Old Photograph of Falkland Cross
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Old Photograph of Falkland Cross

A royal burgh lying in the northern foothills of the Lomond Hills, Falkland lies 8 miles (13 km) north of Glenrothes. Situated in a strategic location on a north-south route that opens out into the valley of the River Eden, it was the site of a castle built by Macduff, the Thane of Fife. The castle was destroyed by the English in 1337, although subsequently rebuilt. Robert Stewart (later Duke of Albany) purchased the property in the 14th Century. In 1402, Stewart had his nephew, David, Duke of Rothesay and heir to King Robert III, imprisoned in the castle and starved to death.

In 1458, Falkland received its royal charter. Between 1501 and 1541 a palace was built by James IV and James V who came to hunt deer and wild boar in the surrounding forests. Royal patronage of Falkland was not sustained after the Union of the Crowns (1603), although Charles II first constituted the Scots Guards here in 1650, but its prosperity continued as a weaving town.

In the early 1800s much of the town was improved by the Tyndall-Bruce family which inherited the Falkland Estate and in 1970 one of the first Conservation Areas in Scotland was established in Falkland whose palace and houses are now a major tourist attraction. St John's Works were constructed in 1860 to manufacture linen. Between 1919 and 1963 the same factory became a centre of linoleum production, and finally Smith Anderson made paper bags on the site but moved to Kirkcaldy in 2011, effectively ending any form of manufacturing in the village, which now relies on tourism as its principal industry.

American country singer Johnny Cash (1932- 2003) recorded segments of his 1981 Christmas Special around Falkland, which was also repeatedly used to represent Inverness in the American time-travel fantasy Outlander (2014).

The village benefits from a 9-hole golf course.

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