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/ King's Fountain , Linlithgow Palace
The oldest surviving fountain in Britain - King's Fountain , Linlithgow Palace - has been restored to its former glory following a five year restoration project by Historic Scotland. The Kings's Fountain in the quadrangle of Linlithgow Palace was commissioned by James V in 1537. Picture gallery of the King's Fountain
The restored fountain was unveiled,on 10 August 2005, by Patricia Ferguson, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport. "This marvellous achievement means that present and future generations can enjoy and learn from this unique historic feature. "The fountain's outstanding reinstatement also enhances Linlithgow Palace as one of our leading visitor attractions."
In celebration of the launch, the fountain's water flow will be switched on. For around the last 100 years the ruinous state of the fountain has prevented water flowing through the structure. In 1633 the fountain flowed for a visit by Charles I and it is said that it flowed with wine when Bonnie Prince Charlie visited the Palace in 1745.
Following an assessment of the cultural significance and condition of the fountain in 2000, Historic Scotland commenced an ambitious project to rectify centuries of damage and decay to its structure. An essential part of the repair work involved the removal of 1930s concrete and iron armature repairs. Each of the 158 carved or moulded stones from the fountain was surveyed, photographed and the condition determined. As much as possible of the original material was retained and reinstated during the conservation work.
Linlithgow Palace Fountain, Scotland
Many of the new stones for the fountain were carved by Historic Scotland stonemasons at a stone carving facility based at nearby Blackness Castle. Others were produced by Cliveden Conservation Workshop of Bath. The reassembling of the five metre high fountain included the replacement of three tiered basins along with a half-tonne crown which sits at the top of the fountain. Every detail has been authentically restored so that the fountain now looks as impressive as in the days of James V when it was first built. It is also now in full working order, although periods of operation will be limited in order to minimize future erosion of the stone. The restoration project is a positive development in the fountain's eventful life. The first documentary evidence of the fountain appeared in 1542 in a bill to the royal household for repairs. It escaped damage when the North Range of the Palace collapsed in 1607 and was repaired before Charles I's visit in 1633. The fountain was vandalised in the late 1630s and by the early 18th century it was neglected. When the Palace burnt down in 1746, the fountain also seems to have suffered perhaps because it was so clearly a symbol of Stewart kingship.
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Where is it? Linlithgow Palace is 20 miles east of Edinburgh . Open all year round .
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