It’s been quite awhile, about 3 weeks, since I wrote the last blog post about when I attended the Perth Tatoo, visited Scone Palace and drove through the beautiful glens of Perthshire with my tour guide Karen.
In addition, an entire month has passed since I left Perth to go to my next stop in Scotland where I visited my dear friends, Keith & Helen Mitchell. My, my how time flies when you’re having a whole lot of fun!
After visiting with Keith & Helen, I traveled the rest of the way through Scotland down to the borders at Berwick-upon-Tweed. Then I made my way south through England to its southern coast where I turned west and followed the coastline westward to finish up the tour of the United Kingdom with a couple of weeks in Wales on the last leg of my 3n month journey. I continuously moved every day or so and didn’t actually stay in any one spot long enough to have time to devote to blog post entries to describe what I had been seeing and experiencing.
I have since returned home again, just the night before last, am doing my laundry now and finally have time to sit down and be still for a while, allowing me to reflect upon where I’ve been, what I’ve seen and what I’m dying to share with you.
There were so many wonderfully delightful sights and sensational vistas to behold along the travel route I followed fervently.
So, let’s see, where were we? Oh, yes – my last post – being in Perth and attending that wonderful Tattoo in the park with all those men in kilts!
After that entertaining stop, I headed just a short distance south to Livingston near Edinburgh. Upon my arrival, Keith & Helen asked if I would like to visit the Dunfermline Abbey while I was in town. I replied, “Sure! Sounds great!”
Off we went one wonderful afternoon. As luck would have it, I was to experience a very BIG ancestral surprise! Neither Keith nor Helen knew it would be a surprise either. After we arrived, found a handy spot in the car park on the grounds to park the car, and were approaching the stunning ancient architecture on foot, they brought to my attention the stone letters at the top of the cathedral’s tower, ‘King Robert.’
That’s when I exclaimed, “Wow! This place is in honour of Robert the Bruce?!? Thee Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland? He is my 20th great grandfather! This is fantastic! Thank you!”
daughter of Robert Bruce King of Scotland I
son of Marjorie Bruce
son of King Robert II Stewart
son of Robert III King of Scotland Stewart
daughter of James I King of Scotland Stewart
son of Lady Annabella Stewart Scotland Countess
daughter of Alexander Huntly Gordon
son of Lady Janet Gordon Countess Argyll
son of Archibald 4th Earl of Argyll “Gillespie Roy” Campbell
son of LORD COLIN ARGYLL CAMPBELL
son of Archibald 7th Earl of Argyll “Gruamach” Campbell
son of Lord Archibald Campbell Marquis of Argyll Earl of Argyll
son of Archibald “9th Earl of Argyll” Campbell
son of David Daniel Campbell
son of Charles Campbell
daughter of William Campbell
son of Jeanette Campbell
daughter of John Holliday
daughter of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Holiday
son of Nancy Anne Brundage
son of William Rose Frew II
You are the daughter of William Kenneth Frew
son of David I King of Scotland
son of Henry Northumberland Scotland
daughter of David Etherington Huntingdon Scotland
son of Lady Isobel “Isabel” MacCrinan of Huntingdon
son of Sir Robert 5th Lord Annandale & Constable to England and Scotland DeBruce
daughter of Sir Robert VI Lord Annandale DeBruce
daughter of Maud Matilda deBruce
daughter of Lillias Ross
son of Matilda Urquhart Heiress de Troupe
daughter of William “Earl Marischal of Scotland” Keith
son of Gille Egidia Lady Keith
son of Patrick Forbes
son of David Forbes
son of Patrick Forbes
son of Sir William, 7th Lord of Tolquhon Forbes
son of John Forbes
son of John Fobes
daughter of Lieut William Fobes
daughter of Phebe Fobes
son of Mary Seabury
daughter of Pvt John Southworth
daughter of Hannah Southworth
son of Hannah Mae Case
daughter of Daniel A Clapp
son of Hannah Elizabeth Clapp
You are the daughter of William Kenneth Frew
Once inside, we find ourselves inside the Old Church it’s carved columns and arched ceilings frame some absolutely beautiful stained glass windows on either side the length of the time-tested structure spread out before us.
Standing amongst the soaring carved pillars one can get the feeling of how ancient it is and the spirit of the people who’ve been here is in the air like a comforting warm wrapping.
The windows continue to amaze me with their vivid colors and scenes.
Well, that just about covers the Old Church, now we’ll go into the newer portion of the old, old, church and where we’ll find the tomb on Robert I, King of Scotland! Here’s a video I took as I crossed the threshold and began looking around inside…
Now, for the moment I’ve been waiting for, the tomb of Robert I, King of Scotland, my 20th great grandfather!
It’s a pretty incredible feeling to be standing beside the tomb of such a famous and significant Scottish ancestor. It’s difficult to describe; pride & honor come to mind for starters and the knowledge that this person, who represents one piece, one part, of what I come from is coursing through my being at this very moment.
He’s part of who I am and if just one person anywhere in my varied lineages, such as this person, didn’t exist in that golden ancestral chain, I simply would not exist at all.
Feelings and thoughts such as these serve to remind me that each of us plays our own little tiny little part and that we are connected for an eternity through time and space in this universe through our shared DNA and spirits of life.
Nearby in a closed case, there is even a plaster cast of his skull!
On display near the exit of the church were these very informative interpretive panels set up with the history of his tomb, the church and the restorative work completed. I’ve included them here in case you might like to read and learn about it. Quite interesting…
The banners hanging from the columns were quite spectacular and I was so pleased to find this handy sign explaining what each one represented – quite an array of nobility and positions!
Of course, I can’t forget to get a picture of that wonderful organ that has been serenading us in the videos! In fact, the man that was playing the organ that day was a retired pastor of this church. He really played well and enjoyed himself tremendously while doing so.
After we had seen everything there was to see inside, we headed back outside to the churchyard. We had also worked up a bit of an appetite so we worked our way through the sculpture garden located in the corners of the grounds and went upstairs to the abbey cafe overlooking the majestic surroundings as we enjoyed our freshly baked soup and scones.
After the replenishing meal, we made our way back across the churchyard toward the ruins of the Refectory and the Royal Palace, in the opposite corner of the grounds. The Royal Palace was rebuilt from the guest house of the monastery during the sixteenth century for James VI and his Queen. On our way to the Palace, we passed the east gable of the church which contains the tomb and shrine of St. Margaret. It’s been a place of pilgrimage since medieval times.
The tomb of Saint Margaret and Malcolm Canmore, within the ruined walls of the Lady chapel, was restored and enclosed by command of Queen Victoria.
This place goes on and on! It’s incredibly interesting and so full of significant history.
We will start with what used to be the Royal Palace; three stories high and adjacent to the monks’ refectory.
In the photo above, the interpretive panel explains how the Palace may have looked in its heydey. I took a before and after picture of each section on each floor and have arranged them below so you can compare what each portion of the castle may have looked yourself, like the one just below shows the upper right-hand portion of the Palace that would have held the Royal Bed in the bedroom: four embroiderers adorned a special bed for the royal birth with gold and silver threads, green silk and velvet. It was a gift from James to Anna.
On the 2nd floor below: a Grand window, Anna added this in her 1589 renovations. It gave her a view down over the Tower Burn. Also note the #5 denoting a perilous spiral staircase, in 1602 Roger Aston ‘fell over a pair of high stairs at the Queen’s chamber door where he was taken up dead and so remained for 3 hours.’ A nobleman had already fallen here and ‘dashed out all his brains!’
The Gallery at number 3: Residents and guests could play music and games here, and exercise in comfort on wet days.
#4 The Hall: Guests and residents would dine here, and wait to enter the Queen’s presence-chamber next door.
The kitchens, storage and servants’ quarters were all below ground level.
Now for the other side of these complex and massive ruins – the Refectory…
It’s been extremely interesting, informative and emotional for me to visit this spectacular iconic treasure. One more shot before I get back to the car park… I will long remember this place.Our next stop is the Queensferry bridges spanning the wide divide of the Forth estuary from Dunfermline to Edinburgh with particular attention being paid to the red railway bridge, an engineering feat in its own right and had the world’s longest spans (541 m) when it opened in 1890. It remains one of the greatest cantilever trussed bridges and continues to carry passengers and freight.
Its distinctive industrial aesthetic appeal is the result of a forthright and unadorned display of its structural components. Innovative in style, materials and scale, the Forth Bridge marks an important milestone in bridge design and construction during the period when railways came to dominate long-distance land travel. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Two other bridges nearby carry the trucks and cars across the Forth. When the photo below was taken the crews were finishing up the last remaining touches on the newest third bridge as it was due to open in just one week’s time! The newest bridge is the one furthest away and appears slightly lower in the photo than the older one in the foreground.
We viewed the bridges from Queensferry and then walked through the adjoining neighbourhood surrounding the waterfront, enjoying an ice cream along the way. What a pretty spot with some very intriguing sights!
It certainly turned out to be one heck of an ancestral surprise kind of a day and was filled with many beautiful, historical sights with a sweet ending at an old-fashioned Sweet Shop.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Keith and Helen but the next day I packed up my belongings once again and to continue on down the road a little further to my next destination, Tantallon Castle & Dewar, making my way to the Scottish Borders on the east coast. That’s another story, however, for another time in another blog post. Until then…