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The Royal Chapel Alter

The collegiate chapel established by James IV in 1501 lay between the King's Old Building and the Great Hall, but was further south than the present building. This was the chapel in which Queen Mary was crowned in 1543. However, when James VI's first son, Prince Henry was born in 1594, it was decided to rebuild the chapel as a suitable venue for the royal christening.

The new building was erected within a year, north of the old site to improve access to the hall. There was some doubt if the chapel, which John Colville called the "great temple of Solomon," could be finished in time. The chapel, with its Italianate arched windows, was the work of the Royal Master of Works William Schaw.

The interior was decorated by the painter Valentine Jenkin prior to the visit of Charles I in 1633. The chapel too was later modified for military use, housing a dining room. The wall paintings were rediscovered in the 1930s, and restoration began after the Second World War.

This elegant chapel was built in just seven months on the orders of James VI who wanted somewhere suitable for the baptism of his son and heir Prince Henry. Dating from 1593-4 it was one of the first Protestant kirks in Scotland and also the last royal building at the castle.

In 1603 the Union of the Crowns saw James head south to rule from England and in 1625 he was succeeded by his surviving younger son Charles I. Visitors today can see a handsome frieze which was painted by Valentine Jenkin in 1628 in the expectation of a coronation visit to Scotland by the new king

Ref: DP771

Gallery: Stirling Castle

The Royal Chapel Alter


Country: Scotland

United Kingdom.


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