Lambeth Palace Library has acquired a document intimately involved with one of Britain’s most dramatic historical events, a copy of the warrant for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots (shown left). Benefactors of the Library have provided funds to keep this historic document in the U.K.
In November 2007 Culture Minister Margaret Hodge placed a temporary export bar on the document, and the Library took up the challenge of raising sufficient funds to save the document for the nation. It has purchased it for £72,485.50, thanks to the combined generosity of the Friends of the National Libraries, the Friends and Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library, the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, and the National Heritage Memorial Fund. All of the funding has come from bodies concerned with heritage, without depleting resources available for the Church.
Dr. Richard Palmer, the Lambeth Librarian, said: “The Library is delighted to have played its part in saving this document for the nation. The warrant is now reunited with the papers with which it belongs and accessible for the benefit of all”.
The original warrant disappeared in the recriminations which followed Mary’s execution. This copy was delivered to Robert Beale, principal clerk to the Privy Council by Henry Grey, 6th Earl of Kent, one of the two commissioners tasked with organising the execution. It was accompanied by a covering letter to the Earl from the Privy Council which has long been part of the Library’s collections. These two documents are now reunited in the Library’s care.
The copy of the warrant will now be available for research and exhibition, including loans for exhibitions on both sides of the Scottish border.
The Queen’s death mask, sapphire ring and casket went on show, in Edinburgh, two years ago