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Matlock Bath, Derbyshire

Matlock Bath

in the county of Derbyshire

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Pictures of Stirling Castle

a Castle in the town of Stirling, in the county of Stirlingshire

About Stirling Castle

The daunting fortress of Stirling, guarding the lowest crossing point at the River Forth, occupies a high and narrow ridge of basalt at what is considered to be the gateway to the Scottish Highlands. At the time it was built, it was a more important stronghold even than Edinburgh.

Stirling, has a long a bloody history. During the Wars of Independence it was constantly changing hands. The Scot's managed to hold it from 1299 to 1304, the year of the great siege by Edward I. It then fell to the English who held it for ten years, but following victory at Bannockburn in 1314, the castle was handed back to the Scot's.

The castle from these turbulent times was of timber and earthwork construction, which has long since vanished. It was replaced with stone, and the earliest parts of the castle as we look at it today, date from the 15th century. Strangely, the new castle, which came under the Stuart dynasty, took on an entirely new persona - the grimness disappeared to be replaced with a magnificent Royal Palace with splendid ornamental gardens. The glory of these times can be seen room by room as you tour around the castle interiors and the grounds.

The Great Hall showing the Royal coat of arms was built for James III, it was designed by Robert Cochrane, and is believed to be one of the finest Renaissance buildings of the 15th century in Britain. Dating from the same period are the curtain walls and towers to the castle. The superb palace block with its lovely carved heads was built during the reign of James IV, who succeeded the throne in 1488, it was later continued by his son, and later still in around 1594, James VI rebuilt the Royal chapel.

Many Scottish Kings and Queens have been baptised at Stirling Castle, amongst them James VI and his son, Prince Frederick Henry. Coronations have taken place within Stirling Castle, some Scottish monarchs have died within its walls, and it is known that one King committed murder here and another was murdered nearby. Mary, Queen of Scots spent much of her childhood at Stirling Castle, and it was here in the Chapel Royal that she was crowned.

When the throne's of Scotland and England united, the court moved to England and Stirling Castle was more or less abandoned. It was besieged by General Monk in 1651, and a couple of centuries later suffered an ineffective assault by Bonnie Prince Charlie.

There are many magnificent facets to Stirling Castle, so much to see and do that it is difficult to cover everything in one short
article and you should try to take in as much as you can, particularly the Great Hall, Royal Palace and Chapel Royal. You should also visit The Kings Old Building, this is the home of the museum dedicated to The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The museum tells the story of their glorious history and has fascinating displays of uniforms, pictures, weapons, documents, silver, medals and militaria, pipe banners and colours.

The castles medieval kitchens have been reconstructed, there are interpretative historical displays, and for those who wish to relax and ponder over all they have seen there is a delightful castle restaurant.

For your further enjoyment why not stroll through the castle gardens? mostly these date from the 16th and 17th centuries and include the formal Kings Knot garden and the beautiful Queen Anne garden, which is planted wonderful scented roses.

Stirling Castle is open for most of the year, but operates shorter visiting hours during the winter months.

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