Manor Lodge and how it has celebrated its Mary Queen of Scots connection over the yearsManor Lodge and how it has celebrated its Mary Queen of Scots connection over the years
Manor Lodge and how it has celebrated its Mary Queen of Scots connection over the years

With books from more than 100 years ago, ghostly walks and film crews here's how Sheffield's Manor Lodge has celebrated its Mary Queen of Scots connection over the years

From 1573, Sheffield Manor Lodge became more than a family home - it became a royal prison for Mary, Queen of Scots, and a forgotten publication from 1880 has been unearthed which shines a light on how she was kept in custody in the manner of a Queen.

Mary, Queen of Scots, spent 14 years, almost a third of her life, in Sheffield between Manor Lodge and the Castle.

And over the years Manor Lodge has had TV crews in the historic grounds as well as people doing sleepovers in the haunted site and opera performances entertaining crowds all paying homage to the royal visitor.

Her stay in Sheffield was not always this well recorded with people knowing The Queen’s plight.

A book published in 1880, Mary Queen of Scots in Captivity written by J D Leader, was on of the first publications to shines a light on what happened when the royal arrived.

It states: "Let us call on our imagination to assist in bringing before our minds the scene at Chatsworth on that November morning when Mary Queen of Scots and her attendants left Chatsworth for the 12-mile ride to Sheffield.”

Leader’s book explains the retinue was ample and wholly composed of the retainers of the Earl of Shrewsbury. No strangers were there he said and every man was chosen for his ‘fidelity to the Lord’.

His publication was written some 300 hundred years after her stay in Sheffield and says no one can be sure of the weather when she arrived but surmised if it was a gloomy day it would have harmonised with the feelings of the travellers. He said: “Mary Queen of Scots hopes were low. Her promised treaty was slipping from her grasp and sickness lay on her sore."

Lord Shrewsbury was growing very tired of his anxious and thankless charge and her captive started to take a toll on his heath the book notes.

Leader says: “The unreasonable suspicions of Queen Elizabeth and her ever-recurring complaints wearied him. The only circumstance that shed a little light across his path was that he was moving to his favourite residence and strongest house at Sheffield.”

The book documents the calvacade from Chatsworth House to Sheffield and Leader says Mary Queen of Scots ‘rides well and almost dares to smile at the prospect of the exhilarating moment in the fresh air’. Even though she was riding herself she was still heavily guarded with Shrewsbury himself riding by her side and with guards ahead and behind her.

The ride took three-and-a-half hours from Chatsworth to Sheffield and she was able to see the Earl of Shrewsbury’s mansion, Sheffield Lodge as it was called then, on the hill seven miles away from the ridge above Totley.

The day that brought to the town the hieress presumptive to the Crown ought to have been a high one for Sheffield says Leader. But it was not.

In his book he said: “Queen Elizabeth had jealously forbidden any resort of strangers were Mary of Scotland was.”

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