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.
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.
Related albums • See other albumsScotland Historical Markers
Related locationsScotland, Mid-Lothian, Edinburgh Castle
Related peopleDavid I "The Saint" King of Scotland
Margaret Atheling Queen of Scotland
Mary I of Scotland