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Scotland Historical Markers


St Margaret Chapel

St Margaret Chapel

St. Margaret’s Chapel, This Holy Place is the Oldest Surviving Building in Edinburgh

King David I built the chapel in about 1130, probably as part of a great stone tower. He dedicated it to his saintly mother, Margaret. The squared stones, distinctive windows and decorated arch reveal its medieval origins.

The chapel was one of the most sacred places in Scotland. The royal family often worshipped within its once brightly painted interior. Robert the Bruce spared the chapel when he destroyed the rest of the castle after its recapture from the English in 1314.

Margaret, a Saxon princess, fled to Scotland soon after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.In 1070, she married King Máel Coluim or Malcolm Canmore (who appears in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth) and became renowned for her piety and learning.

After her death in the castle in 1093, Margaret's body was smuggled past a besieging army to be entombed at Dunfermline. She was made Scotland's only royal saint by Pope Innocent IV in 1249. Mary Queen of Scots had a gilded shrine containing Margaret's head brought to the castle in 1566, to protect her during the birth of the future King James VI.

After the Protestant Reformation in the 1560s, the chapel was converted into a gunpowder store and its origins forgotten. It endured many sieges before being rediscovered in 1845.  Queen Victoria supported the chapel's restoration in 1851–2. Scottish saints and heroes, including St Margaret and William Wallace, are shown in the stained glass, installed in 1922.

Website: https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=126887

Related albums • See other albums

Scotland Historical Markers

Related locations

Scotland, Mid-Lothian, Edinburgh Castle

Related people

David I "The Saint" King of Scotland
Margaret Atheling Queen of Scotland
Mary I of Scotland

Posted By: Ray Gurganus

Updated: 10-5-2020