Skip to main content

Gowrie conspiracy

Gowrie conspiracy, 1600. James VI of Scotland mistrusted the Gowrie family. The 3rd Lord Ruthven had murdered Rizzio and the 1st earl of Gowrie had held James captive after the Ruthven raid in 1582. On 5 August 1600, while hunting, James was urgently invited by Alexander Ruthven to Gowrie House in Perth, according to the king to investigate a mysterious stranger with a pot of gold. James dined at the house but no stranger materialized and after the meal James repaired to an upper turret with Ruthven. James's version was that Ruthven then reproached him with the execution of the 1st earl and told him to prepare to die: James wrestled free and cried ‘Treason’ from a window, whereupon his followers rescued him and killed both Ruthven and his elder brother, Lord Gowrie. It has never been clear who was plotting against whom. James owed the Ruthvens a good deal of money, but the suggestion that he deliberately acted as a decoy seems most unlikely, given the king's notorious cowardice. James's story of the pot of gold is so feeble that it might even be true, since it would not be hard to invent a better tale. Yet if the brothers were conspirators, looking for a repeat of the Ruthven raid, they are among the most incompetent in Scottish history. Since Alexander Ruthven was 20, and James's fondness for handsome young men is well established, it is not difficult to think of alternative explanations.

J. A. Cannon

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gowrie conspiracy." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gowrie conspiracy." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gowrie-conspiracy

"Gowrie conspiracy." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved November 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gowrie-conspiracy

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.