GLOVE OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS
A VERY beautiful glove for the left hand, worn by the unfortunate Queen of Scots on the morning of her execution. It is made of a light, cool, buff-coloured leather; the elaborate embroidery on the gauntlet is of silver wire gimp and silk of various colours; the roses are of pale and dark blue and two shades of very pale crimson; the foliage, or trees, is of two shades of esthetic green; a bird in flight, with a long tail, figures conspicuously in the design; the whole of the embroidered pattern is repeated on the other side of the gauntlet. That part of the glove forming the cuff is lined with bright crimson satin, a narrow band. of which is turned outwards, and forms a binding on to which is sewn the gold lace; to the points of this are fastened groups of small pendant silver spangles. The opening at the side of the gauntlet is connected by two broad bands of crimson silk, now much faded, each being decorated at the edges with silver lace. The length of the glove is 14 inches from the tip of the middle linger to the extreme point of the lace and spangles.
The glove certainly belongs to the period to which it is assigned, and it has been treasured through many generations by the Dayrell family, as the veritable glove of Mary Stuart.
The following letter proves conclusively that Marmaduke Dayrell, or Darell, .was present at the execution.
The Dayrell Family of Hinxton, Cambs. Copy of the original letter found among His Majesty’s Records in the Tower of London (A.D.1806), and received by Mr. Dayrell from Mr. Lysons, and now in the Saffron Walden Museum, with a glove said to have been given to Marmaduke Dayrell by the Queen at the time of her execution:
“The convenience of this messenger, with the newes wch. this place dothe presentlye yelde: occasioneth me to trouble you wth theis few lynes. I doubte not but wth you aswell as in the contries hereaboutes, there hathe beene of late sondrye rumors bruted concerninge the Sco: Queene prisoner here; wch all, as they have bene hitherto untrewe; so now yt is most true, that she hathe endured that fatall stroke this daie that will excuse her from beinge accessarye to any like matters that may happen henceforthe.
“Betweene X and XI of the clocke this present Thursdaie she was beheaded in the Hall of this Castle ; there beinge present at yt as Commissioners, only the Earle of Shrewsburge and the Earle of Kent, fower other Earles we joyned wth them in the Commission but came not; The Sherive of this Shire Sr Rich: Knightlye, Sr Edwarde Montague, wth dwrs other Gentlemen of good accompte, wer also here at the Execution. Touchinge the manner of yt all due order was most carefully observed in yt she herself endured yt as wee must all truely saie that were eye wittnesses with great courage, and shewe of magnanimitye, albeit in some other respects she ended not so well as yt to be wished. The order for her funerall, yt not yet determined uppon; but wilbe very shortlye, as also for her people, who (wee thinke) shal be safelye conducted to their native countries.
“Thus have you brieflie, that wch wilbe no doubte very shortlie reported unto you more at large. In the meane tyme I beseeche you accepte in good pte this small shewe of my duetifull remembraunce of you. And so wth my humble comend~cons I leave you to the mercifull ptection of the Almightie.
“ffrom ffatheringaie Castle viijth of ffebruarye, 1586.
“Yor poore kinsman to commaunde
To the right woorshipple Mr. Willm Darell Esquire hat his house at Littlecott.”
For and against the probability of the glove having actually formed a part of the Queen’s dress on the fatal morning we have the statement made in Froude’s History of England, p. 332, vol. xii., that the Queen wore “a robe of black satin: her jacket was of black satin also looped and slashed and trimmed with velvet. After her prayers were finished, she rose and prepared.” The two executioners offered to assist her, but were refused with “‘Truly, my Lords,’ turning with a smile to the Earls standing near, ‘I never had such grooms waiting on me before I ’” “The black robe was next removed, below it was a petticoat of crimson velvet. The black jacket followed, and under the jacket was a body of crimson satin. One of her ladies handed her a pair of crimson sleeves, with which she hastily covered her arms; and thus she stood on the black scaffold, with the black figures all around her, blood-red from head to foot.” May it not be assumed that the Queen was clad entirely in black on entering the hall? And if such were the case, would she be wearing light leather gloves, embroidered with gay colours and silver lace? Again, Froude says: “Orders had been given that everything which she had worn should be immediately destroyed, that no relic should be carried off to work imaginary miracles — “beads, Paternoster, handkerchief—each article of dress which the blood had touched, with the cloth on the block and on the scaffold, was burnt in the hail fire in the presence of the crowd.” If this glove was worn on the morning of the execution, it may have escaped with other matters, which were probably removed before she knelt at the block, and therefore would be untouched by the blood. It is a curious fact that the lining of the gauntlet is of crimson satin, the same “blood-red” colour mentioned by Froude! Possibly one, if not both, of the executioners may have been gentlemen of position, and if so, why not a Dayrell? And if this were the case, what more likely than that in place of the usual money fee, which would have been given to a common executioner, the Queen may have given her glove as a last present or fee, being aware that it was a gentleman of position who was acting as her executioner.
The drawing from which the photograph is taken was made from the relic by the author, and an outline drawing, together with the description of the execution, was contributed by him to The Reliquary in 1882.
Since the drawing was made the glove has been reversed in its case iii the museum, and now displays the back of the hand.
In Fairholt’s Costume in England a small illustration of this glove is given (p. 511), but it is inaccurate in nearly every detail.
The glove was lent by the late Colonel Francis Dayrell, of Camps, in Cambridgeshire, and is still in the Saffron Walden Museum.