Queen Victoria Blogs on East Lothian (Six)!
An exercise in “just suppose….” (Part Six)
The old Difference Engine clanked into life again and revealed more of Queen Victoria’s account of her stay at Broxmouth House by Dunbar:
Monday August 26th, 1878, Mid-Morning, Broxmouth Park
Walked out at half past ten with Beatrice and the Duchess to the very fine kitchen garden, and to the splendid hothouse, where they have magnificent grapes. The peaches are also beautiful. From here we walked again along the burn side to the sea. The duchess’s pretty and very amiable collie[smaller than Noble, but with a very handsome head, Rex, going with us. We looked at the “ Lord Warden”, (Captain Freemantle),which arrived yesterday from Spithead, where we saw her in the Fleet. She had been guardship last year.
There is a pretty view from this walk to the sea over a small lake, with trees beyond which is Dunbar seen in the distance. Then I sat out in the garden and wrote. after that, when Beatrice returned from a walk near the sea with the Duchess, I went to look at the gravestone of Sir William Douglas, which is quite concealed amongst the bushes near the lawn. The Battle of Dunbar took place[September 3rd,1650] close to Broxmouth, and Sir Walter Scott says, Cromwell’s camp was in the park; but this is doubtful, as it is described as on the north of the Broxburn. Leslie’s camp was on the Doune [Doon] hill, conspicuous for miles around. When the Scottish army left their strong positions on the hill, they came to the low ground near the park wall. Cromwell is said to have stood on the hillock, where the tower in the grounds has been built, and the battle must have been fought close to the present park gate. I afterwards planted a deodar [Himalayan cedar] on the lawn in the presence of the Duke and Duchess.
Victoria was obviously stuck by the drama of Cromwell’s great victory at Dunbar, despite it being against the monarchy’s interest. Oliver’s Mount, Douglas’s Grave and the deodar planted by the Queen remain today focal points of interest in the grounds of Broxmouth House.
We’ve created this blog using Victoria’s own words (and punctuation), her own views and thoughts of her time at Broxmouth Park in 1878. More will follow. The extracts were selected from one of Victoria’s published Journals.