A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about queen

At the Cradle of Mary Queen of Scots.

A Day in Linlithgow.

sunny

I've no idea why it has taken me so long to finally go to Linlithgow. It is very easy to reach by train as it is on the main Glasgow/Edinburgh line. I've certainly heard of it as I have known since I was in primary school that Mary Queen of Scots was born in Linlithgow Palace, but somehow I have just never got around to visiting. Now I am very glad that I finally did.

Linlithgow means 'The Loch in the Damp Hollow'. The town has a beautiful loch, a fascinating historic palace, a lovely old church and an interesting old borough hall and well. I travelled to Linlithgow for the day from Edinburgh. It was spring time and there were some pretty spring flowers as we walked from the station to the centre of town. This was one of the few days of our holiday on which the sun actually shone. However, despite this, it was incredibly cold due to an ice-cold wind blowing across Linlithgow Loch. Linlithgow's High Street is lined with some pretty old buildings, shops and pubs.

Spring Flowers.

Spring Flowers.

Linlithgow High Street.

Linlithgow High Street.

At Linlithgow Cross stands Linlithgow Borough Halls which date from 1670. In front of them there is Linlithgow Cross Well. The current well dates from 1807 and replaces an earlier well. It is covered with several ornate carvings and topped with a unicorn head. The well displays Linlithgow's coat of arms which depict a black bitch chained to an oak tree on an island in Linlithgow Loch. The coat of arms refer to the legend of the black bitch which tells the story of a man condemned to be taken to an island in the middle of Linlithgow Loch and left there to starve, but his faithful black greyhound swims to him each day bringing him enough food to stay alive. Finally, she is caught, placed on a different island in the loch from her master and chained to an oak tree. Unable to leave the island, she also starves to death. We also saw a tapestry about this legend on display at the railway station.

Borough Halls and Cross Well.

Borough Halls and Cross Well.

Borough Halls and Cross Well.

Borough Halls and Cross Well.

The well and Linlithgow Coat of Arms.

The well and Linlithgow Coat of Arms.

Tapestry showing the legend of the black bitch.

Tapestry showing the legend of the black bitch.

Next we walked to the ruins of Linlithgow Palace. This palace was once one of the main residences of the Scottish kings and queens. The earliest building on this site was a royal manor, dating from the twelfth century. Later, in the fourteenth century, occupying English forces under the leadership of Edward I fortified the manor. In 1424, after a terrible fire swept through Linlithgow, King James I started rebuilding the fortification as a grand palace for Scottish royalty. Later James III and James IV added to the palace building. James V was born in Linlithgow Palace in April 1512. He added the outer gateway and the spectacular courtyard fountain. Mary, Queen of Scots, was born at the Palace in December 1542. After the Union of the Crowns in 1603 the Royal Court moved to England and Linlithgow Palace was scarcely ever used. It began to fall into ruins. The Palace is said to be haunted by the ghost of Mary of Guise, the wife of James V and the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Statue of Mary Queen of Scots outside the palace.

Statue of Mary Queen of Scots outside the palace.

Linlithgow's most famous resident was Mary, Queen of Scots. She was born in Linlithgow Palace on the 8th of December 1542. When she was just six days old, her father, James V of Scotland, died and she acceded to the Scottish throne. Due to political instability and many religious changes taking place in Scotland, her French mother, Mary of Guise, took Mary to France, leaving regents to rule in her place. In 1558, when she was just sixteen, Mary married Francis, Dauphin of France, later to become King Francis II. However, Francis died in December 1560. At this point, Mary returned to Scotland. She arrived in Leith on the 19th of August 1561. Four years later, she married her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. It was not a successful marriage. He was jealous of her friendship with her Catholic private secretary, David Rizzio, and had him stabbed to death in front of her, even though she was heavily pregnant at the time. In February 1567, Darnley's residence was blown up, and he was found murdered in his garden.

James Hepburn, the fourth Earl of Bothwell, a close friend of Mary's, was suspected of having murdered Darnley, but this could not be proved. He was acquitted and later married Mary. Unhappy with their Catholic queen, the Scots rose up against Mary and she was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle. She was also forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son, James VI. Mary managed to escape her prison and fled southwards, seeking the protection of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England. Instead of helping her, Elizabeth feared that Mary may try to steal her throne and had her imprisoned for eighteen and a half years, until finally Mary was found guilty of treason and beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle in 1587.

The Palace and St Michael's Church.

The Palace and St Michael's Church.

Entry to the palace was six pounds for me and four pounds eighty for my husband, an OAP. In the courtyard of the palace stands what is probably the most beautiful and ornate fountain in the whole of Scotland.

Detail of the fountain.

Detail of the fountain.

Detail of the fountain.

Detail of the fountain.

Detail of the fountain.

Detail of the fountain.

The fountain.

The fountain.

Detail of the fountain.

Detail of the fountain.

Detail of the fountain.

Detail of the fountain.

The palace is filled with dark passageways, spiral staircases, many rooms such as kitchens and a chapel. There is also a tower to climb for views over Linlithgow and the loch.

Palace Courtyard.

Palace Courtyard.

Linlithgow Palace.

Linlithgow Palace.

In the palace chapel.

In the palace chapel.

View from the tower.

View from the tower.

View from the tower.

View from the tower.

Overlooking the palace.

Overlooking the palace.

View from the tower.

View from the tower.

Gateway to palace.

Gateway to palace.

The palace through the gateway.

The palace through the gateway.

On leaving the palace, we wandered into the nearby St Michael's Church, where we were greeted by a very helpful lady who handed us a laminated history of the church and welcomed us to look around. St Michael's Church was consecrated in 1242. Parts of it were destroyed in a fire in the fifteenth century and extensive restorations were carried out in the nineteenth century. This church was used as a place of worship by Scottish Kings and Queens. Mary, Queen of Scots was baptised here. In 1559, during the Scottish Reformation, many statues in the church were destroyed. In 1646, Oliver Cromwell's troops stabled their horses within the church causing a great deal of damage. The church originally had a stone Crown Tower, similar to the tower of St Giles' Cathedral, but this was replaced in 1964 by an aluminium crown tower.

Our visited coincided with Easter and there was some Easter related art work on display in the church. After visiting the church we strolled around its graveyard. It had some amazingly beautiful gravestones.

Inside St Michael's Church.

Inside St Michael's Church.

Easter Art.

Easter Art.

Light through a stained glass window.

Light through a stained glass window.

Mary Queen of Scots.

Mary Queen of Scots.

The Garden of Gethsemane.

The Garden of Gethsemane.

St Michael's Church.

St Michael's Church.

Beautiful gravestone.

Beautiful gravestone.

Beautiful gravestone.

Beautiful gravestone.

Finally we took a chilly walk along Linlithgow Loch, till we were so cold we had to return to the station. That bitter wind again. The loch is surrounded by a beautiful park. There were several dog walkers and boating enthusiasts there when we visited. On a summer's day it would be a lovely place for a walk.

Linlithgow Loch.

Linlithgow Loch.

Linlithgow Loch.

Linlithgow Loch.

Posted by irenevt 03:05 Archived in Scotland Tagged palace of queen mary linlithgow scots Comments (2)

(Entries 1 - 1 of 1) Page [1]