Reporting on Scottish News in England

That Shakespeare Life


Mary Queen of Scots and her son, James VI of Scotland, brought an urgency to England for sharing news about what was happening in Scotland. From 1580 onwards, the same years Shakespeare was writing about Scotland in plays like Henry VI Part 1 and later Macbeth, which features Scotland prominently, the rate of news about events in Scotland being published in England skyrocketed. This increase can be attributed to an expansion in news publications over a broader landscape, but events involving Mary Queen of Scots and her son future James VI, including rumors that Elizabeth I of England wanted to kidnap the baby James and England sending an army to Scotland, all added fuel to the fire of political relationships between the two countries that was written about furiously in this period. Shakespeare’s works reflect this cultural moment when we see Lepidus in Antony and Cleopatra is saying, “Here’s more news” from Act I Scene 4, in the early 1600s, along with over 300 additional references to “new” in Shakespeare’s plays. Here with us today to share with us what news stories were the biggest headlines for this period, as well as what the surviving printed works of news tell us about the relationship between Scotland and England for the late 16th and early 17th century is our guest and author of “Newes from Scotland” in England, 1559–1602 for the Huntington Library Quarterly, Amy Blakeway.   Get bonus episodes on Patreon

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