THE British Library has announced the donation, via its American Trust, of 43 historically important letters, written by Queen Elizabeth I and senior courtiers, relating to the imprisonment of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Many of the letters were written to Sir Ralph Sadler, who was entrusted with the custody of Mary at Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire, between 1584-85, just a few years before her execution for treason in 1587.

They include four letters signed by Elizabeth I, and many others in the hands of her Chief Minister, Lord Burghley, and her Secretary of State, Sir Francis Walsingham.

The collection, which is of significant historical importance, has been on loan to the library for a number of years. The letters have been gifted by industrialist and philanthropist Mark Pigott KBE to the American Trust for the British Library, and will remain in London.

Mr Piggott said: “The British Library has provided luminescent insights into centuries of history through their collections and we are pleased to add to their superb repository of manuscripts. The Tudor period was an eventful time, politically and culturally, and these letters offer a unique window onto that world both for researchers today and for future generations."

The library plans to digitise the letters next year, along with other Tudor documents, and they will be made available for all on the Digitised Manuscripts website.

THE League of Gentlemen have announced an additional eight shows as part of their first UK tour in more than 12 years, The League of Gentlemen Live Again!

After a number of the 18 original shows sold out within minutes of going on sale, eight more have now been added including dates in Glasgow and Edinburgh in August.

This announcement follows the return of the comic ensemble – Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson – and the BBC2 Christmas specials which have been broadcast to celebrate 20 years since the original show.

The will play the SEC Armadillo in Glasgow on August 28 and August 29, as well as the Edinburgh Playhouse on August 30. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields are to play a concert at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall in January. The performance is at 3pm, on Sunday January 21 as part of the venue’s Sunday Classics series.

With a career spanning more than 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor, Joshua Bell is an award-winning violinist.

He took up the position of Musical Director at the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in 2011 and is custodian of the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin. The music will include Vivaldi's Four Seasons, a new commission by Edgar Meyer, and Beethoven's second symphony.