1603 - Union of the Crowns 


James VI and I is most famous for being the monarch who united the crowns of England and Scotland on the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. Here is how a family of Edinburgh burgesses recorded this great event in the chronicle of notable events which they kept in their family. The grandson of the originator of the chronicle, David Johnston, gifted it to Thomas, Lord Fairfax in 1655. Note that the Edinburgh businessmen didn't see the Union as being all to their advantage.

Upon the foirsaid 24 of March betuix 8 and 9 howris in the
Upon the 24th of March between 8 and 9 hours in the morning the
morneing the Lordis of the prive cownsell of England being
Lords of the Privy Council of England were convened and
convened and understanding, as said is, caused procleim at the
understanding what had happened, ordered a proclamation to be
yetis [gates] of hir lait majesteis cowrt and schaw to the haill
made at the gates of her late Majesty's court, informing the whole
peopill thair assembled that hir majestie was dead and that the
people assembled there that her Majesty was dead and that the
successive richt of the croun and awthoritie of hir dominionns
right of succession to the crown and authority of her dominions
apperteaned only to James King of Scotland, so the said proclamation,
pertained only to James King of Scotland. So the proclamation
so soon as could be possible, was publisched till all his majestes
was published as soon as possible to all his Majesty's subjects.
subjects, now justlie intitled King of England, Scotland, France and
He was now justly entitled King of England, Scotland France and
Ireland, Defender of the Faith and at tuo houris efternoon the
Ireland, Defender of the Faith and at two hours in the
same was proclamed at the gilt cruss at Chaipsyd in London
afternoon this was proclaimed at the gilt cross of Cheapside in London
quhair thair was grit numbers of pepill, baith kirkmen, gentilmen
where there were great numbers of people, both clergy, gentlemen
and laicks convened admyring that the matter could be [Sir
and ordinary folk convened wondering what the matter could be.
Robert Cecil read the proclamation] . . . and hering the content
[The proclamation was read by Sir Robert Cecil] Hearing the content
thereof and being very glaid thairat thai all cryed in one consent
of it and being very glad at it, they all cried with one consent 'God save
'God Save King James!'. The word 'king' was a very strange word till
King James!'. The word King was a very strange word to them having
them, haifing now wanted a king the spaice of 50 yeiris compleit
now been without a king for 50 whole years since
since the day of Edward the sax quho died in anno 1553.
the time of Edward VI who died in 1553.
Upon the Satterday following Sir Robert Cary (brother till Sir Johne
Upon the Saturday following, unknown to the Lords of the English
Cary, governor of Berwick) unknawn to the Lords of the English
Council, Sir Robert Cary (brother to Sir John Cary, governor of Berwick)
cownsell haifing gotin intelligence thairof be the seang of the
arrived at Holyroodhouse. He had got intelligence [of the Queen's death]
quenis gentilwemen out of the window quhair of ane she lay,
by seeing one of the Queen's ladies in waiting, out of the window where
arryved at Holyroodhouse and haifing hurt his coller bain be the way
she lay. Having hurt his collar bone on the way [due to rushing to be first
schew to his majestie of the quenis death and of his new inheritance
with the news] he told his Majesty of the Queen's death and of his new
quho was not a litill glad at it and baith then and efterward
inheritance, who was not a little glad of it and both then and afterward
rewarded him honorably for his pains.
rewarded him honourably for his pains.
[The official English delegation turned up soon after and asked James
to accept the Crown. He did so gladly.]
Upon Mononday the 28 of March, his majestie sent John Bothwell
Upon Monday the 28 of March, his Majesty sent John Bothwell,
Lord of Holyroodhouse to the town of Berwick to tak possession
Lord of Holyroodhouse, to the town of Berwick to take possession
thairof for his use quho being reallie possessed of the keys and staff
of it for his use. Being actually given the keys and staff
thairof and the oth of allegance being taken, he cheirfully in the
of the town and the oath of allegiance being taken, he cheerfully in the
King's name rendereth the forsaid staff and keyis thairof to the
King's name rendered the staff and keys to the mayor
Major and governor thairof, shawing to them that his Majesteyis
and governor of the town, telling them that his Majesty's good
goode plasur was thai sould enjoy all thair ancient privileges
pleasure was that they should enjoy all their ancient privileges, charters
charteris and libertyis and not only they bot also all otheris his
and liberties and not only them but also all his other good and loving
goode and looving subjectis schawing and continewing in the
subjects who shared similar obedience and who continued to be obedient.
lyk obedience and the said Lord returned again to his Majestie in Holyroodhouse.
Continuing in obedience the said Lord returned again to his Majesty in Holyroodhouse.
At this tym grit was the confluence baith of noblemen and other
At this time there was great confluence of both noblemen and other
peopill in Edinburgh alsweall of English as of Scotismen to see the
people in Edinburgh both English and Scots. To see the
rejoysing thair, it was wonderfull. Bot the wysser sort of Scots men
rejoicing there was wonderful. But the wiser sort of Scots
said as efter it is turned to pas that King James getting England,
men said (as after turned out with King James getting England),
Scotland wald baith tyn their King and their court and in tym of
Scotland would lose both her king and court and in time of
thair grit afflictionnis or oppressions be over many staitsmen as
great affliction or oppression would have too many politicians as
kinges, [and] thei wald haif far till go to worschip or till
kings and thus would have far to go to pay court [to the real king]
seik relieif or redres.
or to seek relief or redress.

'Johnstons' History', Adv. Ms. 35.4.2, ii, ff.640r-v.

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