Scone has a long history having been a royal residence before 843. The Stone of Scone was brought here in about 838 and removed by Edward I in 1296. Early in the 12th century the monastery of Culdees was founded on the site and, in the late 16th century, it was sacked and burnt by followers of John Knox. Scone continued as a royal residence until, in 1604, James VI(I) gave the ruins and the estate to one of his closest aides, Sir David Murray, who was also created the 1st Lord Stormont. Today, the ancient gateway of the Abbey, the Moot Hill mound, various walls and the enclosed burial ground still remain as evidence of this period. In the late 19th century, several vast trees were thought to have survived from this time, including a 16th century sycamore planted by Mary, Queen of Scots, and an enormous wild cherry thought to have been part of the monastery orchard. Both of these trees have now gone.
In 1651, during the Civil War, Charles II was crowned at Scone. The Murrays were always staunch Jacobites and vigorously opposed the Treaty of Union. In 1715 and 1745, the Stuart Princes stayed at Scone and both their hosts, the 5th and 6th Viscounts Stormont, were imprisoned for receiving them. The family fortunes changed for the better, when the 6th Viscount's brother, William, became, as the guide quotes, 'the greatest lawyer of all time'. He was created Earl of Mansfield in Nottingham and Earl of Mansfield in Middlesex. His nephew David, eldest son of William's eldest brother, inherited the Middlesex title. David's wife inherited the Nottingham title. She in turn outlived their eldest son, who had inherited his father's title, and their grandson inherited both titles and became the 4th and 3rd Earl of Mansfield and Mansfield.
In the late 18th century the 2nd Earl of Mansfield was a brilliant diplomat and politician and, during one of his absences abroad, he commissioned Thomas White Snr 'to embellish the estate, but (according to Thomas Hunter in 1883) his idea of 'embellishment was closely allied to Vandalism, as he executed his commission by cutting down most of the old oak on the property'. Hunter also noted that there were no oak trees left when he visited the estate, some 70 years later. The 2nd Earl started planting to replace those trees and his son, David, the 3rd Earl of Mansfield, is said to have planted over 2,863,000 trees. His work is described in detail in an article published in the Gardeners' Chronicle in 1866.
In 1803 the 3rd Earl commissioned William Atkinson to design and build a new gothic palace. In about 1804, John Claudius Loudon prepared two plans for laying out the park and gardens and he proposed moving the village of old Scone as well as moving the main road, now the A93. The village was removed to New Scone but the road was never diverted through the new village. The original road to the Old Palace ran through the park and entered the Palace gates near to the graveyard. This had been removed by the 19th century.
Comparison of the plans with the 1864 OS plan suggests that some of Loudon's ideas were carried out. The 1866 Gardeners' Chronicle article attributes many of the landscape buildings to Atkinson including the bridges over the drive, the kitchen garden and its conservatories. Colvin notes that one of Atkinson's 'favourite pursuits was horticulture and planting on a large scale' and with this interest it is probable that Atkinson influenced the design of the gardens and park to some extent (A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects). The 1866 article attributes the laying out of the gardens and park to the superintendent, Mr Beattie, who was acknowledged as an 'eminent planter, cultivator, and landscape gardener'. He worked at Scone between 1803 and 1837 and is said to have written about his interest in the Horticultural Societies Journals.
In 1842 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert paid a visit to Scone. A new drive was constructed and the gardens smartened up for this special occasion. A magnificent avenue of copper beech was also planted on the road north to Stormontfield. Throughout the 19th century, ornamental trees, especially conifers, were extensively planted and the pinetum was laid out in 1848. Some of the earliest Douglas fir were raised from seed sent by David Douglas whose father was head stonemason at Scone. Many of the trees and shrubs were mentioned in several contemporary articles and the fruit, flowers and vegetables growing in the kitchen garden were also described in detail.
Several changes took place after the 3rd edition OS plan, dated c.1920, and the Perth Hunt Racecourse was added in the north-west corner of the park. In the 1960s a new plantation was also added in Scone park to the west of the Palace, to screen the new developments of Perth. Also in the 1960s, the Palace and Gardens were opened to the public. They have since been enjoyed by a considerable number of people.