Falkland Palace, Fife
East Port, Off A912
Falkland Palace is set in the very picturesque village of Falkland, this palace was the favourite retreat of the Stewart dynasty, especially Mary Queen of Scots who visited for the hunting, hawking and tennis.
The Royal Palace was used as a country residence by Stewart kings and queens who used to hunt deer and wild boar in the nearby Fife forests. Mary Queen of Scots spent some of the happiest days of her tragic life here, hunting and hawking around the woods and park, which is still beautifully maintained today.
~ History ~
1380's ~ Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany and the younger son of King Robert II makes Falkland Castle his home.
1384 ~ John Stewart is appointed the King's lieutenant after influencing the general council to remove King Robert from direct rule. He sets about renewing conflict with England.
1388 ~ The Scots defeat the English at the Battle of Otterburn where the Scots commander, James, Earl of Douglas, is killed. John is also badly injured by a horse-kick, but the loss of his powerful ally, Douglas, sees a turnaround with Scottish nobles in favour of his younger brother Robert, who in in place of John is made the King's lieutenant.
1390 ~ King Robert II dies, his eldest son John succeeds him, aged 53.
However, he does not have the authority to rule directly, with his brother Robert continuing to rule as lieutenant.
1393 ~ The power is finally returned to the King in conjunction with his own son David.
1399 ~ Owing to the king's 'sickness of his person', his son David, now Duke of Rothesay, becomes lieutenant of the kingdom in his own right but supervised by a special parliamentary group dominated by his uncle Robert, Duke of Albany. John withdraws to his lands in the west and for a time plays little or no part in affairs of state.
1401 ~ The King is powerless to interfere when a dispute between Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany and his nephew David, Duke of Rothesay arises.
David is arrested and imprisoned at his uncles Falkland Castle.
1402 ~ Whilst still imprisoned within his uncle's castle at Falkland, David is starved to death. The general council absolve Robert from any blame and reappoint him as lieutenant.
The only impediment now remaining against Robert Stewart is the King's only surviving younger son, James, Earl of Carrick.
1406 ~ The 11-year-old James and a powerful group of noble's clash with Robert's Stewart's Douglas allies resulting in the death of the King's counsellor Sir David Fleming of Cumbernauld.
Young James escapes to the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth accompanied by Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney. He remains there for a month before boarding a ship bound for France.
The vessel is intercepted near Flamborough Head by English pirates, who for a large sum of money hand James over to King Henry IV of England, who in turn keeps James as his captive for the next 18 years.
John dies in Rothesay Castle after learning of his younger son's imprisonment and is buried at Paisley Abbey.
1420 ~ Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany and in effect ruler of Scotland dies.
1424 ~ James returns from captivity in England as King, and amongst his first acts is the execution of Murdoch, Robert Stewart's son and 2nd Duke of Albany. With this Falkland Palace is annexed to the Crown of Scotland. The Palace becomes to be regarded as a country retreat by successive generations of the House of Stewart.
1542 ~ By the time King James V oversees the finishing touches to the Gatehouse, not long before his death at Falkland Palace, the building has changed beyond anything that would have been recognised by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany.
1600's ~ The North range of the Palace is demolished.
1654 ~ The East Range is largely destroyed by an accidental fire during a stay by Cromwell's troops.
1800's ~ The remainder of the Palace has been allowed to become derelict and overgrown.