The Tomb of James V, King of Scots, and Magdalene of Valois Rediscovered in 1683
In January, 1683, the burial vault of James V, King of Scots, and his first Queen, aka. Madeleine of France, was rediscovered. Lord Fountainhall went to explore the vault…Maybe we should?…
‘In this moneth of Januar[y] 1683, was discovered accidentally, by the removing some seats in the Church of Halirudhouse, the vault on the south-east end of the Church, wheir the body of King James the 5t. lyes buried. Skeen and others, in ther Chronologies of the Scots Kings, tell us, he was buried at Halirudhoufe, but the lenth of tyme and negligence had worne the particular place out of the memory of men. It was knowen to be him by the inscription on his leaden coffin.
I had the curiositie to goe and view the relics of that gallant Prince. In the pend or cell ther are six lead coffins. The first is King James the 5t. who dyed in the year 1542; but Drummond of Hawthorndene, in the very end of his life, tells us, this is not the place wher he was first interred, but that King Henry the 8t. of England’s army having defaced his tomb and monument, he was transported into this vault by King James the 6t. and reimbalmed; which appears by the freschnesse of his body and the liquor about him.
The second is his first Quean, Magdalen, daughter to Francis the 1st King of France, who dyed in 1537.
The third is Henry, Lord Darnely, father to King James the 6t. and Quean Marie’s husband, who was [blown up by gunpowder and] strangled in 1567: by his body he appears to have been a very tall proper man; others call this bodie Seigneur David Rizio’s, the Italian Musitian’s.
The 4t. is Ladie Jean Stewart, bastard daughter to King James the 5t. and Countesse of
Argile, who dyed in 1587.
The other 2 are some of their children. [Possibly James V’s sons by Mary of Guise? James, Duke of Rothesay, and Robert, Duke of Albany, the elder brothers of Mary, Queens of Scots, died in infancy in 1541.]
This was a humbling mortifieng sight, and a great instance and document of mortality, and vanity of the world; all the glory of that sprightly Prince being crouded into this lowly cell, Mors sceptra ligonibus aequat: Mors aequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas Regnumque turres: Et sic transit gloria mundi. Many ordinary persons have better buriall places now, then what this magnanimous restles Prince hes got. If our thoughts deschended ofter unto the charnel house and sepulchres of our ancestors, their dust […] would serve to lay the peacok feathers of our vain proud aspiring projests, which we lay in such a train as if we ware immortall. […] And it might have the same effest on us, which Virgil […] tells us, the sprinkling a little dust on bees hes. […] All the inhabitants of that dark valley have lean and pale cheeks, hollow eyes, fallen noses, and none of them wear the Jewells and other deckings, with which they glistred when they ware on life: but notwithstanding of this dissolution, we most all rise again at the great day of accounts.’ (Fountainhall, Historical Observes, 89-90.)