The Four Marys

Tel: 01506 842171


The Four Marys was built around 1500 originally as a dwelling house, and the pub itself was named after the four Ladys-in-waiting of Mary Queen of Scots who was born at nearby Linlithgow Palace. Many important Scottish families lived in this part of town thanks to its proximity to Linlithgow Palace and once inside the pub you can see an archway which supposedly went down to a tunnel which supposedly went under the High Street to the cross before forking in two, one way to the Palace and the other to the west port gates. The building has seen several uses over the years, having once been run as a chemists shop by the Waldie Family. The most famous member of the Family was a chemist David Waldie. David was born on the premises in 1813 and was the initial exponent of the anaesthetic properties of chloroform in 1847, recognised for his achievement on a plaque on the outside of the Four Marys. Regrettably this is one of the few examples of recognition Waldie received for his findings, for a young Dr James Simpson was to take the credit instead having taken Waldies advice to try Chloric ether in his experiments.

In time the Waldies sold the premises to the Spence family who retained the back of the building as a chemists shop, changing the front into a newsagents, developing part of the house into a printers. They kept all three businesses going for around 40 years before selling the property to the Misses Coupar who also bought number 65 and 63 High Street, living at number 63 until their death in 1985.
The Coupars turned the front of the building into the Charlotte Tearooms, with the first floor being turned into a kitchen and the third floor being rented out for holiday makers.

Tunnel entrance

In 1978 the premises was sold to Bill McMillan who lived on the third floor and applied for a licence to sell alcohol, and named the public house The Four Marys. Four years later the pub was sold to the Scott family who developed the business to a different level by being the first pub in Linlithgow to offer real ale, and in 1997 the Four Marys was purchased by Belhaven who have carefully looked after the heritage of this unique business. to it with many mementos of the ill fated Mary, Queen of Scots who was born at nearby Linlithgow Palace. Pictures, written records and a piece of bed curtain said to be hers all hang on the walls. Furniture too reflects the heritage of the building, with mahogany seats, reclaimed antique tables and two attractive display cabinets containing a selection of bottled beers from down the years.