Ill-fated royal visitor
Mary, cousin of Elizabeth I, made several visits to Buxton. At the time, she was under the supervision of the Earl of Shrewsbury to prevent her being a threat to the English throne. The plots continued, though, and in 1584 the bloody axe awaited. An inscription on a window sill in the Old Hall Hotel – ‘Buxton, whose warm waters have made thy name famous, perchance I shall visit thee no more; Farewell’ – is said to have been scratched by her. Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, based on her life and death, was staged here in 1993.
Axe one, scene two: Mary’s sorry tale has been told at the opera house