Ward's Book of Days.

Pages of interesting anniversaries.

What happened on this day in history.

JULY 6th

On this day in history in 1560, was signed the Treaty of Edinburgh.

The Treaty of Edinburgh was a tripartite treaty between Scotland, France and England whereby the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France came to an end.

The Auld Alliance had begun in 1295, as a mutual defence pact, as Scotland and France had a mutual enemy, England. France feared the warlike English, who envied the fertile French lands and, when they had the opportunity, liked to cross the Channel and take a sizable chunk. The English already possessed lands in Anjou, Bordeaux and Normandy, and would not be satisfied until they owned all France. Scotland also had problems with England. English kings had always maintained that they held sovereignty over Scotland and that Scottish kings were their vassals, only ruling as their placemen, much as an English earl, holding lands in England, but who owed allegiance to the king. This viewpoint was not shared by the Scots who, by the Declaration of Arbroath of 1320, had pronounced themselves to be an independent kingdom.

The Alliance worked to both countries’ advantage. If England tried to invade France, the Scots crossed the Tweed and pillaged England’s northern counties. If an English force invaded Scotland, the French would attack the English Chanel ports. The Alliance is mentioned by Shakespeare who, writing from England’s viewpoint, says in Henry V:

……….my great Grandfather
Neuer went with his forces into France,
But that the Scot, on his vnfurnisht Kingdome,
Came pouring like the Tyde into a breach,
With ample and brim fulnesse of his force,
Galling the gleaned Land with hot Assayes,
Girding with grieuous siege, Castles and Townes:
That England being emptie of defence,
Hath shooke and trembled at th' ill neighbourhood.

The relationship between Scotland and France became even closer during the Sixteenth Century. French citizens were granted equal privileges with Scots in Scotland and vice versa. This increased trade between the countries, as merchants from either country could trade freely in the other, as they were in fact common citizens. In 1542, with the death of James V of Scots, it was feared that Scotland’s royal line might die out as the only Royal left was the infant Mary Queen of Scots. In order to secure their country’s future, the Scottish nobles planned a future union with France. They married Mary to the heir to the French throne, so that the eldest son of the couple would become king of both Scotland and France. It was envisaged that full political union would then follow.

This plan floundered when Mary’s husband, Francis II, first went mad and then died in mysterious circumstances. Also at that time, Scotland turned Protestant. The Reformation overtook Scotland at great speed and, by 1560, the whole country had adopted the new religion. This situation did not please the French Mary of Guise, widow of James V, mother of Mary Queen of Scots, and currently Regent of Scotland. She spoke out against the change of religion and was promptly deposed by the nobles, who formed a committee, The Lords of The Covenant, to rule Scotland themselves.

Mary of Guise, fearing anarchy in Scotland, invoked The Auld Alliance and asked the French king for an army to restore her power and reverse the spread of Protestantism. An army of 10,000 men was instantly despatched. This so alarmed the Lords of The Covenant that they appealed to the Protestant queen of England, Elizabeth I, who sent her army north to assist the Lords of The Covenant as required, even if it meant taking on the French army.

Alliances were now reversed. France and Scotland were enemies, and England and Scotland were friends, and a war between England and France was about to take place on Scottish soil. In February 1560, representatives of English government and the Lords of The Covenant signed a mutual defence pact, The Treaty of Berwick. Faced with complete opposition from all quarters, Mary of Guise summoned the representatives of all parties to Edinburgh, where, on 6th July 1560, they concluded The Treaty of Edinburgh.

The treaty stated that French soldiers would leave Scotland permanently, that the English army would retire to London, and that Scotland would be governed by the Lords of the Covenant. Mary of Guise died suddenly, 5 days later. The French reluctantly withdrew their forces, and grumpily declared that The Auld Alliance was over, and that, from now on, Scotland could shift for itself as best it could. A new era came into being which would eventually lead to the union of England and Scotland.

Previous day       Next day      


©2006 Ward’s Book of Days