"" Writer's Wanderings: Calling On Edinburgh, Scotland, The Castle

Friday, October 18, 2019

Calling On Edinburgh, Scotland, The Castle

Every time you hear about a trip to Edinburgh, you hear about the castle. Now there are a lot more other historic places, castles included to visit but if we're only going once, I want to see THE castle. Its history invites you.

The castle is one of the oldest fortified places in Europe. It's long history includes a royal residence, military garrison, prison and fortress. It started with the Iron Age people building a fortress on the hill. Throughout the centuries it suffered many sieges and changed hands several times. In 1457, one of the greatest medieval cannons was given to King James II. You know the cannon has to be great when they name it, Mons Meg.

The castle was the residence to many queens and kings from its early beginnings. Queen Margaret died there in 1093. It was also home to Mary, Queen of Scots whose son took the throne when he was 13 months old.

The crown jewels, the Honours of Scotland, are the oldest crown jewels in Britain. They were first used in a coronation of a monarch in 1543. The Stone of Destiny was used for years to inaugurate monarchs and is said to be on display in the Crown Room. It is basically a 700 pound red sandstone block. A small piece of paper inserted into a tube in the stone was said to prove its authenticity. It was apparently a part of the throne upon which the monarchs sat to be crowned. There is quite a story of it being stolen and returned to Scotland.

Military prisoners were kept there often, the first being French privateers caught in 1758. While it was said that many monarchs complained about drafts in the castle, it was probably a whole lot worse for the prisoners.

There is a whole lot more to the history I'm sure but that's enough to whet the appetite. I'm really a bit more interested in the ambiance and the structure and the scenery. History was never my strong suit.

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