The history of the Edinburgh Castle begins as far back as the volcanic rock on which it sits. Seventy-year-old ‘Castle Rock,' the historic crag that is home to the famous castle of Edinburgh , shows records of inhabitation from back to the Bronze Age.
In as early as 600 A.D., the first ever kingdom was erected at the Edinburgh Castle site. This plot of land, then called Din Eidyn , was the stronghold of King Mynyddog and his 300 men. In 638 A.D., Mynyddog's men were defeated by English armies at Yorkshire, and the name of the small town on Castle Rock changed from the old Scottish name of Din Eidyn to the English name of “ Edinburgh .”
Many years later in 1093, King Malcom III resided in Edinburgh Castle with his beloved wife Queen Margaret. When Malcom was called to duty to fight at the battle of Alnwick in Northumberland, Margaret became ill. When word came that her husband had died, the queen was so stricken with grief that she died. Pope Innocent IV then made Queen Margaret a Saint in the year 1250, and today, the tiny chapel on the castle grounds that was dedicated in her memory is one of the oldest and most popular tourist sites in Scotland .
Edinburgh Castle was fought for many times throughout history—the most famous of which was in 1296, when King Edward I of England invaded Scotland . The English seized hold over Edinburgh Castle , but then, brave Scotsman Sir Thomas Randolph staged sabotage in 1314, when he and his men climbed the dangerous north face of Castle Rock crag and caught the English garrisons by surprise. The Castle was then once again won for the Scots, and all of Scotland rejoiced at the return of the castle grounds to the hands of its rightful countrymen-owners.
The history of Edinburgh Castle grew increasingly rich in drama and despair circa 1568, when Mary, Queen of Scots, fled her divided nation and escaped to England , leaving her infant son behind. Her baby child, James, too young to assume the throne, was left in the care of the elected keeper of the castle, Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange. When Kirkcaldy publicly announced his support for the exiled queen, the king's supporters grew angry and immediately tried to remove him from the castle. The King enlisted the further support of the English army, and after an eleven-day bombardment, Kirkcaldy surrendered and was executed. Edinburgh Castle was in dire need of repair. Englishman Regent Morton devoted much of his time to rebuilding the shattered castle in 1573, and much of the castles architecture today remains from the restorative work done in this period.
In 1688 when British sovereigns William and Mary accepted the Scottish crown, peace prevailed within the dual kingdom and in Edinburgh Castle . Then, in 1707, the Scottish Parliament passed an act which would, in effect, unite Scotland and England once and for all. The act was ceremonially concluded by the locking away the kingdom's symbolic Crown, Sword, and Sceptre deep within the confinements of the Edinburgh Castle walls. More than a century later in 1818, Sir Walter Scott asked the Prince Regent's permission to break into the castle room where the Honors had been buried. He unearthed them, and they are to this day on display in the room in which they were discovered.
One of the most majestic castle fronts in all of Western Europe, Edinburgh Castle is surely a historical monument to the past—filled to-the-brim with stories of love, loss, and glorious battles.