Sunday, June 20, 2010

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time Part 8 Scone Palace and the Stone of Destiny

On Saturday May 29th we drove to the Aberdeen/Ballatar area to our next B and B.  Along the way we stopped at Scone Palace.

The current castle was built in the early 1600's but given a face lift in 1808 and made to look more like a 16th century castle. It has a castellated roof which is an example of Georgian Gothic architecture.  In other words it has the top that everyone pictures when they think of how castles are supposed to be constructed.  It was restructured for the Earls of Mansfield by William Adkinson.  
In a room on the ground floor, we watched a very informative video about the Murrays and how their ancestory fits into Scottish history. All served their country from being judges to representatives in theHouse of Commons. The current Earl was Minister of State under Margaret Thatcher.  His son Alexander is the heir apparent to the title.   

The pinkish cast you see to the castle is because it is built from red-sandstone. 
What makes Scone Palace so important in Scottish history is that the area around it was home to Scone Abbey where the Kings of Scotland were crowned.  That abbey was at one time the home of the Stone of Destiny or the Stone of Scone on which the Kings of Scotland were crowned.  

  This of course is just a replica.  The original is housed in Edinburgh Castle--- or is it?  I love a mystery and this one appealed to me and got my imagination working overdrive.

In 1296 Edward I captured the stone and took it from Scone to Westminster Abbey. He had it fitted into a chair called King Edward's Chair. He did this in an attempt to show his dominance over the Scottish King. I read somewhere that he refered to the stone as a turd.  Edward--Edward-- you really didn't know how to win friends and influence people, did you?

It was said that the monks at Scone Abbey actually hid the stone and the one Edward carried away was actually a substitute.  But in later years when tests were conducted, the stone matched stone quarried in the Scone area.

In 1328, a treaty was signed between England and Scotland and the English crown offered to return the stone to Scotland. The Scots weren't interested and the stone stayed in England for the next 600 years until 1996. 

But even then doubt that the stone that was handed over was actually the original Stone of Destiny still lingered. 

A story that has been passed down for generations to the Earl of Mansfield states that some time between 1795 and 1820 a farmer wandering with a friend across a field happened upon a huge fissure in the earth caused by a mud slide. Stone steps led down into the trench. They retreaved lanterns and went down into the space.  Inside a room they saw a stone slab set upon four stone legs. Not realizing what it was they left. Years later after hearing the stories about the Stone of Destiny, one of them returned to try and find the trench again, but couldn't.  

In 1950 on Christmas day four Scots youths stole the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey and despite a road block at the border, they transported the stone into Scotland. The broken stone they kidnapped was repaired by a stonemason in Glasscow.  The stone passed hands several times until it ended up at Arbroath Abbey on April 11, 1951.  The police were informed and the stone was returned to Westminster Abbey. But was it the original stone or a copy?

Kings were being crowned in Scone in 906 AD on a stone chair that was supposedly transported from Egypt, then Spain, Ireland, then Scotland. One stone was said to be Black with Hieroglyphs, one White Marble, and another to be decorated with an inscription that read, “If the Destiny proves true, then the Scots are known to have been Kings wherever men find this stone.” As it is, no one can be sure if the current stone housed in Edinburgh Castle is the original -- official one that resided in Westminster Abbey for 600 years. Nor can they say for sure if it was the true stone used in 906 AD. The mystery may never be solved, but it certainly titlates the mind and the imagination.   

Moot Hill was created by lords bringing dirt in their boots and dumping it out as a show of fealty to the King. The hill is where the Scone of Destiny resided. The copy is there in front of the chapel.

Scone Palace has a Tea Room in their basement and their gift shop specializes in locally produced Jams and jellies and other food stuffs.  We really injoyed being there. 

Their gardens are lovely. And the albino peacocks are very camera friendly. 

We moved on to Glamis Castle, home to the Queen Mother when she was young,  a few hours later.
I'll talk about that tomorrow.
For those of you who are interested in more information about the Stone of Destiny here's a link to a very good magazine article I ran across a while back.

Until tomorrow,
Teresa R.


Lori Brighton said...

How cool! I should print these out and use them as a travel guide. How hard is it to drive there? I'd like to drive on our next visit, but we never have.

Jody said...

Thanks for the memories. Have you seen this movie; A wonderful adaptation of the story of the Stone's recapture in the 1950's. I love it such a feel good movie, as inspiring if not more than Braveheart.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I hope you are keeping track of all of these wonderful accountings. What a fantastic journey you are taking us all on. I have enjoyed them all so much. Thank you.

Teresa Reasor said...

We didn't have that much difficulty driving at all. But we had a GPS. Which in my oppinion is a must. My son bought it for me for Christmas and I bought the card for UK. It was a life saver.
I'll have to watch the movie. I have a fictional story in the back of my mind that would use some of the information I learned about the stone.
I'm so glad you're enjoying the blogs. And yes, I'm saving the blogs so I don't lose them. And of course I have all the pictures on my computer and burnt to CD's.
I hope to have some of my favorites printed out so I can frame them.
Thanks to you all for following my adventure.
Teresa R.

Anita Clenney said...

Lovely post, gorgeous photos. I've never been to Scotland so thanks for sharing.

Toni Anderson said...

I want to see that movie!!