Mary Queen of Scots House, Jedburgh
"en ma fin gît ma commencement"
"in my end is my beginning"
Mary adopted this saying as her motto and in the museum at Mary Queen of Scots House it has been taken as the theme running through her life. Deeply religious, she probably thought of her motto as a reminder of the eternity of life after death. Her grandfather-in-law, François I of France had adopted the image of the salamander as his emblem. The salamander self-ignites at the end of its life, and then rises up from the ashes re-born...
Perhapes this image had made an impression on Mary as a child at the court of the French king. Its meaning, which she summed up in her motto, seems to have given her strength in the difficult times she had to endure when the ambitious and the unscrupulous plotted her downfall which led to her eventual capture and execution in England.
The Forechamber, next to the Banquetting Hall at Mary Queen of Scots House, is panelled with paintings of some of the people who conspired against her, as well as some of her most loyal friends.
From the day she returned to Scotland from France, she was genuinely popular with the people. But however tolerant and understanding she was herself, her Catholic faith was seen by some as a threat to the recently introduced Protestant regime. This, combined with internal squabbling for power and influence amongst the Scottish aristocracy, finally led to her forced abdication one year after her visit to Jedburgh.
After the Battle of Carberry Hill she fled to England to appeal for help from her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England, only to find that her intended brief exile had become an imprisonment which was to last for 19 years. Elizabeth, with advice from her Chancellor Lord Burleigh, both pictured here, eventually signed a warrant for her execution, accusing Mary of plotting her assasination.