Historic Scotland, who count Stirling Castle as one of the many properties they oversee, have just released some fascinating details of life below stairs in Stirling Castle. Their £12 million refurbishment of the ancient royal palace has unearthed previously hidden details of eating habits of the time, which reveal an interesting array of palace guests and visitors.
Whilst trawling through court records, historian John Harrison has found evidence of a Moorish presence in the environs of Stirling dating back to the 16th century – a time when the palace was overseen by Mary Queen of Scot’s mother, Mary de Guise. This most cosmopolitan of residences granted a daily loaf to the Morys – or Moors – who Mr Harrison believes were probably either Africans or Arabs originating from North Africa.
But whilst Mary ensured their daily loaf, she was never in danger of suggesting, as a later French Queen did, that they “eat cake”. The records show that the “gateaux” was kept firmly in the larder for posh guests, as only they justified the expense of sugar.
Find out more about the under-the-stairs life at Stirling by visiting Historic Scotland’s website.