King James I Of England


King James I Of England Essay, Research Paper

This is a paper over King James I of England that I wrote for my honors

english class. I received

an A on the the assignment.

King James I

On June 19, 1566 in Theobalds, Hertfordshire, England, Mary Queen

of Scots gave birth

to her only child, a boy whom she named James. James’ father was Henry

Stewart, also known

as Lord Darnley. Darnley was killed in an unexplained explosion at his

house when James was

eight months old. Only seven months later, Mary Queen of Scots had to

give up her throne

because she was defeated by rebels. Mary left the country and James

never saw her again.

James took the throne of Scotland when he was only 15 months old and

became King James

VI of Scotland (”James I” 481).

James got most of his culture and education before he was 14

years old. During his

early life, the boy king spent most of his time with Scottish lords and

his tutors, especially

George Buchanan, his favorite tutor (”James I, King of England” 1). He

received a superior

education and was known for his great knowledge. He always had a great

respect for the

Scottish lords that were around him as he grew up (”James I” 481).

James enjoyed writing. He wrote and published many poems and translated many long

French works. Later in life he also wrote many books on topics such as kingship, theology,

withcraft, and tobacco. He also ordered the translation of acient Greek and Hebrew versions of

the Bible into English in the Authorized King James Version of the Bible (”James I, King of

England” 1).


He also enjoyed riding horses and hunting. This may be due to the fact that he was very

frail and sometimes needed help walking. When he was on a horse, he was able to function

normally. Despite his physical hinderances, King James was regarded as being very confident

in his decisions. At the age of 15, James ordered the execution of a man suspected to have

been involved with the death of Henry Stewart, James’ father (”James I” 481).

James wanted to follow Queen Elizabeth I of England to the throne so badly that he

would have done anything to keep peaceful relations with her. When his mother was beheaded

in 1587, he merely made a formal protest and let the incident blow over (”James I, King of


In 1589, James was married with Anne of Denmark, the daughter of Fredrick II of

Denmark. They had there first child, Prince Henry, in 1594 (”James I” 481). Prince Henry was

an ideal prince and won the love of the people. Following Henry were Princess Elizabeth and

Prince Charles. Prince Henry and Princess Elizabeth were both very beautiful children, but

Prince Charles was a different story. Charles, like his parents, was a sickly child and had to

have help walking when he was young (Chute 260). Apparently James was not very fond of

women and never had a mistress (”James I” 481). The only time he ever paid a great deal of

attention to his wife was when she converted to Roman Catholicism (”James I, King of England”


King James was a very giving man. He liked to gain support from people by buying

them gifts. In 1605, he spent 2530 pounds at two jewellers (Levi 4). Although he spent a lot of

money, he was not very good at budgeting it (”James I” 481).

In 1603, King James VI got his wish. As Stanford E. Lehmberg states in the Grolier

Electronic Encyclopedia, “Since Elizabeth had no children and there were no other descendants

Guy 3 of Henry VIII, the Tudor line was extinguished upon her death. Throughout her reign

Elizabeth refused to designate a successor, but it is clear that she expected King James VI of

Scotland to follow her. When Elizabeth died on Mar. 24, 1603, James, the son of Mary Queen

of Scots, but a Protestant, succeeded without incident as King James I of England” (1). King

James I was also the first Stuart king of England. Many people came to see the new king’s

coronation in London. The town was bustling with people and unfortunately the plague. At the

time the king was crowned, over 1100 people a week were dying from the plague (Chute 258).

There were two things that James loved even more than giving or receiving money; and

those were peace and expansion. He tried his hardest to keep the peace. One of his men

stated that he would “rather spend 100,000 pounds on embassies, to keep or procure peace

with dishonor, than 10,000 pounds of an army that would have forced peace with honor” (Chute

261-2). King James greatly supported the expansion in America. He chartered the London

Company in 1606. By doing this, he hoped to start a colony in North America. The London

Company founded Jamestown in Virginia in 1607 (”London Company” 1).

King James I made many great contributions to the theater. Shortly after he became

king, he made the Chamberlain’s Men, a group of travelling actors who made their living

preforming plays, royal servants. The Chamberlain’s Men were changed to the King’s Men.

There were nine actors named to the elite group. Among them was none other than William

Shakespeare. The King’s Men were sponsered by James, which was a great relief for thier

pocket books. They were issued scarlet cloth to make uniforms that represented the king. The

royal family saw five times as many plays a year as Queen Elizabeth had (Reese 155).


Shakespeare made references to events surrounding King James in many of his plays.

In 1605, the Gunpowder Plot was discovered. Someone planted several barrels of gunpowder

under the Parliament. If their plan would have worked, King James, his family, and all of the

Lords and Commons would have been killed. Shakespeare was thought to have based his play

Macbeth on those events (Rowse 379). In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet made a speech

against Danish drunkenness. Once, when Christian of Denmark payed a visit to his son in law,

King James I, he did not stay sober past dinner. His daughter, the Queen of England, passed

out while dancing, three other women were too drunk to appear in masque, someone else was

sick, and another woman spilt custard on the King. It quite an embaressment for James, but it

made Shakespeare a great anecdote (Levi 219).

Although it appeared the King James I of England was a great ruler, it was said that the

fall of English politics and religion that led to the English Civil War can be traced back to him.

On March 27, 1625, after warning his heir, Charles I, of future dangers to the monarchy from the

Parliament, King James I breathed his last breath (”James I, King of England” 2).


Chute, Marchette. Shakespeare of London. New York: Penguin Books,


“James I.” The New Encylopedia Britannica. Chicago: Encylopedia

Britannica, Inc., 1992.

“James I, King of England.” Multimedia Encyclopedia Version 1.5.

CD-ROM. Grolier Electronic

Publishing. 1992.

Lehmberg, Standford E. “Queen Elizabeth I.” Multimedia Encyclopedia

Version 1.5. CD-ROM.

Grolier Electronic Publishing. 1992.

Levi, Peter. The Life and Times of William Shakespeare. New York: Henry Holt and Company,


“London Company.” Multimedia Encyclopedia Version 1.5. CD-ROM Grolier Electronic



Reese, M. M. Shakespeare: His World and His Work. New York: St.

Martin’s Press, 1980.

Rowse, A. L. William Shakespeare: A Biography. New York: Harper and

Row, 1963.

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