JAMES VI and I Letter Signed.
James Charles Stuart, James I of England and Ireland and James VI of Scotland.
LS. Linlithgow, 14th December 1581. To the Laird of Barnebarroch. The text is written in Middle or Older Scots and is an instruction to the Laird to attend Session and Exchequer at the King's Court at Linlithgow, which is to commence on the 1st January next. The letter strikes a diplomatic balance between a kingly decree and a cordial request. James apologises for the short notice and says "that gif throu schortness of tyme ye can not keip the day" the Laird will get to Linlithgow as soon as he can ("ye addres you heir with all quemet diligence"), The text letter is in a clerical court hand with a good. clear autograph
signature "James R." Addressed on verso "To our trusty and well-beloved Councillor the Laird of Barnebarroch".
Folio. Approx 29 x 19 cms. Some very old professional repairs, old damp staining and spotting affecting the left margin of text but not touching the signature. The staining is, however, a fairly ancient artefact and the paper is now stable. Good.
A very early James I letter, written shortly after the commencement of his Scottish majority reign and prior to his accession to the English throne. The recipient of the letter is Patrick Vaus or Vans, Laird of Barnbarroch, who became Lord of Session in 1546. Barnbarroch was one of two courtiers to whom James entrusted a diplomatic mission to Denmark in connection with his marriage to Ann of Denmark. He died during James's Scottish reign in 1597. From the tone of this letter it can fairly be assumed that their existed a cordial and friendly relationship between the young James and the older Scottish nobleman. James uses expressions such as "weil belovit" and "commended to God" which he would not normally use in a formal summons. By the date of this letter James was aged 15. He had, at the age of 12, decided to end his minority and rule in his own right, although it would be a further three years until he gained full control of the government. His mother, Mary Queen of Scots, was still embroiled in political machinations at the date of this letter. The Babington plot and her subsequent imprisonment and execution were still a few years distant. James, who initially supported his mother, was later to abandon her in favour of his own treaty with Elizabeth I.