Explore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

19 September 2014
Accessibility help
BBC - History - Scottish History

BBC Homepage

Scottish History
Dark Ages
Early Church
Wars of Independence
Renaissance/ Reformation
Scotland in Europe
The Union
Victorian Scotland
Modern Scotland
History Trails
Media Museum
Web Guide

Contact Us

by topic by time by people

Linlithgow Palace Factsheet
tourist guide button
  • Linlithgow PalaceThe first thing that any visitor to Linlithgow Palace encounters is the entry gate to the palace that publicly displays the European chivalric orders which King James V belonged to: The Order of the Thistle, The Order of the Garter, The Order of St Michael, and The Order of the Golden Fleece of Burgundy. These were status symbols which signified James's membership of an European elite whose members followed certain codes of conduct in society and warfare.

  • The palace was true Stewart residence: begun by James I in 1425 and mostly completed during the reign of James IV, when it extended into a quadrangle form - giving us the palace courtyard we see today.

  • At the centre of the courtyard is a magnificent fountain in the Gothic style, decorated with literary motifs from the tale of the little mermaid. The fountain was many craved heraldic emblems and figures, one of which is said to depict King James V dressed as the peasant ‘gaberlunzie man’. The fountain was built during the reign of James V (about 1538), and, on the occasion of his wedding to Mary of Guise, is said to have flowed with wine instead of water.

  • fountain Linlithgow was in fact a castle before the Stewart dynasty took the Scottish Crown. During the Wars of Independence it was recaptured from English forces in the run up to the Battle of Bannockburn. It was converted into a palace by King James I, who built the Great Hall on the east side. It was James I who elevated the Scottish Parliament into an institution, rather than simply the King’s Counsel, and some of the earliest meetings of the parliament were in the palace- more than likely in the Great Hall.

  • According to tradition, Margaret Tudor, queen to James IV, is supposed to have forlornly watched for the return of her King from the Battle of Flodden in 1513. The tower she watched from is known to this day as 'Queen Margaret’s Bower'.

  • It was at Linlithgow that Margaret Tudor gave birth to the future King James V. His French queen, Mary of Guise, accustomed to the refinement of French chateaux, is reported to have called the palace a ‘most princely home’.

  • Other distinguished guests at the palace were Charles I, Oliver Cromwell (the palace was burnt down after he left), and Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie), who stayed at the palace for one night during the 1745 Jacobite Rising.
  copyright scran
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Web sites.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy