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WORK IN PROGRESS - Please come and help if it interests you Right now I'm using this project to anchor the profiles connected to James VI's obsession with witches. [Sharon Doubell Oct 2020]

By 1372 a castle had been built at Glamis, since in that year it was granted by King Robert II to Sir John Lyon, Thane of Glamis, husband of the king's daughter. Glamis has remained in the Lyon (later Bowes-Lyon) family since this time. The castle was rebuilt as an L-plan tower house in the early 15th century.[5]

The title Lord Glamis was created in 1445 for Sir Patrick Lyon (1402–1459), grandson of Sir John. John Lyon, 6th Lord Glamis, married Janet Douglas, daughter of the Master of Angus, at a time when King James V was feuding with the Douglases. In December 1528 Janet was accused of treason for bringing supporters of the Earl of Angus to Edinburgh. She was then charged with poisoning her husband, Lord Glamis, who had died on 17 September 1528. Eventually, she was accused of witchcraft, and was burned at the stake at Edinburgh on 17 July 1537. James V subsequently seized Glamis, living there for some time.[2]

His mother’s violent death seems to have inspired in James a dark fascination with magic. “His Highnesse tolde me her deathe was visible in Scotlande before it did really happen,” related Sir John Harington, years later, “being, as he said, ‘spoken of in secrete by those whose power of sighte presentede to them a bloodie heade dancinge in the aire’.”

James’s beliefs had a dangerously misogynistic core. He grew up to scorn – even revile – women. Though he was by no means alone in his view of the natural weakness and inferiority of women, his aversion towards them was unusually intense. He took every opportunity to propound the view that they were far more likely than men to succumb to witchcraft. “As that sex is frailer than man is, so is it easier to be entrapped in these gross snares of the Devil,” he argued in Daemonologie, “as was overwell proved to be true by the Serpent’s deceiving of Eve at the beginning which makes him the friendlier with that sex since then.” He would later commission a new version of the Bible in which all references to witches were rewritten in the female gender.

...In 1613, the Earl of Rutland’s two young 
sons were stricken by a mysterious illness at Belvoir Castle. The elder of the two died shortly afterwards; the other lingered for a further six and a half years before following his brother to the grave. By the time of the younger’s death, three local women, Joan Flower and her daughters Margaret and Philippa, had been convicted of bewitching the boys. Joan had died in custody and her daughters had been found guilty and hanged at Lincoln Castle in 1619.

The king was, naturally, interested in a case involving one of the most prominent members of his court, but there was another connection. His closest favourite – George Villiers, future Duke of Buckingham – had married Rutland’s daughter, Katherine, shortly after her second brother’s death. As the only surviving child, Katherine stood to inherit one of the richest estates in the kingdom. Her new husband therefore had a vested interest in the health of her sickly brother, and there is evidence to suggest that he may have had the boy murdered. He almost certainly commissioned the pamphlet that was published shortly after the Flower sisters’ trial as a means of quelling any doubts as to their guilt. Most witchcraft trials constituted grave miscarriages of justice, but this was one of the most shocking of all.