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Linlithgow Palace

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Title: Linlithgow Palace  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: James V of Scotland, Royal Court of Scotland, Architecture of Scotland in the Middle Ages, Scottish castles, Architecture in early modern Scotland
Collection: 1420S Architecture, Castles in West Lothian, Category a Listed Buildings in West Lothian, Country Houses in West Lothian, Historic House Museums in West Lothian, Houses Completed in the 15Th Century, Linlithgow, Listed Palaces in Scotland, Renaissance Architecture in Scotland, Reportedly Haunted Locations in Scotland, Royal Residences in Scotland, Ruined Palaces, Ruins in West Lothian, Scheduled Ancient Monuments in Scotland, Scottish Parliamentary Locations and Buildings, William Wallace Buildings
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Linlithgow Palace

The south face of Linlithgow Palace
Linlithgow Palace from the east
St. Michael's Church and Linlithgow Palace from the Peel
North and west faces of Linlithgow Palace
Near infra-red kite aerial photo of Linlithgow Palace looking westwards
St Michael's Church with its modern crown steeple, viewed across part of the palace.
Linlithgow, 1836 proof engraving by William Miller after J M W Turner
The fore entrance to Linlithgow Palace, built by King James V around 1533 gave access to the outer enclosure surrounding the palace
The four European orders of chivalry to which James V belonged are engraved above the arch of the fore entrance "The Order of the Garter", "The Order of the Thistle", "The Order of the Golden Fleece" and "The Order of St. Michael"
Great Hall or Parliament House

The ruins of Linlithgow Palace are situated in the town of Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland, 15 miles (24 km) west of Edinburgh. The palace was one of the principal residences of the monarchs of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries. Although maintained after Scotland's monarchs left for England in 1603, the palace was little used, and was burned out in 1746. It is now a visitor attraction in the care of Historic Scotland.


  • History 1
  • Keepers and Captains of the Palace 2
  • Present day 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


A royal manor existed on the site in the 12th century.[1] This was replaced by a fortification known as 'the Peel', built in the 14th century by English forces under

  • Linlithgow Palace – site information from Historic Scotland
  • Aerial photos

External links

  1. ^ "Linlithgow Palace: Property detail". Historic Scotland.
  2. ^ , Maitland Club, (1841)Notices of Original Documents illustrative of Scottish History, 67-83, (headings only).
  3. ^ Accounts of the Master of Works, vol. 1 (1957) HMSO, lxvi, (Latin).
  4. ^ Simpson, Grant, & Galbraith, James, ed., Calendar Documents Scotland in PRO and British Library, vol. 5 supplementary, SRO (n.d), no. 305, no. 472 (h, j, u), 'j' mentions Robert de Wynpol (Wimpole) working in Summer 1303, 472 (k) mentions the Warwolf lupus-guerre siege engine at Stirling Castle.
  5. ^ British Castle - Linlithgow Palace History
  6. ^ "St Michael's Church Feature Page". Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  7. ^ "Mary, Queen of Scots (r.1542-1567)". The official website of the British Monarchy.
  8. ^ Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, vol 10 (1891), 521.
  9. ^ The Spottiswoode Miscellany, vol. 1 Edinburgh, (1844), 369.
  10. ^ Register of the Privy Seal of Scotland, vol. 12, Edinburgh (1895),335.
  11. ^ HMC Mar & Kellie at Alloa House, (1904), 95-86.
  12. ^ Mackechnie, Aonghus, 'James VI's Architects' in, The Reign of James VI, Tuckwell (2000), 168: Accounts of the Masters of Work, vol. 1, (1957)
  13. ^ The Spottiswoode Miscellany, vol. 1 (1844), 370-372.
  14. ^ Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, 2, (1904), 275, anonymous poem, A Scottish Journie of Montague Bertie, Lord Willoughby.
  15. ^ "'Wine' fountain to flow once more". BBC News. 26 June 2007.
  16. ^ The Spottiswoode Miscellany, vol. 1 (1844), 355: Protocol book of Thomas Johnson, SRS (1920), nos. 340, 709, 781, 839, 864.
  17. ^ "Free weekend". Historic Scotland.
  18. ^ Archie Cairns - Book 1 Pipe Music 'Linlithgow Palace' Strathspey 1995
  19. ^ "Haunted trail of Mary, Queen of Scots - News". The Scotsman. 8 December 2005. 
  20. ^ Paris-EdimbourgChanel : Metiers d'ArtVogue : , 3 March 2013, 'Roof for Linlithgow'Scotsman Newspaper


In August 2014 a music festival was held on the palace's ground called 'Party at the Palace'. Another Party at The Palace will take place in August 2015.

On 2 December 2012, Chanel held its tenth Métiers d’Art show in the palace. The collection, designed by Karl Lagerfeld was called 'Paris-Edimbourg' and inspired by Scottish style using tartan fabrics. The show renewed media interest in the possibility of restoring the roof of the palace.[20]

The Palace is said to be haunted by the spectre of Mary of Guise, mother to Mary, Queen of Scots.[19]

A Strathspey for bagpipes was composed in honour of Linlithgow Palace.[18]

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 from both the primary school and Linlithgow Academy can volunteer to conduct these tours.

The palace has been actively conserved since the early 19th century and is today managed and maintained by [17] 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.

Present day

The positions of official keeper and captain of the palace have been held by; James Hamilton of Finnart, 1534, Captain and Keeper; William Danielstoun from 19 November 1540; Andrew Hamilton in Briggis, from 22 August 1543; Andrew Melville of Murdocairney, later Lord Melville of Monimail, brother of Alexander, 2nd Earl of Linlithgow, and remained in that family until 1715 when the rights returned to the crown.[16]

Keepers and Captains of the Palace

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.[15] The Duke of Cumberland's army destroyed most of the palace buildings by burning in January 1746.

In 1648, part of the new North range was occupied by the Earl of Linlithgow.[13] An English visitor in October 1641 recorded in a poem that the roof of the great hall was already gone, the fountain vandalised by those who objected on religious grounds to the motto "God Save the King," but some woodcarving remained in the Chapel Royal.[14]

King James had it rebuilt between 1618 and 1622. The carving was designed by the mason William Wallace. In July 1620, the architect James Murray of Kilbaberton, estimated that 3000 stones in weight of lead would be needed to cover the roof, costing £3600 in Scottish money.[10] On 5 July 1621 the Earl of Mar wrote to James to tell him he had met Murray and viewed the works at 'grate lenthe.' He said the Palace would be ready for the king at Michaelmas.[11] The carving at the window-heads and the royal arms were painted and gilded, and the old statues of the Pope, Knight, and Labouring Man on the east side had also been painted.[12] However, the only reigning monarch to stay at Linlithgow after that date was King Charles I who spent a night there in 1633.

Please your most Sacred Majestie; this sext of September, betuixt thre and four in the morning, the north quarter of your Majesties Palice of Linlithgw is fallin, rufe and all, within the wallis, to the ground; but the wallis ar standing yit, bot lukis everie moment when the inner wall sall fall and brek your Majesties fontane."[9]

In 1424, the town of Linlithgow was partially destroyed in a great fire.[5] King James I started the rebuilding of the Palace as a grand residence for Scottish royalty, also beginning the rebuilding of the Church of St Michael immediately to the south of the palace: the earlier church had been used as a storeroom during Edward's occupation.[6] 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. The stonework of the South façade was renewed and unified for James V in the 1530s by the keeper, James Hamilton of Finnart. Mary, Queen of Scots, was born at the Palace in December 1542[7] and occasionally stayed there during her reign. The daughter of James VI, Elizabeth of Bohemia, lived in the Palace.[8] After the Union of the Crowns in 1603 the Royal Court became largely based in England and Linlithgow was used very little. The old North range collapsed on 6 September 1607, and the Earl of Linlithgow wrote to James VI with the news:

[4] A hundred-foot soldiers were still employed as labourers on the castle in November and work continued during the Summer of 1303.[3] In September 1302, sixty men and 140 women helped dig the ditches; the men were paid twopence and the women a penny daily.[2]

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