Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace

The ruins of Linlithgow Palace are situated in the town of Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland, 15 miles west of Edinburgh. A royal manor existed on the site in the 12th Century [ [ Historic Scotland - Linlithgow Palace Property Detail ] ] . This was replaced by a fortification known as 'the Peel', built in the 14th Century by English forces under Edward I. The site of the manor made it an ideal military base for securing the supply routes between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle.

In 1424, the town of Linlithgow was partially destroyed in a great fire [ [ British Castle - Linlithgow Palace History ] ] . King James I started the rebuilding of the Palace as a grand residence for Scottish royalty. Over the following century the palace developed into a formal courtyard structure, with significant additions by James III and James IV. James V, who was born in the palace in April 1512, added the outer gateway and the elaborate courtyard fountain. Mary Queen of Scots was born at the Palace in December 1542 [ [ History of the Monarchy > The Stewarts > Mary, Queen of Scots ] ] and occasionally stayed there during her reign. After the Union of the Crowns in 1603 the Royal Court became largely based in England and Linlithgow was used very little. Although King James VI had the North range rebuilt between 1618 and 1622, the only reigning monarch who stayed in Linlithgow after that date was King Charles I who spent one night there in 1633.

The palace's swansong came in September, 1745, when Bonnie Prince Charlie visited Linlithgow on his march south but did not stay overnight. It is said that the fountain was made to flow with wine in his honour [ [ BBC NEWS | Scotland | Edinburgh and East | 'Wine' fountain to flow once more ] ] . The Duke of Cumberland's army destroyed most of the palace buildings by burning in January 1746.

The palace has been actively conserved since the early 19th Century and is today managed and maintained by Historic Scotland. The site is open to visitors all year round, usually subject to an entrance fee for non-members, but on occasion the entry fee is waived during the organsiation's "Doors open days". [ [ Event Detail ] ] In summer the adjacent 15th century parish church of St Michael is open for visitors, allowing a combined visit to two of Scotland's finest surviving medieval buildings.

Historic Scotland is running an experiment with junior tour guides. Using young people (primary 6-7) from the nearby school Linlithgow Primary, schools can arrange tours by these young people. During the summer young people can volunteer to conduct these tours.


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