Historical Memoirs of the Reign of Mary Queen of Scots

Historical Memoirs of the Reign of Mary Queen of Scots, and a portion of the Reign of King James the Sixth

by Lord Herries

edited by Robert Pitcairn

John Maxwell — Lord Herries in right of his wife — was a staunch, though not uncritical, supporter of Mary Queen of Scots and an eye-witness of many of the key events of the time. He was described in a letter to Lord Cecil, Secretary to Queen Elizabeth, as a "connynge horsleache and the wysest of the wholle faction . . . the lykelyest and moost dangerous man to inchaunte you."

These memoirs, probably begun by him, but continued by his great-grandson, another John, Lord Herries, were part of the latter's "Scotishe Historie" written in 1656. The manuscript was held in the Scots College of Douay until the colleges were plundered during the French Revolution. Fortunately an anonymous transcriber had already preserved this part of the Historie, attesting that "What follows is copied verbatim from the original manuscript of Lord Herries, beginning by the regne of Q. Marie, pagina 310 of the MSS., and ends pagina 436."

It provides a fascinating view of the motivations and actions of the principal players in the tragedy of Mary Queen of Scots.

Historical Memoirs of the Reign of Mary Queen of Scots: Amazon US / Amazon UK

The Dunnett connection:

John Maxwell, described by Lymond as "an important personage entirely surrounded by English", appears in the first book of The Lymond Chronicles, The Game of Kings, where Lymond induces the excessively romantic (and exceedingly wealthy) young Lady Herries to fall in love with the Master of Maxwell.