An Unassuming Little Place with a Huge and Hidden History
At the top of this rise, there once stood a castle. It was called Fotheringhay castle. It fell into disrepair during the later part of the Elizabethan period and was being broken down and plundered for stone by 1627. Its destruction date is assumed to be at this time. By 1635 it was declared to be in a total ruinous state and was completely demolished soon afterwards.
By 1603, the Scottish Stewart King James VI was on the throne of England as King James I and by 1635 the second Stewart King Charles I was reigning over the land. This would be a place that neither kings of the Scottish dynasty would favour.
The last English Tudor Queen Elizabeth I had ordered the execution of Queen Mary Stewart of Scotland. The imprisoned Scottish queen spent her last month’s here and was executed on this very hill, where I am standing waving my arms in the above photo. She was the Mother and Grandmother of both Stewart Kings respectively. The place would be of little favour to such monarchs. Therefore no effort was made to preserve the old castle.
There had been a grand hall within the walls and it was in this place that Mary Stewart met her dreadful end. The famous Queen of Scotland was arguably, via Roman Catholic law, still secretly claiming to be England’s queen too and had been constantly trying to form rebellions to win her freedom.
After another plot to depose England’s Queen Elizabeth I, the final straw had come after many years of imprisonment. The Scottish queen had to be removed permanently. It was on the top of this mound that Queen Mary met her demise on a winter’s day of 8th February 1587.
Also, over one hundred and thirty-five years prior to this, King Richard III – the last Plantagenet king of England was born on this very mound (Where the castle stood) on October 2nd, 1452.
Now the mound looks like any other mound amid the English meadows and by a small picturesque English village that has a population of around one hundred people. A distant memory of regal ghosts lost in the splendour and panoramic view of the wonderful Nene valley. As unassuming as the Stewarts were to this historical place; so the historical place is unimpressed by the kings. The pleasant splendour rural English village lives on while the ghosts of past monarchs are barely noticeable unless one is informed.