Edinburgh Castle is a large fortress in the
centre of Edinburgh in Scotland. The image top
is from the Scott Monument looking south along
Princes Street, and Princes Street Gardens with
Edinburgh Castle sitting high above.
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The top attractions in Edinburgh Castle are
the Palace, Great Hall, Crown Jewels, St
Margaret's Chapel, National War Memorial
building, Military Museum, Prison Cells, huge
Mons Meg cannon, 1 O'clock gun that is fired
each day, Soldier’s Dog Cemetery, and amazing
views in all directions from the ramparts.
Google Map .
The earliest parts of Edinburgh Castle were
built for King David I in the 1100s. The tiny
St Margaret's Chapel is the oldest remaining
building in the Castle from the 1100s in honor
of his mother Saint Margaret.
Edinburgh Castle and Stirling
Castle 36 miles northwest, are two similar
large fortresses, both built as Royal
residences, also to control Scotland.
Most of the Edinburgh Castle seen today was
built from the late 1500s, as the earlier
defenses were damaged by Cannon during a Civil
War between the Scottish Government forces and
forces of Mary Queen of Scots who held the
Castle from 1571 to 1573.
Mary was accused of being involved in the
murder of her husband, leading to her being
forced to step down as Queen so her son could
become King in 1567, setting of a Civil War
that lasted to 1573. Mary escaped to England
where she was beheaded in 1587 as she was
accused of trying to overthrow her Cousin, the
English Queen Elizabeth I.
After the death of Queen Elizabeth I, Mary's
son James VI became King of England in 1603, as
well as being King of Scotland, leading to
Scotland and England being safer places with
less Wars and Border Raids.
The Great Hall in Edinburgh Castle was
completed in 1511, and the Palace around 1615.
The Scottish Crown Jewels are displayed in the
Palace. They are in a small room where no
photos are allowed.
The Statues of Robert the Bruce and William
Wallace were placed at each side of the
entrance to the Castle in 1929.
History of Edinburgh Castle
Early Kings of Scotland were descendants of
(Canmore) 1031 – 1093.
These were the first Kings to control most
of Scotland. Before this time, many areas of
Scotland had different rulers.
Malcolm III and his wife Margaret, later
used Dunfermline Abbey and Palace as their
main Royal residence, now a partial ruin.
1100s - Edinburgh Castle is built for
David I Canmore
to serve as a secure Royal residence and
1100s - Stirling Castle is also built
to serve as another secure Royal residence and
military fortress 35 miles west of Edinburgh.
Stirling Castle Palace and Great Hall are
slightly larger than the ones at Edinburgh
Edinburgh and Stirling Castles were ideally
situated from where to control most of
1153 - King Malcolm IV is the first king to
use Edinburgh Castle as his main Royal
1174 to 1186 - the English took control of
Edinburgh Castle after capturing King William the
Lion at the Battle of
Scots/ English wars at that time were over
where the border should be between the
1286 - the death of King Alexander III
without leaving an heir led to the Wars of Scottish
Independence. This was the end of the
Edward I of England took this opportunity to
gain control of Scotland. Edinburgh Castle
changed hands a few times until the Treaty of
Berwick was signed in 1357, ending the
Robert the Bruce became King of Scotland
during the Wars of Scottish Independence, with
his descendants being the Stuart Kings that
ruled most of the time until 1714.
1430s, Sir William Crichton was the Keeper
of Edinburgh Castle for the boy King James II
Stuart. Crichton had William Douglas and his
younger brother David executed at Edinburgh
Castle after inviting them to have dinner with
The killings were believed to have been
because the Douglas Clan were regarded as too
powerful, suspected of wanting to overthrow the
King, and they were the neighbouring Clan of
the Crichton's, with long running feuds between
the two Clans.
1420s - work to build Linlithgow
Palace 18 miles west of Edinburgh begins.
This was to be a much larger Palace than could
be built inside a Castle.
1430s - construction of the Palace at
Edinburgh Castle begins.
1457 - the huge cannon Mons Meg
arrives at Edinburgh Castle for part of its
1458 - the Great Hall is completed at
1530s - Linlithgow Palace is completed as a
vast Royal residence with little defense. The
Palaces in Edinburgh and Stirling Castles are
still used, especially during times of
1540s - wars with England begin over Mary
Queen of Scots. Edward VIII of England wanted
Mary to mary his son so Scotland and England
could be united.
1567 - James VI became King of Scotland
after Scottish Nobles forced his mother Mary
Queen of Scots to abdicate.
1603 - James VI Stuart
of Scotland becomes King James I of England as
well, uniting the two countries.
1633 - King Charles I Stuart visited
Edinburgh Castle to host a feast in the Great
Hall for his Scottish coronation, the last time
a reigning monarch stayed in the Castle.
1640s - Linlithgow Palace falls into
1640s - wars break out in England and
Scotland over religion. Edinburgh Castle
changes hands a few times to various forces in
The Reformation of the late 1500s saw
Christian Catholicism become illegal, being
replaced by Christian Protestantism.
Protestantism split into a number of forms,
with Anglican adopted by most Churches in
England, with the King head of these
Presbyterian was adopted by most Churches in
Scotland, with Elders the head of these
1630s - the Presbyterian Elders were accused
of running Scotland from this time. Their
followers were known as Covenanters.
1639 - Charles I, King of England and
Scotland, attempted to force his Anglican
beliefs on the Scots, so he could gain more
control over Scotland.
This led to the Wars of the Three
Kingdoms, between Scotland, England and
Ireland, leading to the Stuart's being removed
from power and the English Civil War.
Edinburgh Castle changed hands a number of
times during these conflicts with the
Covenanters taking control twice.
1660 - Charles II Stuart is restored to the
throne of Scotland and England, leading to more
Charles II based a full time Army at
Edinburgh Castle at this time. The Castle is
then used to hold high profile prisoners,
thought to be involved in plots to overthrow
1678 - Holyrood Palace is completed about 1
mile north of Edinburgh Castle, becoming the
main Royal residence in Scotland.
1687 - James II, king of England and
Scotland, brought an end to fighting over
religion by allowing all to serve God in their
own way and manner.
1707 - the Acts of Union merged the English
and Scottish Parliaments. This led to Edinburgh
becoming one of four Scottish Castles
permanently garrisoned by a new British Army,
the others being Stirling, Dumbarton and
1714 - Queen Anne Stuart dies without
leaving an heir, leading to her German cousin
George I Hanover being elected King of Great
This led to a series of wars as a number of
Stuart's believed they had a greater claim to
1715 to 1746 - the Jacobite Risings took
place in an attempt to restore Stuart's to the
throne of Great Britain. Edinburgh Castle was
attacked a number of times during the risings,
but was never taken.
1746 - the Kings Hanoverian troops defeat
the Jacobite's at the Battle of
Culloden, the last major battle on the
British mainland, ending any hopes of the
Stuart's regaining the throne.
1818 - Sir Walter Scott searched Edinburgh
Castle and found the Crown of Scotland in a
1845 - Edinburgh Castle and the Crown Jewels
are opened to the public, becoming by far the
most visited attraction in Scotland. Edinburgh
Castle may be the second most visited
attraction in the UK, after the Tower of London.
1996 - the Stone of Scone
also known as the Stone of Destiny, was
returned to Scotland so it could be displayed
next to the Crown Jewels in Edinburgh
This was the Coronation Stone of many
Scottish Kings. It was taken by the English
forces of Edward I from Scone Abbey in
1296. It was kept at Westminster
Abbey in London for 700 years.