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Accommodation in Perthshire
Perth & Kinross Highland Perthshire

Scone Palace, Perthshire

Location: Scotland, PH2 6BD (map and directions)

Scone Palace, just two miles north of the centre of Perth on the east bank of the River Tay, has played a major role in the history of Scotland as the crowning place of the Kings of Scots and is the home of the Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone.

Scone Palace, Perthshire copyright Peter Hodge
Scone Palace © Peter Hodge

History of Scone Palace

The current Category A-listed historic house as it stands today was constructed in 1808 for the Earls of Mansfield. Its red sandstone facade and castellated roof serve as a classic example of the late Georgian Gothic style.

The Earls of Mansfield continue to reside at Scone Palace, and the feel inside the castle is one of a comfortable family home, albeit on an exceedingly grand scale. Inside the Palace are fine collections of ceramics, clocks and furniture throughout the formal rooms and galleries of the palace. A visit to the palace also includes a peek into the Dining Room which played host to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in September 1842, the Drawing Room, and the library, before continuing on to the Long Gallery, the longest room of any house in Scotland at 150 ft (45m) long.

The 100 acres of Stone Palace grounds and gardens were landscaped by the 3rd Earl of Mansfield in 1805 and are today open to the public, including a modern-day Murray Star Maze created of hedges. Woodlands surround the property and are home to freely roaming peacocks, including several albino males in addition to 250-year old fir trees including the Scone Douglas Fir, raised from the original seed sent from America in 1826. During the landscaping, the Mansfields expanded to include land which served as the village of Old Scone. Its residents were simply removed and resettled in a new village, New Scone, one mile to the east. In what remains of Old Scone is an ancient burial ground.

It is in the grounds, atop Moot Hill, where the chapel is located. The chapel was the coronation site and where the Stone of Destiny was located until 1296. Legend says that Scotland is named after an Egyptian princess, Scota, exiled from Egypt in 1400BC. Her descendants migrated to Spain, then Ireland, and eventually to Argyll in western Scotland. Among the possessions which Scota took from Egypt was a 152kg sandstone block used as a pillow by Jacob when he dreamed about Jacobís Ladder. This became the Stone of Destiny during a time when the now Scoti people crowned their Kings of Dalriada. The last King of Scots of Dalriada was Kenneth I, after the kingdom suffered a serious defeat by the Vikings. Using his motherís bloodline, Kenneth laid claim to the throne of the Picts, who had used Scone as a centre of centuries, thus becoming King of the Picts and Scots, and using the Stone of Destiny to legitimate the crowning ceremony.

Scone Palace, Perthshire copyright Shadowgate
Scone Palace © Shadowgate

In 1114 Alexander I founded an Augustinian priory on the land of Scone Palace, becoming an abbey 50 years later. In 1210 the Parliament of Scotland first met at Scone, a tradition which continued to 1450, thus solidifying the significance of Scone in Scottish history.

During Edward I of Englandís invasion of Scotland in 1296, many of the countries symbols of nationhood were taken, and this included the Stone of Destiny, which was removed to Westminster Abbey. The Stone formed a part of the throne used during the coronation of English and British monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth in 1953. Despite the Stoneís disappearance, Scone Palace was the coronation site for Robert the Bruce in 1306, James IV in 1488 and Charles II in 1651.Today the Stone of Destiny is back in Scotland, in Edinburgh Castle.

In the year 1559, Scone Palace was largely destroyed by a mob from Dundee, when the property was in the hands of Lord Ruthven, Earl of Gowrie, whose main estate was that near Huntingtower Castle. It was the Ruthvens who rebuilt the palace into a grand residence. In 1600, however, the Ruthvens were charged with treason, and Scone Palace was passed to Sir David Murray, one of Jamesí local followers. The Murray family has since resided at Scone for over four centuries, with William Murray, in 1776, having been given the title of the Earl of Mansfield.

Map and directions

Scone Palace is open to the public 7 days a week from April to 31 October from 9:30-5:30, earlier on Saturdays.

View Scone Palace in a larger map

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