Historic Scottish fountain flows again

A 469-year-old fountain believed to have run with wine for Scotland's Bonnie Prince Charlie is being cranked up again.

Linlithgow Fountain, built in the courtyard of Linlithgow Palace by King James V in 1538, has been renovated to reverse the damage by harsh chemicals used in the 1930s to kill algae. The Historic Scotland organization, which undertook the restoration, said water will flow through the fountain each Sunday from July 1 to Aug. 26.

For those whose history is a bit fuzzy, Bonnie Prince Charlie was the icon of 18th-century Jacobites who wanted to put him on the throne of Scotland, freeing the nation from the shackles of the ruling English crown. After all, they reasoned, he was a descendant of the Stuarts, a clan descended from the almost mythical Scottish hero Robert the Bruce. And the English were ... well, they were the hated English.

The movement had a few problems. For one, Charles Edward Stuart Louis John Casimir Silvester Maria Stuart, born in Rome in 1720, was not much of a hands-on guy as uprisings go. He spent only 12 months of his 68 years in Scotland, living a big chunk of the final 20 in Rome as the Duke of Albany. For another, any overt sign of allegiance to him could be punishable by death. Quite a deterrent.

As the BBC describes the fountain, "The Renaissance era structure is shaped like a huge crown. The water runs into the first of three tiers of stone bowls, then flows out of eight spouts set into carved figures of mythical beasts, then out of the second bowl through spouts from carved human heads. ... It is an opportunity to get a little closer to what the palace would have been like when it was a favourite residence of Scottish kings and queens. It is said to have famously run with wine to celebrate the arrival of Bonnie Prince Charlie in Linlithgow in 1745."

The fountain was built to demonstrate the importance of the Scottish monarchy, and to prove to Henry VIII that Scotland's young king was as grand and powerful as any of the crowned heads of Europe. It is nearly a century older than the famous "Diana" fountain at Bolsover Castle in South Yorkshire, which depicts the goddess of hunting.


Linlithgow Palace
Historic Scotland
The cleaner of the Scottish crown

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