The Battle of Carberry Hill


After the death of Darnley many of the Scottish nobles suspected that Bothwell was a major conspirator in his death. Maitland, Morton, Balfour and Murray of Tullibardine formed themselves into a confederation. They raised an army and on Sunday 15th June 1567 marched out of Edinburgh to Carberry Tower. Mary and Bothwell were waiting for them on the top of Carberry Hill. In many ways it was almost like a picnic. Some of Mary's supporters were drinking wine! There was a classic confrontation following the time honoured rules of chivalry. The two sides faced each other and messages were sent between them. Challenges were issued. Mary was given an ultimatum: that if she would abandon Bothwell then the nobles would back down and support her. She refused point blank. More challenges were issued but none were taken up.

Towards evening Mary's supporters began to drift away as nothing decisive was happening and then Mary started to realise her cause was lost. She agreed to give herself up on condition Bothwell was allowed to go freely and leave Scotland. Bothwell left for Dunbar and Mary was taken to the Provost's house in Edinburgh under guard. She was amazed to find that her popularity was so low when the guards jeered her as she entered the house.

Black Turnpike House)

This was the start of a long period of captivity, first in Scotland then in England.


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