Crossing Paths with Mary, Queen of Scots in Scotland – Photo Essay

A view from the top of Linlithgow Palace

We left Dalhousie in the rain and drove to Melville Castle. Finished in 1791, it’s one of the “newer” castles in the area. We inquired in hopes of finding some bit of history about my relative, Mary Melville, but discovered some about another Mary, Queen of Scotts, and her lover, Rizzio.

melville-castle-1-e1499301406651

They lived in a manor house previously built on the estate. He planted a chestnut tree in her honor and she reciprocated with five oaks. The trees remain to this day.

Melville Castle entrance

The castle has been remodeled to accommodate guests as a hotel. Danny signs in.

Melville Castle entry

We rested our weary bones in the day room.

Melville Castle Day Room

The back stairs.

Stairway in Melville Castle

The restaurant for hotel guests.

Dinner in the dungeon

On our way out of the castle.

Leaving Melville Castle

From there, we drove to Linlithgow Palace, Mary, Queen of Scotts’ Happy Palace. I could see why it was given that name. Long winding passageways opened up to grand porches for viewing the vast countryside and waterways. I could imagine Mary hanging out on the deck in a sumptuous gown, glass of wine in her delicate hand, while plotting how to hide the Knight’s Templar’s treasures entrusted to her. An enemy of the Roman Catholic Church, cousin, King Henry, would surely help the cause.

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Then we drove to my ancestor’s old stomping grounds in Perth. My great grandmother, Mary Melville, somehow met Ed McCartan of Northern Ireland and they immigrated to Waukesha, Wisconsin. My dad was Ed McCartan, Jr. Mary Melville was his Scottish grandmother.

Funny note made from the County:

“The divorce case of EDWARD and MARY MCCARTAN which appears on the circuit court calendar, may as well be taken off. Just before the session of the court began, it was found that the parties had become reconciled and were living together again in connubial bliss”.

Source: Waukesha Freeman (Waukesha, Wis.) May 24, 1883

Editor Note: Perhaps after bearing 11 children the romance had faded slightly.

In 1900, most of the family has moved to the town of Richfield in Washington County. Edward and wife, Mary, live in separate places; Edward with his daughter Mary, and Mary, Sr. lives by herself but only several houses away. Apparently, the divorce reconciliation didn’t last long.

As we drove past stone and stucco homes, we passed a lovely park and lake. I had expected it to be a quaint and small town, but it was filled with historical significance and interesting architecture. The town dates back to prehistoric times. The Stone of Destiny once rested in the Scone Abbey where the King of Scots was crowned. Later, Perth became the stomping grounds for Jacobite uprisings.

Following signs to the city center, we found ourselves on Melville Street. Brilliant!

Perth City Center

We parked the car and splashed through puddles in search of a café for late lunch and tea. After passing several cute shops, one caught my eye. The windows were filled with tweeds for women with extraordinary pops of color. I stepped inside Blues and Browns and Danny dutifully followed.

We met Karen, a very enthusiastic shop owner, who regaled us with Hollywood connection. As a send off for her daughter’s first college semester, she decided to blow her money on a trip to Paris to visit her great aunt, Olivia De Havilland, (an Academy Award winner, twice!) Being a seamstress, she spent hours sewing fine clothing suitable for someone of that stature. So very excited, the day finally arrived. They coiffed their hair and had their nails done then made their way to her Paris apartment.

But like so many grand laid plans, life has other ideas. While on their way, the skies opened up and it poured. Without rain gear or an umbrella, they soon became soaked to the skin. Water dripped from their hems. They had come too far to turn around now. The maid buzzed them inside and gave them each a plush robe to wear while their clothes dried. They met their prestigious relative and enjoyed the afternoon sipping tea and chatting. Olivia is one hundred years old now and still lives in Paris.

The cute shop owner recommended the cute Rose House café/flower shop around the corner for a snack on a pedestrian mall. We met the owner and staff who told us a bit of history. Situated across from the cafe is St. John’s Kirk, the Church my relatives most likely attended. This historic building dates back to the 1200s where John Knox gave a speech which led to the Scottish Reformation in 1559.

Coffee at the Rose House

After a scrumptious soup and sandwich, we jumped into the car and drove to Inverness. The adventure takes a new twist of fate! Stay tuned. Lots more to come…

Related post:

Scotland – So Far, So Very Good – Photo Essay

68 thoughts on “Crossing Paths with Mary, Queen of Scots in Scotland – Photo Essay

    • Absolutely LOVED it! The food, people, landscape, castles are all amazing! I posted another today and another is coming about a meetup with a blogger friend on a Scottish island! Then it’s onto the Bloggers Bash in London.
      Thanks so much, Peg! This is the first time I’ve sat down before dark! It gets dark at 10:00 here in Paris.

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  1. So much history. They go way back! It’s amazing that those huge houses (castles) are still standing after so many years. Impressive, but imagine how cold and shivery it would be to live in a place like that. Thanks for sharing this special holiday.

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  2. One of my dear friends in school was descended from Mary Stuart, though I don’t think she knew if the queen was a great grandmother, a great aunt or something else. A few years ago, I discovered I’m (Queen) Jane Seymour’s 13th great niece–no doubt the upper classes of that time would have thought that Charlotte and I were proper company for each other! ♥

    (I always have to specify “Queen Jane”, because most people apparently don’t know that the actress got her name from a historical figure. Lately, though, it’s just easier to say “Henry VIII’s third wife”.)

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  3. Oh, I am loving this adventure. Perhaps, your Mary needed space put between her and her husband so the child count didn’t end up being a dozen. She must have been exhausted! Great story about sitting around with Olivia De Havilland in their bath robes. Can you imagine?

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    • Thank you so much!
      Exhausted is right! According to my dad, there were a few sets of twins. I never thought to ask the particulars…
      I loved that story about Olivia. It was amazing! So was she. I could see where the apple didn’t fall far from the tree!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ally! We’re on our 18th day. I thought I would tire of it, but this vacation has been stellar. We’re still in Paris, but will drive to Amsterdam via Antwerp, Belgium tomorrow. Packing our bags again!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Nelson. We really enjoyed Scotland. People were super friendly and despite the weather, the sights were amazing!
      We just got back from our crazy travels yesterday. Lots more to come!

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    • It’s amazing how long trees live. I didn’t realize Mary had lived at Melville with her lover. The castle was originally a tower and the new castle was built on its footprint.
      These are only a few of the thousands of photos I took. I have enough for blog posting to last until next summer. Ha!
      Thanks, Phil.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Cuz,
    We will have to sit down someday and discuss the family history. I’m not one for a gown, but the glass of wine sounds good.

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