Seige of the castle

There have been at least eight sieges of Stirling Castle.

  • In 1299, English constable John Sampson was besieged by the Scots.
  • In 1304, Edward I besieged the Scots. After the defeat of William Wallace's Scots army at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298 it took Edward 6 years to gain full control of Scotland. The last stronghold of resistance to English rule was Stirling Castle. Armed with twelve siege engines the English laid siege of the castle in April 1304. For four months the castle was bombarded by lead balls (stripped from nearby church roofs), Greek fire, stone balls, and even some sort of gunpowder mixture. Impatient with lack of progress, Edward ordered his chief engineer, Master James of St. George, to begin work on a new, more massive engine called Warwolf - possibly a trebuchet.
  • The garrison of 30, led by William Oliphant, eventually surrendered on July 20 after Edward had previously refused to accept surrender until the Warwolf had been tested.
  • Historians disagree on what eventually led the garrison to surrender. One explanation says Edward succeeded in filling the moat with earth and stone and prepared scaling ladders and ropes, and the garrison saw their fate and offered their surrender. Another says that Edward managed to breach a wall with a ram, which convinced the garrison to surrender. Another explanation was starvation.
  • Despite previous threats, Edward was comparatively lenient with the rebels. He only executed the man who had previously betrayed the castle to the Scots. William Oliphant was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
  • In 1337 a siege by Sir Andrew Murray failed.
  • Between 1571 and 1585 the castle was besieged three times by Scots factions during the reign of James VI.
  • In 1651 Oliver Cromwell captured the castle during the English Civil War.
  • In 1746 Charles Edward Stuart besieged the castle during the final Jacobite Rising.