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Falkland Then and Now

Falkland is a village a few miles away from where we now live. (Its name is connected in a roundabout way to a certain set of islands in the South Atlantic but it’s more famous for its Palace, the country residence of the Stuart monarchs.)

We go there quite often – usually to visit the Library but also to have a stroll as there’s an estate and burn you can walk beside. The Palace gardens are wortha look as well, especially if you area National trust for Scotland member.

In February we found its main street festooned with no parking cones and notices of restriction for four days.

Falkland  in Fife

Falkland in Fife

It turned out they were going to be filming scenes for the new series of Outlander and they’d mocked it up supposedly as if it were the 1950s.

The Community Hall had been daubed with a “Free Scotland” grafitti and a saltire which strikes me as being unlikely for the 50s but there you go:-

Falkland  in Fife

This is how it looks restored to more normal circumstances, in April this year:-

Community Hall, Falkland, Fife

This shop was made to look like a furniture and hardware store:-

Falkland  in Fife

And its “real” incarnation is a gift shop/café, Fayre Earth:-

Fayre Earth

This “fruit shop” took me back:-

Falkland  in Fife

In the 2010s it’s another eatery, Campbell’s:-

Café/Eatery Falkland, Fife

I’m not quite sure what this was supposed to be. A B&B I think. Unfortunately people were hanging around:-

Falkland in Fife

It’s actually The Covenanter’s Hotel:-

Covenanter's Hotel, Falkland

Falkland War Memorial

Falkland is a village quite close to where I now live and at present houses one of those Fife libraries which are to be shut down.

The village’s dominating landmark is Falkland Palace the hunting lodge of Scotland’s Stuart Kings (and Queens.)

The village does have a relation to the perhaps more famous location in the South Atlantic as the Falkland Islands were named after Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount of Falkland. The Viscounts Falkland took their title from Falkland Palace.

Falkland’s War Memorial is relatively new, being erected only in the last year or so. The names are listed under First World War, Second World War, Other Conflicts. The word dziękuję, which I believe is Polish for “thank you”, is inscribed at the bottom, though there aren’t any Polish names on the memorial, as far as I can make out.

Falkland War Memorial

Reverse view. Arms of Falkland in the cartouche:-

Falkland War Memorial Reverse

The old memorial was a plaque which has been housed in various locations in the village.

The below is from the Scottish Military Research Group’s website where the plaque was said to be within the building occupied by “Smart Cookies” – a children’s play-group. I believe the plaque has now been moved to the Village Hall.

Edited to add:- The photo of the plaque I originally linked to is now inaccessible.

The Stuarts on BBC 2

I watched the first episode of The Stuarts on BBC 2 tonight.

It seemed, like on its first showing on BBC 2 Scotland earlier this year, an odd decision to start with James VI (or James I if you prefer.) There were no less than eight Stuart monarchs before him. In the year of the Scottish Independence Referendum that could be interpreted as a slight, another piece of English ignorance/dismissal of Scottish History.

That the first episode dwelt on James’s desire to unite the two kingdoms as Great Britain might also seem like a dark Better Together plot as the Guardian noted today.

Yet (some, though not all, of) James’s ancestors were spoken of in the programme so the ignorance/dismissal angle can on those grounds be discounted. And the differences between the two countries that then existed (of religion principally,) and in some respects still do, were not glossed over but I was left wondering who on Earth thought broadcasting this was a good idea now. It can only lead to accusations of bias

I had another such disjointed TV experience with the BBC recently. Janina Ramirez in her otherwise excellent Chivalry and Betrayal: The Hundred Years War – on BBC 4 last week, this (and next) but also a programme that has been screened before – kept on emphasising how the events she was describing played a large part in how the country “we” live in now came to be as it is. (Note also the “us” on Dr Ramirez’s web page about the programme.)

Yet that country was/is England. Ramirez seemed totally unaware that her programme was to be broadcast not on an England only channel but one which is UK-wide. Indeed that the country all the BBC’s principal audience lives in is not England, but the UK. [Except for powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies legislation at Westminster is for the whole of the UK. No English elected body oversees the equivalent powers to those devolved elsewhere (arguably there ought to be one;) it is the UK Parliament that performs that function.]

Two parts of the UK share none of the history Dr Ramirez was outlining. Wales (having been incorporated earlier) was involved directly in the Hundred Years War but neither Scotland nor Ireland were. Yet she spoke as if that circumstance didn’t exist.

This sort of thing does contribute to a feeling among many Scots (and I suspect Welsh and Northern Irish viewers too) that the BBC is a broadcaster with a mind for England only and too often forgets the three other constituent parts of the UK.

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