Scotland's First Firearms Demonstrated During Weekend of Medieval Pageantry
18 May 2009
YEAR OF HOMECOMING EVENT WILL GO WITH A REAL BANG
Specially-made replicas of the first type of firearms to be used in Scotland will be fired as part of Party at the Palace 1503.
Hugh Robertson, from Kilmarnock, who runs the Fire and Sword re-enactment group, will show visitors how the early matchlock muskets worked during the two day event at Linlithgow Palace on 23 and 24 May.
Mr Robertson, will also be taking on the role of George, Master of Angus, one of the leading noblemen in the Scottish court.
Party at the Palace 1503 features more than 120 costumed performers, and recalls the celebrations for the marriage of King James IV and Margaret Tudor, and the signing of the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with England.
Mr Robertson said: “These muskets were enormously important as they were the first firearms that would have been seen in Scotland, and only a man of great wealth and power could afford them for his retinue.
“But at a time when the bow and arrow were still dominant on the battlefield, these showed a first glimpse of the future.
“While it was 50/50 whether you hit anyone, they were a new, almost secret weapon and would have been terrifying because of the noise.”
As the Master of Angus, Mr Robertson will spend much of his time accompanying the royal couple, and doing everything he can to undermine his arch-rival James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran.
The war of words in front of the king and queen will take a more violent turn when Mr Robertson and his followers take up their broadswords and battle axes to take on the Hamiltons, Lindsays and Campbells in the grand tournament.
“An event like this is fabulous because it is so much more than a straightforward battle re-enactment.
“It’s a chance to let people see what a great royal event like a wedding would have been like with all the great rivalries being played out between courtiers as they try to gain the king’s confidence, and to best each other in the arena.”
The emphasis at Party at the Palace 1503 is on authenticity, and Mr Robertson’s costume is being specially made in the styles familiar to noblemen of the day.
It will include a dark green doublet with fashionable slashed sleeves that revealed silk underneath and he will also have a purse in Douglas colours of red and gold.
Party at the Palace 1503 has been organised by Historic Scotland as a major contribution to the Year of Homecoming and is expected to attract thousands of visitors.
Nick Finnigan, Historic Scotland filming and events manager, said: “There will be a huge amount to see and do at Party at the Palace 1503 and it is very exciting to have these matchlocks on display with a whole range of other weaponry.
“This will be one of the most spectacular events of Scotland’s Year of Homecoming and will be great entertainment for the whole family.
“We have got superb performers coming from all across Scotland and the UK and all of them will play a vital role in making sure the weekend is a big success.”
Party at the Palace 1503 will feature more than 120 costumed performers – including a jester, poet, storyteller, alchemist, cooks and falconers plus archers and warriors.