James Stuart I Fact File


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Fact File Snapshot:

James Stuart – Queen Elizabeth I’s cousin

Age: 37

Job Title:
King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England

Early Career:
He was a very successful King of Scotland. He managed to control both rich and powerful lords and highland chiefs whenever they showed any sign of rebellion. He divided Scotland into four distinct districts and appointed Royal judges to visit each area twice a year to hold criminal trials. He invited weavers from abroad to teach Scottish cloth makers how to make better cloth that could be sold abroad and encouraged gold, silver and coal mining. King James even managed to keep control of the Scottish (Protestant) Church!

A clever man who wrote several books. His favourite subject was witchcraft. He also wrote about the dangers of smoking tobacco. He called it ‘loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain and dangerous to the lungs’. He wrote with some sense, didn’t he?’

Beliefs about being King:
He believed that God chose him to be king – an idea called the ‘Divine Right of Kings’. He thought that even God himself called kings ‘gods’ and said that no one could argue with him because that would be like arguing with God – something that nobody ever dreamed of doing.

He wore padded clothes in case anyone tried to stab him. And if he got holes in an outfit he wouldn’t get changed, he’d just pull another item of clothing over the top.

He never washed. A man who knew the King, Sir Anthony Weldon, once wrote that ‘his tongue was too large for his mouth and his drink came out of each side of his mouth and dribbled back into his cup’.

He swore all of the time, picked his nose and used his sleeve as a handkerchief when he had a cold.

None at the time but in 1625. Sir Anthony Weldon said, ‘he was crafty and cunning in small things but a fool in the important matters’. I bet Sir Anthony could have thought up a few nicknames. Someone also described the King as a ‘nervous drivelling idiot’ a few years later.

Fact Worksheet: