History in the Making

History Bite: The Holyrood Palace Fountain

(You get a bonus History Bite this week because I mixed up my scheduling!)

Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities. Quieter than some of it’s European brethren, Edinburgh is steeped in history, covered in gorgeous buildings, and has more twists and turns to discover than anywhere else. Holyroodhouse Palace, aka Holyrood, is my favourite spot in Edinburgh. Currently one of the Queen’s official residences, Holyroodhouse has been the site of a palace since the sixteenth century. I was particularly intrigued the Holyrood Palace fountain that welcomes you in the forecourt and decided to do some digging!

The History of the Holyrood Fountain

Holyrood Abbey, the ruins which are adjacent to the Palace, was founded in the twelfth century as an Augustinian order. The Abbey was in use as a royal residence by the fourteenth century, and was rebuilt by James V (father to Mary, Queen of Scots). In Mary’s lifetime, Holyrood would play a large role in her Scottish life, and was the site of the grisly murder of one of her closet’s friends. When you are approaching Holyrood, you do get the sense that you approaching somewhere quietly important…

Holyroodhouse Palace Fountain

So, now we come to the fountain itself-  it looks particularly aged and weathered, like it has seen centuries of fighting and battle and monarchs. Until you find out that, like much of the United Kingdom, it is a Victorian creation. Yes, that’s right. Under the direction of Queen Victoria the fountain was designed and created in the 1960s. Queen Victoria had quite the soft spot for Scotland, and so had the fountain modelled on the Scottish Royal Family and 16th century past-times. (See here for more info!) There are a few other cases where I was spectacularly tricked by the Victorians, but this one stands out for me!

Holyrood Fountain in forecourt

Have you visited the Holyrood Palace fountain? Does it look particularly ancient to you?

The Historian
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