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Celebrate the new year in 1540s style

28 December 2007

Everyone from King James V to the court jester will be gathering at Stirling Castle to celebrate the new year in Renaissance style. The monarch and his wife, Mary of Guise, have invited the ordinary folk of Scotland to come along and join them on 1, 2 and 3, January between 11am and 3.30pm.

But beware as their motives might not be entirely unselfish – the rumour is that some unwary visitors may be pressed into joining the castle guard.

Gillian MacDonald, Historic Scotland’s manager of Stirling Castle, said: “This is a great way for families to start the new year with a fun day out at the castle.

“There will be lots of activities and costumed performers, including courtiers, ambassadors, ladies in waiting and even a jester.

“Visitors will be able to join in the preparations for the arrival of the king and queen, and learn Renaissance dancing and etiquette.

“When the royals arrive they will be able to dance for them, and the very lucky ones might even get to meet their majesties!”

There will be the chance to play Quintain and Ringtoss, popular games of the period. There will be lots going on during all three days with additional attractions on the Thursday and Friday when there will be a troupe of entertainers whose antics include juggling, acrobatics and fire eating.

Sheena Garden, Historic Scotland interpretation manager, said: “While the entertainments are all for fun they reflect historical fact.

“We know that King James V and Mary of Guise were at the castle for new year in 1541, and the games and dancing are all typical of celebrations of the time.

“There will also be a display of weapons of the period and a chance to hear about life at the castle in the 1540s from the Keeper of the King’s Tapestries, and other costumed interpreters.”

The new year events are included in the standard ticket price and activities will take place every half hour.

Notes for editors

·Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s grandest castles due to its imposing position and impressive architecture, highlights of which include the gatehouse, the Great Hall – the largest in the country - the splendid Renaissance royal palace and the Chapel Royal. Refurbishment of the interior of the Royal Palace continues and when completed the royal apartments will be presented as they would have looked in their medieval heyday, in the time of the royal court of James IV, complete with fine tapestries, furniture, and decorative ceilings.

·The castle is at the head of Stirling’s historic old town, off M9 junction 9 or 10. Tel: 01786 450000. Admission: Adult £8.50; Child £4.25; Concessions £6.50 (includes admission to Argyll’s Lodging).

·Historic Scotland’s mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

For further information

Matthew Shelley
Historic Scotland
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8734