The Bagpiper

A Newsletter for Erwin & Related Families

Volume 5, Issue 2                          Sub Sole Sub Umbra Virens                    June 2006

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Grassmarket, with Edinburgh Castle in the background

It was natural that a fort should be built on such a commanding and defendable site. It is known that the fort was constructed of stone during the reign of Malcolm III (1058 to 1093).

Edward I of England, in his efforts to conquer Scotland, took Edinburgh Castle in 1296, but in 1314 the Earl of Moray took the castle back for Scotland in a daring commando raid with only thirty men.

The English recaptured it in 1335, but in 1341 Sir William Douglas again removed the invaders. He tricked the garrison into thinking his band of men were merchants, whereupon they seized the castle and decapitated most of the English garrison.

The castle remained in Scottish hands until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. Attempts by the English to take it were unsuccessful. In 1400 Henry V of England besieged the castle but had to withdraw to deal with a rebellion in Wales.

In 1440 Edinburgh Castle was the site of the infamous "Black Bull's Dinner" where sixteen-year-old sixth Earl of Douglas and his fourteen-year-old brother David were murdered in front of their ten-year-old King (James II).  The death of Douglas was carried out by the ambitious Chancellor Crichton and was intended to break Douglas power.

The castle was further strengthened in 1573 and held out against an attack by the Covenanters in 1640, by Cromwell in 1650, and by the army of William and Mary in 1689.

Bonnie Prince Charlie's lack luster efforts to take the castle, during the Jacobite uprising in 1745,  was the last time that the castle came under attack.