Gowrie conspiracy

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James I (1566—1625) king of Scotland, England, and Ireland

David Rizzio (c. 1533—1566)

1st earl of Gowrie, William Ruthven (c. 1541—1584)

Ruthven raid


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James VI of Scotland mistrusted the Gowrie family. The 1st earl of Gowrie had held James captive after the Ruthven raid in 1582. On 5 August 1600, while hunting, James was urgently invited by Alexander Ruthven to Gowrie House in Perth, according to the king to investigate a mysterious stranger with a pot of gold. No stranger materialized and after a meal James repaired to an upper turret with Ruthven. James's version was that Ruthven then reproached him with the execution of the 1st earl and told him to prepare to die: James wrestled free and cried ‘Treason’ from a window, whereupon his followers rescued him and killed both Ruthven and his elder brother, Lord Gowrie. If the brothers were conspirators, looking for a repeat of the Ruthven raid, they are among the most incompetent in Scottish history.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism — British History.

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