Linlithgow Palace is surrounded by the local park (the Peel). The Peel is a man made park which once was part of the adjacent Loch.
Occupying a prominent position beside Linlithgow Loch, the Palace is one of Scotland’s best known historic buildings, and the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. Although designated as a Royal Palace, this imposing fortification qualifies as a defensive Castle and was built to be just that.
The first royal residence was established on this site in the 12th century; the present palace was started for King James I in 1425. James V was born here in 1512, and, by the time of the birth of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1542, the building had taken its present form.
Bonnie Prince Charlie was entertained here in 1745; a year later, after having been occupied by soldiers of the Duke of Cumberland, the palace was gutted by fire and has remained a noble ruin ever since.
St. Michael’s Church is the most complete surviving example of a large late medieval ‘burgh kirk’ in Scotland. Its western tower originally had a distinctive stone ‘crown spire’, of the type seen also on St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, or St. Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle-on-Tyne, which was removed in the early 19th century as it had become unsafe. In 1964 a replacement, the present aluminium spire, was added. The choice of spire was controversial at the time and the town was divided about it.
St Michael is the patron saint of the town and, in the form of the ancient church of that name, he still stands guard above its inhabitants.
St Michael’s Church is an Historic Scotland Category A Listed Building (HB Number 37499).
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