Saturday, February 21, 2015

Scotland: Falkland

Falkland is a beautiful little town nestled quietly in the countryside of Fife. It has a castle dating back to Medieval times which was acquired by the Stewarts in the 1400's and rebuilt into a royal palace. One can just picture James the IV, V, or Mary, Queen of Scots, riding up from Edinburgh to take a country retreat and go hunting. 

Many of you know I am fond of Scottish history, particularly reformation history. Many years ago I spent a good bit of time studying a man by the name of Andrew Melville and his famous audience with King James VI of Scotland (later James I of England) in this very place -- the Chapel Royal of Falkland Palace. I've always wanted to go and actually see the place where this confrontation happened in which Melville, out of great concern for the way King James was manhandling the church in Scotland, declared to James, "And now, Sire, I must tell you, that there are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland: there is King James, the head of the Commonwealth, and there is Christ Jesus, the Head of the Church, whose subject King James VI. is, and of whose kingdom he is not a head, nor a lord, but a member....." 

We arrived in Falkland early one morning in late September. The town looked impeccable and we soon found out why. An official-looking man struck up a conversation with Michael and let us know that they were painting the village in preparation for the filming of Outlander (warning: do not watch), a period drama to be aired in the USA the next year. We found this amusing as the previous day we had run into caste members from the Outlander at a horse farm where they were practicing their riding and fighting. Supposedly the village would be repainted back to its regular colors the next week!



Once the palace opened its doors, we headed inside where photos were not allowed of the restored and furnished parts of the palace.


But the views in the garden to the countryside beyond were just gorgeous!


Here the boys are standing in the remains of the Great Hall.


A view up to the wall of the Great Hall.


More perspective on the buildings.


The gardens were just lovely!!! I certainly would take this as my country retreat!!! Castles are built for protection but palaces are built for grand relaxation and luxurious living.


I love the round turrets that Falkland Palace has.


The palace is also famous for the oldest tennis court which is set at the back of the lovely gardens.


Outside the tennis court, which is actually a different form of tennis than we are used to.


A larger view of the tennis court and the lovely flowers round about.


Coming back up to the palace you can see the remains of the Great Hall to the left and the Chapel Royal and gallery on the right.


More remains of the Great Hall. You have to use your imagination to imagine what it was like!


Inside the courtyard:


And another view of what was a spectacular day weather-wise.


It would be lovely to see these gardens in every season.


Meanwhile the children were occupying themselves in the gift shop and with the giant chess set.


A view of the Chapel Royal from the front of the Palace.


All done with our visit.


One last look at the beautiful facade of the front entrance. This would be the oldest part of the palace, I believe and inside this part were the furnished rooms that we toured where the keeper and his family would have lived. The royal bedrooms were in a state similar to the Great Hall.


The buildings in the town centre are old but well-kept and it is fascinating to read the signs. Check out the 1607 date! (Again, newly painted thanks to the Outlander!)


And I caught this window on the way to the carpark. Lovely!


And that was our visit to Falkland! A long time in coming!

5 comments:

reader19 said...

Such beautiful pictures! Your trip was amazing; glad you are sharing the pictures with us!

Pom Pom said...

Fascinating, Heather! I loved this tour! I really love the window at the end of your post. Charming!

Nana said...

Oh my, what a great trip and such beautiful pictures! Glad you shared them with us! Hugs, Nana

elizabeth said...

how lovely! you had a really special time! you saw so much!

christinelaennec said...

Another place in Scotland that I have never been! What a gorgeous day you had for your visit. Thank you very much for sharing this with us.