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KING JAMES I

Lived: 1566-1625
Reigned: 1603-1625




James I

King James I
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When Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, James became King of England aswell as King of Scotland. Having spent his entire life in Scotland, he travelled to England very soon after the Queenís death, and thereafter spent most of his time in and around London. For over forty years the question of who would succeed Elizabeth had haunted her subjects, and the smooth transfer of power to James was a great relief to many. James retained Elizabethís chief minister, Robert Cecil, as his main advisor, and made him Earl of Salisbury in 1605. He also granted Cecil Elizabethís former residence of Hatfield Palace, and while the Earl demolished most of the old palace, his descendants still own Hatfield House to this day.

The most famous incident of Jamesís reign is The Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Many Roman Catholics had hoped that when Elizabeth died the new King would allow them freedom of worship, but they were bitterly disappointed. The lot of Roman Catholics changed little, and in frustration, Guy Fawkes and his supporters planned on killing the King and all important people in the land by blowing up the Houses of Parliament. The plot was foiled, and the surviving conspirators executed.

The reign of King James is also famous for The King James Bible. Unhappy with the existing English translations, in 1604 James authorised a new translation of the Bible into English. It was complete by 1611 and dedicated to the King. Many believe it is the best English translation ever made.

Jamesís son and heir, Henry, who was popular with the people, died in 1612. This made Jamesís second son, Charles, heir to the throne. James died in the March of 1625 and was buried in the Chapel of Henry VII at Westminster Abbey. Queen Elizabeth I had, by her wish, been buried there, but James moved the Queen to another part of the Abbey, partly because of the number of people who were visiting her grave. He also moved his mother from Peterborough Cathedral, where she had originally been buried, to Westminster Abbey. Thus, ironically, the two rival queens who never met in life lie only feet away from each other in death. Charles succeeded his father to become King Charles I.


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