Scone Palace

Scone Palace
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Scone Palace

Located 2 miles (3 km) north of Perth and a similar distance west of Scone, Scone Palace is the family home of the Earls of Mansfield. Despite its historic setting, the Palace we see today was built in 1802 by English architect William Atkinson, who went on to create Abbotsford for Sir Walter Scott.

Originally the site of a 6th C. Celtic church which was replaced in the 12th C. by an Augustinian Abbey and a Bishop's Palace that provided lodgings for the Kings of Scotland. Both Palace and Abbey were destroyed in 1559 by a Perth mob, incited by preacher John Knox (1513-72), and the lands passed to the Earl of Gowrie, who built a new house. After the Gowrie Conspiracy, an attempt to kidnap James VI in 1600, the estates were forfeit and given to Sir David Murray (1604), who was also created Lord Scone, in return for his loyalty to his king.

Murray built a new Palace in 1618 and it was here that Charles II (1630-85) stayed before becoming 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 Tudor Gothic edifice in red sandstone which we see today. It houses magnificent 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 woodland walks which feature a fir tree planted in 1825 from seeds sent back by botanist David Douglas (1799 - 1834), who had been a gardener at the palace, an unusual star-shaped maze, a butterfly garden and the ruins of the old village of Scone, dismantled to permit enlarged parkland around the new palace in 1805. In 2008, the remains of the 12th century Augustinian Abbey of Scone were uncovered by archaeologists near the palace.

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