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Politics of the Privy Council 1546-1550

During the 15th and 16th centuries the monarch’s closest advisers were accustomed to meeting together to discuss diplomatic matters and the day to day running of the kingdom. These meetings became known as the Privy Council or Secret Council and it was a mark of great favour for a noble or baron to become a Privy Councillor. By 1545 the Privy Council had begun keeping a formal register of its meetings and enactments and would continue to do so until it was abolished in 1708. In the mid 1540’s the Privy Council was much concerned with the war with England which had broken out in 1542. The Governor (or regent) James Hamilton earl of Arran had been appointed to rule on behalf of the infant Queen Mary in 1543 and had to contend with invasion and warfare.

A truce agreed between England and France in 1546 included Scotland but the English king complained the Scots were still attacking his shipping, so the Privy Council attempted to put a stop to this. In 1547 the English again invaded Scotland and Arran had to proclaim a general muster to resist it, followed by a proclamation that the heirs of those slain in battle would succeed to their estates free from the usual dues and payments. The English also prevailed on the Emperor Charles V – ally of England – to declare war on Scotland too, since France (rival of the Empire) had intervened in Scotland. The Emperor Charles began to regret his war with
Scotland because the Scots were inflicting significant damage on shipping, but in 1550 the Privy Council attempted to confine warfare at sea to certain of the Emperor’s subjects while forbidding attacks on English and other states once Scotland had made peace with England.

You will find the various proclamations related to the above events in the PDF document below. The documents are a good example of official texts in Middle Scots dealing with political matters.