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Pleasure palace of the royal StewartsThe majestic royal palace of the Stewarts at Linlithgow today lies roofless and ruined. Yet the visitor still feels a sense of awe on entering its gates. It was begun by James I in 1424, after a fire destroyed Linlithgow Castle. It became a truly elegant ‘pleasure palace’, and a welcome stopping-place for the royal family along the busy road linking Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle.
An ancient siteLinlithgow Palace stands on a low green promontory overlooking a small inland loch. The name Linlithgow means ‘the loch in the damp hollow’. The location has a history of occupation, possibly reaching back at least to Roman times 2,000 years ago. David I (1124–53) was the first monarch to build a royal residence on the site. He also founded the town that sprang up in its shadow.
Their Majesties’ palaceIn 1424 a great fire swept through the town. The old palace was badly damaged. James I (1406–37), recently returned from captivity in England, started to build anew. Over the course of the next century and more, his heirs completed the great task.