Mary, Queen of Scots: Sheffield Manor Lodge event marks big royal anniversary

Sheffield Manor Lodge is marking the 450th anniversary of a historic event with a visit by its most famous inhabitant – Mary, Queen of Scots.

By Julia Armstrong
Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 11:20 am

The special event had to be postponed from last year’s 450th anniversary because of the pandemic but now the Friends of Manor Lodge are going ahead on Sunday, November 28.

The anniversary marks the royal’s arrival at Manor Lodge as the prisoner of her rival and cousin Queen Elizabeth I before her eventual execution. The historic reenactment will see Mary arrive in a procession, to be greeted by the Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife, Bess of Hardwick, who were ordered to keep her captive.

Friends of Manor Lodge said: “Mary will progress in a horse-drawn carriage from the Tudor ruins through the Sheffield Manor Lodge site to Manor Oaks House, where the Lord Mayor and the current Lord Shrewsbury – member of the House of Lords – awaits to welcome her, alongside her captors the Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife, Bess of Hardwick.

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A costumed re-enactor playing Mary Queen of Scots, pictured outside Sheffield Manor Lodge in 2019

“Here a feast will be held to mark her arrival. You are invited to join us in giving Mary a celebratory Sheffield welcome and to mix and mingle (at a safe distance, of course) under cover at Manor Oaks House.”

Historian David Templeman of Friends of Manor Lodge described the scene: “On the grey and overcast day of November 28, 1570, Mary and her entourage of 39 persons took the journey to Sheffield.

"Little did any of them know that it would be almost 14 years before she would leave her Sheffield base, never to return. This journey of three-and-a-half hours, over the moors from Chatsworth and crossing the Froggatt and Curbar Edges, would have been an awesome sight, with the long train of horses and packhorses meandering on their way into Sheffield.

How can you book for the Mary, Queen of Scots event at Sheffield Manor Lodge?

A re-enactor playing Bess of Hardwick at a Mary Queen of Scots open day at Sheffield Manor Lodge in 2019

"According to a local writer, on their descent to Totley, they were spotted by labourers toiling in the fields near Holmesfield, who spoke of a long line of riders climbing over the hills of Baslow and crossing Totley moors towards Sheffield.

"But to Mary, how forbidding Sheffield Castle must have looked, as she approached ever nearer to its all-enveloping walls. The townsfolk, including men working in the many smithies, came out and watched the enormous procession of horses and baggage trains go by.

"Of course, they had no knowledge of whom or what all the commotion was about, as the transfer had been done in the utmost secrecy.”

Tickets are £8, including light refreshments. To book, go to

Historian David Templeman with his book about Mary Queen of Scots, pictured at Manor Lodge in Sheffield

The two-hour event will start with at 11.30am.

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The artists’ studios next door to the Rhubarb Shed cafe will also be open to visitors on the day, who can see the artists demonstrate their skills, tools and techniques.

There’s also the chance to explore the Manor Lodge 12 Days of Christmas Trail, gingerbread decorating and pomander making. There's mulled apple juice and mince pies to enjoy around a fire pit. This also takes place on November 27 and December 4 ad 5.

Entry cost is £4 per child, with no additional charge for adults that are also attending the Mary procession.

You can also book for events by calling 0114 276 2828, Monday to Saturday, 8am to 4pm.