Murder at Kirk o’ Field

The murder of Lord Darnley at Kirk o’ Field

On 10 February 1567, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, the estranged husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, was murdered at Kirk o’ Field house, Edinburgh.

The father of James VI and I had been resting there for some weeks, suffering from a bout smallpox (or possibly syphilis). In the early hours of the morning on the 10th February, an explosion completely destroyed Kirk o’ Field house.

A short distance away from the scene of the explosion, locals found Darnley’s nightgown-clad corpse, alongside his dead servant. Darnley had been strangled to death and not killed in the explosion.

Suspicions grew that the James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, and Mary Queen of Scots herself, were involved in the murder.

At his trial in April 1567, Bothwell was found not guilty. Mary married Bothwell the following month.

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