St Margaret's Boat
St Margaret’s Boat

Here in Queensferry Queen Margaret’s special connection with the town has been celebrated in many ways, for instance, an exhibition at Queensferry Museum produced by the Queensferry History group, the installation of a commemorative plaque at the Binks, and various projects throughout the years at the 5 schools in Queensferry and Dalmeny.

 

Queen Margaret was born in Hungary in about 1046. She was the daughter of Prince Edward who was exiled from England by King Canute. Edward eventually made his home in Hungary after he married Agatha, who was probably a German Princess.

Prince Edward hoped to succeed to the English crown. In 1057 he took his family to England to the court of his childless uncle. ‘Edward the Confessor’. Shortly after his return to England, Prince Edward died.

William the Conqueror became King after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Many English people in the Midlands and North would have preferred Queen Margaret’s brother, Edgar, as King. It therefore became unsafe for Margaret and her family to remain, so they fled the English Court. Their ship appears to have been blown off course. Legend has it they arrived at a place called Margaret’s Hope, on the Fife side of the Firth of Forth.

They were given refuge by King Malcolm III (Canmore) of Scotland. Although she had hoped to follow the religious life by entering a convent , in about 1070 Margaret was persuaded by Malcolm to marry him.

Queen Margaret was to become known for her piety and good deeds. She is said to have dispensed poor relief to people in need and to have assisted in the reform of the Celtic Church. Margaret crossed the Firth of Forth many times, and encouraged pilgrims to use the ferry crossing to travel to the shrine of St Andrew in Fife. Queensferry (The Queen’s Ferry) became so named in her honour.

In 1249, Margaret was made a saint by Pope Innocent IV, and in 1673 Pope Clement proclaimed her patron saint of Scotland.

An article published in the 1993 Ferry Fair Programme by Denice Brace – Queensferry Museum