In  1568, the defeat of Mary Queen of Scots at the battle of Langside and her subsequent flight to England left Scotland in turmoil.  Her infant son was crowned James VI with her illegitimate half brother the Earl of Moray as Regent.  The population was bitterly divided as Moray and the Protestant Lords began to wreak terrible vengeance on supporters of the losing side.  Having fought for the Queen, the Carmichaels of Lanarkshire were in a precarious position. Poor nineteen year-old John Carmichael, Younger of that Ilk, whose sole ambitions were land-improving, organising fishing expeditions and raising a family was to become deeply entangled in the murky world of Scots Regency government and finding himself in great danger.