Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Scone Palace - The Crowning Place of the Scottish Kings.

Scone Palace is one of the finest examples of late Georgian Gothic style in the UK and a place that attracts visitors from all over the world. While we were at the Palace a coach load of German visitors closely followed by a coach of visitors from the Netherlands were being given the guided tour also plenty of American accents could be heard  - and this was mid week.

Scone Palace.

This historical building is the family home of the earls of Mansfield whose family name is Murray and who still reside in the Palace apartments for a part of the year. If your a film fan you may remember the 2013 period movie Belle which is based on a painting by Johann Zoffany of West Indies born Dido Elizabeth Belle beside her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray a splendid piece of artistry which is hung in the Ambassadors Room in the Palace. The 1st Earl of Mansfield, then Lord Chief Justice of England commissioned the painting while Belle resided at Kenwood House in North London.
Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray. 
The Palace site dates back to the 6th century when a Celtic church could be found on the site, this in turn was replaced in the 12th century by an Augustinian abbey and a Bishops palace that provided lodgings for the Kings of Scots, both were destroyed in 1559 by a local mob incited by the John Knox leader of the Protestant Reformation. John Ruthven Earl of Gowrie forfeited the lands in 1600 because of something referred to as the Gowrie Conspiracy, an event shrouded in mystery, and estate was thereafter given to Sir David Murray who built a new palace. But it was not until 1802 that the 3rd Earl 19 year old David Murray commissioned William Atkinson to build the luxurious palace in the Tudor Gothic style that we can see and visit today.
The original entrance. 
With the help of the very friendly on-site guides there was no need to miss out on any of the treasures that the Palace of Scone offers. It houses fine collections of important Royal heirlooms and unique collections of Dresden and Sevres porcelain, ivories from Bavaria, Italy and France and beautifully ornate French furniture including a Reisener writing desk which was gifted to the 2nd Earl of Mansfield by Marie-Antoinette. My own favourite’s was the rare collection of Vernee Martin vases and two full size stuffed bears!

The replica of the Stone of Scone. 
The Chapel on Moot Hill.

The grounds are well worth exploring and include one of the most historical sites in Scotland - Moot Hill. Topped by a chapel it is said that the hill was created by boot falls of earth brought by nobles attending the coronations of the ancient Scottish Kings where they were ceremonially invested on the Stone of Destiny, although the original stone has not been kept at Scone since 1296 when the English King Edward 1st stole it and carted it off to Westminster Abbey were it was kept for 700 years until it was returned home in 1997 to be kept in Edinburgh.
The Murray star shaped maze. 
Don't forget to try your navigational skills in the Murray star shaped maze, although beware traces of those that could not find there was out litter the maze. There are some fine pine trees in the grounds some of which were planted by the famous botanist David Douglas, who originally was a gardener on the estate and are at least 250 years old. A number of very tame peacocks that will steal your lunch given half a chance roam the grounds including an albino male. And don't leave without having a coffee and a scone in the Scone Palace coffee shop.
Peacocks roam the grounds.....

....including  beautiful albino males. 

and don't forget to sample scones from Scone Coffee Shop.
Also worth a trip while you’re in the area is Perth the former capital of Scotland situated on the banks of the River Tay and the birthplace of actor Ewan McGregor. 

The River Tay.

Plenty of bus routes serve the city from outlying areas but beware of the timetables - ours from Old Scone Saw Mill only ran every two hours! The main reason for our visit to the city was to do some shopping and there are a fine collection of shops although there are signs like in any other city of shops closing and more charity shops springing up. There is a selection of great walking shops to visit that hold some good stocks. Also you must try Marini's located in St Catherine’s Road for a good daffy of fish and chips before you leave the city.

Seen outside the Sweeney Todd barber shop - any resemblance to a certain Mr Depp is intentional.

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