Greeting blog readers!
Upon arrival in Edinburgh, Dr. Lindgren sent our group on a scavenger hunt of the city. Edinburgh is split into ‘old city’ and ‘new city’ with the Prince’s Gardens acting as the middle ground between the two. While traversing through the Gardens our group saw an impressive castle resting on a cliff and overlooking the city. This castle was Edinburgh Castle, which we toured the next day. Radio carbon dating has put the earliest dwelling on the castle site between 972 and 830 BCE meaning that there has been human activity on that site for centuries. An Iron Age chief lived on the castle rock during the time of the Roman invasions; however, a Roman fort was never built on the site.
Eventually there was a castle built on the premises that came under Scottish rule when captured by Malcolm II around 1018 CE. Malcolm went on to die in battle in 1093 and his wife, Margaret, upon hearing the news died from a mixture of shock and an illness she had been battling beforehand. In honor of her death, Malcolm and Margaret’s son David I built a chapel on the castle grounds that remains there today.
After Malcolm originally captured the castle for the Scots, the castle changed hands several times. The English took the castle in 1296. During this attack Edward I took the crown jewels and the stone of destiny from the castle and took them to London where they remained until 1996. Today the artifacts are on display at the top tier of the castle.
In 1314 the castle was recaptured for the Scots by Robert the Bruce who then slighted the castle so that it could not be used for defense again; nonetheless, the English rebuilt the castle when they overtook Edinburgh again in 1335. In 1341 the Scots took the castle back under the rule of David I, who built a tower for the castle that bears his name. Other towers were built at the castle during medieval times to show royal power and prestige, but many were destroyed. The ruins of David’s tower remain at the castle but little of any part of the medieval castle remains due to the constant sieges the castle was put under. There were three main sieges that the castle went through. The first was the slighting ordered by Robert the Bruce in 1314. The castle was destroyed for the second time in 1573 when the British attacked the castle after the Lang Siege. The third slighting took place in 1689 when Jacobite forces attacked the castle for three months.
Though little of the medieval castle remains the castle is still and impressive structure today. There is a top tier of the castle that contains the crown jewels, stone of destiny, and Margaret’s chapel. Other parts of the castle include a dog cemetery for the dogs of regiments and soldiers. There was also a prison museum that replicated what the prisons looked like in Edinburgh during the 1700’s. A second museum paid homage to the Scottish soldiers throughout history. The final exhibit in this museum was called ‘Helmand’s Return’ and showed photography of a Scottish regiment as they prepared to leave their station.
In conclusion the Edinburgh castle was impressive on first sight in the Prince’s Garden and continued to impress me while I explored the different parts of the castle, their history, and the museums that showed further aspects of Scottish military history.
All for now,