Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I celebrated the 303rd anniversary of the first performance of Handel’s Water Music. Tina did some armchair traveling to both Ireland (A Letter from America by Geraldine O’Neill) and Wales (Missing in Wales by Jenny O’Brien). Jean read The Children of Húrin by J. R. R. Tolkien, but not completed in his lifetime — read her post to see how this got published.
Time to visit a third castle in Scotland. Last month, we went to Eilean Donan Castle with its beautiful bridge and Inveraray Castle, a stronghold of the Campbell Clan. Both of those were on the west side of Scotland. Today, let’s visit Stirling Castle, on the east side.
Today is the anniversary of an historical event at Stirling Castle. On this day, in 1304, the castle’s Scottish garrison surrendered to the English troops of King Edward I after a four-month siege. The final blow was delivered by the largest trebuchet ever built, the Warwolf.
The 1304 victory gave Edward I control of Scotland for the first time.
This was neither the first nor last time that Stirling Castle was under siege due to its strategic importance, guarding the furthest inland crossing of the River Forth with direct access to the Firth of Forth and the North Sea.
The long history, large size, and splendid architecture, make Stirling Castle one of the most important Scottish castles and a major tourist attraction. A few of the fourteenth-century structures remain and many of the buildings from the following two centuries are intact.
Stirling Castle was a royal palace, the one where Mary, Queen of Scots, and several other Scottish kings and queens were crowned. The last royal resident was King Charles II who lived in Stirling Castle after his father, Charles I, was executed during the English Civil War. Charles II was crowned King of Scotland while Oliver Cromwell ruled England.
I could spend hours walking the castle walls for the views, enjoying the grounds and architecture, and examining the displays. I’ll start with the free guided tour but also pre-purchase the audio tour so I can visit at a pace that suits me. This video put the Unicorn Tapestries high on the list of things I want to see: