Plate XXX., Town of Falkland and Palace, pp.59-60.

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THE town of Falkland stands at the north-east base of the East Lomond hill, and consists of one principal street, and some smaller streets and lanes. Its appearance, taken in connection with the Palace and the Church, is, notwithstanding some modern buildings, antique, and its situation pleasant and agreeable. This town was originally a burgh-of-barony belonging to the Earls of Fife; but it was erected into a royal burgh in 1458, during the reign of James II. Although now little better than a country-village, Falkland must formerly have been a place of great resort, and of considerable importance. The frequent residence of the royal family at the Palace, during the reigns of the three last Jameses, brought the nobility and the wealthier of the lesser barons often to the town, and many of them had residences within it or in its immediate neighbourhood. A natural consequence of this was, it may easily be supposed, the superior refinement of the inhabitants; and Falkland breeding is, like the former grandeur of the town and Palace, now, alas! among the things that were.

Sergeant Spankie, who had long been eminent at the English bar, is a native of Falkland: his father having been minister of the parish. The name of Mrs. Brown, wife of the Rev. Andrew Brown, also minister here, has become well-known since the publication of ‘The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border,’ of Sir Walter Scott, and the ‘Popular Ballads and Songs’ of Robert Jamieson, A. M., in consequence of the acknowledgments by both these editors of the assistance they received from that lady’s great knowledge of the popular poetry of Scotland. Richard Cameron, who for a time acted a conspicuous part in the resistance to Episcopacy in the reign of Charles II., was born in Falkland, where his father was a merchant. He was originally himself an Episcopalian, and acted as schoolmaster of the parish, and precentor to the curate. He appears afterwards to have attended the preaching of the indulged Presbyterians, but ultimately to have joined the party who refused the indulgence, and sought the glens and the lonely muirs for their places of worship. He was licensed to preach by the ousted ministers, and soon became a leader of the high party. His preaching, though highly acceptable to the people who followed him, became most obnoxious to the Government; and, in 1680, a reward of 5,000 merks was offered for his apprehension. He was killed at Airdsmoss, in Ayrshire, the same year.

The lands of Falkland, including what now constitutes the burgh, belonged originally to the Crown; and were obtained from Malcolm IV. by Duncan, 6th Earl of Fife, the fifth in descent from Macduff, upon the occasion of his marriage with Ada, the niece of the king. In the charter conferring them, which is dated in 1160, the name is spelled ‘Falecklen.’ The lands continued, with the title and other estates, with the descendants of Duncan, until 1371, when Isobel, Countess of Fife, the last of the ancient race, conveyed the earldom and estates to Robert Stuart, Earl of Monteith, second son of Robert II., who thus became 16th Earl of Fife, and was afterwards created Duke of Albany. On the forfeiture of his son, Murdoch, in 1424, the lands of Falkland reverted to the Crown; and the town was shortly afterwards erected into a royal burgh. The court of the stewartry of Fife – which comprehended only the estates of the earldom – was also removed from the county-town of Cupar to Falkland, where they were afterwards held as long as the office of steward existed. In 1601, Sir David Murray of Gospetrie, 1st Viscount Stormont, obtained a charter of the Castle-stead of Falkland, with the office of ranger of the Lomonds, and forester of the woods; and he also held the office of captain or keeper of the palace, and steward of the stewartry of Fife. The lands called the Castle-stead, with the offices and other parts of the lands of Falkland, were afterwards acquired by John, 1st Duke of Athole, who was appointed one of his Majesty’s principal secretaries of state in 1696, and lord-high-commissioner to the Scottish parliament the following year. He was twice appointed to the office of keeper of the Privy seal, and was made an extraordinary lord of session in 1712. The lands and offices thus connected, afterwards, so far as not abolished in 1746, came into the possession of the family of Skene of Halyards, from whom they were purchased by the late J. Bruce, Esq., descended from the family of Bruce of Earshall, one of his Majesty’s printers for Scotland. At his death, he was succeeded in these estates by his niece, Miss Bruce, now the wife of O. Tyndale Bruce, Esq.

Falkland gives the title of Viscount to the English family of Carey; Sir Henry Carey being created Viscount Falkland by James VI., 1620.

The present view is taken from a rising ground a little to the south-east of the road which leads from the New inn to Auchtermuchty. In the centre of the picture is seen the south front or oldest portion of the Palace, and partly in front, and stretching towards the right, appears a portion of the town, with the steeple of the town-house on the extreme right.

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