Scotlands History

Falkland Palace

Falkland Palace in Fife started life as a hunting lodge in the 12th century then became a MacDuff family castle. The Crown acquired the Palace from the MacDuffs in the 14th century. David Stewart, the Duke of Rothesay, died there of neglect and starvation whilst imprisoned in the 15th century.

Between 1501 and 1541 James IV and James V transformed the castle into the splendid Renaissance palace it would become, including the Real Tennis Court built in 1539.

Much of the work at Falkland was conducted by French architects and craftsman - James even wrote to Marie de Guise's mother asking her to send French masons to Scotland to work on his palaces. The French mason Nicholas Roy, who worked on Falkland Palace for 21 shillings a week, later became the King’s Master Mason.

Falkland Palace became a favourite retreat of James V. He would die at Falkland in 1542.

Cromwell’s invading army burned the palace, which then fell into ruin. Falkland Palace was rescued in 1887 when John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, started its restoration. The Crichton-Stuarts still own the Palace, which is managed by the National Trust for Scotland.

  • Photo of a turret of Falkland Palace

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