tirling Castle is known as 'the Key to Scotland' this may be the most important and strategic castle in Scotland. It is situated in the link between the north and the south. It is built on an outcrop of volcanic rock. Access to the castle is from the south-east where the rock slopes down. Over the years the castle has fallen into the hands of many people, both Scottish and English. In 1174, William the Lion signed the treaty of Falaise which allowed key Scottish castles to be taken over by the English. During the period 1296 and 1304, the castle was captured by the Scottish and the English several times until Edward I finally took control of it to last for ten years. After the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 the Scots reclaimed the castle, but in 1333 the English took it back again. More to come ...
Captured by the English, William I of Scotland was forced to sign the Treaty of Falaise. The treaty made Scotland a feudal possession of England and William and his nobles swore fealty to Henry II. William had to hand over several castles to the English in return for his freedom. One of these was Stirling Castle.This treaty was overruled by King Richard I in return for funds paid by Scotland that Richard needed for his crusade in 1189. ¹
William Wallace and Andrew De Moray leaders of the Scottish revolt in the South and North joined forces and defeated the English army led by Surrey at Stirling. The Scots caught the English forces as they crossed a bridge across the Forth. ¹
Stirling castle was still under the control of English forces but was under siege from the Scots led by Edward Bruce. Bruce and the English commander, Sir Philippe de Mowbray, came to an agreement that if English forces had not reached the castle by midsummer 1314, Mowbray would surrender the castle to the Scots. Bruce even let Mowbray leave the castle to inform the English king of the agreement. ¹
Forces led by Edward II were defeated by Robert I at Bannockburn. Edward was trying to reach Stirling Castle to relieve the English forces there. This was an important battle for the Scots to win and helped them to make some gains of land in northern England even if the success was short-lived.
When James I returned to Scotland and take the thone he found that the country was in a poor state of affairs. There were many barons who had used the time of his imprisonment to further their own ambitions rather than to protect Scotland and it's people. These included Murdoch Stewart and his sons, Walter and Alexander. Murdoch had been acting as regent since the death of his father, Robert Duke of Albany in 1420. King James had Walter, Alexander and finally Murdoch arrested and executed at Stirling Castle.
Thousands of Scots gathered near the town of Musselburgh, just to the east of Edinburgh. They faced an English army led by the Duke of Somerset. The Scots had a good position on the battle field but wasted it when they attacked. The Scots were heavily defeated. The defeat at Pinkie Cleugh was a threat to Mary, Queen of Scots, and so she was secretly moved from Stirling Castle to the Augustinian Inchmahome Priory located on an island on lake Menteith. ¹
3D Virtual Reconstructions
Transport yourself back up to a thousand years and explore historical buildings as they may have appeared in the past. Built using the popular game development tool Unity 3D, these reconstructions will run in the most of the popular web browsers on your desktop or laptop computer.
Uncover the lives of the hundreds of kings, queens, lords, ladies, barons, earls, archbishops and rebels who made the medieval people an exciting period of history to live through.
Selection of references used:
1. J.D. Mackie, A History of Scotland, 1978, ISBN:0-7139-1206-5
2. Susan Ross, The Castles of Scotland, ISBN:0-85097-184-5
3. Caroline Bingham, The Life and Times of Edward II