Celebrating the history of Falkland, Fife

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Falkland Palace and the National Trust for Scotland

The third Marquess of Bute purchased the Falkland Estate, including the heritable keepership of Falkland Palace, in 1887; at the Marquess's death in 1900 it passed to his second son, Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart, who died in action in 1915. Lord Ninian's son, Michael Crichton-Stuart, lived at the Palace with his family for some years, but in 1952 he appointed the National Trust for Scotland as Deputy (or Depute) Keeper, giving the NTS a substantial endowment in return for which they became responsible for maintaining the Palace and its garden. He retained the right to live in the Keeper's Apartments in the Palace, as his son Ninian still does.

Below is the 1952 document that authorised the NTS's appointment as Deputy Keeper.

I Michael Duncan David Crichton-Stuart of Falkland, M.C., Baron of Myres, Nuthill and Balmblae in the County of Fife, Heritable Constable, Captain and Keeper of Her Majesty’s Palace of Falkland, Stewart of Fife, Keeper of the Royal Park of Falkland, Ranger of the Lomonds and Forester of Falkland (in so far as the said offices of Constabulary and Stewartry are not now abolished by law), Heritable Macer and Serjeant-at-Arms with right and privilege to nominate and present one of the four ordinary Macers before the Lords of Council and Session, Knight of the Sovereign and Military order of Malta, Officer of the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem, Justice of the Peace for the County of Fife, Member of the Queen’s Body Guard for Scotland (Royal Company of Archers), Major late Scots Guards, heritable proprietor of the subjects hereinafter disponed, Considering that I am desirous that such part of my duties as relates to the preservation of Her Majesty’s Palace of Falkland should be performed in all time coming by a Depute in whom I have sufficient confidence, and that I am in sympathy with the purposes and aims of The National Trust for Scotland for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, incorporated by The National Trust for Scotland Order Confirmation Act, 1935, and am well satisfied of their qualifications for carrying out the said duties as Deputes under me and my successors, principal and heritable Keepers of the said Palace, and now seeing that I have given to the said National Trust for Scotland a sufficient sum of money for the maintenance of that part of my said office of Keeper of the Palace of Falkland hereby subinfeudated, as also for the upholding and executing of the obligations ad factum præstandum hereby (as hereinafter set forth) attached to the heritable subjects hereinafter disponed, Do hereby in feu farm dispone to and in favour of The National Trust for Scotland for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty aforesaid inalienably, whom failing to the persons successively thereafter who shall be in right to the heritable office of Principal Keeper of the Palace of Falkland (the said disponees as proprietors of the said subjects being hereinafter referred to as “the feuars”) heritably and irredeemably, but with and under the reservations, burdens, conditions and others after specified, All and Whole those parts and portions of the policies and gardens of the Palace of Falkland, including the walls surrounding the same and the solum thereof, as are delineated and coloured pink on plan A annexed and subscribed as relative hereto, being part of the Estate of Falkland in the County of Fife at more length described in the Disposition by the Trustees of my grandfather The Most Honourable John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, Marquess of Bute, in favour of my father The Honourable Ninian Edward Crichton-Stuart commonly called Lord Ninian Edward Crichton-Stuart of Falkland in liferent and the heirs male of his body whom failing the other heirs therein mentioned in fee, dated 6th and 7th both days of March and recorded in inter alia the Division of the General Register of Sasines applicable to the County of Fife on the 7th day of December, all in the year 1914, together with the heritable sole Deputy Keeping of the Palace of Falkland, with the whole right and duty of upholding the Palace free of wind and water (which obligations are hereby constituted a real burden upon, and affecting the subjects and others herein disponed) and therefore of appointing and maintaining a resident guardian there, and with all rights to regulate entry to the Palace and policies in so far as I possess them, But always with and under the burdens, reservations, conditions, provisions, restrictions and limitations so far as still subsisting and applicable specified in the title deeds of the subjects hereby disponed : Reserving always to me the said Michael Duncan David Crichton-Stuart of Falkland and my heirs and successors as superiors of the subjects hereby disponed the

The framed handwritten original of this document was at one time on display in the Palace. It is quoted in the Palace guide book by Sir Iain Moncreiffe (formerly Falkland Pursuivant-Extraordinary and one of those listed above as witnessing Major Michael's signature).