This week’s episode of Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets will be dedicated to long-time staff member Jean Stewart, who passed away shortly after the BBC One show was filmed there.
Jean, the Lady Butler, had worked at Scone Palace for 39 years, first for the late Lord Mansfield and then for the current Earl and Countess of Mansfield. Jean, 75, died last May after a bout of pneumonia a couple of months after the filming of the TV programme. She is honoured with a mention in Wednesday night’s episode.
Lady Mansfield described Jean, from the nearby village of Guildtown, as “a treasure” and “sorely missed”. She said: “Jean worked here for almost four decades and was loved by everybody. She always had a smile for fellow staff and our guests. Jean made so many friends over the years and really was an absolute treasure who is sorely missed, so it will be bittersweet watching Wednesday night’s episode.”
Jean’s widower Chic Stewart said he planned to tune in on Wednesday, adding: “Jean was a hard worker who loved her time at the Palace. She was an early bird who’d often be first in at work. The fact she worked there for 39 years showed she enjoyed what she did.”
The historic Perthshire visitor attraction is known worldwide for being the crowning place of the Kings of Scots. In the programme, which airs on BBC One at 8pm on November 29th, Mary Berry will create dishes inspired by Scone Palace’s long, lauded heritage. Wednesday night’s episode is the second in the four-part cooking series, which gives the public a unique behind-the-scenes peek at stately home life.
Mary’s visit to Scone Palace takes her off the well-trodden tourist paths to meet the staff and owners, visit its gardens, private quarters and wider estate, and create sumptuous dishes in the Palace’s stunning Victorian-style Old Kitchen. Scone Palace’s kitchen gardens – headed up by Brian Cunningham of BBC’s Beechgrove Garden - provide the ingredients for many of the dishes cooked there, including its annual festive lunches every Christmas.
Mary and her TV crew spent ten days filming at Scone Palace, which is owned by the 9th Earl of Mansfield. The Earl and Countess of Mansfield, daughter Lady Iona Murray and son William Murray, Viscount Stormont, all feature in the programme along with many of the Palace and Estate staff team. Mary is seen cooking with the Countess and Lady Iona, attends a ceilidh in the Palace and is accompanied by game keepers, Roddy and Stewart McIntosh, deer stalking on the Logiealmond hills.
The wider Scone Palace estate covers 24,000 acres. Stretching from the stunning River Tay across to the hills of Logiealmond, it provides some of the best salmon fishing, deer stalking and a wide range of agricultural and forestry activities. Scone Palace is host to regular events throughout the year, including the Scottish Game Fair, 1980’s Rewind Music Festival and its own Spirits of Scone Halloween ‘Frightfest’. It also provides accommodation, allowing guests to experience the unique opportunity of staying within the Palace.
Other stately homes featured in Mary’s new programme include: Highclere Castle (the fictional Downton Abbey) in Hampshire; glorious Goodwood in Sussex; and Powderham Castle in Devon.