Scottish Castles Photo Library
- Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

There may have been earlier forts on the volcanic plug in the Forth valley, but it was King Alexander I in early 12th century who built a chapel there and he probably died at Stirling in 1124. Later, Stirling was one of five Scottish castles passed over to Henry II of England in payment for the release of William the Lion. Although it was later returned to Scotland, King Edward I took over all the Scottish royal castles in 1291. Temporarily captured by William Wallace after the Battle of Stirling Bridge it returned to English hands. By 1313 Stirling was one of only three castles held by Edward II and it was when attempting to relieve the castle that Edward was defeated by Robert the Bruce at nearby Bannockburn in 1314.

The castle was the backdrop to the murder of William, 8th Earl of Douglas by King James II. The castle was greatly expanded by Kings James IV and V - it is James V we have to thank for the Great Hall which has recently been restored to its former glory (see part of this building in the picture above).

Mary Queen of Scots was crowned in Stirling Castle in 1543 and her son, James VI was christened in the nearby parish church. James VI spent a lot of time at Stirling Castle and his first son, Prince Henry, was born there. But after the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the next royal visit was by King Charles II in 1650.

Now owned by Historic Scotland, Stirling is second only to Edinburgh Castle in the number of visitors each year.

See also Places to Visit - Stirling Castle for more information and illustrations.

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or go to the next castle: Strathaven CastleStrathaven Castle

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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