The Rock on which Edinburgh Castle stands was formed 70 million years ago. Recent archaeological excavations in Edinburgh Castle have uncovered evidence that Bronze-Age man was living on the rock as long ago as 850 BC. Two thousand years ago, during the Iron Age, the rock had a hill-fort settlement on its summit.
|AD 600||In about AD 600, three hundred men
gathered around their King. Mynyddog, in his stronghold of Din Eidyn.
This is the first mention of the name of the place, which we call
Edinburgh. The war-band was preparing to attack the Angles, recent
heathen invaders from Europe. The war-band pledged themselves to die
for their King and almost all did die, on a raid into the territories
of the Angles, in Yorkshire. Shortly after, in AD 638, Din Eidyn was
besieged and taken by the Angles and the place seems then to have
received the English name which it has kept ever since - Edinburgh.
|AD 1093||In 1093 Queen Margaret wife of
Malcolm III was seriously ill in Edinburgh Castle. She was brought the
news that her husband had been killed at Alnwick in Northumberland.
Broken-hearted, she too died. Husband and wife were buried side by side
in the church at Dunfermline. Queen Margaret was made a saint by Pope
Innocent IV in 1250. A tiny chapel, built on the summit of the castle
rock in the early twelfth century, is dedicated to her memory and is
the oldest building in Edinburgh Castle.
|AD 1296||In 1296 Edward I of England invaded
Scotland. He besieged and captured Edinburgh Castle.
On the night of 14 March 1314, Sir Thomas Randolph, the nephew of King Robert the Bruce, and his men climbed the precipitous north face of Edinburgh Castle rock, took the English garrison by surprise and won the castle back. Robert the Bruce immediately ordered that Edinburgh castle be dismantled "lest the English ever afterwards might lord it over the land by holding the castles". Three months later, on 24 June 1314 near Stirling, the Scottish army crushed the English at the Battle of Bannockburn.
|AD 1449||In 1449, James II married Mary of
Gueldres in Holyrood Abbey. That same year a great siege gun, made for
the Queen's uncle, the Duke of Burgundy, was tested at Mons (now in
Belgium). In 1457 Mons Meg (as she is now called) was shipped to
Scotland as a present to the King and Queen. Three years later the King
was dead, killed at the siege of Roxburgh Castle by one of his guns
(not Mons Meg). Mons Meg was kept with the rest of the royal guns in
Edinburgh Castle. She was used against the English and against
rebellious Scottish noblemen. Her enormous bulk (she weighs over 6
tons) soon made her obsolete as a siege gun, but she was put to good
use firing ceremonial salutes. In 1681, during a birthday salute for
the Duke of Albany (later James VII and II, the last Stewart King) her
barrel burst open and she was unceremoniously dumped beside Foog's Gate
in Edinburgh Castle. The restored Mons Meg can proudly be viewed now on
the upper levels of the Castle.
|AD 1565||In July 1565 Mary Queen of Scots
married her first cousin and second husband, Henry, Lord Darnley.
Almost a year later on 19 June 1566, she gave birth to their child,
Prince James in Edinburgh Castle.
|AD 1568||On 16 May 1568 Mary, Queen of Scots
fled to England and her infant son James became King of Scots. She left
behind a divided nation. Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange was keeper of
Edinburgh Castle, in 1571 when he decided to come out openly in support
of the exiled Queen. The King's supporters immediately laid siege to
the castle, but since the best artillery was inside the castle it
proceeded inconclusively for two years - hence its name - the "Lang
(long) Siege". Kirkcaldy's stout defence of the castle came to an end
only after England had sent a large force and heavy artillery at the
request of the King's party, led by the Regent Morton. In May 1573,
after a devastating eleven-day bombardment, the east defences of the
medieval castle came crashing to the ground. Kirkcaldy surrendered and
was executed. Almost immediately the Regent Morton put in hand the work
of rebuilding the shattered castle. Much of what you see today dates
from this time, including the mighty Half-Moon Battery and the
|AD 1688||Late in 1688 the Protestant William
of Orange landed in England and the Catholic James VII of Scotland and
II of England, the last Stewart King, fled into exile. William and his
wife Mary (James VII's elder daughter) were proclaimed joint sovereigns
of England. The Scots were undecided. The governor of Edinburgh Castle
at the time was the Duke of Gordon, a firm supporter of King James, who
prepared the place for defence. The siege began in March 1689 and
lasted for three months, during which time William and Mary were
offered, and accepted the Scottish Crown. On 13 June Gordon surrendered
Edinburgh Castle. It proved to be the last real action the castle saw.
In the subsequent Jacobite Risings of 1715 and 1745, Edinburgh Castle
was picketed by the supporters of the "Old Pretender" and "Bonnie
Prince Charlie" but was never seriously threatened. Peace has reigned
at Edinburgh Castle ever since.
|AD 1707||On 19 March 1707 the Act uniting
Scotland and England was passed in the Scottish Parliament. When it
rose, the Crown, Sword and Sceptre were brought back to Edinburgh
Castle and locked away. In time people wondered whether the honours of
Scotland, as they were known really survived at all. In February 1818
Sir Walter Scott, with permission from the Prince Regent, broke into
the room where the Honours had supposedly been locked away. He found
them lying at the bottom of a chest covered with linen cloths "exactly
as they had been left". They were immediately put on display in the
room where they were discovered, so beginning Edinburgh Castle's new
role as Scotland's premier visitor attraction.
The Tron Kirk (named after a tron, or weighing machine, that stood on this site) has a prominent position on the corner of the High Street and South Bridge in Edinburgh and has traditionally been the focus of Edinburgh's New Year celebrations. A well-known landmark and Grade 'A' listed building, it was built between 1636-47 by John Mylne. A peculiar mixture of Gothic and Palladian architectural styles, the church features a fine hammerbeam roof of an unusual latticed truss construction. The building was truncated in 1785 when South Bridge and Hunter Square were developed. The original tower was lost in the Great Fire of 1824 and was replaced with a taller spire by R. & R. Dickson in 1828. It ceased to be a church in 1952 and its ownership passed to the City Council.
In 1974, the remains of the 16th Century Marlin's Wynd, including shops and cellars were discovered by archaeologists beneath the church. The fine stone multi-storey buildings, with slate roofs, has been demolished to make way for the church in 1635. A French stone-mason, Walter Merlion or Marlin, paved the wynd in 1532 and was sufficiently proud of this achievement that he asked to be buried under it.Today, the Tron Kirk forms a visitor information centre for the Old Town of Edinburgh and Marlin's Wynd is exposed for all to see (the floor is pulled up and you can see the excavation site).
The Canongate Tolbooth
Born around 1514 in Scotland, John Knox played a pivotal role in the reformation of the church in Scotland.
Little information has survived about his early life, beyond that he was was probably born in Haddington, about 17 miles outside of Edinburgh and later educated at St Andrews just at the time reformed Christian theology was starting to penetrate the university there.
exact time of John Knox conversion
is not known, however it is clear that by the end of March 1543 he was
committed to the Christian gospel. It was at this time that he was
persuaded to take a more public stand for the gospel and act as the
bodyguard for the preacher George Wishart. who had been accused of
conspiring to assassinate Cardinal Beaton, the Roman Catholic emissary
to Scotland. Only five hours
after Knox eventually left him George Wishart was arrested, tried,
convicted, and condemned to death. Having
been Wisharts bodyguard meant that Knox himself was now in danger,
after being harried around Scotland for a while he ended up fleeing to
St Andrews where a group of gentry and their supporters had killed
Cardinal Beaton and taken over his castle.
While in St Andrews Knox was officially appointed preacher, and preached his first sermon on Daniel 7:24-25. It soon became apparent that Knox was prepared to strike at the very root of the Catholic system.
When The castle of St Andrews finally surrendered to the French backed forces of Mary Stuart in August 1547, Knox was sentenced to serve as an oarsman in the French galleys. While this was a time of great physical suffering it was also a tome of great strengthening spiritually. After his release from the galleys in 1549 Knox settled in England and became a minister in the Church of England, which was then at the height of its own reformation.
not long however before
differences began to show themselves between Knox and those in the
Church of England who only wanted a partial reformation of the Roman
Catholic system. When in
1553 King Edward VI died and was succeeded by his sister Mary who was
an ardent Catholic, Knox felt it was time to leave England for
continental Europe. It was not long after this that he was
appointed Pastor of an English speaking church in Frankfurt, this did
not last long though as the church became dominated by those who
insisted upon an Anglican form of worship rather than one with gospel
preaching at its centre. Knox
moved on to Geneva where he began to Pastor the first true Puritan
church, a church which held preaching to be the centre of church
the death of Queen Mary of
England the Geneva church decided to transfer home to England, this
allowed Knox to return to his home country of Scotland in 1559. Things
were not straightforward for Knox even then. In Scotland Mary of Guise
was ruling as Queen of France and Scotland. Knox preached around
Scotland gaining support for the reformation, while Mary used French
troops in an attempt to gain a decisive military victory over the
Protestants. Her victory was not to be, While Mary looked for support
from France, The Protestants had secured support from Elizabeth in
1560 Mary of Guise died and by
August 1560 Scotland was declared Protestant by an act of Parliament, a
National Reformed church was established and John Knox was active in
organising it. While all of
this was going on Mary Queen of Scots was living in France with her
husband. In December he died, and Mary was allowed to return to
Scotland on the condition that she did not attempt to bring back the
blasphemous Catholic mass to Scotland. Mary did not keep to this
agreement and was soon using every available subterfuge to promote
Catholic influence throughout Scotland.
event it was not the mass that
brought about Mary's downfall but her marriage to the Earl of Bothwell,
who she married in secret after he had murdered her husband Lord
Darnley. Mary was forced to
abdicate the throne in favour of her young son James. Although Mary
made several later attempt to regain the throne her influence was now
effectively over. This left Knox for the remainder of his life the time
to concentrate on his preaching and pastoring work in St Giles,
He preached for the last time on 9 November 1572 and was taken ill a few days later and he died on 24 November 1572. Knox is said to be buried under Parliament Square, which was once the burial ground of St. Giles Kirk.
See St. Giles Kirk: mysite.verizon.net/loganfalls/Churches.htm
Once the principal gateway into the medieval burgh of Edinburgh, the Netherbow Port afforded an entry through the city wall from the Canongate to the east. The location of the gateway is marked on the road with brass plates and the name survives in the Netherbow Arts Centre, the home of the Scottish Storytelling Centre which was established in 1995. The original Netherbow bell has been re-hung in the open courtyard behind the Netherbow Arts Centre and John Knox's House. The Netherbow well-head outside John Knox's house is one of a number of enclosed wells erected c.1685 to supply water to the public.