Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle


City of Edinburgh


Castle Hill, Royal Mile



~ History ~

AD100 ~ The Votadini tribal chieftains who command the hill fort atop of the rock, defending the round houses srrounded by deep ditches and gatehouse, exchange trade with their Roman invaders.

600 ~ The Gododdin tribe ride south from 'Din Eidyn'into North Yorkshire to fight their Angle invaders. However the warband never return, slaughtered to a man.

640 ~ King Oswald leads his army of Angles into Scotland, taking the fortress of 'Din Eidyn'.

960 ~ The Angles are driven from the rock and Scotland.

1018 ~ King Malcolm II of Scotland takes Edinburgh for his royal seat.

1066 ~ Following the Norman Conquest of England, the English princess of Wessex, born in exile in Hungary and sister to Edgar Ætheling, the shortly reigned and uncrowned Anglo-Saxon King of England, flees to the safety of Scotland.

1070 ~ Margaret marries King Malcolm III of Scotland, becoming Queen of Scots.

1093 ~ King Malcolm III of Scotland is away fighting the English in Northumberland when his Queen, Margaret falls gravely ill at Edinburgh castle. Malcolm is killed near Alnwick Castle, along with his eldest son and heir. Upon hearing this news Margaret succumbs to his illness and dies, just three days after her husband.

1130 ~ A chapel is built at Edinbugh Castle in memory of the late Queen Margaret.

1165 ~ William 'the Lion' becomes King of Scotland following his brother Malcolm IV's death. As grandson to King David I of Scotland, he also inherits the title of Earl of Northumbria from his father, Henry of Scotland. However he had to give up this title to King Henry II of England before taking the crown of Scotland.

1173 ~ King William plays a key role in a revolt against King Henry II.

1174 ~ At the Battle of Alnwick, during a raid in support of the revolt, William recklessly charges the English troops himself, shouting, "Now we shall see which of us are good knights!" He is unhorsed and captured by Henry's troops led by Ranulf de Glanvill and taken in chains to Newcastle before being transferred to Falaise in Normandy. King Henry then sends an army to invade Scotland. As ransom and to regain his kingdom, William has to acknowledge King Henry as his feudal superior and agrees to pay for the cost of the English army's occupation of Scotland by taxing the Scots.

1175 ~ King Williams swears fealty to Henry II at York Castle. The humiliation of the Treaty of Falaise triggers a revolt in Galloway which lasted eleven years.

1179 ~ King William and his brother turn their attention against the Norse Earls and Lords who control much of northern Scotlan.

1189 ~ The treaty of Falaise is finally terminated by King Richard I in exchange for 10,000 silver marks to help pay for the Third Crusade.

1296 ~ King Edward I of England captures Edinburgh castle.

1314 ~ The Scots recapture the castle under cover of night and begin dismantling the defences to avoid it being used again by the English against them.

1335 ~ The English return and recpature the castle.

1341 ~ The Scots return and disguised as merchants retake the castle.

1371 ~ King David II of Scotland dies in his royal castle at Edinburgh.

1400 ~ The castle is attacked by the English under King Henry IV. This time they manage to repel the English.

1440 ~ The Douglases clan has become so powerful that they were seen as a threat to the stability of Scotland. The 16-year-old William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas and his younger brother are invited to dine with the ten-year-old King James II of Scotland. Later called the Black Dinner, the occasion is organised by the Lord Chancellor, Sir William Crichton. While they ate, a black bull's head, the symbol of death, is brought in and placed before the Earl. The two brothers are then dragged out to Castle Hill, given a mock trial and beheaded.

The Clan Douglas then lay siege to Edinburgh Castle.Perceiving the danger, Crichton surrenders the castle to the King and is rewarded with the title Lord Crichton. Years of forfeiture of lands and clan conflicts begin.

1452 ~ After fruitless feuding with the Douglases, the King invites William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas to Stirling Castle  under the promise of safe conduct, but then the King accuses the Earl of conspiracy in his dealings with the Yorkists in England and through a pact made between Douglas, the Earl of Crawford and the Lord of the Isles. Upon Douglas' refusal to repudiate the pact and reaffirm his loyalty to King James II, the King draws his dagger and stabs Douglas in the throat. The King's Captain of the Guard then finishes off the Earl with a pole axe. The body is thrown from the window into a garden below, where it is later given burial.

1455 ~  James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas (the Black Douglas) rebels against the King but his forces are defeated at the Battle of Arkinholm by the king's forces who are commanded by George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus (the Red Douglas). This brings an end to the Black Douglases.

1560 ~ Queen Mary of Guise, mother of Mary Queen of Scots, dies in the castle.

1566 ~ Mary Queen of Scots gives birth to future King James VI in palace in Edinburgh Castle.

1571 ~ A siege devastates the castle, leaving David’s Tower ruined.

1617 ~ King James VI returns from England for jubilee celebrations in castle.

1633 ~ King Charles I stays at the castle.

1639 ~ The castle captured twice by Covenanters.

1650 ~ Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian army captures the castle.

1689 ~ The castle recaptured from Jacobites.

1715 ~ A Jacobite night raid nearly captures the castle.

1745 ~ Castle guns defeat a further Jacobite siege.

1757 ~ French prisoners of war are imprisoned in the castle.

1811 ~ A mass break-out by French prisoners from the castle occurs.

1822 ~ King George IV is the first ruling monarch to visit castle in 189 years.

1840 ~ A military prison built in the castle to lock up offending soldiers.

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Edinburgh Castle is one of the most famous and iconic castles in all of Europe, sat upon a volcanic rock some 700 million years old.

The rock has been habited for at least 3,000 years to the Bronze Age. Ever since the Iron Age a fort has occupied the summit.

By the 11th century a royal castle had been built replacing earlier ancient fortifications. From this point on the castle played a key role in both Scottish and British politics, and as a result has such a rich fascinating history.

Today the castle located at the end of the Royal Mile in old Edinburgh city centre is a mecca for tourists and world famous for its military tattoo.

Access to the castle is by foot and its recommended travel to Edinburgh by train rather than car if you can.

Definately a must see castle.