Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Falkland Palace, Chapel Royal

The Chapel Royal was begun by James IV but remained unfinished at the time of his death at the battle of Flodden in 1513. The chapel was completed under his successor,James V. After his unexpected death at Falkland, his body lay here in the Chapel Royal from 14 December 1542 until 7 January 1543 and the walls were draped in black. His daughter, Mary Queen of Scots regularly worshiped here: on Maunday Thursday 1562 she washed the feet of 19 virgins, one for each year of her reign, and presented each of them with a piece of blue linen. A signature carved onto the wall behind the pulpit that is thought to be that of Mary herself.

The painted decoration on the ceiling and the frieze on the north wall of the Chapel are from the reign of Charles I. The frieze dates from 1633 when Charles I was crowned King of Scots and incorporates his monogram with those of his wife and heir on either side.The ceiling incorporates the royal badges of the Stuarts and the Tudors and the initials CR for Carolus Rex, MR for Maria Regina, and CP, Carolus Princeps for their son, the future Charles II..The royal pew is a reconstruction by Lord Bute incorporating pieces of decorative woodwork found during excavations of the palace cellars.

At the beginning of the 20th Century the Dowager Marchioness of Bute and her son Lord Ninian Crichton- Stuart revived the chapel  as a Catholic place of worship after centuries of disuse. Mass is said in the chapel every Sunday at 9 am.