Stirling Castle History:
The large castles at Stirling and
Edinburgh were built as Royal residences from
the 1100s. These huge fortresses were needed
as Scotland was at war for centuries with the
Norse that had taken control of the far north
of Scotland and Western Islands, and the
English were fighting over areas in the south
of Scotland. The English also tried to gain
control of the whole of Scotland on a number
Scottish Kings were also involved in
battles with Clans around Scotland that
wanted to control their own areas.
Marriage between Scottish and English
royal families helped keep the peace at
times. Marriage between Scots Clans also
helped end decades or centuries of killings
Scottish Clans had smaller castles or
tower house, built to withstand attacks by
Stirling Castle is built on Castle Hill in
Central Scotland, at the gateway to the
Highlands. This is the most strategic castle
in Scotland from where the country could be
The first recorded wooden fort built on
this site is in the 600s.
The first records of Stirling Castle are
from when King Alexander I had a chapel built
there and died at the castle in 1124. The
early castle defenses would have been built
mainly of wood.
King David I (1085 – 1153), son of
Alexander I, used the castle as his Royal
King William I / William the Lion (1165 -
1214) formed a deer park to the
King William I was involved in wars with
England over land in south Scotland and north
England. He was also involved in wars with
the Norse in the north of Scotland.
King William I died at Stirling Castle in
Alexander II (1214 - 1249) and Alexander
III (1249 - 1286) used Stirling Castle at a
time referred to as relatively peaceful.
Alexander III was credited with the
withdrawal of the Norse from Scotland.
1286, the death of Alexander III, and that
of his sole heir, the child Princess Margaret
in 1290, left Scotland without a Monarch.
1291, King Edward I of England begins to
pressure Scottish Nobles and Landowners into
giving him their support so he could rule
1296, Edward I of England invades Scotland
and finds Stirling Castle abandoned. This
time is referred to as the First War of
1297, Scots forces led by William Wallace
and Andrew de Moray defeat an English army at
Stirling Bridge on the east side of Stirling
Castle. The Scots took the castle soon
1298, English forces led by Edward I
defeat the Scots led by Wallace at Falkirk,
11 miles southeast of Stirling Castle. The
English regain control of the Stirling Castle
1299, Scots forces of Robert the Bruce
capture Stirling Castle.
1304, the English take control of Stirling
Castle with the aid of a number of siege
1314, Scots forces led by Robert the
Bruce's brother Edward besiege Stirling
1314 June, the Scots led by Robert the
Bruce defeat an English army at Bannockburn,
2 miles south of Stirling Castle. The Scots
take Stirling Castle soon after and destroy
its defenses so the English cannot use it
1328, the Treaty of Edinburgh is signed
between the English and Scots that declared
Robert the Bruce King of an independent
1329, Robert the Bruce dies and is
succeeded by his son David II.
1332, war breaks out again with the
English, referred to as the Second War of
1336, the English gain control of Stirling
Castle and extend its fortifications. The
castle defenses are still mainly built form
timber at that time.
1342, Scots led by Robert Stuart retake
Stirling Castle after a long siege. Robert
Stuart was the grandson of Robert the
1357, the Second War of Scottish
Independence comes to and end with the Treaty
of Berwick where the Scots agree to pay the
English 100,000 merks over a ten-year
1371, Robert Stuart becomes King of
Scotland as Robert II, beginning of the
1371 - 1603, Stirling Castle defenses are
rebuilt in stone by the nine Stuart monarchs
that used the castle.
1452, James II stabbed and killed William,
8th Earl of Douglas at Stirling Castle after
accusing him of being involved in a plot to
overthrow the monarchy.
1501 - 1504, the Great Hall in Stirling
Castle is built for James IV.
1538, the Royal Palace is built in
Stirling Castle for James V.
1542 8th December, Mary Queen of Scots is
born at Linlithgow Palace 18 miles southeast
of Stirling Castle.
1542 14th December, James V, father of
Mary Queen of Scots dies at Falkland Palace
34 miles northeast of Stirling Castle.
1543 9th September, the 9 month old child
Mary was crowned Queen of Scots in the old
chapel at Stirling Castle.
1566, Mary Queen of Scots gives birth to
her son James at Edinburgh Castle, who became
king James VI in 1567, aged only 13
1567, James VI was christened at Stirling
1567 29 July, James was crowned King of
Scotland at the Church of the Holy Rude next
to Stirling Castle, and raised at the castle
by his tutors.
1568, Mary Queen of Scots flees to England
after uprisings of Scottish Nobles against
her. Battles at the time were between forces
loyal to the Catholic Mary, and Nobles in
favour of the Protestant religion.
August 1586, the catholic Mary is
imprisoned in England after being accused of
plotting to overthrow the protestant English
Queen Elizabeth I.
1587 8th February, Mary Queen of Scots is
executed by beheading by her English captors
for treason at Fotheringhay Castle in
The 21 year old James VI is advised not to
react to his mothers execution, as he was
next in line to become King of England, as
Elizabeth I had no children.
1594, the new Royal Chapel is built in
Stirling Castle for James VI.
1603, James VI becomes King of England and
Scotland after the death of Elizabeth I,
uniting the two countries. From this time on,
the Stuart Kings are mainly based in
1642, the English Civil War breaks out
after Charles I becomes unpopular, and Oliver
Cromwell leads Parliamentarian forces to take
control of the country.
1649, Charles I is executed by beheading
at the Palace of Whitehall in London.
1650, Charles II is crowned by the Scots
and lives at Stirling Castle.
1651 6th August, Stirling castle is
attacked by the forces of Oliver Cromwell and
is captured 8 days later.
1658, Oliver Cromwell dies, leading to
Charles II being restored to the English
throne in 1660.
1707 1st May, Queen Anne Stuart oversees
England and Scotland united as Great
1714, the protestant Queen Anne Stuart
dies without leaving an heir.
1714, the German born protestant George I
is chosen as King of England and
1714, government troops occupy Stirling
Castle as forces around Great Britain fight
to have the catholic James Stuart replace
George I. This time was known as the First
Jacobite Rising. This rising was
1745, the Second Jacobite Rising, an
attempt to have Charles Edward Stuart replace
George II, saw government forces having to
defend Stirling Castle from Jacobite attacks
for a number of days.
1746 16th April, Government forces defeat
Jacobite forces at the Battle of Culloden by
Inverness, 144 miles north of Stirling
Castle. This was the last battle on the
1800 - 1964, Stirling Castle is used as
barracks for the Argyll and Sutherland
Many of the buildings, Chapel, Great Hall
and Palace were divided into rooms so they
were more suitable for accommodating a large
number of soldiers.
1964, Stirling Castle ceases to be used as
a military base, then used as a tourist
1988, The Argyll and Sutherland
Highlanders Museum is opened in the Kings
1996, the Royal Chapel restoration is
1999, the Great Hall restoration is
2011, the Palace restoration is