Bothwell Road, CR0

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A controversial figure, even in his own day, James Hepburn (about 1534 – April 14, 1578), 1st Duke of Orkney and 4th Earl of Bothwell (better known simply as Lord Bothwell), has been accused of murdering Mary, Queen of Scots’ husband, and later abducting and raping the widow forcing her marry him to secure the throne. Alternatively, he had nothing to do with the death of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Mary’s second husband, (indeed he was acquitted), and in fact the pair were in love and planned their absconsion to thwart their enemies from stopping their marriage going ahead. In either case Bothwell was to meet a sticky end. The marriage was indeed controversial and their enemies confronted the couple on the battlefield. Bothwell escaped and fled to Scandinavia, where he hoped to raise an army. Alas events had overtaken him and while the Danish king was deliberating his plea, news came that Mary’s claim to the throne was over. Deciding that Bothwell was no longer worth any time, he kept him prisoner in what were said to be appalling conditions at Dragsholm Castle. A pillar to which he was chained for the last ten years of his life can still be seen, with a circular groove in the floor around the pillar. This is one of a cluster of New Addington streets that are named after some of the Tudor period’s most prominent figures in reference to the fact that Henry VIII used to own a hunting lodge for the duration of his reign on what became the grounds of Addington Palace. According to Addington Palace’s website it is rumoured, although never conclusively proved, that the king held clandestine meetings with Anne Boleyn there, during which time he taught her to hunt among other things.

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