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Letter from Mary of Guise to Lord Vigilius a Zuichem dated 1555

Identifier: Coll-1547

Scope and Contents

The document, which is a long clerk letter written in Latin 'on the Kalends of January in the year of our Salvation 1554', and signed 'The friend of your virtue Marie R', concerns itself with two Scotsmen, Robert Landis and George Kincaid, who had been imprisoned by John Vitner of Berg. One of them 'is almost destroyed by the filth of the prison' and 'the other is almost brought to extreme starvation by the delay in action and demands on his ruined fortune'. The letter goes on to say that 'we are surely confident that you will not desert these unfortunate and wretched merchants'. The letter is given 'at our Royal palace at Edinburgh'.


  • 1554


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance of visit.

Biographical / Historical

In December 1542, James V of Scotland died after becoming ill after his defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss. He died a few days after the birth of his only surviving child and heir - a daughter - Mary, Queen of Scots. Next in line to the Scottish throne was James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran, and he became Regent. Hamilton became a Catholic and joined the pro-French faction in Scotland, consenting to the marriage of the child Queen to the French Dauphin, later Francis II of France. The French king awarded Hamilton the title of Duke of Ch√Ętellerault. In 1548 the young Queen of Scots went to live in the French court. In 1554, Hamilton surrendered the regency to Mary of Guise, Queen Mary's mother.

In early January 1554, within the first months of her formal Regency of Scotland, Mary sent a letter to 'Magnifico viro Domino Viglio Caesarie Matis Secreti consilii...' concerning the plight of two Scotsmen, Robert Landis and George Kincaid, who had suffered 'insults' and had been imprisoned by John Vitner of Berg. The letter shows Mary of Guise exercising her powers with one of the most influential men in Europe.

The man in question was Viglio a Zuichem, or Virgilius - Wigle Aytta van Zwichem (1507-1577) - a Dutch statesman and jurist. Viglio was one of the most trusted ministers of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, and was President of the Council of Mechlin (Mechelen).


1 item

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired by purchase. accession no: E2014.36.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie 6 June 2014
Clerk letter in Latin to Viglio a Zuichem, signed Mary R (Mary of Guise), from Edinburgh, January 1554
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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