LINLITHGOW, a royal, municipal and police burgh and county town of Linlithgowshire, Scotland. Pop. (1901) 4279. It lies in a valley on the south side of a loch, 1 7 J m. W. of Edinburgh by the . North British railway. It long preserved an antique and picturesque appearance, with gardens running down to the lake, or climbing the lower slopes of the rising ground, but in the 1pth century much of it was rebuilt. About 4 m. S. by W. lies the old village of Torphichen (pop. 540), where the Knights of St John of Jerusalem had their chief Scottish preceptory. The parish kirk is built on the site of the nave of the church of the establishment, but the ruins of the transept and of part of the choir still exist. Linlithgow belongs to the Falkirk district group of parliamentary burghs with Falkirk, Airdrie, Hamilton and Lanark. The industries include shoe-making, tanning and currying, manufactures of paper, glue and soap, and distilling. An old tower-like structure near the railway station is traditionally regarded as a mansion of the Knights Templar. Other public buildings are the first town house (erected in 1668 and restored in 1848 after a fire) ; the town hall, built in 1888; the county buildings and the burgh school, dating from the pre-Reformation period. There are some fine fountains. The Cross Well in front of the town house, a striking piece of grotesque work carved in stone, originally built in the reign of James V., was rebuilt in 1807. Another fountain is surmounted by the figure of St Michael, the patron-saint of the burgh. Linlithgow Palace is perhaps the finest ruin of its kind in Scotland. Heavy but effective, the sombre walls rise above the green knolls of the promontory which divides the lake into two nearly equal portions. In plan it is almost square (168 ft. by 174 ft.), enclosing a court (91 ft. by 88 ft.), in the centre of which stands the ruined fountain of which an exquisite copy was erected in front of Holyrood Palace by the Prince Consort. At each corner there is a tower with an internal spiral staircase, that of the north-west angle being crowned by a little octagonal turret known as " Queen Margaret's Bower," from the tradition that it was there that the consort of James IV. watched and waited for his return from Flodden. The west side, whose massive masonry, hardly broken by a single window, is supposed to date in part from the time of James III., who later took refuge in one of its vaults from his disloyal nobles; but the larger part of the south and east side belongs to the period of James V., about 1535; and the north side was rebuilt in 1619-1620 by James VI. Of James V.'s portion, architecturally the richest, the main apartments are the Lyon chamber or parliament hall and the chapel royal. The grand entrance, approached by a drawbridge, was on the east side; above the gateway are still some weatherworn remains of rich allegorical designs. The palace was reduced to ruins by General Hawley's dragoons, who set fire to it in 1746. Government grants have stayed further dilapidation. A few yards to the south of the palace is the church of St Michael, a Gothic (Scottish Decorated) building (180 ft. long internally excluding the apse, by 62 ft. in breadth excluding the transepts), probably founded by David I. in 1 242, but mainly built by George Crichton, bishop of Dunkeld (1528-1536). The central west front steeple was till 1821 topped by a crown like that of St Giles', Edinburgh. The chief features of the church are the embattled and pinnacled tower, with the fine doorway below, the nave, the north porch and the flamboyant window in the south transept. The church contains some fine stained glass, including a window to the memory of Sir Charles Wyville Thomson (1830- 1882), the naturalist, who was born in the parish.
Linlithgow (wrongly identified with the Roman Lindum) was made a royal burgh by David I. Edward I. encamped here the night before the battle f Falkirk (1298), wintered here in 1301, and next year built " a pele [castle] mekill and strong," which in 1313 was captured by the Scots through the assistance of William Bunnock, or Binning, and his hay-cart. In 1369 the customs of Linlithgow yielded more than those of any other town in Scotland, except Edinburgh; and the burgh was taken with Lanark to supply the place of Berwick and Roxburgh in the court of the Four Burghs (1368). Robert II. granted it a charter of immunities in 1384. The palace became a favourite residence of the kings of Scotland, and often formed part of the marriage settlement of their consorts (Mary of Guelders, 1449; Margaret of Denmark, 1468; Margaret of England, 1503). James V. was born within its walls in 1512, and his daughter Mary on the 7th of December 1542. In 1570 the Regent Moray was assassinated in the High Street by James Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh. The university of Edinburgh took refuge at Linlithgow from the plague in 1645-1646; in the same year the national parliament, which had often sat in the palace, was held there for the last time. In 1661 the Covenant was publicly burned here, and in 1745 Prince Charles Edward passed through the town. In 1859 the burgh was deprived by the House of Lords of its claim to levy bridge toll and custom from the railway company.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)