Edinburgh Castle
Overview
 
Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC, although the nature of early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle here since at least the reign of David I
David I of Scotland
David I or Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians and later King of the Scots...

 in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until the Union of the Crowns
Union of the Crowns
The Union of the Crowns was the accession of James VI, King of Scots, to the throne of England, and the consequential unification of Scotland and England under one monarch. The Union of Crowns followed the death of James' unmarried and childless first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I of...

 in 1603.
Encyclopedia
Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC, although the nature of early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle here since at least the reign of David I
David I of Scotland
David I or Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians and later King of the Scots...

 in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until the Union of the Crowns
Union of the Crowns
The Union of the Crowns was the accession of James VI, King of Scots, to the throne of England, and the consequential unification of Scotland and England under one monarch. The Union of Crowns followed the death of James' unmarried and childless first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I of...

 in 1603. From the 15th century the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century its principal role was as a military base with a large garrison. Its importance as a historic monument was recognised from the 19th century, and various restoration programmes have been carried out since. As one of the most important fortresses in the Kingdom of Scotland
Kingdom of Scotland
The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts, from the Wars of Scottish Independence
Wars of Scottish Independence
The Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between the independent Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries....

 in the 14th century, up to the Jacobite Rising
Jacobite rising
The Jacobite Risings were a series of uprisings, rebellions, and wars in Great Britain and Ireland occurring between 1688 and 1746. The uprisings were aimed at returning James VII of Scotland and II of England, and later his descendants of the House of Stuart, to the throne after he was deposed by...

 of 1745, and has been besieged, both successfully and unsuccessfully, on several occasions.

Few of the present buildings pre-date the Lang Siege of the 16th century, when the medieval fortifications were largely destroyed by artillery bombardment. The notable exception is St Margaret's Chapel, the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh, which dates from the early 12th century. Among other significant buildings of the castle are the Royal Palace, and the early-16th-century Great Hall. The castle also houses the Scottish National War Memorial, and the National War Museum of Scotland
National War Museum of Scotland
The National War Museum is housed in Edinburgh, and forms part of the National Museums of Scotland. It is located within Edinburgh Castle, and admission is included in the entry charge for the castle....

.

Although formally owned by the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

, most of the castle is now in the care of Historic Scotland
Historic Scotland
Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government, responsible for historic monuments in Scotland.-Role:As its website states:...

, and it is Scotland's most-visited paid tourist attraction. The garrison left in the 1920s, but there is still a military presence at the castle, largely ceremonial and administrative, and including a number of regimental museum
Regimental museum
In countries whose armies are organised on a regimental basis, such as the army of the United Kingdom, a regimental museum is a military museum dedicated to the history of a specific army regiment.-England:*Army Medical Services Museum...

s. It is the backdrop to the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Edinburgh Military Tattoo
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an annual series of Military tattoos performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands and display teams in the Scottish capital Edinburgh...

 and has become a recognisable symbol of Edinburgh and of Scotland.

Geology

The castle stands upon the plug
Volcanic plug
A volcanic plug, also called a volcanic neck or lava neck, is a volcanic landform created when magma hardens within a vent on an active volcano. When forming, a plug can cause an extreme build-up of pressure if volatile-charged magma is trapped beneath it, and this can sometimes lead to an...

 of an extinct volcano, which is estimated to have risen some 350 million years ago during the lower Carboniferous
Carboniferous
The Carboniferous is a geologic period and system that extends from the end of the Devonian Period, about 359.2 ± 2.5 Mya , to the beginning of the Permian Period, about 299.0 ± 0.8 Mya . The name is derived from the Latin word for coal, carbo. Carboniferous means "coal-bearing"...

 period. The Castle Rock is the remains of a volcanic pipe
Volcanic pipe
Volcanic pipes are subterranean geological structures formed by the violent, supersonic eruption of deep-origin volcanoes. They are considered to be a type of diatreme. Volcanic pipes are composed of a deep, narrow cone of solidified magma , and are usually largely composed of one of two...

, which cut through the surrounding sedimentary rock, before cooling to form very hard dolerite, a type of basalt. Subsequent glacial erosion
Glaciology
Glaciology Glaciology Glaciology (from Middle French dialect (Franco-Provençal): glace, "ice"; or Latin: glacies, "frost, ice"; and Greek: λόγος, logos, "speech" lit...

 was resisted by the dolerite, which protected the softer rock to the east, leaving a crag and tail
Crag and tail
A crag is a rocky hill or mountain, generally isolated from other high ground. Crags are formed when a glacier or ice sheet passes over an area that contains a particularly resistant rock formation...

 formation.

The summit of the Castle Rock is 130 metres (426.5 ft) above sea level, with rocky cliffs to the south, west and north, rearing up to 80 metres (262.5 ft) from the surrounding landscape. This means that the only readily accessible route to the castle lies to the east, where the ridge slopes more gently. The defensive advantage of such a site is clear, but the geology of the rock also presents difficulties, since basalt is an extremely poor aquifer
Aquifer
An aquifer is a wet underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using a water well. The study of water flow in aquifers and the characterization of aquifers is called hydrogeology...

. Providing water to the Upper Ward of the castle was problematic, and despite the sinking of a 28 metres (91.9 ft) deep well, the water supply often ran out during drought or siege, for example during the Lang Siege of 1573.

Earliest habitation

Documentary reference to occupation of the Castle Rock can be found as early as the mid-2nd century AD. Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 (c. 83 – c. 168) refers to a settlement of the Votadini
Votadini
The Votadini were a people of the Iron Age in Great Britain, and their territory was briefly part of the Roman province Britannia...

 known to the Romans
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

 as "Alauna", meaning "rock place", which may be the earliest known name for the Castle Rock. The Orygynale Cronykil of Andrew of Wyntoun
Andrew of Wyntoun
Andrew Wyntoun, known as Andrew of Wyntoun was a Scottish poet, a canon and prior of Loch Leven on St Serf's Inch and later, a canon of St...

 (c. 1350 – c. 1423), an early chronicler of Scottish history, alludes to "Ebrawce" (Ebraucus
Ebraucus
Ebraucus was a legendary king of the Britons, as recounted by Geoffrey of Monmouth. He was the son of King Mempricius before he abandoned the family....

), a legendary King of the Britons, who "byggyd [built] Edynburgh". According to the earlier chronicler, Geoffrey of Monmouth
Geoffrey of Monmouth
Geoffrey of Monmouth was a cleric and one of the major figures in the development of British historiography and the popularity of tales of King Arthur...

 (c. 1100 – c. 1155), Ebraucus had fifty children by his twenty wives, and was the founder of "Kaerebrauc" (York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

), "Alclud" (Dumbarton), and the "Maidens' Castle". John Stow
John Stow
John Stow was an English historian and antiquarian.-Early life:The son of Thomas Stow, a tallow-chandler, he was born about 1525 in London, in the parish of St Michael, Cornhill. His father's whole rent for his house and garden was only 6s. 6d. a year, and Stow in his youth fetched milk every...

 (c. 1525 – 1605), credited Ebraucus with building "the Castell of Maidens called Edenbrough" in 989 BC.

The name "Maiden Castle", or Castellum Puellarum in Latin, was commonly used until at least the 16th century. It appears in charters of David I
David I of Scotland
David I or Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians and later King of the Scots...

 (ruled 1124–1153) and his successors, although its origins are obscure. William Camden
William Camden
William Camden was an English antiquarian, historian, topographer, and officer of arms. He wrote the first chorographical survey of the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and the first detailed historical account of the reign of Elizabeth I of England.- Early years :Camden was born in London...

's 1607 Britannia records that "the Britans called [it] Castle Myned Agned, the Scots, the Maidens Castle and the Virgins Castle, of certaine young maidens of the Picts roiall bloud who were kept there in old time". According to the 17th-century antiquarian Father Richard Hay, the "maidens" were a group of nuns, who were ejected from the castle and replaced by canon
Canon (priest)
A canon is a priest or minister who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule ....

s, considered "fitter to live among soldiers". However, this story has been considered "apocryphal" by Daniel Wilson and later historians. Possibly the name derives from a "Cult of the Nine Maidens" type of legend. Arthurian legends suggest that the site once held a shrine to Morgain la Fee
Morgan le Fay
Morgan le Fay , alternatively known as Morgane, Morgaine, Morgana and other variants, is a powerful sorceress in the Arthurian legend. Early works featuring Morgan do not elaborate her character beyond her role as a fay or magician...

, one of nine sisters. Later, St Monenna is said to have invested a church at Edinburgh, as well as at Dumbarton and other places, and is also said to have been one of nine companions. More simply, the term "Maiden Castle" may refer to a castle which has never been taken by force.
An archaeological survey of the castle in the late 1980s shows evidence of the site having been settled during the late Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 or early Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, potentially making the Castle Rock the longest continually occupied site in Scotland. However, the extent of the finds was not particularly significant and was insufficient to draw any certain conclusions about the precise nature or scale of this earliest known phase of occupation.

The archaeological evidence becomes more compelling in the Iron Age. Traditionally, it had been supposed that the tribes
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 which inhabited this part of central Scotland had made little or no use of the Castle Rock. Excavations at nearby Traprain Law
Traprain Law
Traprain Law is a hill about 221m in elevation, located east of Haddington in East Lothian, Scotland. It is the site of an oppidum or hill fort, which covered at its maximum extent about 16 ha and must have been a veritable town...

, Dunsapie Hill
Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh
Arthur's Seat is the main peak of the group of hills which form most of Holyrood Park, described by Robert Louis Stevenson as "a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design". It is situated in the centre of the city of Edinburgh, about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle...

, Duddingston
Duddingston
Duddingston is a former village in the east of Edinburgh, Scotland, next to Holyrood Park.-Origins and etymology:The estate wherein Duddingston Village now lies was first recorded in lands granted to the Abbot of Kelso Abbey by David I of Scotland between 1136–47, and is described as stretching...

 and Inveresk
Inveresk
Inveresk is a civil parish and was formerly a village that now forms the southern part of Musselburgh. It is situated on slightly elevated ground at the south of Musselburgh in East Lothian, Scotland...

 had revealed relatively large settlements and it was supposed that these sites had, for some reason, been chosen in preference to the Castle Rock. However, the excavations of the 1980s suggested that there was probably an enclosed hill fort
Hill fort
A hill fort is a type of earthworks used as a fortified refuge or defended settlement, located to exploit a rise in elevation for defensive advantage. They are typically European and of the Bronze and Iron Ages. Some were used in the post-Roman period...

 on the rock, although only the fringes of the site were excavated. House fragments revealed were similar to Votadini houses previously found in Northumbria.

The dig revealed clear signs of habitation from the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, consistent with Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

's reference to "Alauna". Signs of occupation included a good deal of Roman
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

 material, including pottery, bronzes and brooches, potentially reflecting a trading relationship between the Votadini and the Romans beginning with Agricola's
Gnaeus Julius Agricola
Gnaeus Julius Agricola was a Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain. His biography, the De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae, was the first published work of his son-in-law, the historian Tacitus, and is the source for most of what is known about him.Born to a noted...

 foray north in AD 80, and continuing through to the establishment of the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 39 miles and was about ten feet ...

 around AD 140, when the Romans temporarily established themselves nearby at Cramond
Cramond
Cramond is a seaside village now part of suburban Edinburgh, Scotland, located in the north-west corner of the city at the mouth of the River Almond where it enters the Firth of Forth....

. The nature of the settlement at this time is inconclusive, but Driscoll and Yeoman suggest it may have been a broch
Broch
A broch is an Iron Age drystone hollow-walled structure of a type found only in Scotland. Brochs include some of the most sophisticated examples of drystone architecture ever created, and belong to the classification "complex Atlantic Roundhouse" devised by Scottish archaeologists in the 1980s....

, similar to the one at Edin's Hall
Edin's Hall Broch
Edin's Hall Broch is a 2nd century broch near Duns in the Borders of Scotland. It is one of very few brochs found in southern Scotland. It is roughly 27m in diameter.-External links:...

 in the Borders
Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders is one of 32 local government council areas of Scotland. It is bordered by Dumfries and Galloway in the west, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian in the north west, City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian to the north; and the non-metropolitan counties of Northumberland...

. There is no evidence that the Romans actually occupied the Castle Rock, as they did at nearby Traprain Law
Traprain Law
Traprain Law is a hill about 221m in elevation, located east of Haddington in East Lothian, Scotland. It is the site of an oppidum or hill fort, which covered at its maximum extent about 16 ha and must have been a veritable town...

. From this point onwards there is strong evidence pointing towards continuous habitation of the site through to the present, albeit with fluctuations in population levels.

Early Middle Ages

The castle does not re-appear in contemporary historical records from the time of Ptolemy until around AD 600. Then, in the Brythonic
Brythonic languages
The Brythonic or Brittonic languages form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family, the other being Goidelic. The name Brythonic was derived by Welsh Celticist John Rhys from the Welsh word Brython, meaning an indigenous Briton as opposed to an Anglo-Saxon or Gael...

 epic Y Gododdin
Y Gododdin
Y Gododdin is a medieval Welsh poem consisting of a series of elegies to the men of the Britonnic kingdom of Gododdin and its allies who, according to the conventional interpretation, died fighting the Angles of Deira and Bernicia at a place named Catraeth...

, there is a reference to Din Eidyn, "the stronghold of Eidyn". This has been viewed as an early reference to the Castle Rock. The poem tells of the Gododdin
Gododdin
The Gododdin were a Brittonic people of north-eastern Britain in the sub-Roman period, the area known as the Hen Ogledd or Old North...

 King Mynyddog Mwynfawr
Mynyddog Mwynfawr
Mynyddog Mwynfawr was, according to Welsh tradition founded on the early Welsh language poem Y Gododdin a Brythonic ruler of the kingdom of Gododdin in the Hen Ogledd .The traditional reading of Y Gododdin, accepted by most scholars, is...

, and his band of warriors, who, after a year of feasting in their fortress, set out to do battle with the Angles
Angles
The Angles is a modern English term for a Germanic people who took their name from the ancestral cultural region of Angeln, a district located in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany...

 in the area of contemporary Yorkshire. Despite performing glorious deeds of valour and bravery, the poem relates that the Gododdin were massacred.

The Irish annals
Irish annals
A number of Irish annals were compiled up to and shortly after the end of Gaelic Ireland in the 17th century.Annals were originally a means by which monks determined the yearly chronology of feast days...

 record that in 638, after the events related in Y Gododdin, "Etin" was besieged by the Angles under Oswald of Northumbria
Oswald of Northumbria
Oswald was King of Northumbria from 634 until his death, and is now venerated as a Christian saint.Oswald was the son of Æthelfrith of Bernicia and came to rule after spending a period in exile; after defeating the British ruler Cadwallon ap Cadfan, Oswald brought the two Northumbrian kingdoms of...

, and the Gododdin were defeated. The territory around Edinburgh then became part of the Kingdom of Northumbria
Northumbria
Northumbria was a medieval kingdom of the Angles, in what is now Northern England and South-East Scotland, becoming subsequently an earldom in a united Anglo-Saxon kingdom of England. The name reflects the approximate southern limit to the kingdom's territory, the Humber Estuary.Northumbria was...

, which was itself absorbed by England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 in the 10th century, when Athelstan of England
Athelstan of England
Athelstan , called the Glorious, was the King of England from 924 or 925 to 939. He was the son of King Edward the Elder, grandson of Alfred the Great and nephew of Æthelflæd of Mercia...

, according to the Annals of Clonmacnoise
Annals of Clonmacnoise
The Annals of Clonmacnoise are an early 17th-century Early Modern English translation of a lost Irish chronicle, which covered events in Ireland from pre-history to A.D. 1408...

, "spoiled the Kingdom of Edinburgh". The English withdrew, and Lothian became part of Scotland, during the reign of Indulf
Indulf of Scotland
Ildulb mac Causantín, anglicised as Indulf, nicknamed An Ionsaighthigh, "the Aggressor" was king of Scots from 954. He was the son of Constantine II ; his mother may have been a daughter of Earl Eadulf I of Bernicia, who was an exile in Scotland.John of Fordun and others supposed that Indulf had...

 (ruled 954–962).

The archaeological evidence for the relevant period is entirely based on analysis of midden
Midden
A midden, is an old dump for domestic waste which may consist of animal bone, human excrement, botanical material, vermin, shells, sherds, lithics , and other artifacts and ecofacts associated with past human occupation...

 heaps, with no evidence of structures. Few conclusions can therefore be derived about the status of the settlement during this period, although the midden deposits show no clear break since Roman times.

High Middle Ages

The first documentary reference to a castle
Castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

 at Edinburgh is in John of Fordun's
John of Fordun
John of Fordun was a Scottish chronicler. It is generally stated that he was born at Fordoun, Mearns. It is certain that he was a secular priest, and that he composed his history in the latter part of the 14th century; and it is probable that he was a chaplain in the St Machar's Cathedral of...

 account of the death of King Malcolm III
Malcolm III of Scotland
Máel Coluim mac Donnchada , was King of Scots...

. Fordun places his widow, the future Saint Margaret
Saint Margaret of Scotland
Saint Margaret of Scotland , also known as Margaret of Wessex and Queen Margaret of Scotland, was an English princess of the House of Wessex. Born in exile in Hungary, she was the sister of Edgar Ætheling, the short-ruling and uncrowned Anglo-Saxon King of England...

, at the "Castle of Maidens", where she learns of his death in November 1093. Fordun's account goes on to relate how Margaret died of grief within days, and how Malcolm's brother Donald Bane
Donald III of Scotland
Domnall mac Donnchada , anglicised as Donald III, and nicknamed Domnall Bán, "Donald the Fair" , was King of Scots from 1093–1094 and 1094–1097...

 laid siege to the castle. However, Fordun's chronicle was not written until the later 14th century, and the near-contemporary account of the life of St Margaret, by Bishop Turgot
Thurgot
Thorgaut or Turgot was Archdeacon and Prior of Durham, and the first English or Anglo-Norman Bishop of Saint Andrews ....

, makes no mention of a castle. During the reigns of Malcolm III and his sons, Edinburgh Castle became one of the most significant royal centres in Scotland. Malcolm's son King Edgar died here in 1107.

Malcolm's youngest son, King David I
David I of Scotland
David I or Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians and later King of the Scots...

 (ruled 1124–1153), developed Edinburgh as a site of royal power principally through his administrative reforms
Davidian Revolution
The Davidian Revolution is a term given by many scholars to the changes which took place in the Kingdom of Scotland during the reign of David I of Scotland...

. Between 1139 and 1150, David held an assembly of nobles and churchmen, a precursor to the parliament of Scotland
Parliament of Scotland
The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The unicameral parliament of Scotland is first found on record during the early 13th century, with the first meeting for which a primary source survives at...

, at the castle. Any buildings or defences would probably have been of timber, although two 12th-century stone buildings are known. Of these, St. Margaret's Chapel
St. Margaret's Chapel
St. Margaret's Chapel, at Edinburgh Castle, is the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh, Scotland. An example of Romanesque architecture, it is a Category A listed building....

 remains at the summit of the rock. The second was a church, dedicated to St. Mary, which stood on the site of the Scottish National War Memorial. Given that the southern part of the Upper Ward (where Crown Square is now sited) was not suited to being built upon until the construction of the vaults in the 15th century, it seems probable that any earlier buildings would have been located towards the northern part of the rock; that is around the area where St. Margaret's Chapel stands. This has led to a suggestion that the chapel is the last remnant of a square, stone keep, which would have formed the bulk of the 12th-century fortification. The structure may have been similar to the keep of Carlisle Castle
Carlisle Castle
Carlisle Castle is situated in Carlisle, in the English county of Cumbria, near the ruins of Hadrian's Wall. The castle is over 900 years old and has been the scene of many historical episodes in British history. Given the proximity of Carlisle to the border between England and Scotland, it...

, which David I began after 1135.

David's successor King Malcolm IV
Malcolm IV of Scotland
Malcolm IV , nicknamed Virgo, "the Maiden" , King of Scots, was the eldest son of Earl Henry and Ada de Warenne...

 (ruled 1153–1165) reportedly stayed at Edinburgh more than at any other location. But in 1174, King William "the Lion"
William I of Scotland
William the Lion , sometimes styled William I, also known by the nickname Garbh, "the Rough", reigned as King of the Scots from 1165 to 1214...

 (ruled 1165–1214) was captured by the English at the Battle of Alnwick
Battle of Alnwick (1174)
The Battle of Alnwick is one of two battles fought near the town of Alnwick, in Northumberland, England. In the battle, which occurred on 12 July 1174, William I of Scotland, also known as William the Lion, was captured by a small English force led by Ranulf de Glanvill.-Background:William had...

. He was forced to sign the Treaty of Falaise
Treaty of Falaise
The Treaty of Falaise was an agreement made in December 1174 between the captive William I, King of Scots, and the English King Henry II.Having been captured at the Battle of Alnwick during an invasion of Northumbria, William was being held in Falaise in Normandy while Henry sent an army north and...

 to secure his release, in return for surrendering Edinburgh Castle, along with the castles of Berwick
Berwick Castle
Berwick Castle is a ruined castle in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England.The castle was founded in the 12th century by the Scottish King David I. In 1296-8, the English King Edward I had the castle rebuilt and the town fortified, before it was returned to Scotland...

, Roxburgh
Roxburgh Castle
Roxburgh Castle was a castle sited near Kelso, in the Borders region of Scotland, in the former Roxburghshire.-History:The castle was founded by King David I. In 1174 it was surrendered to England after the capture of William I at Alnwick, and was often in English hands thereafter. The Scots made...

 and Stirling
Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle, located in Stirling, is one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep...

, to the English King, Henry II
Henry II of England
Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

. The castle was occupied by the English for twelve years, until 1186, when it was returned to William as the dowry
Dowry
A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

 of his English bride, Ermengarde de Beaumont
Ermengarde de Beaumont
Ermengarde de Beaumont , was a Queen Consort of the Kingdom of Scotland.-Life:Ermengarde was born c. 1170 to Richard I, Viscount de Beaumont-le-Vicomte, de Fresnay et de Ste-Suzanne , and wife Lucie de l'Aigle , daughter of Richard II de l'Aigle...

, who had been chosen for him by King Henry. By the end of the 12th century, Edinburgh Castle was established as the main depository of the national archives.

Wars of Scottish Independence

A century later, on the death of King Alexander III
Alexander III of Scotland
Alexander III was King of Scots from 1249 to his death.-Life:...

, the throne of Scotland became vacant. Edward I of England
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

 was appointed to adjudicate the competing claims
Competitors for the Crown of Scotland
With the death of Alexander III of Scotland in 1286 without a male heir, the throne of Scotland had become the possession of the three-year old Margaret, Maid of Norway, the granddaughter of the King...

 for the Scottish crown, but attempted to use the opportunity to establish himself as the feudal overlord of Scotland. During the negotiations, Edward stayed briefly at Edinburgh Castle, and had much of the country's records and treasure removed from the castle to England.

In March 1296, Edward I launched an invasion of Scotland, sparking the First War of Scottish Independence
First War of Scottish Independence
The First War of Scottish Independence lasted from the invasion by England in 1296 until the de jure restoration of Scottish independence with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton in 1328...

. Edinburgh Castle soon came under English control, surrendering after three days of bombardment. A large garrison was installed, 325 strong in 1300, and Edward brought up his master craftsmen from the Welsh castles, including Thomas de Houghton and Master Walter of Hereford, both of whom travelled from Wales to Edinburgh in the first years of the century. After the death of Edward I in 1307, however, England's control over Scotland weakened. On 14 March 1314, a surprise night attack by Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, recaptured the castle. The daring plan involved a party of thirty hand-picked men, led by one William Francis, who had lived in the castle as a boy, making a difficult ascent up the north face of the Castle Rock, and taking the garrison by surprise. Robert the Bruce immediately ordered the destruction of the castle's defences to prevent re-occupation by the English. Shortly after, Bruce's army secured victory at the Battle of Bannockburn
Battle of Bannockburn
The Battle of Bannockburn was a significant Scottish victory in the Wars of Scottish Independence...

.

After Bruce's death in 1329, Edward III of England
Edward III of England
Edward III was King of England from 1327 until his death and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe...

 determined to carry on Edward I's project, and supported the claim of Edward Balliol
Edward Balliol
Edward Balliol was a claimant to the Scottish throne . With English help, he briefly ruled the country from 1332 to 1336.-Life:...

, son of the former King John Balliol
John of Scotland
John Balliol , known to the Scots as Toom Tabard , was King of Scots from 1292 to 1296.-Early life:Little of John's early life is known. He was born between 1248 and 1250 at an unknown location, possibilities include Galloway, Picardy and Barnard Castle, County Durham...

, over that of the young David II
David II of Scotland
David II was King of Scots from 7 June 1329 until his death.-Early life:...

, son of the Bruce. Edward invaded in 1333, marking the start of the Second War of Scottish Independence
Second War of Scottish Independence
The Second War of Scottish Independence was the second cluster of a series of military campaigns fought between the independent Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries....

, and the English forces reoccupied and refortified Edinburgh Castle in 1335, holding it until 1341. This time, the Scottish assault was led by William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas
William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas
William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas was a Scottish magnate.-Early Life:William Douglas was the son of Sir Archibald Douglas and Beatrice Lindsay, and nephew of "Sir James the Good", Robert the Bruce's trusted deputy...

. Douglas's party disguised themselves as merchants bringing supplies to the garrison. Driving a cart into the castle, they halted it to prevent the gates closing. A larger force hidden nearby rushed to join them, and the castle was retaken. The English garrison, numbering 100, were all killed.

David's Tower and the 15th century

The Treaty of Berwick
Treaty of Berwick (1357)
The Treaty of Berwick, signed at Berwick-upon-Tweed, Scotland, in 1357, officially ended the Second War of Scottish Independence. In this second phase of the Wars of Scottish Independence, which began in 1333, King Edward III of England attempted to install Edward Balliol on the Scottish throne, in...

 of 1357 brought the Wars of Independence to a close. David II resumed his rule, and set about rebuilding Edinburgh Castle, which became his principal seat of government. David's Tower was begun around 1367, and was incomplete when David died at the Castle in 1371, being completed by his successor, Robert II
Robert II of Scotland
Robert II became King of Scots in 1371 as the first monarch of the House of Stewart. He was the son of Walter Stewart, hereditary High Steward of Scotland and of Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert I and of his first wife Isabella of Mar...

, in the 1370s. The tower stood on the site of the present Half Moon Battery, and was connected by a section of curtain wall
Curtain wall (fortification)
A curtain wall is a defensive wall between two bastions of a castle or fortress.In earlier designs of castle the curtain walls were often built to a considerable height and were fronted by a ditch or moat to make assault difficult....

 to the smaller Constable's Tower, a round tower built between 1375 and 1379 where the Portcullis Gate now stands.
In the early 15th century, another English invasion, this time under Henry IV
Henry IV of England
Henry IV was King of England and Lord of Ireland . He was the ninth King of England of the House of Plantagenet and also asserted his grandfather's claim to the title King of France. He was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, hence his other name, Henry Bolingbroke...

, reached Edinburgh Castle and began a siege, but due to a lack of supplies, the English withdrew. From 1437, Sir William Crichton
William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton
William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton of Sanquhar was an important political figure in Scotland.He held various positions within the court of James I. At the death of James I, William Crichton was Sheriff of Edinburgh, Keeper of Edinburgh Castle, and Master of the King’s household...

 was Keeper of Edinburgh Castle, and soon after became Chancellor of Scotland. In an attempt to gain the regency
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of Scotland, Crichton sought to overthrow the power of the Earls of Douglas
Earl of Douglas
This page is concerned with the holders of the extinct title Earl of Douglas and the preceding feudal barons of Douglas, South Lanarkshire. The title was created in the Peerage of Scotland in 1358 for William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas, son of Sir Archibald Douglas, Guardian of Scotland...

, the principal noble family in the kingdom. The sixteen-year-old William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas
William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas
William Douglas was a short-lived Scottish Nobleman. He was Earl of Douglas and Wigtown, Lord of Galloway, Lord of Bothwell, Selkirk and Ettrick Forest, Eskdale, Lauderdale, and Annandale in Scotland, and de jure Duke of Touraine, Count of Longueville, and Sire of Dun-le-roi in France...

, and his younger brother David, were summoned to Edinburgh Castle in November 1440. The so-called "Black Dinner" which followed saw the two boys summarily beheaded on trumped-up charges, in the presence of the ten-year-old King James II
James II of Scotland
James II reigned as King of Scots from 1437 to his death.He was the son of James I, King of Scots, and Joan Beaufort...

 (ruled 1437–1460). Douglas' supporters subsequently laid siege to the castle, causing some damage. Construction continued throughout this period, with the area now known as Crown Square being laid out over vaults
Vault (architecture)
A Vault is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. The parts of a vault exert lateral thrust that require a counter resistance. When vaults are built underground, the ground gives all the resistance required...

 in the 1430s. Royal apartments were built, forming the nucleus of the later palace block, and a Great Hall was in existence by 1458. In 1464, the access to the castle was improved, with the current approach road up the north-east side of the rock being laid out.

In 1479, Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany, was imprisoned in David's Tower for plotting against his brother, King James III
James III of Scotland
James III was King of Scots from 1460 to 1488. James was an unpopular and ineffective monarch owing to an unwillingness to administer justice fairly, a policy of pursuing alliance with the Kingdom of England, and a disastrous relationship with nearly all his extended family.His reputation as the...

 (ruled 1460–1488). He escaped by getting his guards drunk, then lowering himself from a window on a rope. Albany fled to France, then England, where he allied himself with King Edward IV
Edward IV of England
Edward IV was King of England from 4 March 1461 until 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England...

. In 1482, Albany marched into Scotland with Richard, Duke of Gloucester
Richard III of England
Richard III was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty...

 (later King Richard III) and an English army. He occupied Edinburgh Castle and imprisoned the King for two months before the rebellion collapsed.

During the 15th century the castle was increasingly used as an arsenal
Arsenal
An arsenal is a place where arms and ammunition are made, maintained and repaired, stored, issued to authorized users, or any combination of those...

 and armaments factory. The first known purchase of a gun was in 1384, and the "great bombard
Bombard (weapon)
A bombard is a large-caliber, muzzle-loading medieval cannon or mortar, used chiefly in sieges for throwing heavy stone balls. The name bombarde was first noted and sketched in a French historical text around 1380. The modern term bombardment derives from this.Bombards were usually used during...

" Mons Meg
Mons Meg
Mons Meg is a medieval bombard which can be classed as a supergun, now located at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland. There are conflicting theories about its origins, but it appears from the accounts of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy that it was made to his order around 1449 and sent as a gift 8 years...

 was delivered to Edinburgh in 1457. The first record of the manufacture of guns occurs in 1474, and by 1498 the master gunner Robert Borthwick was casting bronze guns at Edinburgh. By 1511 Edinburgh was the principal foundry in Scotland, supplanting Stirling Castle, with Scottish and European smiths working under Borthwick, who by 1512 was appointed "master melter of the king's guns". Their output included guns for the Scottish flagship, Great Michael, and the "Seven Sisters", a set of cannon captured by the English at Flodden in 1513, which were described by a Venetian
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 writer as powerful and beautiful weapons. From 1510 Dutch craftsmen were also producing hand culverins, an early firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

. After Flodden, Borthwick continued his work, producing an unknown number of guns, of which none survive. He was succeeded by French smiths, who began manufacturing hagbuts (another type of firearm) in the 1550s, and by 1541 the castle had a stock of 413 hagbuts.

Meanwhile, the royal family began to stay more frequently at the Abbey of Holyrood
Holyrood Abbey
Holyrood Abbey is a ruined abbey of the Canons Regular in Edinburgh, Scotland. The abbey was founded in 1128 by King David I of Scotland. During the 15th century, the abbey guesthouse was developed into a royal residence, and after the Scottish Reformation the Palace of Holyroodhouse was expanded...

, at the opposite end of Edinburgh's "Royal Mile
Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is a succession of streets which form the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh in Scotland.As the name suggests, the Royal Mile is approximately one Scots mile long, and runs between two foci of history in Scotland, from Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Castle...

". Around the end of the fifteenth century, King James IV
James IV of Scotland
James IV was King of Scots from 11 June 1488 to his death. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from not only Scotland, but also from all...

 (ruled 1488–1513) built Holyroodhouse
Holyrood Palace
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. The palace stands at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle...

, by the abbey, for his principal Edinburgh residence, and the castle's role as a royal home subsequently declined. James IV did, however, construct the present Great Hall, which was completed in the early 16th century.

16th century and the Lang Siege

James IV was killed in battle at Flodden Field
Battle of Flodden Field
The Battle of Flodden or Flodden Field or occasionally Battle of Branxton was fought in the county of Northumberland in northern England on 9 September 1513, between an invading Scots army under King James IV and an English army commanded by the Earl of Surrey...

, on 9 September 1513. Expecting the English to press their advantage, the Scots hastily constructed a town wall
Edinburgh town walls
There have been several town walls around Edinburgh, Scotland, since the 12th century. Some form of wall probably existed from the foundation of the royal burgh in around 1125, though the first building is recorded in the mid-15th century, when the King's Wall was constructed...

 around Edinburgh and augmented the castle's defences. Robert Borthwick and a Frenchman, Antoine d'Arces
Antoine d'Arces
Antoine d'Arcy, sieur de la Bastie-sur-Meylan and of Lissieu, was a French nobleman involved in the government of Scotland.-The White Knight:...

, were involved in designing new artillery defences and fortifications in 1514, although little work appears to have been carried out. Three years later, King James V
James V of Scotland
James V was King of Scots from 9 September 1513 until his death, which followed the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss...

 (ruled 1513–1542), still only five years old, was brought to the castle for safety. Upon James' death 25 years later, the crown passed to his week-old daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. English invasions followed, as King Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 attempted to force a dynastic marriage on Scotland, although Edinburgh Castle remained largely unaffected. Following these campaigns, refortifications included an earthen angle-bastion, known as the Spur, of the type known as trace italienne, one of the earliest examples in Britain. It may have been designed by Migiliorino Ubaldini
Migiliorino Ubaldini
Migiliorino Ubaldini was an Italian military engineer working in Scotland.-Scottish assignment:During the war with England known as the Rough Wooing, on 5 February 1548 Regent Arran appointed Migiliorino Ubaldini as supreme commander of all Scottish forces by land and sea. Ubaldini had been sent...

, an Italian engineer from the court of Henry II of France
Henry II of France
Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559.-Early years:Henry was born in the royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, the son of Francis I and Claude, Duchess of Brittany .His father was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 by his sworn enemy,...

, and was said to have the arms of France
Coat of arms of France
The current emblem of France has been a symbol of France since 1953, although it does not have any legal status as an official coat of arms. It appears on the cover of French passports and was adopted originally by the French Foreign Ministry as a symbol for use by diplomatic and consular missions...

 carved on it. James V's widow, Mary of Guise
Mary of Guise
Mary of Guise was a queen consort of Scotland as the second spouse of King James V. She was the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots, and served as regent of Scotland in her daughter's name from 1554 to 1560...

, acted as regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 from 1554 until her death at the castle in 1560. The following year, her daughter Mary returned from France to begin her reign.

The reign of the Catholic Queen Mary was marred by crises and quarrels amongst the powerful Protestant Scottish nobility. In 1565, the Queen married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Henry Stewart or Stuart, 1st Duke of Albany , styled Lord Darnley before 1565, was king consort of Scotland and murdered at Kirk o'Field...

, and the following year, in a small room of the Palace at Edinburgh Castle, she gave birth to James
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

, who would later be King of both Scotland and England. Mary's own reign, however, was already drawing to a close. Three months after the murder of Darnley at Kirk o' Field
Kirk o' Field
Kirk o' Field in Edinburgh, Scotland, is best known as the site of the murder in 1567 of Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots....

 in 1567, she married James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell
James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell
James Hepburn, 1st Duke of Orkney , better known by his inherited title as 4th Earl of Bothwell, was hereditary Lord High Admiral of Scotland. He is best known for his association with and subsequent marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots, as her third husband...

, one of the murder suspects. A large proportion of the nobility rebelled, resulting ultimately in the imprisonment and forced abdication
Abdication
Abdication occurs when a monarch, such as a king or emperor, renounces his office.-Terminology:The word abdication comes derives from the Latin abdicatio. meaning to disown or renounce...

 of Mary at Loch Leven Castle
Loch Leven Castle
Loch Leven Castle is a ruined castle on an island in Loch Leven, in the Perth and Kinross local authority area of Scotland. Possibly built around 1300, the castle was the location military action during the Wars of Scottish Independence...

. She escaped and fled to England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

, and some of the nobility remained faithful to her cause. Edinburgh Castle was initially handed by its Captain, James Balfour, to the Regent Moray
James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray
James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray , a member of the House of Stewart as the illegitimate son of King James V, was Regent of Scotland for his nephew, the infant King James VI of Scotland, from 1567 until his assassination in 1570...

, who had forced Mary's abdication, and now held power in the name of the infant King James VI. Moray appointed Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange
William Kirkcaldy of Grange
Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange , Scottish politician and general, was the eldest son of Sir James Kirkcaldy of Grange , a member of an old Fife family...

 as Keeper of the Castle.

Kirkcaldy of Grange was a trusted lieutenant of the Regent, but after Moray's murder in January 1570 his allegiance to the King's cause began to waver. Intermittent civil war continued between the supporters of the two monarchs, and in April 1571 Dumbarton Castle
Dumbarton Castle
Dumbarton Castle has the longest recorded history of any stronghold in Great Britain. It overlooks the Scottish town of Dumbarton, and sits on a plug of volcanic basalt known as Dumbarton Rock which is high.-Iron Age:...

 fell to the King's men. Under the influence of William Maitland of Lethington
William Maitland of Lethington
Sir William Maitland of Lethington was a Scottish politician and reformer, and the eldest son of the poet Richard Maitland....

, Mary's secretary, Grange changed sides, occupying the town and castle of Edinburgh for Queen Mary, and against the new regent, the Earl of Lennox
Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox
Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox was the 4th Earl of Lennox, and leader of the Catholic nobility in Scotland. He was the son of John Stewart, 3rd Earl of Lennox. His grandson was James VI of Scotland....

. The stand-off which followed was not resolved until two years later, and became known as the "Lang Siege", from the Scots
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

 word for "long". Hostilities began in May, with a month-long siege of the town, and a short second siege in October. Blockades and skirmishing continued meanwhile, and Grange continued to refortify the castle. The King's party appealed to Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 for assistance, as they lacked the artillery and money required to reduce the castle, and feared that Grange would receive aid from France. Elizabeth sent ambassadors to negotiate, and in July 1572 a truce was agreed and the blockade lifted. The town was effectively surrendered to the King's party, with Grange confined to the castle.

The truce ran out on 1 January 1573, and Grange began bombarding the town. His supplies of powder and shot, however, were running low, and despite having 40 cannon available, there were only seven gunners in the garrison. The King's forces, now with the Earl of Morton
James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton
James Douglas, jure uxoris 4th Earl of Morton was the last of the four regents of Scotland during the minority of King James VI. He was in some ways the most successful of the four, since he did manage to win the civil war which had been dragging on with the supporters of the exiled Mary, Queen of...

 in charge as regent, were making headway with plans for a siege. Trenches were dug to surround the castle, and St Margaret's Well was poisoned. By February, all Queen Mary's other supporters had surrendered to the Regent, but Grange resolved to resist, despite water shortages within the castle. The garrison continued to bombard the town, killing a number of citizens. They also made sorties to set fires, burning 100 houses in the town, and then firing on anyone attempting to put out the flames.

In April, a force of around 1,000 English troops, led by Sir William Drury
William Drury
Sir William Drury, Knt., was an English statesman and soldier,He was a son of Sir Robert Drury of Hedgerley in Buckinghamshire, and grandson of another Sir Robert Drury , who was speaker of the House of Commons in 1495. He was a brother of Dru Drury.He was born at Hawstead in Suffolk, and was...

, arrived in Edinburgh. They were followed by 27 cannon from Berwick-upon-Tweed
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Berwick-upon-Tweed or simply Berwick is a town in the county of Northumberland and is the northernmost town in England, on the east coast at the mouth of the River Tweed. It is situated 2.5 miles south of the Scottish border....

, including one that had been cast within Edinburgh Castle and captured by the English at Flodden. The English troops built a battery on Castle Hill, immediately facing the east walls of the castle, and five other batteries to the north, west and south. By 17 May these were ready, and the bombardment began. Over the next 12 days, the gunners dispatched around 3,000 shots at the castle. On 22 May, the south wall of David's Tower collapsed, and the next day the Constable's Tower also fell. The debris blocked the castle entrance, as well as the Fore Well, although this had already run dry. On 26 May, the English attacked and captured the Spur, the outer fortification of the castle, which had been isolated by the collapse. The following day, Grange came out, calling a ceasefire while surrender could be negotiated. When it was made clear that he would not be allowed to go free, Grange resolved to continue the resistance, but the garrison threatened to mutiny. He therefore arranged for Drury and his men to come into the castle on 28 May, surrendering to the English rather than to the Regent Morton. Edinburgh Castle was handed over to George Douglas of Parkhead, the Regent's brother, and the garrison were allowed to go free. William Kirkcaldy of Grange, his brother James, and two jewellers (James Kirkaldye and James Cokke) who had been minting coins in Mary's name inside the castle, were hanged at the mercat cross
Mercat cross
A mercat cross is a market cross found in Scottish cities and towns where trade and commerce was a part of economic life. It was originally a place where merchants would gather, and later became the focal point of many town events such as executions, announcements and proclamations...

 on 3 August.

Nova Scotia and Civil War

Much of the castle was subsequently rebuilt by Regent Morton, including the Spur, the new Half Moon Battery, and the Portcullis Gate. Some of these works were supervised by William MacDowall, the master of work who fifteen years earlier had repaired David's Tower. The Half Moon Battery, while impressive in size, is considered by historians as an ineffective and dated artillery fortification. This may be due to a shortage of resources, although the battery's position: obscuring the ancient David's Tower; and enhancing the prominence of the palace, has been seen as a significant decision.

The battered palace block remained unused, particularly after James VI departed to become King of England in 1603. James had repairs carried out in 1584, and in 1615–1616 more extensive repairs were carried out in preparation for his return visit to Scotland. The mason William Wallace
William Wallace (mason)
William Wallace was a Scottish master mason and architect. He served as King's Master Mason under James VI.From 1615, Wallace is known to have been the leading mason working on the King's Lodgings at Edinburgh Castle. On 18 April 1617 he was appointed King's Master Mason, holding this post until...

 and master of works James Murray
James Murray (architect)
Sir James Murray of Kilbaberton, , was a Scottish master wright and architect. He served as the King's Master of Works under James VI, and Charles I. He was one of the first men in Scotland to be called an architect....

 introduced an early Scottish example of the double-pile block. The principal external features were the three, three-storey oriel window
Oriel window
Oriel windows are a form of bay window commonly found in Gothic architecture, which project from the main wall of the building but do not reach to the ground. Corbels or brackets are often used to support this kind of window. They are seen in combination with the Tudor arch. This type of window was...

s on the east façade, facing the town and emphasising that this was a palace rather than a place of defence. During his visit of 1617, James held court in the refurbished palace, but still preferred to sleep at Holyrood.

In 1621, King James granted Sir William Alexander
William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling
William Alexander, Earl of Stirling was a Scotsman who was an early developer of Scottish colonisation of Port Royal, Nova Scotia and Long Island, New York...

 the land in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 between New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 and Newfoundland, as Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

("New Scotland"). To promote the settlement and plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

 of Nova Scotia, the Baronetage of Nova Scotia was created in 1624. Under Scots Law
Scots law
Scots law is the legal system of Scotland. It is considered a hybrid or mixed legal system as it traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. With English law and Northern Irish law it forms the legal system of the United Kingdom; it shares with the two other systems some...

, baronet
Baronet
A baronet or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess , is the holder of a hereditary baronetcy awarded by the British Crown...

s had to "take sasine
Sasine
Sasine is the delivery of feudal property, typically land.Feudal property means immovable property, and includes everything that naturally goes with the property. For land, that would include such things as buildings, trees, and underground minerals...

" by symbolically receiving the earth and stone of the land of which they were baronet. To make this possible, since Nova Scotia was far distant, the King declared that sasine could be taken either in Nova Scotia or, alternatively, "at the castle of Edinburgh as the most eminent and principal place of Scotland."

James' successor, King Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

, visited Edinburgh Castle only once, hosting a feast in the Great Hall, and staying the night before his coronation as King of Scots in 1633, the last occasion that a reigning monarch has resided in the castle. In 1639, in response to Charles' attempts to reform the Scottish Church
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

, civil war broke out between the King's forces and the Presbyterian Covenanter
Covenanter
The Covenanters were a Scottish Presbyterian movement that played an important part in the history of Scotland, and to a lesser extent in that of England and Ireland, during the 17th century...

s. The Covenanters, led by Alexander Leslie
Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven
Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven was a Scottish soldier in Dutch, Swedish and Scottish service. Born illegitimate and raised as a foster child, he subsequently advanced to the rank of a Dutch captain, a Swedish Field Marshal, and in Scotland became lord general in command of the Covenanters,...

, captured Edinburgh Castle after a short siege, although it was restored to Charles after the Peace of Berwick
Treaty of Berwick (1639)
The Treaty of Berwick was signed on 18 June 1639 between England and Scotland. Archibald Johnston was involved in the negotiations before King Charles was forced to sign the treaty. The agreement, overall, officially ended the First Bishops' War even though both sides saw it only as a temporary...

 of June the same year. The peace was short lived, however, and the following year the Covenanters took the castle again, this time after a three-month siege, during which the garrison ran out of supplies. The Spur was badly damaged, and was demolished in the 1640s. The Royalist commander James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose
James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose
James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose was a Scottish nobleman and soldier, who initially joined the Covenanters in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, but subsequently supported King Charles I as the English Civil War developed...

, was imprisoned here after his capture in 1650.

In May 1650, the Covenanters signed the Treaty of Breda
Treaty of Breda (1650)
The Treaty of Breda was signed on 1 May 1650 between Charles II and the Scottish Covenanters during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.-Background:...

, allying themselves with King Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 against the English Parliamentarians
Roundhead
"Roundhead" was the nickname given to the supporters of the Parliament during the English Civil War. Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I and his supporters, the Cavaliers , who claimed absolute power and the divine right of kings...

, who had executed King Charles I the previous year. In response, Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 launched an invasion of Scotland, defeating the Covenanter army at Dunbar
Battle of Dunbar (1650)
The Battle of Dunbar was a battle of the Third English Civil War. The English Parliamentarian forces under Oliver Cromwell defeated a Scottish army commanded by David Leslie which was loyal to King Charles II, who had been proclaimed King of Scots on 5 February 1649.-Background:The English...

 in September. Edinburgh Castle was taken after a three-month siege, which caused further damage. The Governor of the Castle, Colonel Walter Dundas, surrendered to Cromwell despite having enough supplies to hold out, allegedly because he wished to change sides.

Garrison fortress: Jacobites and prisoners

After his Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

 as King of England and Scotland in 1660, Charles II opted to maintain a full-time standing army
Standing army
A standing army is a professional permanent army. It is composed of full-time career soldiers and is not disbanded during times of peace. It differs from army reserves, who are activated only during wars or natural disasters...

 based on Cromwell's New Model Army
New Model Army
The New Model Army of England was formed in 1645 by the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War, and was disbanded in 1660 after the Restoration...

. From this time until 1923, a garrison was continuously maintained at the castle. The medieval royal castle was transformed into a garrison fortress, but continued to see military and political action. The Marquis of Argyll
Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll
Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll, 8th Earl of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell, was the de facto head of government in Scotland during most of the conflict known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, also known as the British Civil War...

 was imprisoned here in 1661, during the mopping up of the King's enemies after the Restoration. Twenty years later, his son, the Earl of Argyll
Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll
Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll was a Scottish peer.He was born in 1629 in Dalkeith, Scotland, the son of Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll....

, was also imprisoned in the castle for religious Nonconformism
Nonconformism
Nonconformity is the refusal to "conform" to, or follow, the governance and usages of the Church of England by the Protestant Christians of England and Wales.- Origins and use:...

. He escaped by disguising himself as his sister's footman
Footman
A footman is a male servant, notably as domestic staff.-Word history:The name derives from the attendants who ran beside or behind the carriages of aristocrats, many of whom were chosen for their physical attributes. They ran alongside the coach to make sure it was not overturned by such obstacles...

, but was brought back to the castle after his failed rebellion against King James VII
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

 in 1685.

James VII was deposed and exiled by the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

 of 1688–89, which installed William of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 as King of England. The Parliament of Scotland
Parliament of Scotland
The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The unicameral parliament of Scotland is first found on record during the early 13th century, with the first meeting for which a primary source survives at...

 also accepted William as their new king, and required the Duke of Gordon
George Gordon, 1st Duke of Gordon
George Gordon, 1st Duke of Gordon KT, PC , known as Marquess of Huntly from 1661 to 1684, was a Scottish peer....

, Governor of the Castle, to surrender the fortress. Gordon, who had been appointed by James VII as a fellow Catholic, refused. In March 1689, the castle was blockaded by 7,000 troops, against a garrison of 160 men, who were further weakened by religious disputes. On 18 March, Viscount Dundee
John Graham, 1st Viscount of Dundee
John Graham of Claverhouse, 1st Viscount Dundee , known as the 7th Laird of Claverhouse until raised to the viscounty in 1688, was a Scottish soldier and nobleman, a Tory and an Episcopalian...

 climbed up the Castle Rock, and attempted to persuade Gordon to ride out with him in rebellion against the new King. Gordon chose to stay, and during the ensuing siege he refused to fire upon the town, while the besiegers inflicted little damage on the castle. Despite Dundee's initial successes in the north, Gordon eventually surrendered on 14 June, due to dwindling supplies, and having lost 70 men during the three-month siege. Under the terms of the Acts of Union
Acts of Union 1707
The Acts of Union were two Parliamentary Acts - the Union with Scotland Act passed in 1706 by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland - which put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706,...

, which joined England and Scotland in 1707, Edinburgh was one of the four Scottish castles to be maintained and permanently garrisoned by the new British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

, along with Stirling
Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle, located in Stirling, is one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep...

, Dumbarton
Dumbarton Castle
Dumbarton Castle has the longest recorded history of any stronghold in Great Britain. It overlooks the Scottish town of Dumbarton, and sits on a plug of volcanic basalt known as Dumbarton Rock which is high.-Iron Age:...

 and Blackness
Blackness Castle
Blackness Castle is a 15th century fortress, near the village of Blackness, Scotland, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth. It was built, probably on the site of an earlier fort, by Sir George Crichton in the 1440s. At this time, Blackness was the main port serving the Royal Burgh of...

.

The castle was almost taken in the first Jacobite rising
Jacobite Rising of 1715
The Jacobite rising of 1715, often referred to as The 'Fifteen, was the attempt by James Francis Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart.-Background:...

 in support of James Stuart
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

, the "Old Pretender", in 1715. On 8 September, just two days after the rising began, a party of around 100 Jacobite Highlanders, led by Lord Drummond
James Drummond, 2nd Duke of Perth
James Drummond, 2nd Duke of Perth, etc., of the Peerage created for his father, James Drummond, 4th Earl of Perth by the exiled Stuart monarchs at St Germain....

, attempted to scale the walls with the assistance of members of the garrison. However, the rope ladder lowered by the castle sentries was too short, and the alarm was raised after a change in the watch. The Jacobites fled, while the deserters within the castle were hanged or flogged. General Wade
George Wade
Field Marshal George Wade served as a British military commander and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces.-Early career:Wade, born in Kilavally, Westmeath in Ireland, was commissioned into the Earl of Bath's Regiment in 1690 and served in Flanders in 1692, during the Nine Years War, earning a...

 reported in 1728 that the castle's defences were decayed and inadequate, and major refortifications were carried out throughout the 1720s and 1730s, when most of the artillery defences and bastion
Bastion
A bastion, or a bulwark, is a structure projecting outward from the main enclosure of a fortification, situated in both corners of a straight wall , facilitating active defence against assaulting troops...

s on the north and west sides of the castle were built. These were designed by military engineer Captain John Romer
John Lambertus Romer
John Lambertus Romer was a British military engineer. He was the son of Wolfgang William Romer, a Dutch engineer who came to England with William of Orange in the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688....

, and built by William Adam. They include the Argyle Battery, Mills Mount Battery, the Low Defences and the Western Defences.

The last military action at the castle was during the second Jacobite rising
Jacobite Rising of 1745
The Jacobite rising of 1745, often referred to as "The 'Forty-Five," was the attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart. The rising occurred during the War of the Austrian Succession when most of the British Army was on the European continent...

 of 1745. The Jacobite army, under Charles Edward Stuart
Charles Edward Stuart
Prince Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender was the second Jacobite pretender to the thrones of Great Britain , and Ireland...

 ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") captured Edinburgh without a fight in September 1745, but the castle remained in the hands of the ageing Deputy Governor, General George Preston, who refused to surrender. After their victory over the government army at Prestonpans
Battle of Prestonpans
The Battle of Prestonpans was the first significant conflict in the Jacobite Rising of 1745. The battle took place at 4 am on 21 September 1745. The Jacobite army loyal to James Francis Edward Stuart and led by his son Charles Edward Stuart defeated the government army loyal to the Hanoverian...

 on 21 September, the Jacobites attempted to blockade the castle. Preston's response was to bombard Jacobite positions within the town. After several buildings had been demolished, and four people killed, Charles called off the blockade. The Jacobites themselves had no heavy guns with which to respond, and by November they had marched on to England, leaving Edinburgh to the castle garrison.

Over the next century, the castle vaults were used to hold prisoners of war during several conflicts, including the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

 (1756–1763), the American War of Independence (1775–1783) and the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 (1803–1815). During this time, several new buildings were erected within the castle, including powder magazines, stores, the Governor's House (1742), and the New Barracks (1796–1799).

19th century to the present

A mass prison break in 1811, in which 49 prisoners of war escaped via a hole in the south wall, persuaded the authorities that the castle vaults were no longer a suitable prison. This use ceased in 1814, and the castle began to take on a different role as a national monument. In 1818, Sir Walter Scott
Walter Scott
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time....

 was given permission to search the castle for the Crown of Scotland
Crown of Scotland
The Crown of Scotland is the crown used at the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland. Remade in its current form for King James V of Scotland in 1540, the crown is part of the Honours of Scotland, the oldest set of Crown Jewels in the United Kingdom...

, which had been stored away since the union of Scotland and England in 1707. Breaking open the Crown Room, he retrieved the Honours of Scotland
Honours of Scotland
The Honours of Scotland, also known as the Scottish regalia and the Scottish Crown Jewels, dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, are the oldest set of crown jewels in the British Isles. The existing set were used for the coronation of Scottish monarchs from 1543 to 1651...

, which were then put on public display, with an entry charge of one shilling
Shilling
The shilling is a unit of currency used in some current and former British Commonwealth countries. The word shilling comes from scilling, an accounting term that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times where it was deemed to be the value of a cow in Kent or a sheep elsewhere. The word is thought to derive...

. In 1822, King George IV made a visit to Edinburgh
Visit of King George IV to Scotland
The 1822 visit of King George IV to Scotland was the first visit of a reigning monarch to Scotland since 1650. Government ministers had pressed the King to bring forward a proposed visit to Scotland, to divert him from diplomatic intrigue at the Congress of Verona.The visit increased his popularity...

, becoming the first reigning monarch to visit the castle since Charles II in 1651. In 1829, the cannon Mons Meg was returned from London, and the palace began to be opened up to visitors during the 1830s. St Margaret's Chapel was "rediscovered" in 1845, having been used as a store for many years. Works in the 1880s, funded by the publisher William Nelson and carried out by Hippolyte Blanc
Hippolyte Blanc
Hippolyte Jean Blanc was a Scottish architect. Best known for his church buildings in the Gothic revival style, Blanc was also a keen antiquarian who oversaw meticulously researched restoration projects.-Early life:...

, saw the Argyle Tower built over the Portcullis Gate, and the Great Hall restored after years of use as a barracks. A new gatehouse was built in 1888. During the 19th century, several schemes were put forward for rebuilding the whole castle as a Scottish Baronial
Scottish baronial style
The Scottish Baronial style is part of the Gothic Revival architecture style, using stylistic elements and forms from castles, tower houses and mansions of the Gothic architecture period in Scotland, such as Craigievar Castle and Newark Castle, Port Glasgow. The revival style was popular from the...

 style château. Work began in 1858, but was soon abandoned, and only the hospital building was eventually remodelled in 1897. Following the death of Prince Albert in 1861, the architect David Bryce
David Bryce
David Bryce FRSE FRIBA RSA was a Scottish architect. Born in Edinburgh, he was educated at the Royal High School and joined the office of architect William Burn in 1825, aged 22. By 1841, Bryce had risen to be Burn's partner...

 put forward a proposal for a 50 metres (164 ft) keep as a memorial, although Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

 objected, and the scheme was not pursued.

In 1905, responsibility for the castle was transferred from the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 to the Office of Works
Office of Works
The Office of Works was established in the English Royal household in 1378 to oversee the building of the royal castles and residences. In 1832 it became the Works Department within the Office of Woods, Forests, Land Revenues, Works and Buildings...

, although the garrison remained until 1923, when the troops moved to Redford Barracks
Redford Barracks
Redford Cavalry and Infantry Barracks are located on Colinton Road, near the Edinburgh City Bypass, east of the suburb of Colinton in Edinburgh, Scotland....

 in south-west Edinburgh. The castle again became a prison during the First World War, when "Red Clydeside
Red Clydeside
Red Clydeside is a term used to describe the era of political radicalism that characterised the city of Glasgow in Scotland, and urban areas around the city on the banks of the River Clyde such as Clydebank, Greenock and Paisley...

r" David Kirkwood
David Kirkwood
David Kirkwood, 1st Baron Kirkwood, PC was a socialist from the East End of Glasgow, Scotland, viewed as a leading figure of the Red Clydeside era.Kirkwood was educated at Parkhead Public School and was trained as an engineer....

 was confined here, and during the Second World War, when it housed German Luftwaffe pilots. The position of Governor of Edinburgh Castle, which had been vacant since 1876, was revived in 1935 as an honorary title for the General Officer Commanding
General Officer Commanding
General Officer Commanding is the usual title given in the armies of Commonwealth nations to a general officer who holds a command appointment. Thus, a general might be the GOC II Corps or GOC 7th Armoured Division...

 in Scotland, the first holder being Lieutenant-General Sir Archibald Cameron of Lochiel. The castle passed into the care of Historic Scotland
Historic Scotland
Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government, responsible for historic monuments in Scotland.-Role:As its website states:...

 when it was established in 1991, and was designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument
Scheduled Ancient Monument
In the United Kingdom, a scheduled monument is a 'nationally important' archaeological site or historic building, given protection against unauthorized change. The various pieces of legislation used for legally protecting heritage assets from damage and destruction are grouped under the term...

 in 1993. The buildings and structures of the castle are further protected by 24 separate listings, including 13 at category A, the highest level of protection for a historic building in Scotland. The Old
Old Town, Edinburgh
The Old Town of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is the medieval part of the city. Together with the 18th-century New Town, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has preserved its medieval plan and many Reformation-era buildings....

 and New Towns of Edinburgh
New Town, Edinburgh
The New Town is a central area of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. It is often considered to be a masterpiece of city planning, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site...

, a World Heritage Site inscribed by UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 in 1995, is described as "dominated by a medieval fortress".

Description

Edinburgh Castle is located at the top of the Royal Mile
Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is a succession of streets which form the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh in Scotland.As the name suggests, the Royal Mile is approximately one Scots mile long, and runs between two foci of history in Scotland, from Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Castle...

, at the west end of Edinburgh's Old Town
Old Town, Edinburgh
The Old Town of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is the medieval part of the city. Together with the 18th-century New Town, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has preserved its medieval plan and many Reformation-era buildings....

. The volcanic Castle Rock offers a naturally defended position, with sheer cliffs to north and south, and a steep ascent from the west. The only easy approach is from the town to the east, and the castle's defences are situated accordingly, with a series of gates protecting the route to the summit of the Castle Rock.

Outer defences

In front of the castle is a long sloping forecourt known as the Esplanade. Originally the Spur, a 16th-century hornwork
Hornwork
A hornwork is an element of the trace italienne system of fortification. It consists of a pair of demi-bastions with a curtain wall connecting them and with two long sides directed upon the faces of the bastions, or ravelins of the inner fortifications, so as to be defended by them.The hornwork...

, was located here. The present Esplanade was laid out as a parade ground in 1753, and extended in 1845. It is upon this Esplanade that the Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Edinburgh Military Tattoo
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an annual series of Military tattoos performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands and display teams in the Scottish capital Edinburgh...

 takes place annually. From the Esplanade the Half Moon Battery is prominent, with the Royal Palace to its left.

The gatehouse
Gatehouse
A gatehouse, in architectural terminology, is a building enclosing or accompanying a gateway for a castle, manor house, fort, town or similar buildings of importance.-History:...

 at the head of the Esplanade was built as an architecturally cosmetic addition to the castle in 1888. Statues of Robert the Bruce by Thomas Clapperton and William Wallace
William Wallace
Sir William Wallace was a Scottish knight and landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence....

 by Alexander Carrick
Alexander Carrick
Alexander Carrick 1882–1966 was one of Scotland’s leading monumental sculptors of the early part of the 20th century. He was responsible for many architectural and ecclesiastical works as well as many war memorials executed in the period following World War I...

 were added in 1929, and the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 motto Nemo me impune lacessit
Nemo me impune lacessit
Nemo me impune lacessit is the Latin motto of the Order of the Thistle and of three Scottish regiments of the British Army. The motto also appears, in conjunction with the collar of the Order of the Thistle, in later versions of the Royal coat of arms of the Kingdom of Scotland and subsequently in...

is inscribed above the gate. The dry ditch in front of the entrance was completed in its present form in 1742. Within the gatehouse are offices, and to the north is the most recent addition to the castle; the ticket office, completed in 2008 to a design by Gareth Hoskins Architects. The road, built by James III in 1464 for the transport of cannon, leads upward and around to the north of the Half Moon Battery and the Forewall Battery, to the Portcullis Gate. In 1990, an alternative access was opened by digging a tunnel from the north of the esplanade to the north-west part of the castle, separating visitor and service traffic.

Portcullis Gate and Argyle Tower

The Portcullis
Portcullis
A portcullis is a latticed grille made of wood, metal, fibreglass or a combination of the three. Portcullises fortified the entrances to many medieval castles, acting as a last line of defence during time of attack or siege...

 Gate was begun by the Regent Morton after the Lang Siege of 1571–73 to replace the round Constable's Tower, which was destroyed in the siege. In 1584 the upper parts of the gatehouse were completed by William Schaw
William Schaw
William Schaw was Master of Works to James VI of Scotland, and is claimed to have been an important figure in the development of freemasonry.-Biography:...

, and these were further modified in 1750. In 1886–1887 this plain building was replaced with a Scots Baronial tower, designed by the architect Hippolyte Blanc
Hippolyte Blanc
Hippolyte Jean Blanc was a Scottish architect. Best known for his church buildings in the Gothic revival style, Blanc was also a keen antiquarian who oversaw meticulously researched restoration projects.-Early life:...

, although the original Portcullis Gate remains below. The new structure was named the Argyle Tower, in the belief that the 9th Earl of Argyll
Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll
Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll was a Scottish peer.He was born in 1629 in Dalkeith, Scotland, the son of Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll....

 had been held here prior to his execution in 1685. Described as "restoration in an extreme form", the rebuilding of the Argyle Tower was the first in a series of works funded by the publisher William Nelson.

Just inside the gate is the Argyle Battery overlooking Princes Street
Princes Street
Princes Street is one of the major thoroughfares in central Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, and its main shopping street. It is the southernmost street of Edinburgh's New Town, stretching around 1 mile from Lothian Road in the west to Leith Street in the east. The street is mostly closed to private...

, with Mills Mount Battery, the location of the One O'Clock Gun, to the west. Below these is the Low Defence, while at the base of the rock is the ruined Wellhouse Tower, built in 1362 to guard St. Margaret's Well. This natural spring provided and important secondary source of water for the castle, the water being lifted up by a crane mounted on a platform known as the Crane Bastion.

Military buildings

The areas to the north and west of the Argle Tower are largely occupied by military buildings erected after the castle became a major garrison in the early 18th century. Adjacent to Mills Mount are the 18th-century cart sheds, now the tea rooms. The Governor's House to the south was built in 1742 as accommodation for the Governor, Storekeeper, and Master Gunner, and was used until the post of Governor became vacant in the later 19th century; it was then used by nurses of the castle hospital. Today, it functions as an officers' mess
Mess
A mess is the place where military personnel socialise, eat, and live. In some societies this military usage has extended to other disciplined services eateries such as civilian fire fighting and police forces. The root of mess is the Old French mes, "portion of food" A mess (also called a...

, and as the office of the Governor since the restoration of the post in 1936.

South of the Governor's House is the New Barrack Block, completed in 1799 to house 600 soldiers, and replacing the outdated accommodation in the Great Hall. It now houses the headquarters of the 52nd Infantry Brigade
British 52nd Infantry Brigade
The 52nd Infantry Brigade is a Scottish formation in the British Army. It was formed and disbanded several times during the 20th Century.- History :...

, the Regimental Headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and the Regimental Headquarters and Museum
Regimental museum
In countries whose armies are organised on a regimental basis, such as the army of the United Kingdom, a regimental museum is a military museum dedicated to the history of a specific army regiment.-England:*Army Medical Services Museum...

 of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys)
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is a cavalry regiment of the British Army, and the senior Scottish regiment. It was formed on 2 July 1971 at Holyrood, Edinburgh, by the amalgamation of the 3rd Carabiniers The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) (SCOTS DG) is a cavalry regiment of...

. The latter was first opened in 1995 by the regiment's Colonel, Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

. Also nearby, in the former Royal Scots drill hall
Drill hall
A drill hall is a place such as a building or a hangar where soldiers practice and perform military drill. In the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, the term was also used for the whole headquarters building of a military reserve unit, which usually incorporated such a hall...

, constructed in 1900, is the regimental museum of the Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment). The military prison
Military prison
A military prison is a prison operated by the military. Military prisons are used variously to house prisoners of war, enemy combatants, those whose freedom is deemed a national security risk by the military or national authorities, and members of the military found guilty of a serious crime...

 was built in 1842 for the castle garrison and was extended in the 1880s. It was last used in 1923, when the garrison moved to Redford Barracks
Redford Barracks
Redford Cavalry and Infantry Barracks are located on Colinton Road, near the Edinburgh City Bypass, east of the suburb of Colinton in Edinburgh, Scotland....

.

National War Museum of Scotland

West of the Governor's House, a store for munitions was built in 1747–48, and this was later extended to form a courtyard, in which the main gunpowder magazine also stood. In 1897 the area was remodelled as a military hospital, formerly housed in the Great Hall. The building to the south of this courtyard is now the National War Museum of Scotland, which forms part of the National Museums of Scotland
National Museums of Scotland
National Museums Scotland is the organization that runs several national museums of Scotland. It is one of the country's National Collections, and holds internationally important collections of natural sciences, decorative arts, world cultures, science and technology, and Scottish history and...

. It was formerly known as the Scottish United Services Museum, and, prior to this, the Scottish Naval and Military Museum, when it was located in the Queen Anne Building. It covers Scottish military history
Military of Scotland
Historically, Scotland has a long military tradition that predates the Act of Union with England. Its armed forces now form part of those of the United Kingdom and are known as the British Armed Forces.-Royal Scots Navy:...

 over the past 400 years, and includes a wide range of military artefacts, such as uniforms, medals and weapons. The exhibitions also illustrate the history and causes behind the many wars in which Scottish soldiers have been involved. Beside the museum is Butts Battery, named for the archery
Archery
Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow, from Latin arcus. Archery has historically been used for hunting and combat; in modern times, however, its main use is that of a recreational activity...

 butts (targets) formerly placed here. Below it are the Western Defences, where a postern gate gives access to the western slope of the rock.

Upper Ward

The Upper Ward occupies the highest part of the Castle Rock, and is entered via the late 17th-century Foog's Gate. The origin of this name is unknown, although it was formerly known as the Foggy Gate, which may relate to the dense sea-fog, known as haar
Haar (fog)
In meteorology, haar is a coastal fog along certain lands bordering the North Sea; the term is primarily but not only, applied in eastern Scotland. Research has shown that haar is typically formed over the sea and is brought to land by wind advection....

, which commonly affects Edinburgh. Adjacent to the gates are the reservoirs, built to reduce the castle's dependency on well water, and a former fire station, now used as a shop. The summit of the rock is occupied by St Margaret's Chapel and the 15th-century siege gun Mons Meg. On a ledge below this area is a small 19th-century cemetery of soldiers' and regimental mascot dogs. Beside this, the Lang Stair leads down to the Argyle Battery, past a section of a medieval bastion, and gives access to the upper part of the Argyle Tower. The eastern end of the Upper Ward is occupied by the Forewall and Half Moon Batteries, with Crown Square to the south.

St. Margaret's Chapel

The oldest building in the castle, and in Edinburgh, is the small St. Margaret's Chapel. One of the few 12th-century structures surviving in any Scottish castle, it dates to the reign of King David I
David I of Scotland
David I or Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians and later King of the Scots...

 (ruled 1124–1153), who built it as a private chapel for the royal family and dedicated it to his mother, Saint Margaret of Scotland
Saint Margaret of Scotland
Saint Margaret of Scotland , also known as Margaret of Wessex and Queen Margaret of Scotland, was an English princess of the House of Wessex. Born in exile in Hungary, she was the sister of Edgar Ætheling, the short-ruling and uncrowned Anglo-Saxon King of England...

, who died in the castle in 1093. It survived the slighting of 1314, when the castle's defences were destroyed, and was used as a gunpowder store from the 16th century, when the present roof was built. In 1845, when it was "discovered" by the antiquary Daniel Wilson, it formed part of the larger garrison chapel, and was restored in 1851–1852. The chapel is still used for various religious ceremonies, such as weddings.

Mons Meg

The 15th-century siege cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

 known as Mons Meg is on display outside St. Margaret's Chapel. Mons Meg was constructed in Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 on the orders of Philip III, Duke of Burgundy
Philip III, Duke of Burgundy
Philip the Good KG , also Philip III, Duke of Burgundy was Duke of Burgundy from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty . During his reign Burgundy reached the height of its prosperity and prestige and became a leading center of the arts...

 in 1449, and was given by him to his niece's husband, King James II
James II of Scotland
James II reigned as King of Scots from 1437 to his death.He was the son of James I, King of Scots, and Joan Beaufort...

 in 1457. The 6 tonnes (13,227.7 lb) bombard
Bombard (weapon)
A bombard is a large-caliber, muzzle-loading medieval cannon or mortar, used chiefly in sieges for throwing heavy stone balls. The name bombarde was first noted and sketched in a French historical text around 1380. The modern term bombardment derives from this.Bombards were usually used during...

 is displayed alongside some of its 150 kilograms (330.7 lb) gun stones. On 3 July 1558, Mons Meg was fired in salute to the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, to the French dauphin François II. Workmen were paid to find and retrieve the stones from Wardie Mure
Trinity, Edinburgh
Trinity is a leafy district of northern Edinburgh, Scotland, once a part of Greater Leith it is one of the more desirable neighbourhoods in Edinburgh...

, near the River Forth
River Forth
The River Forth , long, is the major river draining the eastern part of the central belt of Scotland.The Forth rises in Loch Ard in the Trossachs, a mountainous area some west of Stirling...

, some 2 miles (3.2 km) distant. Mons Meg has been defunct since her barrel burst on 30 October 1681 when firing a salute for the arrival of the Duke of Albany
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

, the future King James VII and II.

Half Moon Battery and David's Tower

The Half Moon Battery, which remains a prominent feature on the east side of the castle, was built as part of the reconstruction works supervised by the Regent Morton
James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton
James Douglas, jure uxoris 4th Earl of Morton was the last of the four regents of Scotland during the minority of King James VI. He was in some ways the most successful of the four, since he did manage to win the civil war which had been dragging on with the supporters of the exiled Mary, Queen of...

, and was erected between 1573 and 1588. The Forewall to the north was built between 1689 and 1695 to link the Half Moon to the Portcullis Tower, although part of the original wall of 1540 was incorporated into it. The Half Moon Battery was built around and over the ruins of David's Tower, two storeys of which survive beneath, with windows facing out onto the interior wall of the battery. David's Tower was built on an L-plan, the main block being 15.4 by, with a wing measuring 6.3 by to the west. The entrance was via a pointed-arched doorway in the inner angle, although in the 16th century this was filled in to make the tower a solid rectangle. Prior to the Lang Siege, the tower was recorded as being 18 metres (59.1 ft) high, and the remaining portions stand up to 15 metres (49.2 ft) from the rock.
The tower was rediscovered in 1912, and excavations below the Half Moon Battery revealed the extent of the surviving buildings. Several rooms are accessible to the public, although the lower parts are generally closed. Outside the tower, but within the battery, is a three-storey room, where large portions of the exterior wall of the tower are still visible, showing shattered masonry caused by the bombardment of 1573. Beside the tower, a section of the former curtain wall
Curtain wall (fortification)
A curtain wall is a defensive wall between two bastions of a castle or fortress.In earlier designs of castle the curtain walls were often built to a considerable height and were fronted by a ditch or moat to make assault difficult....

 was discovered, with a gun loop which overlooked the High Street: a recess was made in the outer battery wall to reveal this gun loop. Also in 1912–1913, the adjacent Fore Well was cleared and surveyed, and was found to be 33.5 metres (109.9 ft) deep, and mostly hewn through the rock below the castle.

Crown Square

Crown Square, also known as Palace Yard, was laid out in the 15th century, during the reign of King James III
James III of Scotland
James III was King of Scots from 1460 to 1488. James was an unpopular and ineffective monarch owing to an unwillingness to administer justice fairly, a policy of pursuing alliance with the Kingdom of England, and a disastrous relationship with nearly all his extended family.His reputation as the...

, as the principal courtyard of the castle. The foundations were formed by the construction of a series of large stone vaults
Vault (architecture)
A Vault is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. The parts of a vault exert lateral thrust that require a counter resistance. When vaults are built underground, the ground gives all the resistance required...

 built onto the uneven Castle Rock in the 1430s. These vaults were used as a state prison until the 19th century, although more important prisoners were held in the main parts of the castle. The square is formed by the Royal Palace to the east, the Great Hall to the south, the Queen Anne Building to the west, and the National War Memorial to the north.

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace comprises the former royal apartments, which were the residence of the later Stewart
House of Stuart
The House of Stuart is a European royal house. Founded by Robert II of Scotland, the Stewarts first became monarchs of the Kingdom of Scotland during the late 14th century, and subsequently held the position of the Kings of Great Britain and Ireland...

 monarchs. It was begun in the mid 15th century, during the reign of James IV
James IV of Scotland
James IV was King of Scots from 11 June 1488 to his death. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from not only Scotland, but also from all...

, and it originally communicated with David's Tower. The building was extensively remodelled for the visit of James VI
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 to the castle in 1617, when state apartments for the king and queen were built. On the ground floor is the Laich (low) Hall, now called the King's Dining Room, and a small room, known as the Birth Chamber or Mary Room, where James VI was born to Mary, Queen of Scots, in June 1566. The commemorative painted ceiling
Scottish Renaissance painted ceilings
A number of Scottish houses and castles built between 1540 and 1640 have painted ceilings. This is a distinctive national style, though there is common ground with similar work elsewhere, especially in France, Spain and Scandinavia. Most surviving examples are painted simply on the boards and...

 and other decoration was added in 1617. On the first floor is the vaulted Crown Room, built in 1615 to house the Honours of Scotland
Honours of Scotland
The Honours of Scotland, also known as the Scottish regalia and the Scottish Crown Jewels, dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, are the oldest set of crown jewels in the British Isles. The existing set were used for the coronation of Scottish monarchs from 1543 to 1651...

: the crown
Crown of Scotland
The Crown of Scotland is the crown used at the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland. Remade in its current form for King James V of Scotland in 1540, the crown is part of the Honours of Scotland, the oldest set of Crown Jewels in the United Kingdom...

, the sceptre and the sword of state. The Stone of Scone
Stone of Scone
The Stone of Scone , also known as the Stone of Destiny and often referred to in England as The Coronation Stone, is an oblong block of red sandstone, used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland and later the monarchs of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom...

, upon which the monarchs of Scotland were traditionally crowned, is also kept in the Crown Room since its return to Scotland in 1996. To the south of the palace is the Register House, built in the 1540s to house state archives.

Great Hall

The Great Hall measures 29 by, and was the chief place of state assembly in the castle, although there is no evidence that the Parliament of Scotland
Parliament of Scotland
The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The unicameral parliament of Scotland is first found on record during the early 13th century, with the first meeting for which a primary source survives at...

 ever met here, as is sometimes reported. Historians have disagreed over its dating, although it is usually ascribed to the reign of King James IV
James IV of Scotland
James IV was King of Scots from 11 June 1488 to his death. He is generally regarded as the most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from not only Scotland, but also from all...

, and is thought to have been completed in the early years of the 16th century. The decorative carved stone corbel
Corbel
In architecture a corbel is a piece of stone jutting out of a wall to carry any superincumbent weight. A piece of timber projecting in the same way was called a "tassel" or a "bragger". The technique of corbelling, where rows of corbels deeply keyed inside a wall support a projecting wall or...

s supporting the roof have Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 detailing, which has been compared to works at Blois
Château de Blois
The Royal Château de Blois is located in the Loir-et-Cher département in the Loire Valley, in France, in the center of the city of Blois. The residence of several French kings, it is also the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her...

, France, of around 1515, indicating that the arts in Scotland were relatively advanced at this time. It is one of only two medieval halls in Scotland with an original hammerbeam roof
Hammerbeam roof
Hammerbeam roof, in architecture, is the name given to an open timber roof, typical of English Gothic architecture, using short beams projecting from the wall.- Design :...

.

Following Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

's seizure of the castle in 1650, the Great Hall was converted into a barracks for his troops, and was subdivided into three storeys in 1737, to house 312 soldiers. Following the construction of the New Barracks in the 1790s, it became a military hospital until 1897. It was then restored by Hippolyte Blanc in line with contemporary ideas of medieval architecture. The Great Hall is still sometimes used for ceremonial occasions, and is a venue on Hogmanay
Hogmanay
Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year in the Scottish manner...

 for BBC Scotland
BBC Scotland
BBC Scotland is a constituent part of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the publicly-funded broadcaster of the United Kingdom. It is, in effect, the national broadcaster for Scotland, having a considerable amount of autonomy from the BBC's London headquarters, and is run by the BBC Trust, who...

's Hogmanay Live
Hogmanay Live
Hogmanay Live is BBC Scotland's annual live event programme broadcast from either Edinburgh Castle's Great Hall or BBC Pacific Quay on Hogmanay . Regardless of location, the programme rings in the New Year with the firing of Edinburgh Castle's One O'Clock Gun and the subsequent fireworks and...

programme. To the south of the hall is a section of 14th-century curtain wall, although with a later parapet.

Queen Anne Building

In the 16th century, this area housed the kitchens serving the adjacent Great Hall, and was later the site of the Royal Gunhouse. The present building was named for Queen Anne
Anne of Great Britain
Anne ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702. On 1 May 1707, under the Act of Union, two of her realms, England and Scotland, were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.Anne's Catholic father, James II and VII, was deposed during the...

 and was built during the attempted Jacobite invasion by the Old Pretender
James Francis Edward Stuart
James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales was the son of the deposed James II of England...

 in 1708. It was designed by Captain Theodore Dury, military engineer for Scotland, who also designed the eponymous Dury's Battery on the south side of the castle in 1713. The Queen Anne Building provided accommodation for Staff Officers, but after the departure of the army it was remodelled in the 1920s as the Naval and Military Museum, to complement the newly-opened Scottish National War Memorial. The museum later moved to the former hospital in the western part of the castle, and the building now houses a function suite and an education centre.

Scottish National War Memorial

The Scottish National War Memorial occupies a converted barrack block on the north side of Crown Square. It stands on the site of the medieval St. Mary's Church which was rebuilt in 1366, and was converted into an armoury in 1540. It was demolished in 1755, and the masonry reused to build a new North Barrack Block on the site. Proposals for a Scottish National War Memorial were put forward in 1917, during the First World War, and the architect Sir Robert Lorimer
Robert Lorimer
Sir Robert Stodart Lorimer was a prolific Scottish architect noted for his restoration work on historic houses and castles, and for promotion of the Arts and Crafts style.-Early life:...

 was appointed in 1919. Construction began in 1923, and the memorial was formally opened on 14 July 1927 by the Prince of Wales
Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India, from 20 January to 11 December 1936.Before his accession to the throne, Edward was Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay...

. The exterior is decorated with gargoyle
Gargoyle
In architecture, a gargoyle is a carved stone grotesque, usually made of granite, with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between...

s and sculpture, while the interior contains monuments to individual regiments. The stained-glass windows are by Douglas Strachan
Douglas Strachan
Dr. Douglas Strachan was considered the most significant Scottish designer of stained glass windows in the 20th Century. Schooled at Robert Gordon's, he studied art at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen, at the Life School of the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, and the Royal Academy in London...

.

The memorial commemorates Scottish soldiers, and those serving with Scottish regiment
Scottish regiment
A Scottish regiment is any regiment that at some time in its history has or had a name that referred to Scotland or some part, thereof, and adopted items of Scottish dress...

s, who died in the two world wars and in more recent conflicts. Upon the altar within the Shrine is a sealed casket containing Rolls of Honour which list over 147,000 names of those soldiers killed in the First World War.After the Second World War, another 50,000 names were inscribed on Rolls of Honour held within the Hall, and further names continue to be added there. The memorial is maintained by a charitable trust known as the Scottish National War Memorial.

Present use

Tourist attraction

The castle is now run and administered, for the most part, by Historic Scotland
Historic Scotland
Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government, responsible for historic monuments in Scotland.-Role:As its website states:...

, an executive agency of the Scottish Government. It undertakes the dual, and sometimes mutually contradictory, tasks of operating the castle as a commercially viable tourist attraction
Tourism in Scotland
Scotland is a well-developed tourist destination, with tourism generally being responsible for sustaining 200,000 jobs mainly in the service sector, with tourist spending averaging at £4bn per year. Tourists from the United Kingdom make up the bulk of visitors to Scotland...

, while simultaneously having responsibility for conservation of the site. Edinburgh Castle remains the most popular paid visitor attraction in Scotland, with nearly 1.2 million visitors in 2009. Historic Scotland maintains a number of facilities within the castle, including two cafés/restaurants, several shops, and numerous historical displays. An educational centre in the Queen Anne Building runs events for schools and educational groups, and employs re-enactors
Historical reenactment
Historical reenactment is an educational activity in which participants attempt torecreate some aspects of a historical event or period. This may be as narrow as a specific moment from a battle, such as the reenactment of Pickett's Charge at the Great Reunion of 1913, or as broad as an entire...

 in costume and with period weaponry.

Military role

Direct administration of the castle by the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 came to an end in 1905, and in 1923 the Army formally moved to the city's new Redford Barracks
Redford Barracks
Redford Cavalry and Infantry Barracks are located on Colinton Road, near the Edinburgh City Bypass, east of the suburb of Colinton in Edinburgh, Scotland....

. Nevertheless, the castle continues to have a strong connection with the Army, and is one of the few ancient castles in Britain that still has a military garrison, albeit for largely ceremonial and administrative purposes. Public duties
Public duties
Public duties are performed by military personnel, and usually have a ceremonial or historic significance rather than an overtly operational role.-Germany:...

 performed by the garrison include guarding the Honours of Scotland
Honours of Scotland
The Honours of Scotland, also known as the Scottish regalia and the Scottish Crown Jewels, dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, are the oldest set of crown jewels in the British Isles. The existing set were used for the coronation of Scottish monarchs from 1543 to 1651...

, and armed sentries stand watch at the castle gatehouse outside opening hours. The post of Governor of Edinburgh Castle is now a ceremonial post, held by the General Officer Commanding
General Officer Commanding
General Officer Commanding is the usual title given in the armies of Commonwealth nations to a general officer who holds a command appointment. Thus, a general might be the GOC II Corps or GOC 7th Armoured Division...

 of the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

's 2nd Division
British 2nd Infantry Division
The 2nd Division is a regular division of the British army, with a long history. It dates its existence as a permanently embodied formation from 1809, when it was established by Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley , as part of the Anglo-Portuguese Army, for service in the Peninsular War...

. The New Barrack Block is home to the Home Headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and 52 Infantry Brigade
British 52nd Infantry Brigade
The 52nd Infantry Brigade is a Scottish formation in the British Army. It was formed and disbanded several times during the 20th Century.- History :...

. The Army is also responsible for the Governor's House, which serves as the Officers' Mess.

Military Tattoo

A series of performances known as the Edinburgh Military Tattoo take place on the Esplanade each year during August. The basis of the performance is a parade of the pipes and drums of the Scottish regiments, and since the first performance in 1950 the Tattoo has developed a complex format which includes many invited performers from around the world, although still with a largely military focus. The climax of the evening is the lone piper
Bagpipes
Bagpipes are a class of musical instrument, aerophones, using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. Though the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and Irish uilleann pipes have the greatest international visibility, bagpipes of many different types come from...

 on the castle battlements, playing a pibroch
Piobaireachd
Pibroch, Piobaireachd or Ceòl Mór is an art music genre associated primarily with the Scottish Highlands that is characterised by extended compositions with a melodic theme and elaborate formal variations...

 in memory of dead comrades in arms, followed by the massed pipe bands joining in a medley of traditional Scottish tunes. The Tattoo attracts an annual audience of around 217,000 people, and is broadcast around the world.

One O'Clock Gun

The One O'Clock Gun is a time signal
Time signal
A time signal is a visible, audible, mechanical, or electronic signal used as a reference to determine the time of day.-Audible and visible time signals:...

, and is fired every day at precisely 13:00, excepting Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day. The gun was established in 1861 as a time signal for ships in the Firth of Forth
Firth of Forth
The Firth of Forth is the estuary or firth of Scotland's River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north, and West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian to the south...

, and complemented the time ball
Time ball
A time ball is a large painted wooden or metal ball that drops at a predetermined time, principally to enable sailors to check their marine chronometers from their boats offshore...

, which was installed on the Nelson Monument in 1852, but which was useless during foggy weather. The gun could easily be heard by ships in Leith Harbour
Leith
-South Leith v. North Leith:Up until the late 16th century Leith , comprised two separate towns on either side of the river....

, 2 miles (3.2 km) away. Because sound travels relatively slowly (approximately 343 metres per second (767.3 mph)), maps were produced in the 1860s to show the actual time when the sound of the gun was heard at various locations in Edinburgh.

The original gun was an 18-pound muzzle-loading
Muzzleloader
A muzzleloader is any firearm into which the projectile and usually the propellant charge is loaded from the muzzle of the gun . This is distinct from the more popular modern designs of breech-loading firearms...

 cannon, which needed four men to load, and was fired from the Half Moon Battery. This was replaced in 1913 by a 32-pound breech-loader
Breech-loading weapon
A breech-loading weapon is a firearm in which the cartridge or shell is inserted or loaded into a chamber integral to the rear portion of a barrel....

, and in May 1952 by a 25-pound Howitzer
Ordnance QF 25 pounder
The Ordnance QF 25 pounder, or more simply, 25-pounder or 25-pdr, was introduced into service just before World War II, during which it served as the major British field gun/howitzer. It was considered by many to be the best field artillery piece of the war, combining high rates of fire with a...

. The present One O'Clock Gun is an L118 Light Gun
L118 Light Gun
The L118 Light Gun is a 105 mm towed howitzer, originally produced for the British Army in the 1970s and widely exported since, including to the United States, where a modified version is known as the M119A1...

, brought into service on 30 November 2001.

The gun is now fired from Mill's Mount Battery, on the north face of the castle, by the District Gunner from 105th Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers)
105th Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers)
105th Regiment Royal Artillery The Scottish & Ulster Gunners is a British Territorial Army Regiment of the Royal Artillery. The regiment is part of 51st Brigade...

. Although the gun is no longer required for its original purpose, the ceremony has become a popular tourist attraction. The longest-serving District Gunner, Staff Sergeant Thomas McKay
Thomas McKay (gunner)
Staff Sergeant Thomas McKay MBE , known as "Tam the Gun", was the District Gunner with 105th Regiment Royal Artillery from 1979 until 2005...

 MBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, nicknamed "Tam the Gun
Tam the Gun
Tam the Gun was the name applied to GNER Class 91 - 91122 in June 2006, in honour of Staff Sergeant Thomas McKay MBE, who died on Thursday November 17, 2005 at the age of 60 from cancer...

", fired the One O'Clock Gun from 1979 until his retirement in January 2005. McKay helped established the One O'Clock Gun Association, which opened a small exhibition at Mill's Mount, and published a book entitled What Time Does Edinburgh's One O'clock Gun Fire?. In 2006, Sergeant Jamie Shannon, nicknamed "Shannon The Cannon", became the 27th District Gunner.

Symbol of Edinburgh

The castle has become a recognisable symbol of Edinburgh, and of Scotland. It appears, in stylised form, on the coats of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 of the City of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

. Images of the Castle are used as a logo by organisations including Edinburgh Rugby, the Edinburgh Evening News
Edinburgh Evening News
The Edinburgh Evening News is a local newspaper based in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is published daily . It has a circulation of 68,000 and is owned by Johnston Press, which also owns The Scotsman and many regional titles throughout the UK.Much of the copy contained in the Evening News concerns local...

, Hibernian F.C.
Hibernian F.C.
Hibernian Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Leith, in the north of Edinburgh. They are one of two Scottish Premier League clubs in the city, the other being their Edinburgh derby rivals, Hearts...

 and the Edinburgh Marathon
Edinburgh Marathon
The is a marathon race that has been held each year in Edinburgh, Scotland since 2003, usually in May. It is run over the traditional distance of .The principal charity partner for the 2011 marathon is...

. It also appears on the "Castle series" of Royal Mail postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

s, and has been represented on various issues of banknotes issued by Scottish clearing banks. In the 1960s the castle was illustrated on £5 notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is a British banking and insurance holding company in which the UK Government holds an 84% stake. This stake is held and managed through UK Financial Investments Limited, whose voting rights are limited to 75% in order for the bank to retain its listing on the...

, and since 1987 it has featured on the reverse of £1 notes also issued by the Royal Bank. In 1997 the Clydesdale Bank
Clydesdale Bank
Clydesdale Bank is a commercial bank in Scotland, a subsidiary of the National Australia Bank Group. In Scotland, Clydesdale Bank is the third largest clearing bank, although it also retains a branch network in London and the north of England...

 issued a special commemorative £20 note which included an illustration of Edinburgh Castle. The castle is one of the focal points for the annual fireworks display which marks Edinburgh's annual Hogmanay
Hogmanay
Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year in the Scottish manner...

 (new year) celebrations.

See also

  • List of Governors of Edinburgh Castle
  • Castles in Great Britain and Ireland
  • List of castles in Scotland
  • Military of Scotland
    Military of Scotland
    Historically, Scotland has a long military tradition that predates the Act of Union with England. Its armed forces now form part of those of the United Kingdom and are known as the British Armed Forces.-Royal Scots Navy:...


External links

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