Peter Young had a great reputation as an academic and had studied under Theodore Beza in Geneva. In 1571, he was appointed by the Regent Moray as tutor to the young James VI in his schoolroom at Stirling Castle to serve alongside George Buchanan He was then aged twenty-seven, and unlike Buchanan always remained courteous to his Royal charge, building up the Royal Library for his use. Young recorded that:
after morning prayers, [James’s] attention was devoted to the Greek authors, and he read a portion of the New Testament, Isocrates, or the Apophthegmatic of Plutarch, and was exercised in grammar. After breakfast he read Cicero, Livy, Justin [the Martyr], or modern history. In the afternoon he applied himself to composition, and when his leisure would permit, to arithmetic or cosmography, which included geography and the doctrine of the sphere, or to logic and rhetoric.
When James was contemplating marriage in 1585, Young was sent as ambassador to Denmark to sound out the availability of Frederick II’s elder daughter, Elisabeth, but she had recently become betrothed to the Duke of Braunschweig (Brunswick). Young reported back that her younger sister Anne, now aged fourteen, was very pretty and well worthy of consideration.
In 1596, Young was appointed as one of eight Octavians, mainly lawyers, who were given the task of trying to resolve the deficit problems of the Scottish Treasury. The problems were proving intractable largely as a result of James’s extravagance and generosity. The Octavians were not in general well qualified for the task that they had been given and they resigned within a year.
When James travelled south to take the English throne, Young went with him. By this time he had taken holy orders and was rewarded with the deanery of Litchfield.