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Mary, Queen of Scots goes to jail

2 February 2009

A Scottish queen has been sharing her experiences of life as a prisoner with women inmates of today.

The initiative is part of an adult learning project being jointly organised by Historic Scotland, Stirling Council, Edinburgh Lothian and Borders Criminal Justice Authority, Carnegie College and the prison service.

Around a dozen young women at Corton Vale Prison are taking part on a course entitled A Room with a View.

One session involved a costumed performer taking on the role of Mary, Queen of Scots to talk about her life at Stirling Castle and what it was like later on when she was held at Lochleven Castle and then for many years in England.

This is being followed by a session led by Stirling Castle education officer Kirsten Wood looking at fashions and lifestyle of the period.

“The idea is that we stimulate the imagination by creating hands-on and fun activities such as dressing in replica period costume and taking part in courtly dancing.

“I’ll also be taking in other replica artefacts to discuss what fashion was like during the time of Mary, Queen of Scots and the women will try their hand at quill writing.”

Kirsten and other education specialists will then work with the group to develop their writing skills.

The project is designed to get them to come up with stories or poems of their own.

Some are likely to be linked to Mary, Queen of Scots and Stirling while others might be drawn from their own lives.

Pat Morrissey, of the council’s adult learning team, said: “We feel this is a great opportunity to enhance the prisoners’ literacy skills.

“The project will include a variety of approaches such as using texts, images, audio-visual media and historical re-enactors to explore historical themes.

Notes for Editors

The project’s objectives are to:
  • enhance literacy

  • develop writing skills  

  • develop verbal communications skills and group discussion skills.

  • provide innovative approaches to literacy learning

  • widen partnership involvement in learning opportunities for prisoners

  • stimulate prisoners’ interest in the historical environment.

Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations.


For further information


Laura Varney
PR Executive
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8959 or 07769 630 763
laura.varney@scotland.gsi.gov.uk