Stirling is one of the strongest and most important Castles in Scotland. It dates back to the 11th century when Malcolm III constructed a wooden Castle here. Most of the current building dates from much more recently; parts even dating the 18th century. Some more ancient construction does still exist in the Castle, but because of the violent history of Stirling and its Castle the building has been constantly re-fortified and re-built over the centuries.
Alexander I and William the Lion both died at Stirling Castle. It was first taken by the English when Edward I took it in 1304 using a siege engine called "the War Wolf". William "Braveheart" Wallace retook the Castle for the Scots but soon afterwards the English were back in control.
It took the Battle of Bannockburn to oust the English for longer than a few months. After the battle in 1304 Robert the Bruce had Stirling Castle slighted. Less than twenty years later the English were back, under Edward III, who came to Scotland to support the puppet king Edward Balliol. Stirling Castle was rebuilt once more. In 1337 Sir Andrew Murray besieged the Castle, but failed to gain entrance. In 1342 the Scots broke the English hold over Stirling Castle this time on a more permanent basis.
James II (of Scotland) lured Earl Douglas here in 1452, had him murdered and then tossed his body out of a window. Mary, Queen of Scots was crowned here in 1533; James VI and I, Charles I and Charles II all stayed at the Castle. In 1651 the Castle was besieged by Monck for Cromwell. This time the garrison mutineed and the besiegers were allowed easy access.
During the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite Rebellions the Castle, although in poor repair, fired off many shots at the Rebels. After the 1745 failed the Castle became a barracks, the Army not leaving until 1964.
The Castle is owned by Historic Scotland and is open throughout the year.
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