Stirling Castle is built high on a basalt outcrop above what was in medieval times the main crossing point across the Forth and the surrounding marshes, a strategic position which made the castle one of the most important fortresses in Scotland.
The rock had probably been used defensively since the Iron Age, but the first record of a castle comes from the early 12th century when Alexander I had a castle chapel dedicated and endowed. The castle’s most famous period in history was during the late 13th and early 14th century when it played a prominent part in the conflict between England and Scotland. The castle fell into the hands of the English on several occasions and the famous Scottish victories at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 and the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 were made to regain control of Stirling Castle. It is not possible to see what this earlier castle would have looked like because all traces have been lost under later building work. Most of what can now be seen at the castle dates from the early 16th century onwards.
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