Ten Castles that Made Medieval Britain: Edinburgh Castle

An engraving published in Maitland's History of Edinburgh, 1753.

Few indeed are those architectural legacies still remaining to us that can boast the iconic status of Edinburgh Castle, its distinctive silhouette known throughout the world, accompanied by the gently wafting of bagpipes. Far rarer still are those structures with a comparably singular influence upon the shaping of a nation.

Fireworks in Scotland date back to 1507, researchers find

Edinburgh Castle with fireworks in 2011 - Photo by weir thru a lens / Flickr

Previously experts believed that fireworks were first used in Stirling in 1566, however, new evidence suggests that it was actually around 59 years earlier and in the Scottish capital. It is thought that ‘fireballs’ featured in a great tournament staged by King James lV, which took place at the base of Castle Rock, in 1507, in the area which is now the King’s Stables Road.

Reporting Scotland in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

The initial page of the Peterborough Chronicle, marked secondarily by the librarian of the Laud collection.

The aim of this paper is to explore the changing way in which the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports events in northern Britain, beyond the Anglo-Saxon territories, in the hope of gaining a better understanding both of events in that region and, perhaps more interestingly, the way in which the Chronicle was constructed.

Ten Castles that Made Medieval Britain: Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle - Photo from Flickr

Stirling Castle is intimately entwined with the history of Scotland and her monarchy, a significance which is recognized and presented throughout its numerous components with admirable vigour.

‘Naked and Unarmoured’: A Reassessment of the Role of the Galwegians at the Battle of the Standard

15th century map British Isles - Photo: Brooklyn Museum

Accounts of the Battle of the Standard, fought in 1138 between the army of David I, King of Scots and the northern English forces rallied by Thurstan, Archbishop of York, have unvaryingly placed the blame for the Scottish defeat on David’s Galwegian warriors who, against armoured English ranks, fled in confusion.

Scottish Witchcraft: Background and Practices

A Visit to the Witch, by Edward Frederick Brewtnall, 1882

Witch hunting became intensified in many parts of Europe during the Protestant Reformation, and especially so in Scotland.

Robert the Bruce and Leprosy

Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan, crowns Robert the Bruce at Scone in 1306; from a modern tableau at Edinburgh Castle. Photo by Kim Traynor / Wikimedia Commons

There has always been some doubt as to whether Bruce, who died in 1329, did suffer from leprosy.

‘The Mystic Hunt of the Unicorn’ tapestries unveiled at Stirling Castle

The Mystic Hunt of the Unicorn

A 14 year project to recreate the lost tapestries of James V has been completed at Stirling Castle.

The Picts and the Martyrs or Did Vikings Kill the Native Population of Orkney and Shetland?

orkney - photo by Jan Reinecke / Flickr

I suspect that the Norse invaders of Orkney and Shetland didn’t just overwhelm’, or ‘submerge’ the native population: I think they killed them.

Witchcraft on the High Seas: The Voyage of King James and the North Berwick Witch Trials

The North Berwick Witches meet the Devil in the local kirkyard, from a contemporary pamphlet, Newes From Scotland

Being a man with a strong curiosity, James was personally involved with the witch trials, which was unusual for a monarch. More than one hundred people were arrested and accused.

The Hammer of the Scots: Edward I and the Scottish Wars of Independence

The Hammer of the Scots

This book offers a fresh interpretation of Edward’s military career, with a particular focus on his Scottish wars. In part this is a study of personality: Edward was a remarkable man. His struggles with tenacious opponents – including Robert the Bruce and William Wallace – have become the stuff of legend.

12th-century copy of Consolation of Philosophy was written in Scotland, scholar finds

Dr Kylie Murray with the Boethius manucript - photo courtesy the University of Oxford

A twelfth-century copy of the ‘Consolation of Philosophy’ by Boethius, has been revealed to have been been written in Scotland, making it the oldest surviving non-biblical manuscript from that country.

William Wallace: The Man Behind the Legend

A depiction of Wallace from H E Marshall's 'Scotland's Story', published in 1906. The scene shows a woman informing Wallace that the Scottish nobles have been massacred in a trap set at the Barns of Ayr. The original caption is, "Hold you, hold you, Brave Wallace! the English have hanged all your best men like dogs."

Wallace was a flesh and blood man who had no idea that he would one day become a national hero of Scotland and an international legend; however, in the right time and in the right circumstances, normal becomes exceptional and exceptional becomes legendary.

Early Historic Scotland to 761

The question that concerns us now is how the kingdom came into being. The best-known story is that Fergus Mór mac Erc, a king of Dál Riata who died in AD 501, led the migration.

Five Minutes at Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar Castle is an extremely well-preserved example of a medieval Scottish castle, and its various improvements over three hundred years. Though it is now a ruin, it is so beautifully intact that you get a real sense of the layout, and how it would have been used centuries ago.

Researchers create genetic map of the British Isles

Image credit: Stephen Leslie et al/Nature

Many people in the UK feel a strong sense of regional identity, and it now appears that there may be a scientific basis to this feeling, according to a landmark new study into the genetic makeup of the British Isles.

Rowallan Castle in Scotland to be turned into a hotel

Rowallan Castle - photo by Sagereid / Wikipedia

Historic Scotland is transferring control of Rowallan Castle, which dates back to the Middle Ages, back to its owner, who who will be converting it into a hotel as part of a golf course development.

The Partition of a Kingdom: Strathclyde 1092-1153

Strathclyde kingdom - Wikimedia Commons

The last British king of Strathclyde, Owein, son of Dyfnal, died in 1018. At that time his kingdom stretched from Lennox, north of the Clyde, as far south as the Rere Cross at Stainmore in the North Riding of Yorkshire.

Mons Meg removed from Edinburgh Castle for conservation work

mons meg

Mons Meg, one of the most famous weapons of the Middle Ages, was removed from Edinburgh Castle last month for specialist restoration and conservation work.

Medieval Maps of Britain

Britain in the Anglo-Saxon Mappa Mundi

How did people depict England, Scotland and Wales in the Middle Ages? Here are 15 images of maps created between the 11th and 16th centuries, which shows how maps developed over history.

Booty in Border Warfare

Battle of Neville's Cross from a 15th-century Froissart manuscript

Nothing is more revealing in this universal itch to ravage and to spoil than the traces we find in the sources of rules for the sharing of the plunder.

Through Trial and Error: Learning and Adaptation in the English Tactical System from Bannockburn to Poitiers

Battle of poitiers

During the late thirteenth century and early fourteenth century, the English in medieval Europe fought in two wars: the Scottish Wars of Independence followed by the Hundred Years War.

Dervorguilla of Galloway: ‘Daughter of the Oath’

Dervorguilla of Galloway

Dervorguilla is a familiar figure in Scottish history, a lady of wealth, substance and impeccable pedigree. She is mentioned because she is the great grand-daughter of King David I, the mother of King John Balliol and she confirmed the foundation of a college at the University of Oxford, creating an endowment to ensure its future.

16th-century Haunted Castle for Sale in Scotland

bedlay castle for sale

With an asking price of £500,000, this Scottish castle is an attractive offer, although you might be sharing the building with a specter.

Edinburgh Castle named the UK’s Best Heritage Attraction for 4th year in a row

Edinburgh Castle - photo by Keith/Flickr

Edinburgh Castle has been named the UK’s Best Heritage Attraction for a record fourth year running at the 2014 British Travel Awards (BTAs).

medievalverse magazine