Edinburgh History, Edinburgh Castle History

     
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Auld Reekie Guest House, Edinburgh
Auld Reekie Guest House, Edinburgh

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The Clan Campbell Hotel, Edinburgh

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Edinburgh Castle
 
  History of Edinburgh Castle
The History of Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Updated: Saturday, 2nd July, 2011

 


850 BC     

Edinburgh History and Edinburgh Castle history begins on the rock on which Edinburgh Castle stands.The rock was formed 70 million years ago. Recent archaeological excavations in Edinburgh Castle have uncovered evidence that Bronze-Age man was living on the rock as long ago as 850 BC. Two thousand years ago, during the Iron Age, the rock had a hill-fort settlement on its summit.


AD 600   In about AD 600, three hundred men gathered around their King. Mynyddog, in his stronghold of Din Eidyn. This is the first mention of the name of the place, which we call Edinburgh. The war-band was preparing to attack the Angles, recent heathen invaders from Europe. The war-band pledged themselves to die for their King and almost all did die, on a raid into the territories of the Angles, in Yorkshire. Shortly after, in AD 638, Din Eidyn was besieged and taken by the Angles and the place seems then to have received the English name which it has kept ever since - Edinburgh.


AD 1093   In 1093 Queen Margaret wife of Malcolm III was seriously ill in Edinburgh Castle. She was brought the news that her husband had been killed at Alnwick in Northumberland. Broken-hearted, she too died. Husband and wife were buried side by side in the church at Dunfermline. Queen Margaret was made a saint by Pope Innocent IV in 1250. A tiny chapel, built on the summit of the castle rock in the early twelfth century, is dedicated to her memory and is the oldest building in Edinburgh Castle.


AD 1296   In 1296 Edward I of England invaded Scotland. He besieged and captured Edinburgh Castle.
On the night of 14 March 1314, Sir Thomas Randolph, the nephew of King Robert the Bruce, and his men climbed the precipitous north face of Edinburgh Castle rock, took the English garrison by surprise and won the castle back. Robert the Bruce immediately ordered that Edinburgh castle be dismantled "lest the English ever afterwards might lord it over the land by holding the castles". Three months later, on 24 June 1314 near Stirling, the Scottish army crushed the English at the Battle of Bannockburn.


AD 1449   In 1449, James II married Mary of Gueldres in Holyrood Abbey. That same year a great siege gun, made for the Queen's uncle, the Duke of Burgundy, was tested at Mons (now in Belgium). In 1457 Mons Meg (as she is now called) was shipped to Scotland as a present to the King and Queen. Three years later the King was dead, killed at the siege of Roxburgh Castle by one of his guns (not Mons Meg). Mons Meg was kept with the rest of the royal guns in Edinburgh Castle. She was used against the English and against rebellious Scottish noblemen. Her enormous bulk (she weighs over 6 tons) soon made her obsolete as a siege gun, but she was put to good use firing ceremonial salutes. In 1681, during a birthday salute for the Duke of Albany (later James VII and II, the last Stewart King) her barrel burst open and she was unceremoniously dumped beside Foog's Gate in Edinburgh Castle. The restored Mons Meg can proudly be viewed now on the upper levels of the Castle.


AD 1565   In July 1565 Mary Queen of Scots married her first cousin and second husband, Henry, Lord Darnley. Almost a year later on 19 June 1566, she gave birth to their child, Prince James in Edinburgh Castle.


AD 1568   On 16 May 1568 Mary, Queen of Scots fled to England and her infant son James became King of Scots. She left behind a divided nation. Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange was keeper of Edinburgh Castle, in 1571 when he decided to come out openly in support of the exiled Queen. The King's supporters immediately laid siege to the castle, but since the best artillery was inside the castle it proceeded inconclusively for two years - hence its name - the "Lang (long) Siege". Kirkcaldy's stout defence of the castle came to an end only after England had sent a large force and heavy artillery at the request of the King's party, led by the Regent Morton. In May 1573, after a devastating eleven-day bombardment, the east defences of the medieval castle came crashing to the ground. Kirkcaldy surrendered and was executed. Almost immediately the Regent Morton put in hand the work of rebuilding the shattered castle. Much of what you see today dates from this time, including the mighty Half-Moon Battery and the Portcullis Gate.


AD 1688   Late in 1688 the Protestant William of Orange landed in England and the Catholic James VII of Scotland and II of England, the last Stewart King, fled into exile. William and his wife Mary (James VII's elder daughter) were proclaimed joint sovereigns of England. The Scots were undecided. The governor of Edinburgh Castle at the time was the Duke of Gordon, a firm supporter of King James, who prepared the place for defence. The siege began in March 1689 and lasted for three months, during which time William and Mary were offered, and accepted the Scottish Crown. On 13 June Gordon surrendered Edinburgh Castle. It proved to be the last real action the castle saw. In the subsequent Jacobite Risings of 1715 and 1745, Edinburgh Castle was picketed by the supporters of the "Old Pretender" and "Bonnie Prince Charlie" but was never seriously threatened. Peace has reigned at Edinburgh Castle ever since.


AD 1707   On 19 March 1707 the Act uniting Scotland and England was passed in the Scottish Parliament. When it rose, the Crown, Sword and Sceptre were brought back to Edinburgh Castle and locked away. In time people wondered whether the honours of Scotland, as they were known really survived at all. In February 1818 Sir Walter Scott, with permission from the Prince Regent, broke into the room where the Honours had supposedly been locked away. He found them lying at the bottom of a chest covered with linen cloths "exactly as they had been left". They were immediately put on display in the room where they were discovered, so beginning Edinburgh Castle's new role as Scotland's premier visitor attraction.
     

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Accommodation
Edinburgh Fringe Festival Accommodation
 
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We have a fantastic selection of Edinburgh city centre accommodation, with self-catering flats, and self-catering apartments and private rooms with self-catering facilities from only £22 per person per night. All our self-catering units are close to all the Edinburgh International Festival attractions. We offer from 2-7 person Edinburgh Festival accommodation with a 2 night min. stay.

Entry Added: 28 July 2004


 

Holiday Inn - Edinburgh City Centre

Picardy Place
Opposite Omni Centre/Playhouse Theatre
Edinburgh
EH1 3JT
 
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The new Express by Holiday Inn Edinburgh City Centre is a listed Georgian building which has been transformed into a welcoming hotel perfect for the business and leisure traveller. A short walk from Princes Street and Waverley Railway Station, the hotel is an ideal base for your stay in Edinburgh.

Entry Added: 8th June 2004

Trace Your Ancestors Tour, Edinburgh
Trace Your Ancestors Tour, Edinburgh
 

Trace Your Scottish Ancestors Tour

Edinburgh
EH1 XXX
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Genealogy search for your family history here. Genealogy is the name of the process for tracing your family history.

Entry Added: 26th April 2004

 

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