Scotlands History

Linlithgow Palace

By the 15th century, successive Stuart monarchs had created a lavish royal residence at Linlithgow. Linlithgow Palace became a peaceful stopping-off point on the journey between Edinburgh and Stirling Castle.

From the 12th century a royal manor house had stood on the site. It was replaced by a fortified castle during the Wars of Independence. Linlithgow was badly damaged by a fire in 1424 and King James I took the opportunity to build a magnificent new palace.

The Stuart kings looked to the splendid palaces of France for inspiration. They brought masons and craftsmen from the continent to work on the palace’s elegant stonework.

In August 1513 King James IV rode south to face the forces of Henry VIII. His wife Margaret waited nervously for his return in Linlithgow Palace. James IV would never return - he was killed at the Battle of Flodden. The northwest tower of Linlithgow Palace is still called Queen Margaret’s Bower.

Their son, James V, was born in Linlithgow Palace in 1512. It was James V that called on his masons to build a splendid fountain for the palace’s courtyard in 1538.

Mary Queen of Scots was born in Linlithgow Palace on 7 December 1542.
  • Photo of a stone unicorn with castle walls in the background

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