Falkland palace

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Falkland palace. Royal home and hunting lodge, Fife. After Falkland castle (home of the earls of Fife and dukes of Albany) came into the possession of James II, his 1450s extension became the north range of the palace, with further chambers added by his widow Mary of Gueldres. James IV renovated the north range's great hall (1502) and added the east and south ranges, which were embellished by James V: his French craftsmen transformed them in the 1530s into the first Renaissance building in Scotland, now regarded as among the finest work of its period in Britain and marking the height of the ‘Auld Alliance’. The ornamented gatehouse, garden, and royal tennis court further enhanced this favourite seat of the Scottish monarchs. The north range was burnt, possibly accidentally, when Cromwell's troops were quartered there (1654), and only its foundations now remain. No monarch has resided since Charles II, but much restoration has been undertaken by the Crichton Stuarts in their role as hereditary constable, captain, and keeper of Falkland; the king's bedroom and Chapel Royal are particularly fine. The National Trust for Scotland has acted as deputy keeper since 1952.

A. S. Hargreaves

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