First, an apology: the “surprising companion” was a later addition. Second, let me back up: there is a lot of story before we get to that point!
Today is the anniversary of his interment, the day his body arrived from Falkland Palace, where he had died shortly after his army suffered a terrible defeat to the English at the Battle of Solway Moss. James V was placed in a vault in the Abbey with his first wife, Madeleine of France. So far, no surprises.
But then Scotland dragged its feet over Henry VIII’s determination to have their infant Queen Mary marry his son Edward – so Henry invaded Scotland (the “Rough Wooing”) and Holyrood Abbey was damaged. Early in the next century, James’ grandson (who had united Scotland and England under one crown) had his body moved into a new vault…along with several other bodies that had been interred in the intervening years. Apparently, the world forgot all about that vault because in 1683 his tomb was “rediscovered.” John Lauder, Lord Fountainhall (a leading jurist) heard about it and went to see for himself. This is how he described it:
In this month of January 1683, was discovered accidentally, by the removing some seats in the Church of Holyroodhouse, the vault on the south-east end of the Church, where the body of King James the 5th lies buried. Skeen and others, in their Chronologies of the Scots Kings, tell us he was buried at Holyroodhouse, but the length of time and negligence had worn the particular place out of the memory of men. It was known to be him by the inscription on his leaden coffin. I had the curiosity to go and view the relicts of that gallant Prince. In the pend or cell there are six lead coffins. The first is King James the 5th who died in the year 1542; but [….] was transported into this vault by King James the 6th and reimbalmed, which appears by the freshness of his body and the liquor about him. The second is his first Queen, Madeline, daughter to Francis the 1st King of France, who died in 1537. The third is Henry, Lord Darnley, father to King James the 6th and Queen Marie’s husband who was strangled in 1567: by his body he appears to have been a very tall proper man; others call this body Seigneur David Rizzio, the Italian musician’s. The fourth is Lady Jean Stewart, bastard daughter to King James V and Countess of Argile, who died in 1587. The other 2 are some of their children.https://archive.org/details/historicalse66a01founuoft/page/88/mode/2up?view=theater
Are you as surprised as I was by the news that James V ended up in a vault with Darnley? I can tell myself I should not be since this was arranged by James VI – so of course he would have honored his father and grandfather together…but then I consider that this might have been RIZZIO, the man his father helped to murder, and the pendulum swings right back to shock!
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