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Charles tour to central Scotland

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Firstly the long delay,- before the Kings visit had caused resentment. Secondly the extravagant religious trappings of the Coronation Ceremony were widely perceived as “Popish” by the Calvinist Scots. This was followed by a rowdy banquet which disrupted neighbouring church services and the King’s seemingly cold personality, all served to undermine the “public relations” element as far as Edinburgh was concerned.

Third, the King was trying to kill too many birds with one visit. While he was touring central Scotland, his favourite bishop William Laud was on a separate tour, canvassing support for a new prayer book and changes in the form of worship practised by the Scots, while sympathetic bishops were being appointed to senior positions in the Scottish Church.
In addition Charles angered parliament by his attempts to reclaim former church property acquired by the Scots Lords during the Reformation. The Lords were equally angered by the King; one such, the Earl of Dunfermline was pointedly snubbed by Charles. Whilst the Earl awaited the King’s arrival at Dunfermline with an escort of 2,000 horsemen. Charles altered his route to avoid them and only sent word several hours after his arrival.

Charles was not very good at making friends, nor did he realise how much he would need them in the future. After the coronation, the plan was for Charles to tour central Scotland, to confer honours and receive tributes. He was to stay at his Royal Palaces: Linlithgow, Stirling, Dunfermline and Falkland in that order. The only alteration in the actual journey was a trip from Falkland to Perth, (then known as St. Johnstoun), where he spent the night at Gowrie House. He attended a banquet “on the banks of the Tay” where there was Morris Dancing, a play and “real highlanders”.

The Royal Palaces were cleaned up, repaired and any occupants removed. At each palace, extravagant banquets were laid on by the King to entertain his guests. This is why he travelled with such a large retinue of cooks and servants and a dining service to seat over 200 people. The exception to this was Falkland Palace, where the prime purpose was for the King to indulge his passion for hunting on Saturday, and to spend a quiet religious Sunday as was his custom. He never travelled or worked on a Sunday.

The banqueting was exceptionally lavish and at that time viewed, as a statement of style and taste by which a person could be judged. To the extent that the nobility tried to outdo one another in extravagance.

A year later Privy Council records tell of a group of Lancashire witches accused of, amongst other things, causing the shipwreck. Several of them were brought to London for investigation. It is not clear how country folk in England managed to sink a ship several hundred miles away, but it does indicate an official desire to blame the sinking on the Devil’s mischief rather than God’s judgement.

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