Visually attractive, Falkland is a quaint little town with an impressive history. Its most famous building is the Falkland Palace
now part of the National Trust for Scotland.
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.
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.
The Palace is managed by the National Trust for Scotland and the gardens and ponds are quite lovely.
The Palace itself is superb especially the Ruins.
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!!!!