Mobile menu
Activity / challenge

Junior Warden Challenge 2 : Holyrood Abbey

Illustration of Palace wardens

Holly and Rudy ©


If you are joining us for the first time – hello! We’re Holly and Rudy. We are wardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and we’d like you to take part in our Junior Warden Challenge. 

The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh is Her Majesty The Queen’s Official Residence in Scotland, and it has been a royal home for more than 500 years.

In the last challenge week we found out about Mary, Queen of Scots. This time we are going even further back in time – nearly 900 years, in fact! 


In 1128, long before the Palace existed, an abbey was built on the site. If you visit the Palace today you can also see the ruins of the Abbey. Today we are going to find out about some of the things that happened there.

Let’s start with the name. 

How did the Abbey, and later the Palace, get the name of Holyrood? Press the play button to hear the tale.


Illustration of Holyrood Abbey


King David was the first of many royals linked to the Abbey. 

The most famous King of Scotland, Robert the Bruce, held a meeting of parliament and signed a famous peace treaty with England there.

In 1503 the Scottish and English royal families were connected when Henry VIII’s sister, Margaret Tudor, married James IV of Scotland in the Abbey.

Mary, Queen of Scots’ father, James V, is buried there.

The Queen’s granddaughter, Zara Phillips, celebrated her wedding at the Palace, and the wedding photographs were taken in the Abbey.


The Abbey was not just a royal church, but also home for Augustinian Canons (monks) who lived and worshipped there for hundreds of years. They served God by doing good work in the community, such as taking care of sick people. They even had a hospital in the Abbey grounds.

Medieval medicines were very different from treatments today. The monks grew herbs, fruit and plants in the Abbey gardens, which they made into remedies for the sick.

Challenge 1: Guess the remedy

Photograph of Holyrood Abbey


Can you guess which flower, fruit or herb was used to help with the following problems? 


Sunburn, stings and insect bites

I’m a summer fruit that tastes good with cream.

What am I?



I am a beautiful flower, traditionally thought of as a symbol of love.

What am I?


Stomach pain and sickness

I am a plant with green leaves, and I taste like toothpaste.

What am I?



Remember – these medicines were used hundreds of years ago. Please don’t try using them yourself!

Find out if you were right on the next challenge!

Challenge 2: Make a stained-glass window

Stained-glass windows transformed buildings like Holyrood Abbey into a kaleidoscope of colour and light. Choose between colouring in or making a stained-glass window with foil and paint.

Colour in a stained-glass window

Make a stained-glass window with foil

Illustration of Palace warden

Rudy ©

We hope you enjoyed finding out about Holyrood Abbey.

Before we go we need to reveal the answer to the last challenge's mystery object.

I am made from dried rushes (a bit like tough grass)

I am strong and can be walked over

I helped make the Palace feel warm

Lavender was sometimes sprinkled on me to make the rooms smell nice

What am I?


Did you guess? It was rush matting.  It was used 450 years ago before carpets were been invented!

If this is the last challenge that you have wanted to complete ask your teacher, parent or carer to email us at [email protected] and we will send you your Junior Warden Challenge certificate!