Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, was 70 years old when she died in her sleep at Richmond Palace on 24th March 1603. Her 45 year reign was the most remarkable period of prosperity that England had yet known. The great Spanish empire had been convincingly destroyed, their much trumped Armada fleet still rotting on the ocean floor today. The eastern coast of the New World had been conquered as far inland as Virginia. The Protestant Reformation, started by Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, was almost complete. England was experiencing a Golden Age that few could have imagined possible when Elizabeth's Welsh-born grandfather, King Henry VII, staggered from the muddy fields of Bosworth in 1485 having finally brought the War of the Roses to an end.
When Elizabeth died, the throne of England and all its assets passed to her 37 year old cousin, King James VI of Scotland. James was the son of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and Mary, Queen of Scots, the proud and troublesome Scot whose plots to seize the throne from Elizabeth had resulted in her eventual execution. He had been King of Scotland since 1567 when his mother was forced to abdicate. The late 16th century was, for Scotland, a complicated period in which rival Protestant, Puritan and Roman Catholic factions vied for supremacyThese power-hungry rogues went so far as to encourage the loveless orphan towards homosexuality. The belief was that if the king was gay, then whosoever shared the royal mattress would have control of the ancient kingdom of Caledonia. One of the prime culprits in this regard was his cousin, the Duke of Lennox, of whom we shall treat anon.
In 1589, King James secured himself a fine looking wife, an elegant, voluptuous and wonderfully dim blonde called Anne whose father was King Frederick II of Denmark. He loved her dearly and she produced two sons and a daughter for him - including Charles I - before her eventual death of dropsy in the spring of 1619.
By the 1580s, James Stuart had cottoned on that his favourites were abusing his trust. And so he began to play chess with the different factions. To this end, the King had a most useful Queen. Not Queen Anne but Queen Elizabeth, his cousin, who by the Treaty of Berwick in 1586 had declared him heir apparent to the Crowns of Great Britain and Ireland. The time for internal bickering was over.
One by one, James entered into negotiations with the Presbyterian Kirk, the lairds of the villages, the middle classes in the burghs, the landowning nobles and the parliamentary representatives. It would be false to say the King secured the absolute loyalty of any of these groups, but he and his trusted inner circle certainly managed to create the illusion of a united Scotland.
From 1601 he was also in negotiations with Robert Cecil, later Earl of Salisbury, Queen Elizabeth's most valuable minister. The two men devoted a great deal of their time to working out a way in which the Stuart accession to the Tudor throne could be handled peacefully. And contrary to all expectations, they succeeded.
Within 8 hours of Queen Elizabeth's death, James Stuart was proclaimed king in London. Two days later, he received the news in Edinburgh. And 10 days after that, King James I of Great Britain and Ireland set forth from Scotland, never to return except for a brief visit in the summer of 1617. On his way through England, he created 300 knights - an early indication that here was a man ready to hand out titles and monies wherever he needed to buy time or loyalty.
In terms of our family history, there are two things we should consider at this point.
Firstly, what was the status of the McClintock clan during this period? And secondly, how did the Bunbury's react? Henry Bunbury of Hoole was one of the 300 men whom the Scottish king knighted on his way south.
I mentioned earlier that the Duke of Lennox was one of those rogue nobles instrumental in corrupting the young King James's sexuality. This was Esme Stuart, an unscrupulous Lowland noble created Earl of Lennox in 1580 and 1st Duke in 1581. Esme's son and heir was the great Ludovic Stuart, 2nd Duke of Lennox (1574 - 1624), a man held in great esteem by King James. Indeed, it was the 2nd Duke who organised the Portlough Patent which brought the McClintocks to Ireland.
During the 1590s, King James's administration made an unsuccessful attempt
to colonise Nova Scotia. They were to have much more success with the plantation
of Ulster at the expense of the native Irish tribesmen.
The grant of lands in Donegal was divided into a large number of sections, one of which was the Barony of Raphoe in the north east of the county. The Barony of Raphoe was divided into two precincts. The Precinct of Liffer was granted to a group of nine Englishmen from Norfolk, Suffolk, Somerset and London.
The Precicnt of Portlough was co-ordinated the 2nd Duke of Lennox and parcelled out to his own Stuart kinsmen and other close allies. (See sepearte section). Among these were the Cuninghams and Crawfords, two clans who would go on to make substantial profits from the establishment of a shipping trade between Donegal and Scotland.
Also among them were the McClintocks.