Little remains of Fotheringhay Castle and certainly nothing to suggest the international events that took place there in the late 1580s. It was in this castle that Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned, tried and executed for her support to the Babbington plot aimed at overthrowing Elizabeth I and restoring the Catholic faith.
HISTORY OF FOTHERINGHAY CASTLE
Fotheringhay Castle was built probably by Simon de Senliz, Earl of Northampton, circa 1100 as a traditional earth and timber motte and bailey fortification. It became the property of the Scottish Royal family in 1113 when it passed to Prince David (later David I of Scotland) by marriage to the Senliz family but was confiscated permanently as a result of the Wars of Independence in 1294. In 1377 it was granted to Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, who rebuilt much of the fortification in stone. In 1461, upon the accession of Edward of York as King Edward IV, it became a Royal castle.
During the reign of Elizabeth I the castle was used for the incarceration, trial and execution of Mary Queen of Scots. In Summer 1586 Sir Anthony Babbington had organised a plot to assassinated Elizabeth I and secure a revival of the Roman Catholic faith in England. The accomplished Tudor security organisation detected and crushed the attempt and Babbington and his co-conspirators were executed in horrific fashion; briefly hung they were cut down and disemboweled alive. Mary had known of the plot and was arrested and brought to Fotherhay Castle. At her trial she conducted her own defense but despite fears of the Scottish and Spanish reactions, Elizabeth signed the death warrant. Mary was executed in the Great Hall on 8 February 1587.
Fotheringhay Castle was sold into private hands in 1603 and was allowed to fall into decay and the stonework was stripped for use elsewhere. The interior of the Great Hall itself was gutted and removed to Connington in Huntingdonshire.