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Last Updated: Monday, 26 May, 2003, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Blaze site clues to historic murder
Lord Darnley
Lord Darnley was murdered in 1567
Accounts of one of Scotland's most famous murders may have to be rewritten because of research work done in the aftermath of Edinburgh's Old Town fire, according to one expert.

The buildings involved were so badly damaged that some had to be demolished and the rubble removed.

This opened up to scrutiny an area which had not been exposed for hundreds of years.

Archaeologists and a genealogist have now examined the site and compared it with archives.

Investigations are continuing, but early results suggest histories of the 16th century killing of Mary Queen of Scots' husband, Lord Darnley, may need to be revised, along with other records.

Genealogist Rob Maxtone Graham believes there is a need for a review of previous work, including an examination of exactly where Lord Darnley may have been killed.

Other experts

Mr Maxtone Graham said he believes there is "a big unstitching job" to be attempted on a trail of evidence going back over five centuries.

But he conceded that other experts may need to be convinced.

The genealogist told BBC Scotland that he had been trying to identify who had been living in the Cowgate about 500 years ago.

"We had come up with an incredible number of people who were living there," he said.

Old Town site
Archaeologists have combed the historical ruins
"They were buying and selling the land, and there was a fair amount of philandering.

"Just at the last minute it occurred to me that one of the cleric's houses could well have been the site of Darnley's murder."

He said the research was still at a very early stage.

"First we have to identify the site and then see whether a change of the site sheds any different light on the murder itself," he said.

Lord Darnley married Mary in 1565, but the following year was implicated in the murder of her secretary, David Riccio.

However, the following year Lord Darnley was himself murdered when the royal couple's temporary residence was blown up.

It is believed that Lord Darnley escaped the explosion, but was strangled and stabbed as he fled the building.

Mary married James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell - who was implicated in the murder of Lord Darnley - three months later.

Blaze site reopens early
24 Mar 03  |  Scotland
Wiring 'cause' of city blaze
20 Feb 03  |  Scotland
Digging among city ruins
20 Feb 03  |  Scotland
Demolition begins after fire
11 Dec 02  |  Scotland
In pictures: City's fire aftermath
09 Dec 02  |  Scotland


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