Cottage Scotland, Scone Palace, Perth
Cottage Scotland Scone Palace
Scone Palace is the family home of the Earls of Mansfield. Despite its historic setting, the Palace we see today was only built in 1802 by English architect William Atkinson, who went on to create Abbotsford for Sir Walter Scott.
Originally the site of a 6th Century Celtic church, replaced in the 12th Century by an Augustinian Abbey and a Bishop's Palace which provided lodgings for the Kings of Scotland. Both Palace and Abbey were destroyed in 1559 by a Perth mob, incited by a sermon by John Knox (1505-72), and the lands passed to the Earl of Gowrie, who built a new house. However, after the Gowrie Conspiracy (1600), an attempt to kidnap James VI (1566-1625), the estates were forfeit and given to Sir David Murray (1604), who was also created Lord Scone, in return for his loyalty to James.
Murray built a new Palace in 1618 and it was here that Charles II (1630-85) stayed before being the last King crowned on Moot Hill in the palace grounds (1651), where Kings had been crowned since the time of Kenneth MacAlpin (d.858). Other visitors included the Old Pretender (1715) and his son Bonnie Prince Charlie (1745). Murray's descendants became the Viscounts Stormont (1602) and then Earls of Mansfield (1776). The 1st Earl spent his time in London and the 2nd Earl found the old palace too damp. Thus it was David Murray, becoming the 3rd Earl at only 19, who commissioned the rebuilding of the palace as the splendid castellated gothic edifice in red sandstone which we see today. It houses fine collections of furniture, paintings, ivory and porcelain, together with historically-important royal heirlooms belonging to James VI and his mother Mary.
The fine grounds include a fir tree planted in 1825 from seeds sent back by botanist David Douglas (1799-1834), who had been a gardener at the palace and ruins of the historic village.
Scone was the Ancient Crowning Place of the Scottish Kings. They were crowned on an ancient mound which has been known by many names. Two of its names - Omnis Terra (every man's land) and Boot Hill - come from an ancient tradition whereby emissaries swore fealty to their king by wearing the earth of their own lands in their foot-bindings or boots. Another name is the Hill of Credulity or Hill of Belief, which dates from AD 710 when the Pictish King Nectan came to Scone to embrace the customs of the Church of Rome. The name by which it is best known today is the Moot Hill.
From the time of Kenneth MacAlpin, who created the Kingdom of Scone in the 9th century, all the Kings of Scots were crowned upon the Moot Hill, seated upon the Stone of Scone. Even after the Stone's removal by King Edward I in 1296, the Moot Hill continued to be the crowning place of the Scottish Kings. Probably the greatest historic event to take place at Scone was the coronation of Robert the Bruce, who declared himself King of Scots upon the Moot Hill on 25 March 1306. The last coronation held at Scone was that of King Charles II as King of Scots on 1 January 1651, some nine years before he was restored to the English throne
Standing on the Moot Hill is a small Presbyterian chapel. Like the Palace, it was restored in Gothic style around 1804.The chapel has a very interesting interior. A replica of the Stone of Scone sits upon the Moot Hill, marking the site of the original.
The Stone of Destiny
The Stone is 26 inches long, 16 inches wide and 11 inches high (660 x 400 x 280mm) and it weighs 336 lbs (2.5kgs). It is sandstone although some believe that the Stone in Westminster may be quarried in Oban or Perthshire.
The Stone, it is claimed, ws the pillow on which Jacob had his biblical dream about agels and the stairway to heaven. It is believed to have been brought to Ireland by Phoenician traders escaping religious persecution. Later taken by the Irish Dalriada to Scotland to install Monarchs of this territory at Iona, Dunadd and later Dunstaffrage. Kenneth McAlpine finally brought the Stone to Scone. Its importance as a symbol of Scottish Monarchs was not overlooked by the English who stole the Stone in 1296 and took it to Westminster. Although many believe that the Stone was replaced by a copy during this period to fool the invaders.
Visit Perth Bookshop with a selection of Stone of Destiny Books
The Stone was slung under the Coronation Throne in Westminster and incorporated into the English and later British Crowning Ceremony of Kings. John Balliol the last King enthroned in Scotland in 1292.