Regency in Sixteenth-Century Scotland

Regency in Sixteenth-Century Scotland

Amy Blakeway


Boydell Press



A study of the actions and responsibilities of those taking temporary power during the minority of a monarch.
Three monarchs of Scotland (James V, Mary Queen of Scots, and James VI/I) were crowned during the sixteenth century; each came to the throne before their second birthday. Throughout all three royal minorities, the Scots remained remarkably consistent in their governmental preferences: that an individual should "bear the person" of the infant monarch, with all the power and risks that entailed. Regents could alienate crown lands, call parliament, raise taxes, and negotiate for the monarch's marriage, yet they also faced the potential of a shameful deposition from power and the assassin's gun.
In examining the careers of the six men and two women who became regent in context with each other and contemporary expectations, Regency in Sixteenth-Century Scotland offers the first study of regency as a political office. It provides a major reassessment of both the office of regency itself and of individual regents. The developments in how the Scots thought about regency are charted, and the debates in which they engaged on this subject are exposed for the first time. Drawing on a broad archival base of neglected manuscript materials, ranging from financial accounts, to the justiciary court records, to diplomatic correspondence scattered from Edinburgh to Paris, the book reveals a greater level of continuity between the personal rules of the adult Stewarts and of their regents than has hitherto been appreciated.

Amy Blakeway is a Junior Research Fellow in History at Homerton College, University of Cambridge.


February 2015
304 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
St Andrews Studies in Scottish History
ISBN: 9781843839804
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037020, HIS015000
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Table of Contents

Concepts of Regency
Concepts of Regency in Practice
Regency Finances
Households and Courts
Justice and Regency
Regency Diplomacy


The meticulously detailed archival study is a major strength of this impressive, energetically-argued book, which is a valuable addition to the field of sixteenth-century Scots studies. SCOTTISH STUDIES NEWSLETTER

(B)eautifully written, exhaustively documented, and compellingly argued. . . . Blakeway asks and answers a series of penetrating questions about the function of crown institutions during a formative period of the early modern Scottish state, and for this reason alone her book will appeal to a wide readership. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

This fine-grained study makes a significant contribution to an important topic. Highly recommended. CHOICE

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