Photographs of Falkland Palace.
Photographs of Falkland Palace Gardens.
Photographs of Falkland Village.
domain of Falkland belonged originally to the Crown and was gifted
by Malcolm IV to Duncan, sixth Earl of Fife, who married Ada,
the king's niece. It remained in this family until 1371, when
Isabel, last countess of the line, transferred the estates to
Robert Stuart, Earl of Menteith, second son of Robert II, who
became sixteenth Earl of Fife, and was afterwards created Duke
of Albany. This nobleman was for thirty-four years Regent of Scotland,
and resided in the Castle of Falkland. Of this building no trace
now remains. In his days the castle received its first historic
notoriety, from the tragic fate of David, Duke of Rothesay, eldest
son of Robert III.
The Duke of Albany early perceived the brilliant promise of the
young heir to the throne, and feared lest he should menace his
power. Playing on the credulity of the imbecile king, he persuaded
him to issue an order for the arrest and confinement of the prince,
representing that this was necessary to teach him self-restraint.
He was inveigled to the castle of Falkland, and imprisoned to
die of starvation. His life was prolonged for some time by the
compassion of the daughter of the governor, who fed him with small
cakes through a crevice of the wall. When she was discovered and
murdered by her own father for her merciful kindness, her task
was taken up by another tender-hearted woman, a wet-nurse in the
governor's family, who supplied the prince with milk from her
breasts by means of a long reed, until she too was discovered
and put to death.
When James I returned from captivity in 1424, Murdoch, son and
successor m the Regency of Robert, was executed for treason,
and Falkland was forfeited to the Crown. As the estate is well
situated in a pleasant valley, at a convenient distance from
Edinburgh and Stirling, and was surrounded by forests filled
with game, it became a favourite resort of the Stuart kings.
The palace was begun by either James III or James IV, and completed
by James V. This latter monarch was particularly attached to
Falkland, and died of grief here after the rout of Solway Moss.
Mary of Guise often lived here, and it was a favourite resort
of her daughter, Mary Stuart. Between 1561 and 1566 the latter
visited it many times, and found much pleasure here in hunting
and other outdoor sports. James VI was also partial to living
here, and two attempts on his person, one of them the famous
Gowrie conspiracy, were made here. The last monarchs here were
Charles I and Charles II, both of whom made short visits. Its
last visitor of fame was Rob Roy Macgregor, who took possession
and plundered it after the battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715. All
that is now left of the original quadrangle is the south side,
and a ruinous wall on the east.
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