Visiting Falkland Palace

Visually attractive, Falkland is a quaint little town with an impressive history. Its most famous building is the Falkland Palace

The Palace seen from the street

now part of the National Trust for Scotland.

Village Square framed by East Lomond

The monument in the middle of the village square looking up towards East Lomond is very ornate. The water was not flowing the day I went there. There used to be a lovely café where I had my first haggis and neeps but it has since closed and is now a pharmacy!!

The MacDuffs owned the castle in the 12th century. But it is really King James IV who completed the castle proper and James V who made some remarkable additions.

The world’s very first tennis court was built in Falkland Palace in 1539. I hadn’t noticed the building when I was wandering around the ponds until a doorway caught my eye. Quite a small doorway and so I went through. What a terrific surprise it was.

Royal tennis court built 1539

It was James V who commissioned it – he who was the father of the tragic Mary Queen of Scots.

The room I walked into was as long as the court with benches presumably for spectators. The court is walled but open to the sky. On the table/desk is this synopsis under laminated protection:

Falkland Royal Tennis Court, the oldest in the world, dates from 1539. It was part of James V’s transformation of Falkland Palace into the finest Renaissance building in Britain. Tennis was probably introduced to Scotland in the 13th Century and is named from the French tenez. After lawn tennis came in the 1870s, this was distinguished as ‘royal tennis’ in Falkland.

On a warm, sunny day!

The Palace is managed by the National Trust for Scotland and the gardens and ponds are quite lovely.

One of the two ponds outside tennis court building

The Palace itself is superb especially the Ruins.

Palace ruins looking good!

The whole town is delightful and the church grounds beside the Falkland Palace houses a statue with the best first name I have ever seen, anywhere.

Onesiphorus Tyndall-Bruce was a barrister originally from Bristol and lived from 1790 to 1855. He was entitled to add Bruce to his name on his marriage to Margaret Bruce, a Falkland heiress.

Isn’t Onesiphorus just the best? And here he is:


There is an inspiring sense of history about Falkland and, of course, that is what I absolutely love. This country Scotland is full of it!!!!


8 comments on “Visiting Falkland Palace

  1. Michelle B says:

    Onesiphorus! You would think that such a name would have allowed him to become a god! What a glorious name. I really enjoy your original photos.

  2. Rosie says:

    My grandchildren have enjoyed the name, Onesiphorus, for its possibilities One-siphorus or Onny-siphorus, the latter being the correct pronunciation, I understand.
    For me, one of his great achievements was the planting of trees on the hillsides above the village and a tower stands out on a promontory commemorating this planting. The trees were cleared for use during the Second World War, but replanted by one of his descendants who added a new plaque at the base of the tower describing the replanting of the hill. This plaque ends with a statement of hope that these trees will never be needed for another war, indeed that there will be an end to war.

    • Veronique says:

      I didn’t know that Onesiphorus had planted the trees, nor did I know their subsequent fate and then replant by a descendant.
      Thank you for your added information! I love learning about the history (of all sorts) in this amazing country.
      I will visit and photograph the plaques. My brother collects photos of plaques and he chuckles at Onesiphorus’ name so he will enjoy this titbit of knowledge.

  3. Fantastic blog Veronique! So glad you enjoy coming here.

  4. […] mentioned this beautiful palace some five years ago on another blog – I was quite taken with it. This year, I went back because The National Trust had tizzed up […]

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