There can be few places of interest in Scotland as historically potent as Scone Palace. When you visit the Palace you are walking in the footsteps of Scotland’s ancient founding fathers, both pagan and Christian. It was an important religious gathering place of the Picts, it was the site of an early Christian church and it housed the Stone of Destiny.
Robert the Bruce was crowned at Scone in 1306 and the last coronation was of Charles II, when he accepted the Scottish crown in 1651.
The place of coronation was called Caislean Credi, 'Hill of Credulity', which survives as the present Moot Hill.
The present owner, the 8th Earl of Mansfield, William David Murray, succeeded his father in 1971. He is married to Pamela, daughter of Wilfred Neill Foster, CBE.
Lord Mansfield is also 13th Viscount Stormont and Lord Scone, 11th Lord Balvaird and Hereditary Keeper of Bruce’s Castle of Lochmaben. Lord Mansfield has three children. His eldest son, Alexander, by courtesy Viscount Stormont, is the heir.
Kings & Earls
In the 9th century, Kenneth MacAlpin established himself as the first true King of Scots. According to legend, he is said to have invited the Pictish King Drostan with all his nobles to banquet with him at Scone.
While they were seated, and perhaps taking advantage of their gluttony of both drink and food, the Scots drew out the bolts supporting the boards, whereupon the Picts fell into the hollows below their benches. While caught in some strange contraption up to their knees, they were all slaughtered.
The last coronation in Scotland took place at Scone in 1651 when King Charles II was crowned King of Scots upon the Moot Hill. The Earls following the 3rd Earl all suffered imprisonment, mainly in consequence of their support of the Jacobite cause.
The 4th Viscount Stormont was briefly imprisoned for his part in a fatal duel. The 5th Viscount opposed the Treaty of Union and entertained the Old Chevalier at Scone Palace during the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion, for which he was imprisoned.
The 6th Viscount suffered the same fate when his sisters received the young Chevalier, Bonnie Prince Charlie, at Scone during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.
The Moot Hill
From the time of Kenneth MacAlpin, who created the Kingdom of Scone in the 9th century, all the Kings of Scots were crowned on the Moot Hill, seated upon the Stone of Scone. Even after the Stone's removal by King Edward I in 1296, the Moot Hill continued to be the crowning place of the Kings of Scots.
Probably the greatest historic event to take place at Scone was the coronation of Robert the Bruce, who declared himself King of Scots upon the Moot Hill on 25 March 1306. The last coronation held at Scone was that of King Charles II as King of Scots on 1 January 1651, some nine years before he was restored to the English throne.
Standing on the Moot Hill is a small Presbyterian chapel. Like the Palace, it was restored in Gothic style around 1804. A replica of the Stone of Scone sits upon the Moot Hill, marking the site of the original.
Discoveries at Scone - Archeological Dig
From 2008, exciting geophysical analysis and excavations uncovered the lost rich abbey of Scone The Abbey had at one time, housed the Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny.
The Moothill and Abbey of Scone Project (MAS) aimed to find out more about the origins and development of Scone led by Dr Oliver O’Grady.
The team is also planning to excavate further trenches to test other intriguing results from the geophysical surveys. His team revealed some of the foundations of the 230ft-long abbey church, which stood next to the monks’ cloister.
Other valuable finds included ornate carved mediaeval sculpture fragments, delicate personal items including a decorative copper pin and skeletal remains under the church floor.
The Murray Family
The first Lord Scone was Sir David Murray. He was of Flemish noble origin, and was Cup-bearer, Master of the Horse and Captain of the Guard to King James VI of Scotland. The 3rd Lord Stormont held the last coronation in Scotland.
This took place at Scone in 1651 when King Charles II was crowned King of Scots upon the Moot Hill. The Earls following the 4th and 5th Earls all suffered imprisonment, mainly in consequence of their support of the Jacobite cause.
Born at Scone in 1705, William Murray, son of the 5th Viscount Stormont, rose to become a man of enormous influence, respected as an eminent lawyer. He was created 1st Earl of Mansfield in 1776.
The 2nd Earl of Mansfield was a brilliant ambassador and politician. He was Britain’s Envoy in Dresden in 1756, then Envoy-Extraordinary to the Imperial Court of Vienna, where he was much in the confidence of the Empress Maria Theresa.
He was Ambassador to France from 1772 until 1778, during which time he became a confidante of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. He later became Lord Justice General of Scotland and Lord President of the Council in the British Cabinet.
It was David Murray, 3rd Earl of Mansfield, who, at the beginning of the 19th century, instructed much of the restoration work at Scone Palace, resulting in the splendid and enlarged interior we see today. The architect was William Atkinson.
The restrained Gothic style which he used was entirely in keeping with the monastic history of Scone. William David Murray, 4th Earl of Mansfield (1806-1898) played an active part in public affairs, becoming Father of the House of Lords.
His grandson, also William David Murray, succeeded as 5th Earl of Mansfield. The 6th Earl was the brother of the 5th Earl. His son, Alan David Murray, became the 6th Earl. His son, Mungo David Murray, 7th Earl of Mansfield, was MP for Perth.
William Murray rose from the English Bar to become Lord Chief Justice and one of the greatest 18th century British judges. Famous for his oratory, the "silver-tongued" Murray is known for having reformed court procedure and developed commercial law to keep pace with the British empire.
He was also known for ground breaking and often unpopular judgements, such as his declaration that slavers had no rights over their slaves on English soil.
" Let justice be done though the heavens may fall "
William Murray, 1st of Earl of Mansfield ( d1793 )
The Present Family
The present and 8th Earl of Mansfield, William David Murray, succeeded his father in 1971. He is married to Pamela, daughter of Wilfred Neill Foster CBE. Lord Mansfield is also 13th Viscount Stormont and Lord Scone, 11th Lord Balvaird and Hereditary Keeper of Bruce’s Castle of Lochmaben.
He read law at Oxford University and developed an extensive common law practice as an English barrister. He entered politics and business, and was appointed a member of the first British delegation to the European Parliament. He became a director of a number of public companies.
In his spare time he devoted time to several charities, especially those concerned with young people. He was the first President of the Scottish Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders.
In 1979, on the formation of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative administration, he became Minister of State for Scotland. In 1983, he was appointed Minister of State for Northern Ireland.
Lord Mansfield quit active politics in 1985 and took up an appointment by the Queen to become First Crown Estate Commissioner, combining the running of the hereditary lands of the Queen with an active interest in his family estates. He retired from this post in 1996.
Lord Mansfield has three children. His eldest son, Alexander, by courtesy Viscount Stormont, is the heir.
Viscount Stormont, HRH Prince Charles, Viscountess Stormont