Royal Relics

Scottish Unicorn.jpg
This wonderful characterful unicorn is part of a fairytale Scottish relic commissioned by King James V. It has stood in the central courtyard of Linlithgow Palace since 1538, just one year after the young Scottish King married the sophisticated and beautiful French Mary of Guise.

Linlithgow Palace fountain.jpg
It is covered in a wild and fantastical variety of mystical and mythical beasts, all linked to Scottish symbolism. Built with love and magic, lions and bears vie for space with mermaids and unicorns, and sweep you off into tales as old as the hills.

Scottish heraldic beasts.jpg
There is such vitality in these old stone relics that it’s easy to imagine them getting up and walking off across the cobbled square.

Linlithgow Palace Scotland.jpg
Despite the cobwebs in his mouth, it was only at the last full moon that this old lion padded across the grass down to the loch outside the palace walls, for a drink of moon filled water.

deer statue Linlithgow Palace.jpg
And only last month this feisty deer caught the sun in her horns and rode through the worlds edges and on into the otherworld, which lies just beneath our feet, a heartbeat away. She has secrets to share, but you have to know how to ask.

Scottish Unicorn Linlithgow Palace.jpg
So fierce that he has to be chained, the unicorn is restless, longing to stretch his legs and pound his hooves across the green land of Scotland, ancient Albion, whose soul he holds.

stone heraldic deer Scotland.jpg
And the deer who lights the path through the dark leafy Forrest is waiting to open the way to those who seek. Resting for now among the stone throng of creatures, it would take just one whispered word in his ear and a little drop of magic and desire. Your adventure into the forest of mysteries could begin on your next heartbeat.

Linlithgow Palace fountain.jpg
But for now all is quiet, and this ancient stone relic sits peacefully holding its tales of wonder and magic safely in the centre of the old royal palace. Seat of the Stewart kings, Queen Margaret gave birth to her son, James V, here within these walls on 10 April 1512. He brought his beautiful French wife to live here and built her this fairytale fountain one year later. A love filled anniversary gift fit for a Queen, still beautiful nearly five hundred years later!

See more relics here at WP weekly photo challenge.

About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home on the shores of Loch Ness deep in the Scottish Highlands with my husband, my son and a couple of dogs. I love art which is here now and gone food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist and Cancer Support Specialist in Maggies Highlands
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48 Responses to Royal Relics

  1. How fortunate that no one (at least not recently) got the idea to clean it, the green patina seems to be part of its story.

  2. says:

    This post is just magical your descriptive words and the photos are just so clear I feel I can touch him!

  3. Madhu says:

    Absolutely bewitching!! Now I want to know those secrets! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Sharon K. says:

    Your writing is wonderful… adds so much to your already beautiful images. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Tina Schell says:

    Love your story on this one Seonaid! Wonderful post beautifully written

  6. LB says:

    You are such a storyteller … thank you for including the history as well as your story of each part of the statue.

  7. craftschen says:

    Great! Feel the pulse of history passโ€”โ€”from distant China.

  8. StillWalks says:

    These are fantastic – I love them ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. You have captured the magic of Linlithgow so perfectly. How wonderful to have been there in the past to witness all the various goings on. The stone monument almost acts as a time-travelling portal for our imaginations… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you, it’s such a lovely history soaked place….and yes that fountain has seen a thing or two in its lifetime. Great fuel for the imagination as you say ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. restlessjo says:

    What an amazing piece of work this is, Seonaid. I wish I’d made time to go in and see it. Next time, for definite. Love your fantasies ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It’s quite an evocative ruin Jo, easy to imagine all the famous characters from its past looking out the now glass less windows…..and the views out across the loch are just beautiful…..but it’s this fairytale fountain which catches every time. Glad you enjoyed the fantasy ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. โ™กeM says:

    What a magnificent mythical tour you’ve given me today. Thank you! Places like this can’t be found in the relatively recently civilized place on earth where I live. Old relics don’t exist here.

    • I do love the deep layers of relics and history which can be found all across Europe….but I’m sure there are relics of sorts, and certainly tales and myths everywhere that people have been ๐Ÿ™‚
      Delighted you enjoyed this little taste of a few Scottish myths.

  12. 2geeks3knots says:

    Wow! We adore this post! Really enjoyed your fairy tales as well ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. gwynnrogers says:

    I LOVE your history, tales, and pictures. My mind wonders what they are recreating up in the heavens or if some have returned to life. Scotland is rich with so much, as well as beauty. I enjoyed coming along for the ride. Thanks.

    • Thanks Gwynn, I got a bit swept away into the myths which swirl so readily across this piece of earth… many stories just waiting to be told ๐Ÿ™‚
      I always love to read your thoughts.

  14. Truly a thing of beauty. Imagine all of the eyes that have gazed upon it and what the folks belonging to those eyes have thought. Evocative to be sure. Your ‘word pictures’ do the subject justice (more than). Thanks for showing us such a wonderful, unique, piece of the world. D

    • I know David, 500 years is a lot of people ๐Ÿ™‚
      Glad you liked the word pictures… imagination gets carried away rather easily at the sight of unicorns and winged deer!!

  15. ashokbhatia says:

    A great combination of words and visuals!

    • Delighted that you enjoyed the weaving…..those stone creatures are just so full of life, bursting with stories ๐Ÿ™‚

      • ashokbhatia says:

        Yes, I am always amazed at the skills involved in shaping things out of stones. There are several which sound like moving and talking, but somehow frozen in a cusp of time and preserved for posterity.

  16. poppytump says:

    Isn’t that just one amazing sculpture Seonaid … and who better to take us on that magical descriptive journey around it ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Brilliant .

    • Isn’t it beautiful, so fanciful and fresh and yet nearly 500 years old! Delighted you enjoyed the journey through the creatures…but truth be told there’s so much more to say ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. risinghawk says:

    I really enjoyed this – and the photos are wonderful. Thanks! Peace to you . . .

    • So happy to hear that you enjoyed the mystical taste of this stone relic…..imagine how great it would look with the water flowing through it!
      There are tales of it flowing with wine at times of victory and celebration……

      • risinghawk says:

        It would be stunning! And a good spot to be under when the wine was flowing ๐Ÿ˜‰ Peace . . .

  18. Beautiful images, Seonaid. Your words really brought these mystical animals to life again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Colline says:

    Beautiful shots. The green patina on the statues makes them look even more as a relic should.

    • Indeed Colline, and even with the green patina of age I think the whole fountain looks so fresh…as though it was dreamed and carved just a few decades ago….not 500 years!

  20. Pingback: Royal Relics

  21. Lucid Gypsy says:

    What a fantastical land with the little bear peeping down!

  22. Rachael Charmley says:

    Thank for for transporting me back in that wonderful way you have, Seonaid. It is a real gift. xx

  23. tree girl says:

    Your images and writing invoke a combination of the stories of Alice in Wonderland and Narnia.

    • We do fairy tales quite well here ๐Ÿ™‚
      Native tales woven and rewoven over hundreds, even thousands of years, all the way back to our own aboriginal past. I can often find echoes which feel so familiar in your dreamtime tales….ancient roots and ties to the earth ๐Ÿ™‚

      • tree girl says:

        Yes! Our Dreamtime stories are like fairy tales explaining things that ancient people had no scientific answers for. Things like giant kangaroos trapped under the ground and making earthquakes. They also contain the Law of community and land like a finger wagging, “don’t do this or else”. Our Indigeneity is not so unique – your history and making sense of circumstance and place is rich and vast. Challenge, hardship, cruelty, trauma, and displacement is there too, just as in ours.

      • That’s so true, and I love the underground kangaroo tale in your latest post. Here we might blame the Cailleach Bheur ( the ancient old blue woman of winter) dropping some rocks from her apron or her peat creel as she crosses the mountains ๐Ÿ™‚

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