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Publication Account

Date 1981

Event ID 1018297

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


A 'castle' at Linlithgow, dates to the reign of David I and is noticed in a charter of 1128 X 1136 which granted to Holyrood Abbey the skins of all rams, sheep and lambs which belonged to the king's 'castle' of Linlithgow (Lawrie, 1905, 118). Geoffrey Stell (i-n litt.) observed that the character of the earliest royal residence at Linlithgow is something of an unknown quantity and that it may have been of a more domestic manorial kind. Edward I in 1302 had this royal residence surrounded by stockading with wooden towers at fixed distances from each other. He also strengthened the stockading with stone and dug a ditch in front of it (Paton, 1957 lxiii). The 'castle' (and presumably the Edwardian peel) was dismantled in 1313 after a patriotic husbandman, William Bunnock, seized it. The structure was later rebuilt on the orders of David I.

James I was the promoter of the palace built on the site of the 'castle'. King James III made certain alterations and repairs, but James IV lavishly added galleries, stairs and passages (Richardson and Beveridge, 1976, 2). The palace was completed in the reign of James V when it developed its quadrangular form. James V and his daughter Mary were both born at the palace and James VI often visited it. Charles I spent the night of 1 July, 1633, in the palace and was the last monarch to stay in it. On the morning of February 1, 1746, it caught fire and the magistrates did nothing about it, saying they 'had no responsibility' (Richardson, 1976, 1). Some of the burgesses reputedly looted the ruined palace and the structure was allowed to decay until it came into government possession in 1832.

The ground floor and basement of the older sides of the palace contain cellarage, kitchens, guardrooms and a prison, while that of the north quarter contained store rooms and dwelling quarters (Richardson, 1976, 5). The north quarter before its reconstruction in 1618 also had the queen's chambers while the king's rooms were in the west quarter. The 'Lyon Chamber' or great hall, was on the east side, along with the main kitchen (Richardson, 1.976, 7).

Information from ‘Historic Linlithgow: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1981).

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