Mary Queen of Scots – Signet Ring

05 September 2018

On 9th September 1543 Mary Stuart was declared Queen of Scots at just nine months old. We have a few items in our archive related to Mary including an eye witness account of her execution which you can read more about here. In this blog we’re looking at a signet ring which apparently belonged to Mary and a letter to Lady Bute regarding her purchase of the ring.

The letter, dated 10 November 1912, to Lady Augusta Bute from Geraldine Chichester includes a red wax seal impression of a signet ring. On the back of the letter Lady Bute writes that it is a signet ring belonging to Mary Queen of Scots – on a blood stone with gold setting. 

Recently found in the archive, the ring is a perfect fit for the wax seal but there are very few hints in the letter as to the history of the ring itself. Geraldine comments that she is glad that ‘the ring has returned to its old home’ and thanks Lady Bute for the cheque of £60, presumably payment for the ring.

The rest of the letter provides us with many interesting stories but as we do not have the original letter sent to Geraldine or Lady Bute’s reply they leave us wondering.

Mrs Chichester talks of a Lord and Lady Henry who died of consumption and a story her father told her of diamonds being stolen by a Spanish maid but without further context these snippets remain a mystery. Do these stories relate to Mary Queen of Scots or are they about people known to Lady Bute? Our Collections Team will be doing further digging in the archive to try and find some answers!