Drawing of Kirk o’Field

Drawing of Kirk o’Field after the murder of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, 1567 (MPF 1/366)

Events in Scotland were now unraveling with frightening speed. Early in the morning on 10 February 1567, Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley, was found murdered. His body and that of his valet were discovered in the orchard of Kirk o’Field in Edinburgh, where they had been staying. The house had been torn apart by two large explosions in the middle of the night. Darnley was undoubtedly the intended victim because two barrels of gunpowder had been placed in a small room underneath his sleeping quarters. Darnley was dressed only in his nightshirt, which suggests he had fled in some haste from his bedchamber. Upon further examination, the bodies had no signs of injuries that could be associated with the explosion, so the blast was not considered to have killed Darnley. It was determined that the two men were killed by strangulation, believed to have taken place after the explosion.

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