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Hello English language learners and friends of Blue Noun English Language School in Scotland! Today, we learn English with Scottish history as today is Scotland’s national day: Saint Andrews Day! 

To celebrate I’ll be sharing images from a recent visit to Scone Palace Perthshire, as well as telling you a bit about the legendary Stone of Destiny.

But first, an introduction to why Saint Andrew is our patron saint.

“Having Saint Andrew as Scotland’s patron saint gave the country several advantages: because he was the brother of Saint Peter, founder of the Church, the Scots were able to appeal to the Pope in 1320 (The Declaration of Arbroath) for protection against the attempts of English kings to conquer the Scots.”

Scotland.org

We’re introducing you to Scone Palace as it’s the site of Scottish coronations and long-time home to one particular stone,  said to hold the right for a true monarch to reign over Scotland.  

Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
Replica Stone in front of Scone Palace Abbey, 2020

The town of Scone is the ancient crowning-place of Scottish Kings and its abbey was home to the Stone of Destiny, – before the stone’s theft in the 13th century.

Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
 Scone Palace, 2020

About Scotland’s Stone of Destiny & the Scottish Independence Movement.

 
As you will probably be aware, Scotland is currently part of the United Kingdom but we have a devolved government and a healthy number of the population wishing for Scotland to be an independent country – an increasing number since the UK’s 2016 BREXIT vote determined that Scotland will leave the EU in one month’s time – despite nationally voting to remain.
 
No matter what your opinion of an independent Scotland in the future, the past history of Scotland included terrible repression, persecution and displacement of its people by English monarchs and governments (and indeed by certain Scottish nobility and landowners: medieval feudal systems were cruel). Throughout, the importance of the Stone of Destiny as the symbol of Scottish sovereignty cannot be overstated.
 
In 1296 it was seized by England’s King Edward I and fitted into the base of a specially made coronation chair, which was used in the coronation of subsequent English and British monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth II.
 
It was believed that no king had the right to reign as King of Scots unless he had been crowned at Scone (pronounced ‘Scoon’) upon the Stone of Scone. By seating himself upon the stone, Edward I sought to claim his status as the “Lord Paramount” of Scotland, with the right to oversee its King.
 
On Christmas Day 1950, a group of four Scottish students removed the stone from Westminster Abbey for return to Scotland. During the removal process, the stone broke into two pieces. The greater part of the stone was buried in a field in Kent, and over a period of months, this part and the smaller part were brought to Scotland. The stone was repaired and finally left on the altar stone of  Arboroath Abbey, under a Scottish flag.
 
In just over 4 months, the stone was once more returned to Westminster. In 1996, in response to campaigns, Prime Minister John Major announced the stone should return to Scotland when not in use for coronations. It currently resides in the Crown Room in Edinburgh Castle, although there is a national debate over whether it should be returned to Perthshire, within a purpose build museum in Perth’s town Centre.
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
 Scone Palace grounds, 2020

Is this all true?

 
If you are Scottish and reading this, you may well have said to yourself ‘no they didnae,’ and ‘no it wisnae,’ (Scots for no they didn’t and no it wasn’t). You may even be chuckling to yourself with some insider knowledge about where the actual artefact lies (many people claim to have an idea).
 
Rumours and legends abound around this official story of the stone.
 
In the first place, people argue that it was highly unlikely that the original stone was seized by Edward I. Due to the hostility of the times, it was likely secreted away for safekeeping well before the theft.
 
Secondly, the ‘broken’ stone handed over by the students could have been an excuse to keep the stone hidden for a few months while an exact copy was made. Is it really likely that 4 students with a car would have broken a 153kg solid bit of stone, while a pillaging medieval army did not?
 
Finally, the stone has been sitting around in staterooms and abbeys for hundreds of years, the opportunities to swap one stone for another has been huge and considering its importance to Scottish people, it could have happened several times over. I have even heard a story of it being swapped after its return to Scotland in 1996.
 
The questions seem to be, does any living person know of where the original stone is? Or does any book or map tell this? And how would we know if we ever find the original stone.

A visit around the grounds of Scone Palace…

 
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day

Learn English and Scottish History: This is ‘Land of the Picts’

Fifteen hundred years ago this land was the capital of the Picts.

 

In the intervening centuries, it has been the seat of parliaments and the crowning place of the Kings of Scots – including Macbeth and Robert The Bruce.
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
Replica Stone in front of Scone Palace Abbey, 2020

The ‘Stone of Scone’

Better known as the Stone of Destiny and (in England) the Coronation Stone and Jacob’s Pillow Stone (in the Book of Genesis the Israelite patriarch Jacob had a vision in his sleep and consecrated the stone he was using as a pillow to God).
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
There’s a fake sword in the stone within the grounds of Scone Palace.
Here’s Kenny trying his luck at being the god-given leader of the land. 

Learn English and Scottish History with a visit to Scone Palace.

We quite often take language learners with us on our English language immersion programme to Scone Palace. The grounds are a fantastic family & tourist visit, with an ancient graveyard and Pictish monument, Highland cows and Kitchen Garden.
 
You can book for a guided tour of the stately interior (ground floor) too, and see great staterooms, a four-poster bed (where the gardener’s cats liked to sleep) and a fine collection of paintings, sculpture and objets d’art. (No photography allowed).

Be AMAZED!

Don’t miss out on the Murray Star Maze, with a beautiful bronze fountain of the water nymph Arethusa. The maze is planted up with a mixture of copper and green beech, designed to resemble the Earl of Mansfield’s family tartan (but not in Winter!), and is in the shape of a five-pointed star which is part the Family’s emblem.
 
Find out more here
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day
Scone Palace’s Murray Star Maze

And Happy Saint Andrew’s Day to the world!

Did you know this feast day is also celebrated as a national holiday in Romania (hello Romania!) and that Saint Andrew is also the Patron Saint of Cyprus, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, San Andres Island (Columbia) and Tenerife. Enjoy your celebrations!

 

Live language learning!
Learn English and Scottish History Our Language School Scotland celebrates St Andrew’s Day

We hope you’ve enjoyed our visit to a remarkable historical place in our local region – and have learned a bit of English with Scottish history. We love Scone Palace: it’s why we feature it on our English language immersion programme.

We cover a broad range of topics in our language school blogs – some a lighthearted look at Scotland, others an in-depth look at art and culture. There’s something for everyone.

If you’ve liked this Scottish history blog, you might want to read another :

Our Language School Burns Night | Three Craws & a Wistful Dram

 

Blue Noun English Language Challenge

Your Blue Noun English Language Challenge is:

Tell us about an object invested with cultural meaning.

In a way that is the definition of most art objects!

Pick something which was not made as an artwork (in a contemporary sense); but which is important to your culture (or nation) for its cultural, political or religious symbolism. 

Tell us about it in the comments below. Write as much as you like, and if you would like us to check &  correct your English, write CP  (correct please) at the end.

Live language learning!

 

Tell us about an object invested with cultural meaning

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