Puerta del castillo de Stirling

Puerta del castillo de Stirling


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Sosteniendo la llave de Escocia

Únase a nosotros este fin de semana mientras viajamos en el tiempo hasta 1651 y experimentamos la vida bajo asedio, reviviendo la última vez que el castillo de Stirling cayó ante un enemigo.

Se ha dicho a lo largo de los siglos que “tener Stirling era tener la llave de Escocia”. Este fin de semana (24 y 25 de septiembre) los visitantes del Castillo de Stirling tendrán la oportunidad de descubrir cuán cierto es esto cuando viajamos en el tiempo hasta 1651 y experimentamos la vida bajo asedio, reviviendo la última vez que el Castillo de Stirling cayó ante un enemigo.

Un ejército parlamentario inglés dirigido por Oliver Cromwell invadió después de la coronación escocesa de Carlos II. Cromwell envió un destacamento para sitiar el castillo de Stirling. Los cañones pesados ​​de la ciudad bombardearon el castillo. El general de división George Monck, que dirigía a los ingleses, informó que los escoceses se rindieron un día después del ataque.

El aire chillaba con balas de cañón y balas de mosquete. Un arma se disparó al castillo desde la aguja de la Iglesia del Santo Rude en el lado más alejado del cementerio. De hecho, las cicatrices de la batalla todavía son visibles hoy en día: en el antepuesto del castillo, la puerta de entrada y los restos de las torres destruidas. La aguja de la iglesia está igualmente picada. El ataque mostró cuán obsoletas se habían vuelto las defensas medievales del castillo frente a la artillería moderna.

A la guarnición escocesa se le permitió marchar con sus armas antes de que entraran los ingleses.

En un extraño giro del destino, los registros de Escocia (en realidad, los archivos nacionales) se habían trasladado al castillo ante la invasión inglesa y estaban entre el botín que los soldados de Monck tomaron y enviaron a Londres. Irónicamente, Monck ayudó a Carlos II a recuperar el trono británico en 1660. Poco después, el rey ordenó que se devolvieran los archivos, pero uno de los barcos que llevaban los registros a casa se hundió en una tormenta. Gran parte de la herencia escrita de Escocia se perdió con ella.

Los visitantes se sumergirán en todo el drama, incluido el fuego de cañones y mosquetes, demostraciones de armamento, simulacros y desfiles. También habrá la oportunidad de aprender sobre la historia del período y escuchar la historia del asedio.

Habrá un desfile de moda del siglo XVII sobre el vestido de la época y cómo evolucionó. Conozca a los defensores y observe al cirujano mientras intenta mantener viva a la gente y los niños pueden hacer escarapelas en nuestra actividad artesanal.

¡Únase a nosotros este fin de semana para Holding the Key to Scotland de 12 pm a 4 pm y asegúrese de compartir sus fotos! @stirlingcastle


Castillo de Stirling, motivo de la batalla de Bannockburn

Cualquiera que tenga un vago interés en la historia de Escocia sabe que Stirling tiene un castillo. Es uno de los hitos más visibles de todo el país, construido sobre un afloramiento volcánico de roca que domina la llanura aluvial del río Forth. Hecho más visible por el repintado del Gran Salón en un amarillo dorado pálido, es casi imposible pasarlo por alto cuando hace buen tiempo, aunque las brumas regulares que llenan el valle a veces lo ocultan.

El puente de Stirling que cruza el Forth es un antiguo punto de cruce. Aguas abajo, la llanura aluvial ha sido extensamente drenada, pero solía ser un complejo laberinto de marismas y quemaduras que era imposible atravesar excepto en las sequías más secas. Cuando las marismas cedieron, el río se había vuelto lo suficientemente ancho como para necesitar un ferry para cruzar. En Stirling fue el primer punto en el que un ejército pudo cruzar el río a pie.

Había que defender una ubicación tan estratégica, y en Stirling, el afloramiento rocoso estaba perfectamente ubicado para que se construyera una fortaleza. El registro más antiguo de un castillo en Stirling se remonta a 1110, cuando el rey Alejandro I dedicó una capilla en el castillo. En la época de Alejandro, el Reino de Escocia estaba formado por una serie de territorios con diversos grados de dependencia del corazón real. de Fife, Angus y Perthshire. Lothian al sur, con la fortaleza en Edimburgo, era una provincia fronteriza que hasta hace relativamente poco tiempo había estado en manos de los condes de Northumbria. El Reino de Strathclyde, al suroeste con la fortaleza de Dumbarton, solo había sido conquistado durante el siglo XI. Por lo tanto, Stirling se colocó no solo en el cruce de un río, sino en la frontera del reino.

Es inconcebible que Alejandro fuera el primer rey escocés en tener un castillo en Stirling, y el sitio puede haber sido el sitio de un asentamiento fortificado desde la Edad del Hierro. Sin embargo, siglos de remodelación sucesiva del sitio han destruido cualquier evidencia de estas fases anteriores. En la época de Alejandro, podemos imaginar una fortaleza de estilo escocés, con movimientos de tierra y un muro de piedra que defendía el acceso a la cumbre, probablemente con una empalizada de madera alrededor del resto del perímetro, aunque también pudo haber sido en piedra. Dentro de las defensas es probable que los edificios fueran de madera. Es casi seguro que hubiera habido múltiples zanjas y orillas para cruzar antes de que se alcanzara la defensa principal y el muro de piedra, con una sola entrada que puede haber sido nada más compleja que una puerta de entrada fuertemente barrada.

Bajo Alejandro, los territorios al sur fueron entregados a su hermano menor David para que los gobernara, lo que significa que Stirling todavía estaba al borde de lo que el rey veía como su principal preocupación. Sin embargo, todavía era un sitio de gran importancia estratégica, y fue en Stirling donde Alejandro murió en 1124. Probablemente tenía la intención de encontrarse con David, ya que pasó la mayor parte de su tiempo más al norte. Fue David quien lo sucedería, y es probable que la fortaleza se fortaleciera bajo el rey David. Aunque a menudo se le recuerda como el constructor de casas religiosas, abadías y similares, también fue responsable de muchos castillos, incluida su nueva capital en Roxburgh e incluso Carlisle en Inglaterra.

David había llegado a la edad adulta en la corte del rey Enrique I y era muy consciente de los avances técnicos que los reyes anglo-normandos habían logrado en el diseño de castillos. Es probable que hubiera construido torres defensivas sobre el muro principal si no hubiera existido anteriormente, y que hubiera mejorado la entrada mediante la construcción de una puerta de entrada con dos torres. Ciertamente, como el castillo se convirtió en un importante centro real, y con el desarrollo de la ciudad como un burgo real, los edificios domésticos en piedra se habrían multiplicado dentro del patio. Es posible que también se construyera un muro perimetral de piedra bajo David, y que se fundasen áreas exteriores de muralla.

El reinado de David de 29 años (1124-1153) fue interrumpido por al menos tres rebeliones, dos de las cuales se iniciaron en la provincia norteña de Moray y una en Cumbria, que ocupó como feudo de Enrique I.También estuvo involucrado en la guerra en Inglaterra entre los partidarios del rey Esteban y la emperatriz Matilde, pero todos los combates se llevaron a cabo en Inglaterra. Como tal, el castillo de Stirling no estuvo involucrado en la guerra durante su reinado.

En el reinado de su nieto Malcolm IV, las rebeliones volvieron a tener lugar en el norte, y fueron acompañadas por la guerra con Somerled of the Isles, quien estaba descontento con el aumento de la influencia de los Stewards en la Baronía de Renfrew, no muy al sur. Oeste. Sin embargo, Stirling volvió a permanecer ajeno a la lucha en sí, que Somerled tuvo cuidado de librar contra los Mayordomos, no contra el Rey Malcolm, por joven e inexperto que fuera. Una nueva rebelión de sus condes tuvo lugar cerca de Perth, pero se resolvió sin derramamiento de sangre.

El rey Enrique II de Inglaterra iba a cambiar radicalmente la relación entre los dos reinos y la importancia de Stirling. No consideró político que el rey soberano de un país vecino controlara las dos provincias fronterizas de Cumbria y Northumberland (David había tenido ambas), y estaba en condiciones de quitar Cumbria del control escocés de inmediato. Northumberland, que Malcolm había heredado de su madre, se cambió por extensas tierras más al sur. De un plumazo, Henry había movido la frontera de la influencia escocesa hasta ciento sesenta kilómetros al norte. Deslumbrando y dominando a Malcolm en los primeros años de su reinado, Henry, no obstante, mantuvo la paz con Escocia. Stirling se había convertido en la fortaleza clave para defender el corazón de Escocia de la agresión inglesa, aunque Malcolm no viviría lo suficiente para descubrirlo.

Sirviendo en el ejército de Henry, Malcolm se enfermó en Doncaster en 1163 y no pudo recuperarse, muriendo en 1165 para ser sucedido por su imprudente hermano menor William. William vio la eliminación de lo que había crecido creyendo que era su herencia en Northumberland, y estuvo decidido durante gran parte de su reinado a reclamarlos de vuelta, mediante la agresión si fuera necesario. Desafortunadamente, William fue capturado por los ingleses que invadieron Northumbria en julio de 1173, rebelándose en apoyo del hijo mayor de Henry. Prisionero de Falaise, se vio obligado a ceder el control de los castillos reales de Berwick, Jedburgh, Roxburgh, Edimburgo y Stirling a Henry.

En agosto de 1175, William juró lealtad a Enrique por el Reino de Escocia, aunque Escocia todavía se consideraba un reino separado. No está nada claro si las tropas y los comandantes ingleses realmente guarnecieron Stirling y los otros castillos, pero es posible que los comandantes escoceses fueran reintegrados después de esto. En 1189, el rey Ricardo canceló el Tratado de Falaise, lo que significaba que William tenía nuevamente el control de sus castillos y, a cambio de una importante suma de dinero, Richard renunció a reclamar sus derechos a la lealtad de William por Escocia. Stirling había cambiado de manos dos veces y # 8211 cada vez de un plumazo.

William siguió siendo rey hasta 1214, tiempo durante el cual soportó varias rebeliones contra su gobierno en el norte, además de continuar intentando reclamar las tierras en Northumberland. Las relaciones con Inglaterra se mantuvieron estables durante todo el reinado de Ricardo I, y durante muchos años después del reinado del rey Juan, quienes querían estabilidad en el norte para concentrarse en otros asuntos, pero en 1209 William causó un problema cuando se quemó. un castillo inglés que se está construyendo al otro lado del río Tweed frente a su propio castillo de Berwick. En preparación para las represalias, puso sus castillos en estado de preparación, incluido Stirling.

Esto fue visto por John como un acto de guerra, y cuando respondió con fuerza, William buscó y logró la paz, lo que resultó en el Tratado de Norham. Las rebeliones en el norte en 1210 y 1211 significaron que William buscó ayuda financiera del rey Juan, quien se complació en proporcionársela. Los diputados de Guillermo llevaron a cabo campañas contra sus rebeldes, y es posible que Guillermo tuviera problemas de salud, ya que muchos de sus deberes los llevaban a cabo la reina y su heredero Alejandro. En 1214, habiendo regresado recientemente del norte, William murió en Stirling. Juan no pudo aprovechar la situación dominando al joven rey, ya que estaba sufriendo la rebelión de sus propios barones, y el joven Alejandro en 1215 invadió Inglaterra.

Tras la muerte del rey Juan en 1216, y el ascenso de su hijo Enrique III, Escocia permaneció en paz con Inglaterra durante el resto del reinado de Alejandro II (1214-1249) y su hijo Alejandro III (1249-1286). . Después de más de 150 años de conflicto, los diputados de Alejandro II reprimieron despiadadamente la rebelión final del norte contra el gobierno real, y el último miembro de la familia detrás de ellos, los MacWilliams, fue ejecutado en Forfar. Para el descrédito de Alexander, se trataba de una niña, cuya cabeza fue aplastada públicamente contra la cruz del mercado. Otras rebeliones más pequeñas tuvieron lugar en el suroeste y el extremo norte, pero no fueron de la misma escala, y ninguna involucró a Stirling.

Es cierto que el castillo real de Stirling se amplió y desarrolló durante los reinados de Alejandro II y Alejandro III, pero, lamentablemente, no tenemos mucha idea de qué forma habrían tomado estas alteraciones a la defensiva. Internamente, los edificios domésticos se habrían ampliado y se habrían vuelto más magníficos, edificios dignos de una corte medieval real. Con la temprana muerte de Alejandro III, la heredera al trono fue su hija, que fue reina de Noruega. Se llegó a un acuerdo con el rey Håkon y su pequeña hija Margaret fue enviada a Escocia para ser coronada. Desafortunadamente, murió poco después de aterrizar en Escocia, sin dejar un sucesor claro de la Corona.

Los nobles de Escocia se volvieron hacia su poderoso vecino del sur. El rey Eduardo I de Inglaterra era conocido en toda Europa como cruzado y legislador, y aunque había estado involucrado en guerras en Francia y Gales, estas no preocupaban a los señores escoceses, que habían servido en sus ejércitos mientras tenían tierras en Inglaterra, como así como para la Corona durante las guerras civiles inglesas de 1263-65. Cuando Edward exigió la entrega de los castillos reales, incluido Stirling, lo consideraron justo, ya que podía garantizar la seguridad del reino. Las facciones que reclamaban el trono podían caer tan fácilmente en una guerra civil, y era prudente evitar que estas fortalezas cayeran en manos de tal facción. El 13 de junio de 1291, Edward envió una carta de Norham indicando que el sheriff de Stirling, Patrick Graham, entregó el "chastel de Stryvelyn" al caballero inglés Norman Darcy.

Cuando declaró que John Balliol era el sucesor correcto, Edward le entregó los castillos y, en noviembre de 1292, Darcy recibió su salario de Graham y abandonó el castillo de Stirling, presumiblemente aproximadamente al mismo tiempo que la coronación de Balliol a fines de ese mes. . Sin embargo, se lo consideraba un tipo de rey menor, ya que había sido elegido por una corte presidida por el rey de Inglaterra, y en contra de los deseos de otra facción fuerte en el reino, la de Robert Bruce de Annandale. En consecuencia, en diciembre, el rey Juan apareció en la corte de Eduardo en Newcastle y se convirtió en el teniente de Eduardo para el reino de Escocia. Si bien esto aseguró el apoyo de Edward al rey John contra las otras facciones, también significó que Edward pudo interferir en el funcionamiento de Escocia.

Convocado a comparecer ante un tribunal inglés para explicar su conducta en una demanda relacionada con el condado de Fife, el rey Juan se negó a asistir, con el apoyo de la facción leal. Edward trajo un ejército al norte para llamar a John a la tarea, con el apoyo de la facción opuesta de Bruce. El resultado final fue la batalla de Dunbar, que fue una rotunda derrota para los escoceses. Entre los muertos en el campo de batalla se encontraba Patrick Graham, sheriff de Stirling y guardián del castillo. Diez semanas después, el rey Juan se vio obligado a abdicar y enviado a la Torre de Londres como prisionero de Eduardo. Los ejércitos ingleses encontraron abandonado el castillo de Stirling y se instaló una guarnición, lo que permitió a los ejércitos ingleses cruzar el Forth a voluntad. Esta fue la primera vez que el castillo de Stirling parece haber estado involucrado en una guerra, y fue capturado sin que se derramara una gota de sangre en su defensa.

Edward tenía el control total de Escocia en 1296, y algunos magnates escoceses vieron claramente que sus intereses estaban siendo amenazados, lo que condujo a rebeliones dispersas, la principal de las cuales estaba en Moray y Clydesdale. La revuelta del norte fue la mayor, ya que fue dirigida por Andrés de Moravia, uno de los señores más poderosos del norte. La revuelta del sur fue menos extendida, dirigida por William Douglas, un señor menor. Trató de obtener el apoyo del Steward, quien a su vez intentó reclutar a Robert Bruce, el Conde de Carrick, cuya familia eran los principales rivales del reclamo del trono de Balliol, para la causa.

La revuelta del sur fracasó, con Bruce y Steward enfrentándose a mayores fuerzas inglesas y negociando un acuerdo que implicó el arresto de Douglas. En el norte, la revuelta mantuvo el impulso, con Edward enviando a los señores escoceses para sofocarla, que rotundamente no lo hizo. Sin embargo, se suponía que los ingleses en el sur estaban bajo el mando del conde de Surrey, William de Warrene, quien se mostraba reacio a asumir su cargo como gobernador de Escocia, lo que permitió que los restos de los rebeldes del sur bajo William Wallace unir fuerzas con las fuerzas del norte.

Los rebeldes bajo Wallace y de Moravia tomaron posiciones alrededor de la base de Abbey Craig, cerca del sitio del Monumento a Wallace el 11 de septiembre de 1297. Este era el lado opuesto del Forth al Castillo de Stirling, y después de negociaciones fallidas, Surrey envió a sus hombres a través del puente para enfrentarse a los rebeldes. Una vez que la vanguardia cruzó, los escoceses atacaron y la cortaron en pedazos. El ejército principal no pudo cruzar el puente lo suficientemente rápido para ayudar, y Surrey huyó, perseguido por el Steward y otros escoceses que también cambiaron de bando rápidamente.

La guarnición inglesa restante, bajo el mando de Sir William FitzWarin y Sir Marmaduke Tweng, se preparó para el asedio. Sin embargo, no tenían los suministros necesarios y se vieron obligados a rendirse. FitzWarin y Tweng fueron enviados al castillo de Dumbarton, donde los mantuvieron prisioneros, y las fuerzas escocesas volvieron a tomar el castillo de Stirling.

Tras la muerte de Andrew de Moravia en noviembre de 1297, William Wallace fue el claro líder militar de la rebelión, y fue nombrado caballero y guardián del reino. En julio de 1298, dirigió un ejército a la batalla en Falkirk, con la esperanza de repetir su victoria del año anterior. La situación fue muy diferente. En Falkirk, el ejército al que se enfrentó era todo el poderío militar de Inglaterra, no dividido por un río y un puente de cuello de botella, y dirigido por el rey en persona. Era poco probable que Edward entrara en pánico y abandonara el campo, y era un comandante de batalla extremadamente experimentado. La caballería escocesa, ampliamente superada en número, huyó del campo, dejando que la infantería se enfrentara a una devastadora lluvia de flechas. Una vez que consideró que había muerto suficiente infantería, Edward envió a su propia caballería, derrotando a los escoceses restantes.

La rebelión escocesa se había derrumbado, y el comandante desconocido del castillo de Stirling, a solo 17 millas de distancia, abandonó el castillo, permitiendo que los ingleses lo ocuparan por segunda vez sin ningún esfuerzo. Es posible que las fuerzas escocesas intentaran menospreciar el castillo, ya que se sabe que Eduardo I gastó dinero en Stirling, aunque pueden haber sido obras de fortalecimiento. Aunque quería continuar la batalla con una campaña en 1299, los problemas internos lo impidieron y se permitió que los escoceses se recuperaran.

Stirling fue uno de los objetivos principales y fue sitiado, con unos 90 hombres bloqueados en el interior. Desesperado por aliviar el castillo, y en contra de los deseos de sus magnates, Edward decidió montar una campaña de invierno, convocando hombres a Berwick para mediados de diciembre. Edward no pudo pagar a los pocos que aparecieron, la mayoría de los cuales desertaron. Los escoceses ofrecieron batalla, pero Edward no tenía suficientes hombres y tuvo que retirarse, dejando que Stirling volviera a caer en manos de los escoceses.

Stirling cayó mientras la rebelión estalló en el suroeste, liderada por Robert Bruce, y fue aquí donde Edward montó su campaña de 1300. La falta de fondos y suministros, acompañada de las demandas de sus partidarios escoceses de otorgarles propiedades en poder de Bruce, hizo que la campaña se detuviera tartamudeando, y Edward accedió a una tregua. 1301 vio la invasión de dos ejércitos, pero los escoceses evitaron la confrontación. Después de capturar el castillo de Bothwell, Edward emitió un pago por la transferencia del equipo de asedio a Stirling, demostrando que todavía quería recuperarlo, pero era demasiado tarde en la temporada, se estaba quedando sin dinero nuevamente y las tropas comenzaban a desertar. . Aunque Edward claramente no había perdido el apetito por derrotar a los escoceses, pero su situación financiera era difícil, el Papa lo presionaba para que dejara de luchar, y en enero de 1302 acordó una tregua por todo ese año. Mantuvo el control del sur de Escocia, pero estaba planeando una gran campaña para 1303.

Evitando Stirling por completo, Edward construyó un puente flotante a través del Forth y marchó con su ejército hacia Fife. Marchando rápidamente alrededor de la costa este y a través de Moray, logró someter con éxito la mayor parte del país, y al final de ese año solo el castillo de Stirling estaba en manos de los escoceses. En abril de 1304, Edward llegó con su ejército y máquinas de asedio, tras haber obtenido un dictamen de su propio parlamento de que los defensores del castillo debían ser considerados forajidos.

Sir William Oliphant fue el defensor, y en las negociaciones al comienzo del asedio, pidió consultar a su superior, John de Soulis, sobre si debía rendirse o no. Como De Soulis estaba en Francia en ese momento, esto no era particularmente razonable y su solicitud fue rechazada. Oliphant luego intentó justificar su desafío diciendo que él nunca había jurado lealtad personalmente a Edward, pero Edward no estaba interesado, y comenzó el asedio. Un intento de los escoceses de aliviar el castillo fue derrotado por el conde de Hereford y sus hombres.

Bajo el bombardeo de las 17 máquinas de asedio, muchos de los defensores escoceses se refugiaron dentro de las cuevas debajo del castillo, donde se almacenaban sus provisiones. Edward, en un intento por mantener alta la moral de sus tropas, a menudo se acercaba de cerca a las murallas del castillo en su caballo, y dos veces estuvo a punto de sufrir daños, una vez cuando una flecha de ballesta atravesó su ropa hasta su silla de montar, y en otra ocasión fue arrojada. por su caballo cuando una piedra aterrizó cerca de él.

Un ariete resultó ineficaz, pero finalmente Oliphant acordó entregar el castillo el 20 de julio. Edward quería probar su nuevo motor de asedio casi terminado, el "Warwolf", sin embargo, y no podía usarlo si había aceptado la rendición, por lo que se negó a permitir la rendición hasta que lo hubiera probado, negándose a permitir que nadie dejar. Una vez que se probó a satisfacción del rey, lo que resultó en la destrucción de la puerta de entrada, se permitió que la guarnición se rindiera y se completó la conquista de Escocia.

La situación no iba a durar. Edward era mayor y se había vuelto cada vez más amargado hacia los escoceses a quienes veía como traidores, y aparte del juicio y ejecución pública de William Wallace en 1305, muchos otros nobles estaban extremadamente nerviosos. Edward decidió, como había hecho en Gales, revisar la ley nativa, eliminar las leyes que no le gustaban y reemplazarlas por inglesas. Juan de Bretaña, el sobrino del rey, se convertiría en lugarteniente real y el estatus de Reino desaparecería por completo. Se estaban haciendo planes para una alternativa.

En enero de 1306, Robert Bruce asesinó a John Comyn, líder de la facción opuesta en Dumfries. Al darse cuenta de que provocaría la ira de Edward, Bruce lideró una rebelión contra él y había tomado una pequeña cantidad de castillos en marzo. El apoyo estaba disperso y era más fuerte alrededor de Glasgow, pero al parecer no había ninguna amenaza militar seria. A finales de marzo, sin embargo, Bruce había sido coronado como el rey Robert I. Edward viajó al norte, gravemente enfermo ese verano, y después de una temporada indeterminada de campaña, estableció su cuartel general de invierno en Lanercost Priory.

En la temporada siguiente, Robert Bruce no pudo obtener el apoyo popular, pero logró derrotar a los ingleses el 10 de mayo en una batalla menor en Loudon Hill, la primera derrota inglesa desde Stirling Bridge. Esto condujo a una mejora en la moral escocesa y una caída comparable en la de los ingleses. Esto no ayudó cuando Edward murió el 7 de julio, y el nuevo rey Eduardo II se dirigió al sur para ser coronado, dejando a Bruce a cargo de sus propios oponentes domésticos, los Comyn. Dejando a los ingleses en Stirling y los otros castillos, marchó hacia el norte y comenzó el proceso de unir la mayor parte del país posible detrás de él, mientras tenía la oportunidad.

Debían pasar tres años antes de que Eduardo II regresara a Escocia, tiempo que Bruce utilizó con buenos resultados. Las guarniciones de los castillos del sur siguieron siendo inglesas, ya que Bruce no tenía los recursos para sitiarlas, y hubiera sido fácil que el socorro viniera de Inglaterra. En comparación, los del norte fueron sitiados, tomados y destruidos, de modo que no pudieron ser retenidos contra Bruce. De hecho, Bruce no hizo ningún esfuerzo por asegurar gran parte del sur, ni se molestó en convocar a sus señores a sus parlamentos. Para 1310, Bruce estaba ignorando abiertamente la tregua con Inglaterra, hostigando las tierras de los leales al rey inglés, y fue esta acción la que provocó la invasión de Edward, un débil intento que terminó en la retirada a Berwick cuando muchos de sus barones se negaron. para servir junto al favorito real Piers Gaveston.

En 1133, Dumfries, Perth y finalmente Linlithgow cayeron ante Bruce, dejando sólo Stirling, Roxburgh, Edimburgo y Berwick en manos inglesas. La caída de Linlithgow en septiembre significó que Bruce pudo dar un ultimátum a las personas leales a Inglaterra: someterse a él en un año o ser desheredado para siempre. Apelaron a Eduardo II, que finalmente estaba en condiciones de responder, y anunciaron planes para invadir Escocia a mediados del verano de 1314. El 28 de febrero, Roxburgh cayó ante James Douglas, y dos semanas después, Edimburgo cayó ante Thomas Randolph. El rey Robert ordenó la destrucción de ambos.

En marzo, el hermano del rey, Edward Bruce, estaba sitiando Stirling. Al darse cuenta de que la invasión de verano interrumpiría lo que estuviera sucediendo en Stirling, Edward Bruce hizo una tregua con el comandante inglés Sir Philip Mowbray. Mowbray se ofreció a entregar el castillo si no era relevado antes del 24 de junio. Edward Bruce estuvo de acuerdo y se retiró.

No se sabe si este era el plan del rey Robert. Había tomado con éxito todos los castillos que se le imputaban, con dos excepciones, Stirling y Berwick. Con la destrucción de fortalezas como Roxburgh y Edimburgo, estaba negando a los ingleses cualquier lugar seguro a donde retirarse y, por lo tanto, obligaba a librar la guerra en términos favorables a los escoceses. Parece poco probable que hubiera tenido la intención de un respiro de tres meses para Stirling, que puede haber caído en el ínterin.

Por lo tanto, el castillo de Stirling se convirtió en el objetivo principal del ejército que Eduardo II condujo a Escocia en junio de 1314. Era el bastión más lejano de la fuerza inglesa y protegía la ruta principal hacia Escocia al norte del Forth. También significaba que el rey Robert sabía dónde y cuándo estaría el ejército inglés, y le dio tres meses para planificarlo. Si el acuerdo con Mowbray no había sido su plan, al menos tenía la oportunidad de aprovechar al máximo su ventaja.

El 23 de junio, los ingleses se trasladaron al norte desde Falkirk a través del Torwood, hacia Stirling. Bruce había reunido un ejército más pequeño de hombres experimentados, y durante los días 23 y 24 luchó en una serie de enfrentamientos con las fuerzas inglesas que avanzaban. Había dividido sus fuerzas en dos y, con su parte del ejército escocés, estaba en gran parte escondido en el bosque, después de haber cavado una serie de zanjas y fosos, alineados con estacas de madera, a lo largo de la línea de marcha inglesa.

La vanguardia inglesa bajo el mando de Gloucester fue apartada de esto por una fingida retirada y derrotada por Bruce y sus hombres. Al mismo tiempo, Lord Clifford y Henry de Beaumont intentaron flanquear a Bruce y cortar su retirada viajando por el borde del bosque, pero fueron vistos por la segunda parte del ejército escocés bajo Thomas Randolph, quien se enfrentó a sus hombres y derrotó. ellos. Los derrotados de ambos grupos ingleses huyeron al castillo o al resto del ejército inglés, que había abandonado la carretera (evitando las zanjas de Bruces) y acampado entre el Forth y el Bannock Burn en una zona plana pantanosa.

A la mañana siguiente, el ejército inglés había cruzado el Bannock Burn y se dirigía hacia la posición escocesa. Bruce sacó a todos sus hombres del bosque y los reunió en tres grandes grupos defendidos por picas en el suelo seco, cerca de las zanjas y pozos que los ingleses habían evitado sin saberlo el día anterior. Un intercambio de flechas, en el que los ingleses superaban en gran medida a los escoceses, fue quizás seguido por una carga de caballería escocesa que derrotó a los arqueros ingleses, y luego ciertamente seguida por la carga de las principales fuerzas de caballería inglesas. La combinación del terreno preparado con las picas significó que la carga de caballería fracasara y, de hecho, fue derrotada por los escoceses que avanzaban.

La retaguardia no pudo enfrentarse a los escoceses debido a la estrechez del campo, y fueron empujados hacia el Bannock Burn y hacia atrás por sus propias fuerzas en retirada. Una tradición dice que una fuerza de soldados locales, mal entrenados y equipados, apareció en el borde del bosque, y pensando que eran un refuerzo sustancial, Eduardo II entró en pánico y huyó del campo, dirigiéndose a la seguridad del Castillo de Stirling. donde Mowbray habría estado viendo todo el asunto.

No queriendo quedar atrapado adentro y entregado de acuerdo con el acuerdo entre Mowbray y Edward Bruce, y posiblemente aconsejado por Mowbray que eso era lo que sucedería, el Rey Edward se dio la vuelta y huyó hacia el sur nuevamente. Saber que el rey había huido destruyó la moral inglesa restante y la retirada sobre Bannock Burn se convirtió en una derrota, con muchos hombres atrapados allí. Cuando el polvo se asentó, Mowbray entregó el castillo al rey Robert, quien rápidamente ordenó su destrucción para evitar que los ingleses volvieran a ocuparlo. Claramente no impresionado por la conducta de Eduardo II, Mowbray luego cambió su lealtad y se convirtió en un partidario de los Bruces. Eventualmente lo mataron luchando junto a Edward Bruce en Irlanda en 1318.

No queda nada del antiguo castillo de Stirling. Las partes más antiguas que sobreviven datan de finales del siglo XIV, y luego solo como cimientos. Por esta razón, cualquier reconstrucción del castillo que dominaba la Batalla de Bannockburn es completamente conjetural, pero es casi seguro que se trataba de una fortaleza mucho más desolada que los edificios en el lugar hoy en día, con el foco principal en un gran muro cortina a lo largo de la línea de la posterior. muro cortina y caseta de entrada, con grandes torres en cada extremo, y una caseta de entrada central, probablemente defendida por dos grandes torres flanqueantes. Es muy posible que el extremo norte de la colina del castillo no estuviera defendido con piedra, si es que lo hizo, con solo el área central más alta formando un castillo con patio irregular.

Sin el castillo de Stirling, no habría habido Batalla de Bannockburn. Como hemos visto, el asedio no fue el motivo de la invasión del rey Eduardo II, como a veces se dice. El rey Eduardo ya había decidido que invadiría Escocia antes de que Edward Bruce hiciera un trato con Philip Mowbray en respuesta al agrado de sus seguidores en Lothian, acosados ​​por los hombres del rey Robert. Sin embargo, las hazañas militares de Eduardo II estaban muy lejos de las de su padre. Mal planificadas y dirigidas, y mal ejecutadas, las pocas campañas de Eduardo II fueron, por regla general, infructuosas. La fecha límite establecida por Mowbray y Edward Bruce le dio al Rey Edward un lugar claro al que dirigirse y una fecha firme para estar allí.

Es probable que sin estos objetivos firmes, la campaña de 1314 de Eduardo II en Escocia hubiera sido una repetición de 1310, sin dirección ni propósito, poco más que una incursión masiva en territorio escocés. It is unlikely that King Robert would have massed his forces to fight the English elsewhere, not knowing where they would be. King Robert was to consolidate his hold on Scotland for the rest of his reign, capturing Berwick, the final castle to hold out against him in 1318, and achieving first papal recognition of his crown in 1324, and then a peace with the minority regime of Edward III in 1327. By comparison, Edward II steadily lost the control of his country and the loyalty of his barons, and was deposed in 1327, to be murdered shortly afterwards.

Even without his great victory of Bannockburn, it is likely that King Robert would have ejected Edward II from Scotland. But undoubtedly Stirling Castle was the reason Bannockburn was fought, and therefore the reason that the name of Robert the Bruce echoes down the centuries. Stirling Castle was rebuilt, and besieged many times afterwards, changing hands first between the English and Scots, and also between different factions of Scottish nobles during it subsequent history. But first and foremost, it must be remembered as the castle that was the cause of the most famous battle in Scottish history.


Stirling Castle, Scotland

OUR trip to Stirling Castle got off to a fantastic start by way of a vegan sausage roll from Greggs.

The sausage roll boost was welcome, as the castle straddles a massive volcanic rock (of which we were currently at the bottom). This sort of elevation is typical for any castle that’s in it for the big time, making them easier to defend and keeping historians in great shape.

All visitors must prove their worth by scaling the rocky cliff before being permitted entry to Stirling Castle. Ropes provided, don’t worry.
Thank you Tylie Duff for letting me use your stunning photo.
Check out the page! https://pixels.com/featured/2-stirling-castle-at-sunset-tylie-duff.html

I felt a little bit cheeky striding up the street to the castle gates, as I’m English, and the castle has had a historically unpleasant relationship with powers over the border. I imagined centuries of battle-hardened, Mel Gibson lookalikes turning in their graves as we climbed to the summit. Felt extra cheeky.

In fact, the castle’s early history reads like a sort of horrific tennis match, to-ing and fro-ing between the Scottish and English, with trebuchets instead of rackets. In 1304, during the Scottish Wars of Independence, just 30 Scottish defenders held out against an English army of 1500 for several months. Inhabitants of the castle survived this siege by eating salted meat and fish (which kept it preserved, but probably tasted like an old shoe), drinking water from a castle well, and watching re-runs of Love Island.

The English finally said enough was enough, and decided to break the Scottish spirit how any classroom bully would – by ceaselessly launching rocks and fireballs at them with their colossal trebuchet. This trebuchet was actually los most colossal trebuchet in the entire world and, taking inspiration from Age of Empires II: The Forgotten, the English named it ‘Warwolf’. The Scots couldn’t take the English seriously after this, and swiftly surrendered.

…impenetrable-rock-volcano aside, the castle has some other excellent defensive systems, if defensive systems are your thing: a thick outer wall the Forework gatehouse complete with towers an artillery battery and a £17.50 entrance fee (to be fair, this is definitely worth it – plus it’s cheaper buying tickets online).

The Forework gatehouse. Note the battle scars on the right-hand tower…
Image by Walkerssk from Pixabay (it was not a blue sky kind of day when we went) – thank you!

Thankfully, no one fired a single cannon at us as Adam and I approached the ticket booth. It would appear that, now at least, one does simply walk into Stirling Castle. This is great news for those of us who don’t own a battering ram.

Most of these defences weren’t built until later in the castle’s history, and didn’t get tested properly until the Civil War in the mid-17 th century, followed by the Jacobite uprising. The oldest surviving part of the castle is thought to be the North Gate, which actually wasn’t built until 1381 – 77 years after the ‘Warwolf’ incident and almost 300 years after the first written record of a castle here.

Moreover, the castle as we see it now is basically unrecognisable from its former self as developed by James IV at the turn of the 16 th century. This is because (curveball) most of it was painted yellow. Like a big French fancy. Or a fantastic banana. It also had six towers rather than the two we see now, which were even taller than today’s. The impressive Great Hall, completed around 1503, has had its yellow-ness restored as a reminder of the perils of Renaissance décor.

The North Gate (far left, with the archway) is the oldest surviving part of the castle, dating back to 1381. Just to its right, we get a sneak peak of the Great Hall, painted in Farrow and Ball’s ‘Custard Powder’ (actually rendered in ‘Royal Gold’ harling – a limewash).

After buying tickets, I promptly got lost locating the toilets and we missed the guided tour. Luckily, tours (which are included in the ticket price!) are frequent at Stirling Castle, and we joined the next within ten minutes. Our guide was super friendly and knowledgeable, and told us all off for watching Corazón Valiente y forastero.

Much of the tour was outside, and everyone was relieved to be in a country with pleasant December weather where it doesn’t rain a lot. From our vantage point, we could see where the famous Battle of Stirling Bridge took place in 1297. Here, Scottish troops, in their efforts to drive the English back out of Scotland, trapped their assailants against the bridge and massacred them.

They were led by national hero, William Wallace, and Andrew Murray – not to be confused with Andy Murray (of tennis player fame) as far as sources suggest. Interestingly, much of the romance surrounding Wallace is thanks to a 15 th -century minstrel, nicknamed “Blind Harry”, which is one possible explanation why Wallace was allowed to get away with his mullet for so long.

This is what William Wallace looked like if you were lying on the floor. Maybe.
The Wallace Statue, Bemersyde. Image by Euan Taylor from Pixabay – thanks, Euan!

The story of Stirling Castle is not an entire blood bath though. Our tour guide also led us through the Great (yellow) Hall, which would have been fabulously decked out back in the day for feasts and dances. It has no fewer than five giant fireplaces (this must have been a nightmare for the Floo Network), and a wonderfully restored hammer beam roof – which, I can promise, you won’t know has been missing from your life until you see it.

When James VI’s son, Prince Henry, was born, they had a simple, toned down celebration in the Hall to mark the occasion. Only joking – they built a 40ft-high ship there, with firing canons, and served fish out of it. Give the people what the people want. With the Union of the Crowns in 1603, James VI neglected his castle in Stirling in favour of his lavish London life… The once Great Hall fell into disappointingly practical use, and eventually stood as a military barracks until 1964.

After the tour, Adam and I accidentally revealed our true nature as long-time squares and stayed to harass our guide with extra questions, which he fielded magnificently. We also managed to get a mini-History lesson on football, persuaded a lute player to give us a private performance, and dressed Adam up as a court jester. *

Towards the end of our trip we stumbled upon the magazines. These are actually buildings designed to hold explosive gunpowder – although it would certainly have been fun if historians had uncovered a secret stash of Cosmopolitas under James VI’s privy chamber floorboards. Peeking into a building, we were attacked by one of those model museum figures that always prey on you, despite being (supposedly) inanimate. Adam would like it to be generally known that he definitely did not jump out of his skin like a poor wee lamb.

Unfortunately, I am afflicted with something known as historygraduateitis and insist on reading everything there is to read in museums, in the hope that I might not forget it. This is why we were still traipsing about the castle at closing time. As night fell, we stood on the castle walls surrounded by inky blue hills and misty shadows of trees cast against the buildings. It would have felt very poetic had I not been terrified of models leaping out from behind bushes, possibly wielding claymores.

…a murderous museum model’s playground?

All in all, I have barely scratched the surface of Stirling Castle’s colourful history (I should spend less time discussing Gregg’s sausage rolls). There was the time Bonnie Prince Charlie laid siege to the castle, the time Mary Queen of Scots’ bed went up in flames, and the time a would-be physician hand-made a chicken suit and jumped from the walls to prove that he could fly (miraculously, he survived – so grab your feathers and get sewing, chaps).

There is also a large underground kitchen (always my favourite part of heritage sites), the royal palace chambers, the Queen Anne gardens, a tapestry exhibition, and a whole load of other spaces that tell a rich and interesting story of the castle – and Scotland’s incredible past more broadly.

*Edit from Adam (who has only consented to be in this blog if I make him sound cool): I accidentally revealed my true nature as a long-time square and pointed out a lovely example of medieval buttressing, to which Adam said, “Yeah whatever babe” and did a backflip.

My top tips for getting the most out of trips like this one are:

1) Ask the museum staff as many questions as you can think of, because they’re always real enthusiasts with a bunch of information and quirky stories that you won’t find anywhere else!

2) Take a moment while you’re visiting to stand very quietly and imagine that you’re someone who worked in the castle centuries ago, because a) it gives you a wonderful perspective and reminder that these were real, functioning places and b) people might think that you’re a scary model and it’ll be banterful to see their faces when your eyes suddenly twitch.

Recommended listening: ‘Flower of Scotland’ (especially when sung by large crowds at sporting events).

Like a good little History grad, I’ve included the links here to pages I checked out to get (most of) my facts straight (especially the bit about Love Island). Take a look if you’re interested in learning some more!


Stirling Castle Gatehouse - History


Stirling castle crowns Castle Hill, an intrusive igneous crag. Like Edinburgh it is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position. Its strategic location, guarding what was, until the 1890s, the farthest downstream crossing of the River Forth, has made it an important fortification from the earliest times. Several Scottish kings and queens have been crowned at Stirling, including Mary Queen of Scots in 1542.

Historia
Stirling castle is built on a formation of quartz-dolerite rock which is around 350 million years old. This was subsequently modified by glaciation to form a "crag and tail" just like Edinburgh castle 32 miles away. Despite various claims there is no archaeological evidence for occupation of Castle Hill before the medieval period. Stirling was often know as Snowdoun as is shown by the works of William Worcester in the mid fifteenth
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Stirling first enters history, rather than fantasy, around 1110 when King Alexander I dedicated a chapel at the castle. It appears to have been an established royal centre by this time, as Alexander died here in 1124. During the reign of David I (1124-53), Stirling became a royal burgh and the castle an important administration centre. King William I (1165-1214) formed a deer park to the SW of the castle, but after his capture at Alnwick in 1174 he was forced to surrender several castles, including Stirling and Edinburgh to King Henry II (1154-89), under the treaty of Falaise. There seem to be no records for the garrisoning of the castle - although Edinburgh ( castellum Puellarum ) was garrisoned at a cost of £26 13s 4d in 1175 - and all the castles were formally sold back to William by Richard I of England in 1189. Stirling continued to be a favoured royal residence, with William himself dying there in 1214. Alexander III (1249-86) laid out the New Park for deer hunting in the 1260s.

In 1291 King Edward I (1272-1307) demanded and received Stirling, together with the other royal castles of Scotland, be put under his control during his arbitration over who should be king of Scotland under him. Edward as judge and his barons, English, Welsh, Scottish and French, as jury, gave judgement in favour of John Balliol. However, when John refused to help Edward collect troops for warfare in France or honour the agreements he had entered into concerning the legal governing of the kingdom, it caused Edward to invade Scotland and depose its king as a rebellious subject. Edward found Stirling castle abandoned and occupied it. After the victory of Andrew Moray (d.1297) and William Wallace (d.1305) at the battle of Stirling Bridge in September 1297, the royalist commanders, William Fitz Warin (d.1299), a grandson of Fulk Fitz Warin (d.1198) of Whittington, who had been made constable of Urquhart castle, and Marmaduke Thweng (d.1323), retreated into the castle where they were starved into surrender by the rebels and sent as prisoners to Dumbarton. The castle was reclaimed by Edward after his 22 July 1298 victory at Falkirk, but was besieged again in 1299 and forced to surrender.

It was only in April 1304 that Edward decided to take Stirling castle again, this time he was accompanied by at least 17 siege engines including giant ballista and mangonels with names such as Segrave, Forster and Robinet. The king also hazzarded himself during the action, once having his garments and saddle pierced by a quarrel and once by being thrown from his horse when the defenders scored a near miss with a catapult. Finally the defenders, under William Oliphant (d.1329), surrendered on 20 July, but were ordered back into the castle by Edward, as he had not yet deployed his latest engine, 'Warwolf' - supposedly a large trebuchet. When the garrison surrendered unconditionally, Edward granted the men their lives, except for the man who had betrayed the castle to Wallace four years previously as he was a traitor.

Edward died within a year of Robert Bruce's 1306 revolt and Edward's son had neither the inclination nor the ability to continue to govern Scotland. By 1313, only Stirling, Roxburgh, Edinburgh and Berwick castles remained to him in Scotland. Edward Bruce, the king's brother, laid siege to Stirling, which was held by Philip Mowbray (d.1318). Hard pressed, Mowbray agreed to surrender the castle if it were not relieved by 24 June 1314. The consequence was the battle of Bannockburn fought by Edward II's relieving army on 23-24 June within sight of the castle walls. Although Mowbray could have claimed that Edward coming within sight of the castle constituted its being relieved, he surrendered the castle and his person to King Robert. In turn Robert ordered the castle to be slighted to prevent its reoccupation by Edwardian forces at a later date.

The castle site fell to the forces of Edward Balliol, the son of King John, after his great victory over the Scottish regents at the battle of Dupplin Moor in 1332. In 1336 Thomas Rokeby was captain and indulging in extensive works, probably repairing the damage done in 1314. Andrew Murray of Bothwell attempted a siege in 1337, when guns may have been used for the first time by the Scots. However, it was Robert Stewart (d.1390), the future King Robert II, who retook Stirling in the siege of 1341&ndash1342. In the aftermath Maurice Murray was appointed as keeper. In 1360 Robert Forsyth was appointed governor of Stirling castle, an office he passed on to his son, John, and grandson, William, who was governor in 1399.

It is said that Earl Robert Stewart of Menteith, the regent of Scotland as brother of Robert III (d.1406), undertook works on the N&S gates as the earliest surviving masonry on the site. In 1424, Stirling castle was part of the jointure (marriage settlement) given to James I's wife, Joan Beaufort. This established a tradition which later monarchs continued. After James' murder in 1437, Joan took shelter within the castle with her son, the young James II. Fifteen years later, in 1452, it was at Stirling castle that James stabbed and killed William, the 8th earl of Douglas, when the latter refused to end a potentially treasonous alliance with Earl John of Ross and Earl Alexander Lindsay of Crawford. King James III was born here and later undertook works to the gardens and the chapel royal. Like Edinburgh, the manufacture of artillery in the castle is recorded in 1475. King James' wife, Margaret of Denmark, died within the fortress in 1486. Two years later James himself died at the battle of Sauchieburn, fought over almost the same ground as the battle of Bannockburn, just to the south of the castle.

Most of the standing masonry of the current castle is said to have been constructed between 1490 and 1600. The architecture of these new buildings shows an eclectic mix of English, French and German influences. James IV (1488&ndash1513) kept a full Renaissance court at Stirling as he sought to establish a palace of European standing. Although he also undertook building works at the royal residences of Edinburgh, Falkland and Linlithgow, his grandest works were at Stirling and included the King's Old Building, the Great Hall, and the Forework. He also renovated the chapel royal, one of the two churches within the castle at this time. In 1501 he even received approval from the pope for the establishment of a college of priests. The Forework, of which little now remains, was derived from French military architecture, although some details were added more for style than for defence. If a satirical account in two poems by the poet William Dunbar is based on fact, the castle walls may have been the site of an attempt at human-powered flight about 1509, by the Italian alchemist and abbot of Tongland, John Damian. King James also kept an alchemist called Caldwell maintaining a furnace for quinta essencia, the mythical fifth element, at the castle.

The building works begun by James had not been completed at the time of his death at the battle of Flodden in 1513. His successor, James V (1513&ndash1542), was crowned in the chapel royal and grew up in the castle under the guardianship of Lord Erskine. In 1515, the Regent Albany brought 7,000 men to Stirling to wrest control of the young king from his mother, Margaret Tudor. Despite this, the king continued expanding his father's building programme, creating the centrepiece of the castle, the Royal Palace, built under the direction of Sir James Hamilton of Finnart and masons brought in from France. James V also died young, leaving the unfinished work to be completed by his widow, Mary of Guise. His infant daughter, Mary Queen of Scots, was brought to Stirling castle for safety, and crowned in the chapel royal on 9 September 1543. She too was brought up here until she was sent to Inchmahome priory and then to France in 1548. When Anglo-French hostilities spread into Scotland, artillery fortifications were added to the S approach of the castle. These form the basis of the present outer defences.

Queen Mary returned to Scotland in 1561 and then visited Stirling castle frequently. She nursed Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, through an illness here in 1565, before the two were married. Their son, James VI, was baptised here in 1566. After Darnley's murder, Mary was travelling from Stirling when she was abducted by the earl of Bothwell, beginning the chain of events that led to her forced abdication and flight to England.

After the queen's flight the young King James VI was crowned in the nearby church of the Holy Rude, and grew up within the castle walls under the tutelage of the humanist scholar George Buchanan. Frequently used as a pawn in the struggles between his regents and the supporters of Mary, the young king was closely guarded. Stirling became the base for James' supporters, while those nobles who wished to see Queen Mary restored gathered at Edinburgh, under William Kirkcaldy of Grange. Grange led a raid on Stirling in 1571, attempting to round up the Queen's enemies, but failed to gain control of the castle or the king.

The keeper of the castle, Alexander Erskine of Gogar, was ejected by supporters of Regent Morton in April 1578, after his son was fatally wounded during a struggle at the gate. The rebellious earls of Mar and Angus seized the castle in 1584, but surrendered and fled to England when the king arrived with an army. They returned the following year, forcing the king to surrender, although they proclaimed their loyalty to him. King James' first child, Henry, was born in the castle in 1594, and the present Chapel Royal was constructed for his baptism on 30 August. The chapel completed the quadrangle of the Inner Close. Like his predecessors Henry spent his childhood here under the 2nd earl of Mar, until the Union of the Crowns of 1603, when his father succeeded as king of England and the royal family left for London.

After the king's departure, Stirling's role as a residence declined and it became principally a military centre. It was used as a prison for persons of rank during the 17th C, but did not feature in the civil and religious wars of the 1630s and 1640s. Following the execution of Charles I, the Scots crowned his son as Charles II, and he became the last reigning monarch to stay here, living at the castle in 1650. The Royalist forces were defeated at Dunbar by those of Oliver Cromwell, before the king marched S to defeat at Worcester. General Monck laid siege to the castle on 6 August 1651, erecting gun platforms in the adjacent churchyard. After the garrison mutinied, Colonel William Conyngham was obliged to surrender on 14 August. Damage done during the siege can still be seen on the church and the great hall.

Although garrisoned by the government during the first Jacobite rising, the castle saw no fighting. In the second Jacobite rising of 1745, the rebel army marched past Stirling on the way to Edinburgh and the S. Following the Jacobites' retreat from England, they returned to Stirling in January 1746, where the town soon surrendered. The castle governor refused to capitulate and artillery works were set up on Gowan Hill. These were quickly destroyed by the castle's guns and the Jacobites withdrew north on 1 February, effectively ending the castle's military career.

Descripción
The outer defences comprise artillery fortifications and were built in their present form in the eighteenth century, although some parts, including the French spur at the E end, date back to the regency of Mary of Guise in the 1550s. The spur was originally an ear-shaped bastion known as an orillon and contained gun emplacements which protected the main spur. This projection was fronted by an earth ramp called a talus, which was entered via a drawbridge over a ditch. Excavations in the 1970s showed that much of the original stonework remains within the eighteenth
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Following the attempted Jacobite invasion of 1708, improvements to the castle's defences were ordered and completed by 1714. The main result was that the front wall was extended outwards to form Guardhouse square. This had the effect of creating two defensive walls, both of which were fronted by ditches defended by covered firing galleries known as caponiers. One of the caponiers survives and is accessible from Guardhouse square by a narrow staircase. To the rear of the walls, chambers called casemates were built to strengthen the wall, and to provide gun emplacements. The French spur was modified slightly to allow more cannons to be mounted.

The gatehouse, providing entry from the outer defences to the castle proper, was only finished around 1506. It originally formed part of a forework, extending as a curtain wall across the whole width of Castle Hill. At the centre is the gatehouse itself, which now stands to less than half its original height. The round towers at the outer corners rose to conical roofs, with battlements carried around the tops of the towers. These were flanked by more round towers, of which only traces now remain. There were further round towers at the rear of the gatehouse, making it a square tower with 4 corner turrets and the gate passageway in between. The overall design, as drawn by John Slezer in 1693, shows French influence, and has parallels with the forework erected at Linlithgow palace. Like this, the forework was probably intended more for show than for serious defence, as it would have offered little protection against contemporary artillery - either that or the original defences are merely refaced and much older than is currently reckoned. The entrance to the ward was via a central passage, flanked by two separate pedestrian passages. This triple arrangement was unusual in its time. Classical triumphal arches have been suggested as an influence. The gatehouse was dismantled gradually, and then consolidated in its present form in 1810.

The gatehouse is coated in a fine ashlar, which is totally different to the rubble built curtain walls that begin 20' either side of it. Just beyond these junctions there were semi-circular projecting towers similar to the ones on the gatehouse. However these are faced in well-laid rubble. Adjoining the SW tower is the plinth of the older curtain which runs off to the rectangular Prince's tower. This is overlain by ashlar of a similar quality to that which coats the gatehouse. At each end of the curtain wall is a rectangular tower. The west tower, known as the Prince's Tower, survives to its full height, and is now attached to the later palace. At the east end, the Elphinstone Tower contained a kitchen and possibly an officer's lodging. It was cut down to form a gun battery, probably in the early eighteenthsiglo, when the outer defences were rebuilt. This marks the extent of the surviving medieval castle.

Within the forework is a courtyard known as the outer close, containing eighteenthsiglo estructuras. El tempranonorte gate, giving access to the nether or lower bailey, contained the original castle kitchens, which were probably linked to the great hall. The kitchen which is now visible was constructed later. In 1689 these rooms were infilled to provide gun emplacements. To the west of the outer close, the main parts of the castle are arranged around the quadrangular inner close: the royal palace to the south, the king's old building on the west, the chapel royal to thenorte, and the great hall to the east.

The oldest part of the inner close is thought to be the king's old building, on the west side. This was complete by 1497. It was begun as a new residential range by James IV and originally comprised an L shaped building. The principal rooms were on the first floor, over cellars and included two chambers with wide open views to the west. The projecting stair tower has an octagonal upper section, which was copied for a second, later stair tower on the same building. In 1855, thenorte end of the building burned down, and was rebuilt in a &lsquobaronial style'. At the SW end of the range is a linking building, once used as kitchens, which is on a different alignment to both the king's old building and the adjacent royal palace. It has been suggested that this is an earlier fifteenthsiglo estructura. Excavations within this building revealed burials, suggesting that this may have been the site of a church or chapel. The skeletons found, all buried with dignity, seem to have mostly met gruesome ends and were thought to have been members of the garrison mainly beaten to death in isolated groups. One was a woman who had been knifed. Many were shown to have been from the early fourteenthsiglo.

On the east side of the inner close is the great or parliament hall. This was built by James IV following on from the completion of the king's old building in 1497 and was being plastered by 1503. It represents the first example of Renaissance influenced royal architecture in Scotland and was worked on by a number of English craftsmen, being comparable to Edward IV's hall at Eltham palace, built in the late 1470s. It includes Renaissance details within a conventional medieval plan. Inside are five fireplaces and large side windows lighting the dais end. It is 138' by 47' across, making it the largest such hall in Scotland.

To the west of the fourteenthsiglo gatehouse, forming the south side of the inner close, is the royal palace. It was begun in the 1530s and was largely complete by the time of James V's death in December 1542. The architecture of this is French inspired, but the decoration is more German. The statues include a line of soldiers on the south parapet and a series of full size figures around the principal floor. These include a portrait of James V, the devil, St Michael and representations of Venus and several planetary deities. Internally, the palace comprises two apartments, one for the king and one for the queen.

The collegiate chapel established by James IV in 1501 lay between the king's old Building and the great hall, but was further south than the present building. This was the chapel in which Queen Mary was crowned in 1543. After this a new building was erected within a year,norte of the old site to improve access to the hall. This too was later modified for military use, housing a dining room. The wall paintings were rediscovered in the 1930s, and restoration began after the Second World War.

Beyond thenorte gate, the nether bailey occupies thenorte end of Castle Hill. Surrounded by defensive walls, the area contains a nineteenthsiglo guard house and gunpowder stores as well as the modern tapestry studio. There was formerly access to the nether bailey from Ballengeich to the west, until the postern was blocked in response to the threat of Jacobite rebellion.

Due to its similar appearance to Colditz castle in Saxony, the castle was used to film the exterior shots for the 1970s TV series Colditz.


Venue Type:

Museum, Castle or defences

SUMMER
1 April - 30 September
7 days a week. 9.30am to 6.00pm

WINTER
1 October - 31 March
7 days a week. 9.30am to 5.00pm

Last Entry
Last ticket sold 45 mins before closing. Please note the Regimental Museum hours vary from the castle opening hours.

ADMISSION PRICES (valid until 31 March 2015)
Adult: £14.00 (aged 16-59)
Child £7.50 (aged 5-15. Children must be accompanied by an adult or concession visitor).
Concession: £11.00 (aged 60 and over, unemployed)
Child under 5 - FREE

ADMISSION PRICES (April 2015 - March 2016)
Adult: £14.50 (aged 16-59)
Child £8.70 (aged 5-15. Children must be accompanied by an adult or concession visitor).
Concession: £11.60 (aged 60 and over, unemployed)
Child under 5 - FREE


A HISTORY OF STIRLING

Stirling became an important settlement because it is the lowest crossing place over the River Forth. Furthermore, it has a rocky outcrop, which was a natural place to build a fort. (The name Stirling is derived from Striveling, meaning place of strife). By the 11th century, a royal castle was built on the crag. On its slopes was a village of wooden huts.

Sometime in the 1120’s the king made Stirling into a town by granting the townspeople a charter. (A charter was a document, which gave them certain rights). Stirling became a royal burgh with a weekly market and its own local government. The merchants of Stirling elected a provost to run the town. Soon Stirling became a busy and important town. As well as a market it had an annual fair.

In the Middle Ages fairs were like markets but they were held only once a year. Buyers and sellers would come from all over central Scotland to attend a Stirling fair. After 1447 Stirling had 2 fairs. The main industry in Medieval Stirling was weaving wool. Stirling was also a small inland port. (The small ships of that era could sail up the Forth).

However, by modern standards, Stirling was tiny, with a population of only several hundred. Stirling was probably fortified by a ditch and earth rampart with a wooden palisade on top.

About 1145 Cambuskenneth Abbey, an Augustinian abbey, was founded on the other side of the River Forth from Stirling by King David I. Then in the 13th-century friars arrived in Stirling. Friars were like monks but instead of withdrawing from the world, they went out to preach. There were 2 orders of friars in Stirling. The Dominicans were called Blackfriars because of their black costumes. There were also Franciscan friars known as grey friars in Stirling. Like many medieval towns Stirling also had a leper hostel outside the walls.

Stirling castle was originally built in wood but in the late 13th century it was rebuilt in stone. In 1174 it was handed over to the English in return for the release of William I who had been captured in battle. The English handed Stirling Castle back in 1189.

At the end of the 13th century, a long war began between the Scots and the English. During the war, Stirling castle changed hands several times. The English invaded in 1296 and captured Stirling Castle. However, they were severely defeated at the battle of Stirling bridge the same year. The Scots recaptured Stirling castle in 1297. Then in 1298, the Scots were defeated at the Battle of Falkirk. William Wallace retreated north. Stirling castle fell into English hands. Stirling castle changed hands once again in 1299 when the Scots recaptured it. Stirling castle fell to the English in 1304 but the Scots recaptured it in 1314 after the battle of Bannockburn.

At first, Stirling had a wooden bridge but in 1415 it was replaced by a stone one now known as The Auld Brig. Furthermore, the Church of The Holy Rude was built in the late 15th century.

STIRLING IN THE 16th CENTURY AND 17th CENTURY

In 1507 a man named John Damien tried to fly from the walls of Stirling Castle. Luckily for him, he landed in a dung pile and escaped with only a broken leg.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Stirling continued to grow in size and prosperity. By the middle of the century, it probably had a population of around 1,500. Although it would seem tiny to us by the standards of the time Stirling was a respectably sized market town. However, in the 17th century, Stirling declined in importance. That was partly because the king moved to England and Stirling castle gradually ceased to be a royal residence and became a barracks.

In 1530 Robert Spittal, a tailor, founded a hospice for poor people in Stirling. In 1547 after the Scots were routed at the battle of Pinkie a stone wall was erected around the town. When the Reformation swept Scotland the friaries were closed and in 1567 their property was given to the town council.

Mars Wark (work) was built in 1572 by the Early of Mar. Cowane’s Hospital (almshouses) was built with money left by John Cowane, a merchant who died in 1633. (They were completed in 1649). The Argyll Lodging was built about 1630 by William Alexander Ist Earl of Stirling. Archibald Campbell Ist Marquis of Argyll purchased it in 1655 and gave it its name.

Like all towns in those days, Stirling was dirty and unsanitary. There were outbreaks of plague in 1606 and 1645. The 1606 outbreak killed over 600 people, which at the time, was a large part of the town’s population. The 1645 visitation also left Stirling depopulated. But each time the town recovered.

STIRLING IN THE 18th CENTURY

For most of the 18th century, Stirling was a fairly small market town with a population of around 4,000. It was still a minor inland port. Stirling Tolbooth was built in 1704 by Sir William Bruce.

Fortunately, Stirling escaped any damage in the Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745.

At the end of the 18th century, the industrial revolution began to transform Scotland. However, it largely bypassed Stirling, which remained a quiet market town. However, the traditional wool weaving industry continued. There was also a carpet weaving industry. Some cotton was also woven in Stirling. The first bank in Stirling opened in 1777.

At the end of the 18th century, Stirling began to grow geographically. For centuries Stirling had been limited to the slope of the hill below the castle. In the late 18th century growth spread to the Port Street and Dumbarton Road area. Raploch also began to grow at the end of the 18th century. In 1799 10 new houses were built there. Soon more followed. Also in the late 18th century, Stirling gained a piped water supply (for those who could afford to be connected).

STIRLING IN THE 19th CENTURY

In 1801, at the time of the first census, Stirling had a population of 5,271. By the standards of the time, it was a fair-sized market town. By 1821 the population of Stirling had grown to 7,333. In the early 19th century new streets were built north of the old town, Cowane Street, Irvine Place, and Queen Street. In 1826 Stirling gained gas street lighting and in 1833 a new bridge was built.

However, like all towns in the early 19th century, Stirling was dirty and unsanitary and there was a disastrous epidemic of cholera in 1832. Partly as result sewers were dug under the streets of Stirling in the 1850s. The old town jail was built in 1847 and in 1857 Stirling gained its first modern police force.

The Wallace Monument was built in 1869 and an infirmary was built in Stirling in 1874. Also in 1874 horse-drawn trams began running through the streets of Stirling. The Smith Art Gallery and Museum also opened in 1874. The Old Arcade was built in 1882. Furthermore, the Mercat Cross was restored in 1891. In the 19th century, Stirling remained a market town and it did not become an industrial center.

However, in 1848 the railway reached Stirling and the town began to grow more rapidly. This was partly because well-to-do people moved to the town and commuted to work in Glasgow. For the middle-class new houses were built west of the old town at Abercromby Place, Clarendon Place, Victoria Place, Victoria Square, and Queens Road. New streets were also built north of the old town such as Wallace Street, Bruce Street, Douglas Street, and Union Street.

Because of its strategic position as the ‘gateway to the Highlands’ Stirling began to develop as a tourist centre. In 1871 Stirling had a population of 11,788. By 1881 that had risen to 14,000.

STIRLING IN THE 20th CENTURY

The first electricity was generated in Stirling in 1900 and by 1901 the population of Stirling was over 18,000. The first public library opened in 1902. The first cinema in Stirling opened in 1912 and the last horse-drawn trams ran in 1920 when they were replaced by buses. In 1922 a war memorial was erected in Stirling.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the council began slum clearance in Stirling and built council houses to replace the slums at Raploch and the Riverside. Many more council houses were built in the 1950s and 1960s. Furthermore, in the 1950s many old buildings were demolished in the oldest part of the town.

Stirling University was founded in 1967. A swimming pool was built in 1974. The Thistle Centre opened in 1977. During the 20th century, Stirling was still a market town rather than an industrial centre but there were some industries such as financial services, food processing, and electronics. Castle Business Park opened in 1995.

STIRLING IN THE 21st CENTURY

Castillo de Stirling

Stirling was made a city in 2002. Today the population of Stirling is 45,000.


Promises that Could Never be Delivered

This bizarre story begins when “a penniless” Italian-born cleric by the name of John Damian de Falcuis, found his way to the city of Stirling in Scotland at the end of the 15th century. John was bereft of cash but loaded with charm, evident in that he was recorded as “attending the royal court of James IV of Scotland" at the beginning of the sixteenth century.

John promised the king inexhaustible supplies of gold and that he could produce enhanced medicines with secret Italian alchemical processes. A January 1501 record at the Scottish exchequer informs “John became protégé of King James IV " and received a “great deal of money and other items from the king, to make the quintessence" the elusive 5th element.” And with this money “Master John the French Leech (physician) directed the building of alchemical furnaces at Stirling Castle and Holyroodhouse.”

Late 19th-century photograph of the Palace of Holyroodhouse from Calton Hill in Edinburgh, home of one of John Damian’s alchemical labs. ( Public Domain )

The beginning of the 16th century in Scotland saw a surge of interest in science, and John’s promise of delivering the elusive “5th element” must have been highly valued. Rumors preceded John that Italian alchemists had made significant advances in alchemy and somewhere between 1501 and 1508 his mesmerism caused him to inherit the powerful position of Abbot of Tongland. What exactly was this “5th element” that John, and thousands of alchemists before him, attempted to create?


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2. Stirling Castle was abandoned for many years

The castle is one of the few that has not had a constant occupancy through out the years. During the Wars of Independence in 1296, when Edward invaded Scotland, he found the great castle empty and abandoned. This allowed the English king to set up a Scottish stronghold with relative ease.

3. The castle esplanade has featured in several music videos

The parade ground outside the castle has been used as an open-air concert venue through out the years. This includes R.E.M., Bob Dylan and Runrig, some of who filmed their live in concert DVDs here. Stirling’s Hogmanay celebrations are also held here every year, and live broadcasted on TV.

4. The Battle of Bannockburn had a scaring effect on the castle

In the aftermath of the famous bloody battle, King Robert the Bruce regained control of the castle. The impressive fortress had switched hands so many times during the Wars of Independence, that Robert ordered all of the defences to be destroyed so it could never be used against his efforts again.

5. A bloody murder took place here

While we know many killings took place here, none seem as violent and intentional as that of William, 8th Earl of Douglas. In February 1452, James II had the Earl assassinated with the help of his courtiers. He was stabbed 26 times, and then his body was flung from a castle window down into the gardens.

6. The first attempt at flight in Scotland happened here

In 1507, the very first record of an attempted flight took place on the castle walls.

An Italian alchemist by the name of John Damian was in attendance at the court of James IV. He believed that with the aid of feathered wings, he would be able to take flight, and jumped from the battlements. Of course, this failed spectacularly and instead, John landed in a dunghill and broke his thigh bone.

7. The oldest football in the world was discovered here

Mary, Queen of Scots loved sports and in particular, football. She even recorded playing a game in one of her diaries. Behind the panelling in the Queen’s chamber, the oldest surviving football in the world was discovered. No one knows how it got there, but speculation includes the queen hid it in a safe place to protect it from witch craft. The ball was made from an inflated pig’s bladder, wrapped with cow’s hide and is around half the size of footballs today.


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