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kingdoms, and also in all civil wars, the possession of Stirling Castle has been regarded as of the utmost consequence. It is taken notice of in Buchanan's History, as early as the ninth century, when the Scots, having subdued the Picts, and being desirous of obliterating every memorial of that nation, razed it to the ground. It was rebuilt by the Northumbrians, upon obtaining from Donald the Fifth, whom they had made prisoner, a cession of all the territory south of the Forth; after remaining in their possession for the space of twenty years, it was, along with the ceded territory, restored to the Scots upon their engaging to assist the Northumbrians against the Danes. In the tenth century this castle was the rendezvous of the Scottish army under Kenneth the Third, who defeated the Danes at the battle of Luncarty. About the middle of the twelfth century, it became a royal residence, and long continued to be the favourite abode of the Scottish monarchs. In 1174, Stirling Castle was one of the four fortresses delivered up to the English, as a token of vassalage, these being the ransom paid for the liberation of William the Lion, whom they had made prisoner; it was restored along with the others by Richard Cœur de Lion. In 1299, while in the hands of Edward I. it was surrendered to the Scots; next year it was retaken by the English, after a most gallant defence by Sir William Oliphant the governor. In 1303 the Scots, under the command of Sir John Soulis, again made themselves masters of it, when Oliphant resumed the command, and in the next year it sustained a second siege. It was battered most furiously by artillery, using stones of two hundred pounds weight as balls, which made vast breaches in the ramparts; but it was not until the garrison was reduced to a very few that the brave Oliphant submitted. In the reign of Edward II. it was besieged by Edward Bruce, and fell into his hands as one of the fruits of the battle of Ban

nockburn. During the wars of Edward III. it was successively taken and retaken. About the year 1550, during the regency of Mary of Lorraine, a strong battery, called the French battery, was erected. In 1651 the castle was besieged and taken by General Monk. In the reign of Queen Anne the castle was repaired and enlarged, and a flanking battery, called Queen Anne's, was erected on the south side. The last siege which it endured was in 1746, when General Blakeney made a gallant defence, and baffled all the attempts of the Highland army to reduce it. To this historical account of the castle, we may add, that it is one of the four Scottish forts, which, by the articles of Union, are to be upheld and constantly garrisoned. Edinburgh, Dumbarton, and Blackness are the other three. This stipulation was made to soothe the national pride; but the strict observance of it was found to be of vast advantage to the established government, at the periods of the rebellions 1715 and 1745.

Stirling Castle having been, as already mentioned, a favourite residence of the Scottish monarchs, contains many remains of royal magnificence. Within the outworks of the fortification, is the palace built by James the Fifth, a large square building, ornamented on three sides with pillars, resting on grotesque figures jutting from the wall, each surmounted with a fanciful statue. This palace is now converted into barracks. Two rooms, called the Queen's and the nursery, are shown, the roofs of which are of wood, divided into squares and other forms richly carved. Connected with the castle is a large hall, 120 feet long, built for the meetings of Parliament by James III. who had a strong passion for the fine arts, particularly architecture. This hall once had a fine gallery, elegantly ornamented; but it has been stripped to the bare walls, and converted into a riding room. Adjoining to the Parliament House is the chapel royal,

erected originally by the same monarch, and rebuilt by James VI. It was accounted the richest collegiate church in the kingdom. It has suffered woeful desecration, being now used as a store room and armoury.

It was within this fortress that the youthful monarch James II. treacherously murdered William Earl of Douglas, whom he had trepanned within the walls by safeconduct. This nobleman had formed a rebellious association with others of the nobility, from which the king implored him to withdraw, and upon his refusing, the incensed monarch stabbed him to the heart. The room where this bloody deed was perpetrated is still called Douglas's Room. In revenge, the friends of the murdered Earl instantly burnt the town. This fortress is also remarkable for having been the birth-place of James IV. His son, James V. was crowned here; and here also the unfortunate Mary underwent the same ceremony, which was conducted with great pomp and solemnity, in presence of the three estates of Parliament. James VI. passed almost the whole of his minority here, under the tuition of the celebrated Buchanan.

By some writers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Stirling Castle has been called Snowdoun, derived, it has been supposed, from some romantic legend connecting Stirling with King Arthur. A mound of earth within the adjacent park, to be afterwards noticed, so early as the days of Barbour, was known by the name of the Round Table. Sir David Lindsay, who was the youthful playfellow of James V. thus feelingly apostrophizes the place:

"Adieu fair Snowdoun, with thy towers high,

Thy chapel royal, park, and table round;
May, June, and July, would I dwell in thee.
Were 1 a man, to hear the birdis sound,

Whilk doth againe thy royal rock rebound."

South-west of the Castle lies the King's Park, sur

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