiner (1883-1891):
Volume I (1603-1607), Volume II (1607-1616), Volume III (1616-1621), Volume IV (1621-1623), Volume V (1623-1625), Volume VI (1625-1629), Volume VII (1629-1635), Volume VIII (1635-1639), Volume IX (1639-1641), Volume X (1641-1642)
- Historical Sketches of Notable Persons and Events in
the Reigns of James I and Charles I by Thomas Carlyle (1898 ed.)
- James VI and the Gowrie Mystery by
Andrew Lang (1902)
- The English Church in the Reigns of Elizabeth and
James I. (1558-1625) by Walter
- The History of England from the Accession of James I.
to the Restoration (1603-1660) by Francis Charles Montague
- "English Witchcraft and James the First," in Five Pamphlets by George Lyman Kittredge (1911-17)
- Court Masques of James I: Their Influence on
Shakespeare and Public Theatres by Mary Sullivan
- The Political Works of James I (1918