Linlithgow Palace in central Scotland. Medieval and Rennaissance castle.

Linlithgow Palace 17th C wine bottles

18th century wine bottles unearthed at the Palace.

Some History...

As a palace the building served not only as a place of accommodation for hundreds of staff, retainers, footmen, guards and friends and visitors, but also as a carefully controlled environment for regulation access to the monarch. Rooms were arranged in sequence to reinforce a sense of hierarchy and to create an almost theatrical effect of splendour and power. Today the splendid internal decoration has gone, but it is easy to imagine intricately painted plaster ceilings, embossed and gilded leather covered walls, tapestries depicting hunting scenes or stories from Greek mythology, heraldic emblems such as unicorns and lions, paintings and carved furniture. James V's queen, Marie de Guise-Lorraine is said to have compared the palace to the most splendid in France.

Mary Queen of Scots

In 1542 Mary and James's daughter, also Mary, known to us as Mary Queen of Scots, was born at the palace. At seven months she was taken to Stirling castle. The English king Henry VIII thought he could unite the two countries by arranging the marriage of his son Edward to Mary, but his plan was opposed by pro French and Catholic Scots. He tried to force his will by invading, ("The Rough Wooing"), defeating the Scots at the battle of Pinkie in 1547. French help was sought and granted but only in return that the infant Queen be sent for safe-keeping and education to France. At the age of 6 Mary sailed from Dumbarton outside Glasgow, not to return until some 13 years later. By that time her young French husband, the king of France, François II, had tragically died.

16th century courtiers

(see: Mary Queen of Scots in France, and Mary's poem)

During the time when she was Queen, in Scotland, mary visited Linlithgow on numerous occasions. But during her captivity in England, and after the succession of her infant son, James VI, the palace became somewhat neglected. On his coming of age repairs were made, but when he succeeded to the throne of England in 1603 he didn't visit again. Later Stuarts

James's son Charles I visited in 1617 and again in 1633 when a surviving bill records 12 shillings having been spent on a duster for removing the spiders' webs.

After Charles's execution, and having defeated the Scots at Dunbar, Oliver Cromwell spent the winter here in 1650-51. From now on the palace began gradually to deteriorate.

The last royal Stuart to stay at Linlithgow was the 25 year old Prince Charles Edward, "Bonnie Prince Charlie" in 1745. A few months later after Charles's unsuccessful march into England to reclaim the Crown for the Stuarts from George II, the Duke of Cumberland (George's son) and his troops took over the palace. When they marched North on February 1st 1746 someone left an unattended fire which soon spread. Within hours the palace was a roofless shell.

Linlithgow North and East ranges

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