Saturday, 18 February 2012

Callander House, Falkirk

Visited Callander House in Falkirk yesterday.

Purpose of the visit not involving Mary at all although the house is one with very many Marian connections.

The is very little of the house which Mary would know remaining but rebuilt as a fine Georgian House built in the French chateau style and well worthy of a visit.

The house is now a museum and art gallery with perhaps the main attraction for many being the fine restored and working Georgian kitchen.

Nonetheless a House very closely interwoven in Marian history.

In Mary’s time owned by Alexander, Fifth Lord Livingston who accompanied Mary’s father James V on his journey to France for the marriage to Princess Magdalene.

Shortly after her birth, Mary was betrothed to the future Edward V1 of England by the Treaty of Greenwich, a union initially promoted by the Regent of Scotland, the Earl of Aran but opposed by others.

It was a Callander House that the two parties became reconciled and determined to resile from the Treaty thereby incurring the wrath of the English King Henry V111 and setting in train the ‘Wars of the Rough Wooing’

Lord Livingston’s daughter was one of the ‘Four Marys ‘ who accompanied Mary to France (although not mentioned in the well-known song of the same title). Lord Livingston and his wife were also in the party and Lord Livingston was to die there in 1552.

His son, Lord William Livingston, although he had converted to Protestantism, played a prominent role in effecting Mary’s return as monarch in 1561.

Mary visited Callander House on several occasions, including in 1565 for the marriage of Mary Livingston to Lord Semple and later for the baptism of one of Lord Livingston’s children.

Mary also stayed at Callander on her return from Glasgow accompanied by Lord Darnley immediately before returning to Edinburgh. It was at Callander that the decision was taken than Darnley should not recuperate at Craigmillar Castle as would appear to have been intended but at the ill fated Provost’s Lodgings at Kirk o’ Field.

How and by whom this decision came to be made and the logistics of getting the house ready and what preplanning would have been required for the packing of the cellars of the house with gunpowder has long been debated and no doubt will again arise when the matter is the subject of the address by John Addiman at out Annual Gathering in April.

Ronald Morrison

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