Perthshire: About 2.5 miles north of Perth railway station, on minor road west of A93, east of River Tay, 0.5 miles west of Old Scone, at Scone Palace.
Private NO 114267 OS: 58 PH2 6BD
OPEN: Open Apr-Oct, daily 9.30-last admission at 17.00; grounds close at 17.45; other times by appt. Venue for weddings, meetings and events. Accommodation in Balvaird Apartment. Sporting
Tel: 01738 552300 Web: www.scone-palace.co.uk
Set in many acres of policies, wild gardens, woodlands and a pinetum, Scone Palace is a large and imposing Gothic mansion, dating from 1802 and designed by the architect William Atkinson. The name
is pronounced ‘Skoon’, and the palace incorporates part of the house built by the Ruthvens in the 1580s, itself probably created out of the Abbot’s Lodging of the former abbey. The fine grounds are
also home to peacocks, including several white males.
The palace has a sumptuous interior, and a particularly grand feature is the royal gallery, which is some 142 foot long.
‘Skone’ is marked on Pont’s map of Angus and Perthshire, and what appears to be a large ecclesiastical building is depicted.
Scone was a centre of the Picts, and in the 6th century a Culdee cell of the early Celtic church was founded here. The Kings of Scots were inaugurated at the Moot Hill, near the present palace, from the reign of Kenneth MacAlpin, including MacBeth, Malcolm Canmore, Robert the Bruce and the first six Jameses. An abbey had been founded here in the 12th century, and the Stone of Destiny, also called the Stone of Scone, on which the monarchs were crowned, was kept here, until thieved and taken to Westminster Abbey by Edward I of England in 1296 – although this was returned to Edinburgh Castle in 1996. The last king to be inaugurated at Scone was Charles II in 1651, who also stayed at the palace.
The abbey had been sacked by a Protestant mob in 1559, and there are no obvious remains. The property passed to the Ruthvens in 1580. After the Gowrie Conspiracy (also see Huntingtower and Gowrie House) in 1600, however, when John Ruthven, 3rd Earl of Gowrie, and his brother, Alexander, the Master of Ruthven, were slain by James VI and others, Scone passed to the Murrays. Sir David Murray of Gospertie had been one of those to save the king’s life (or at least to stop James being forcibly kidnapped or perhaps it was just revenge). The family moved from Balvaird Castle [NO 169118], and Murray was made Viscount Stormont in 1621, and then the family became Earls of Mansfield in 1776.
James VIII and III held ‘court’ at Scone in 1716 during the Jacobite Risings, although by then the Jacobite Rising had all but fizzled out and James soon fled abroad again, and Bonnie Prince
Charlie visited in 1745.
The building is said to be haunted, and ghostly footsteps have been heard in the south passage.
The old village of Scone was moved to New Scone in 1804-5, as it was too close to the Palace for the then owners. On the Moot Hill is Scone Palace Chapel, used as a mausoleum and containing the exuberant alabaster monument to commemorate David Murray, 1st Viscount Stormont.
The palace is still home to the Murray Earls of Mansfield, who also have the titles Viscount Stormont (held by the heir) and Lord Scone and Lord Balvaird, as well as hereditary keepers of Lochmaben Castle. The present Earl of Mansield is Alexander David Mungo Murray, who succeeded in 2015.
The palace features in Mary Berry’s BBC TV series Country House Secrets in 2017. The Earl and Sophia, Countess of Mansfield, daughter Lady Iona and son William, Viscount Stormont, all took part, with many of the palace and estate staff.