Paul Goatman of the University of Glasgow will present on ‘James VI, Noble Power and the burgh of Glasgow, c. 1580-1605’

During the minority of James VI, the successes and failures of magnates at court determined burgh politics. During his regency (1572-8), the fourth Earl Morton cultivated the interests of Robert, fifth Lord Boyd in the Glasgow area, overriding the local interests of the Lennox Stewarts, who had governed the burgh in tandem with the archbishop since the early sixteenth century. Morton’s downfall saw Esmé Stewart, first Duke of Lennox, briefly rise to prominence at court, and he attempted to establish a power base in Glasgow by appointing a new archbishop and purging the magistracy and town council. Following his own fall, a former Lennox supporter, Matthew Stewart of Minto, seized control of the town council and aligned himself with the Ruthven regime, but he in turn was usurped when James Stewart, Earl of Arran, rose to prominence at court. During his personal rule, James supported the Lennox interest and Minto realigned with Ludovick Stewart, second Duke of Lennox, to usher in a period of relative calm in the burgh. However, political tensions remained under the surface, erupting after James and Lennox headed south at the Union of Crowns and left a power vacuum in Glasgow.


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