The History Of Edinburgh Castle
By: Stuart Usher
For our first Blog entry, here is an excellent summary of the history of Edinburgh Castle, written by our very own Stuart Usher.
Please note that visits inside the Castle are not included in our group tours. We can, however, arrange it on our Private Tours if you request it. The ticket costs will be additional.
THE HISTORY OF EDINBURGH CASTLE
1. In 638 AD the Goddodin King of the Edinburgh area, feasts in the Castle and then invades the land of the Angles (later England) with his army. He and his army are wiped out by the Angles in Northern Angleland and the Edinburgh area becomes part of the Angle Kingdom of Northumbria.
2. c 900, known as the Castle of Maidens.
3. 1093, Queen Margaret of Scotland (later Saint Margaret) dies in Edinburgh Castle.
4. 1130, King David the 1st of Scotland builds a Royal Chapel in memory of his mother, Queen Margaret, in Edinburgh Castle. Chapel is still standing proud at present time.
5. 1295, King Edward the 1st of England captures the Castle.
6. 1314, King Robert the 1st of Scotland (Robert the Bruce) recaptures the Castle.
7. 1566, First King of Great Britain is born in the Castle.
8. 1573, The Castle is captured by Protestant forces in the Marian Wars in Siege known as ‘The Lang Siege’ (1571 – 1573).
9. 1650, The Castle is captured by Oliver Cromwell.
10. 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie besieges the Castle but fails to capture it.
11. 1822, King George the 4th appears on the battlements of Edinburgh Castle amid welcoming cannon firing. He wears a very short kilt to show off his large thighs! A quarter of the population of Scotland come to Edinburgh to see the King.
12. 1947, The now world-famous Edinburgh Tattoo is held on the Castle Esplanade for the first time.
13. 1997, The Stone of Destiny is returned to Scotland from Westminster Abbey in London after an absence of over 700 years! It is placed in Edinburgh Castle Palace where visitors can see it.
THINGS WHICH CAN BE VISITED IN THE MIGHTY FORTRESS OF EDINBURGH CASTLE
1. The Castle Palace. One of the main homes of the Scottish Royal Family until 1500, after which they moved to Holyrood Palace next to Holyrood Abbey a mile from the Castle. In the Castle Palace the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny and the Royal Apartments can be viewed and enjoyed.
2. The Great Hall. Built in 1501 – 1503 by King James the 4th of Scotland.
3. St Margaret’s Chapel. Can be entered and enjoyed.
4. Mons Meg Cannon. Largest Cannon ever made in Europe, nicknamed ‘The Castle Destroyer’. Made in Mons in modern day Belgium for the Duke of Burgundy in the 1440’s and gifted by him to King James the 2nd of Scotland. Its Cannon Balls weighed 230 pounds and this behemoth of a Cannon could hurl them 2 miles!
5. The Castle Prison. Can be entered and ‘enjoyed’!
6. The National War Memorial of Scotland in Crown Square. Well worth a visit.
7. The National War Museum, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum and the Museum of the Royal Regiment of Scotland are all situated in Edinburgh Castle and make very interesting viewing.
FURTHER INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT EDINBURGH CASTLE
1. This mighty Castle was the most besieged Castle in the whole of Great Britain. Twenty-three sieges in all.
2. It was the birthplace of the First King of Great Britain, King James the 6th of Scotland who became King James the 1st of England and lastly became King James the 1st of Great Britain.
3. The Castle stands on the plug of an extinct Volcano where it towers over the ancient City of Edinburgh. On a clear day it can be seen from 30 miles away.
5. Edinburgh Castle Esplanade is where the World’s first Tattoo takes place, nightly, every year in the month of August. The Edinburgh Tattoo is the largest and most famous Tattoo in the world and is a ‘MUST SEE’ for Tourists. But book your tickets early!