Linlithgow Palace, Park and Peel

On our last visit South in the motorhome our plans changed drastically when our boy Bandit had a stroke.

Photo by Helen Armet

We were in the Stirling/Falkirk area and due to his return visits to the Veterinary Hospital in Stirling; we found ourselves ditting around the Central belt for around three weeks, what a wonderous section of Scotland it is.

Whilst looking for somewhere to park up we realised how close to the town of Linlithgow we were and as it was such a bonnie day we decided to make a detour.

We parked at Linlithgow Loch and went for a wee walk around the Loch which is at the foot of the Palace. We didn’t get far before the swans having a bath both caught our attention and put a smile of our faces as it was a masterclass in dexterity.

The walkway follows a course around the Loch with the option of going up and around the base of the Palace and through a beautiful parkland known today as the Peel.

Image credit Noel Donaldson

The walk itself around the Loch and the Park/Peel takes around 35 minutes with the magnificence of the 15th century Palace towering over you with every step, however there was a building here long before the 15th century.

Photo by Kenny Armet

A Brief History

Situated midway between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle, Linlithgow would always have been in a position of strategic importance in Scotland.

In the 12th Century David I founded the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow town and what is believed to be the first Castle or Manor built on the current site; building St Michaels Church alongside.

At some point there were two manmade Islands in the Loch with houses on stilts known as Crannogs.

In 1296 Edward I‘s army took hold of the structure, but it would be 1301 before he reinforced the Castle by building a fortress; this consisted of a wooden structure on top of an earthen mound which was known as a Peel. The fortress at this time was used to house the ammunitions needed to fight against the Scots.

After the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 in which Edward II was defeated the Castles and Palaces were retaken by the Scots of which Linlithgow was one.

In 1337 Edward III set fire to the mainly wooden constructions of Linlithgow with absolute devastating consequences.

The site would remain this way until James I decided on building a Palace in 1424 which would included The Great Hall. The Palace was to be used by the Stewart/Stuart* dynasty as stop over on route to or from Edinburgh and Stirling Castles. The Palace would also become a favoured residence as a retreat, a place to get away from all the hubbub and foul air associated with city life, a place to recharge their batteries whilst taking onboard the tranquillity and the clean air of Linlithgow. The Palace also doubled as a nursery with both James V in 1512 and Mary Queen of Scots in 1542 being born in there.

Commons Wikimedia

It was believed that the Palace was built in the Renaissance style, vastly influenced by grand buildings in both France and Italy.

In future years the Palace would be added to with James IV creating Royal apartments; James V would add a magnificent three tiered Fountain in the courtyard; and the North Quadrant would be rebuilt for James VI.

When James VI and his Royal Court headed South to London whereby claiming the English throne in 1603 the Palace would cease to be used, and its neglect would quickly see the Palace fall into a state of disrepair.

The fate of the Palace would be sealed after another fire struck, this time in 1745; it has been suggested/rumoured to have been Oliver Cromwell that caused the fire by setting alight the Palace roof which was of timber construction.

A sad demise for such a grand Palace.

Photo by Kenny Armet

Linlithgow Palace is now a beautiful shell of a building which I would hope could be restored to it’s magnificent Renaissance past.

*I would automatically go straight to Stuart as my spelling choice, however Stewart was likely the first way of spelling the name, with Stuart/Steurt becoming used later through French influence as there is no W in the French alphabet.

As a wee aside, Bandit has come on in leaps and bounds over the last eight weeks, and he is fast approaching his good old normal self.

Photo by Kenny Armet

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