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King James VI of Scotland and Bonfire Night

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King James VI of Scotland and Bonfire Night


"Hi! My name is Kirsty Earley from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and today I want to talk to you about King James VI of Scotland.

King James was the son of Mary Queen of Scots and her second husband, Lord Darnley. Mary is probably best known for her rather dramatic life- she was beheaded after being found guilty of treason against her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England. James became the king of Scotland at just 13 months old when his mother Mary was forced to abdicate the scottish throne. He then became the king of England and Ireland when Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603.

James was a very intelligent man- he received a very good education in his youth. He liked to write a lot and wrote several books on several different subjects. He had a keen interest in witchcraft and witch trials and even wrote a book on how to identify witches! This book is known as 'Daemonologie'.

Every year in the UK we celebrate a significant day of King James' life- Bonfire Night. Yes, it was James who was the target of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. James came to the English throne at a time when there was a lot of turmoil between protestants and catholics. James was protestant and a lot of English catholics did not want a protestant king. So, a group of them got together and planned to assassinate the king on the night of the opening of the English parliament. However, their plot was foiled when Guy Fawkes was found underneath Westminster Palace guarding several barrels of explosives. So every year on November 5th, fireworks are set off to remember this event in history.

At the College, King James is significant to our heritage because he granted the College's charter to govern the legal practice of medicine and surgery in Glasgow."