Dunfermline Palace

From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search
The south wall and gatehouse of Dunfermline Palace
Dunfermline Palace from the Lyne Burn, by William Miller
The gatehouse and pend linking the palace and abbey

Dunfermline Palace is a former royal palace in Dunfermline in Fife. It is currently a ruin under the care of Historic Scotland and an important tourist attraction for the town.

Dunfermline was a favourite residence of many Kings of Scotland. Documented history of royal residence there begins in the 11th century with King Malcolm III who made it his capital. His seat was the nearby Malcolm's Tower, a few hundred yards to the west of the later palace. As the Middle Ages progressed, David II and James I were both born at Dunfermline.

Dunfermline Palace is attached to the historic Dunfermline Abbey, occupying a site between the abbey and deep gorge to the south. It is connected to the former monastic residential quarters of the abbey by way of a gatehouse above a pend (or yett), one of Dunfermline's mediæval gates. The building therefore occupies what was originally the guest house of the abbey. However, its remains largely reflect the form in which the building was developed by King James IV in a refabrication around 1500. Throughout the sixteenth century, Scotland's monarchs and royal family members were frequently in residence.

In 1589 the palace was given as a wedding present by the king, James VI, to Anne of Denmark after their marriage. She gave birth to three of their children there; Elizabeth (the “Winter Queen” of Bohema) in 1596, Charles (who became King of Great Britani) in 1600 and Robert in 1602.

The year after Prince Robert’s birth, in 1603, King James VI ascended the English throne. The removal of the court to London meant that the building came to be rarely visited by a monarch. Ten tapestries from the royal tapestry collection were still there in 1616, left from the time the infant Prince Charles resided at the Palace.[1] When Charles I returned in 1633 for his Scottish coronation he only made a brief visit to his place of birth.

The last monarch to occupy the palace was Charles II who stayed at Dunfermline in 1650 just before the Battle of Pitreavie. Soon afterwards, during the Cromwellian campaign in Scotland, the building was abandoned and by 1708 it had been unroofed.

All that remains of the palace today is the kitchen, its cellars, and the impressive south wall with a commanding prospect over the Firth of Forth to the south.

Outside links


  1. Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, vol. 10, 521.