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Linlithgow Palace

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Linlithgow Palace

The ruins of Linlithgow Palace are situated in the town of Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland, 15 miles west of Edinburgh. A royal manor existed on the site in the 12th Century. This was replaced by a fortification known as 'the Peel' was built in the 14th Century by English forces under Edward I. The site of the manor made it an ideal military base securing the supply routes between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle.

In 1424, The town of Linlithgow was partially destroyed in a great fire. King James I started the rebuilidng of the Palace as a grand residence for Scottish Royalty. Over the following century the palace developed into a formal courtyard structure, with significant additions by James III, James IV and James V who added the outer gateway and the elaborate courtyard fountain. Mary Queen of Scots was born here in December 1542 and occasionally stayed at the Palace during her reign. After the Union of the Crowns in 1603 the Royal Court became largely based in England and Linlithgow was used very little. Although King James VI had the North range rebuilt between 1618 and 1622, the only reigning monarch who stayed in Linlithgow after that date was King Charles I who spent one night there in 1633.

The palace's swansong came in September, 1745, when Bonnie Prince Charlie visited Linlithgow on his march south but did not stay overnight. It is said that the fountain was made to flow with wine in his honour. The Duke of Cumberland's army destroyed most of the palace buildings in a fire in January 1746.

The palace has been actively conserved since the early 19th Century and is managed and maintained by Historic Scotland. The site is open to visitors all year round.

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