Edinburgh Castle is undoubtedly the most striking building in the city of Edinburgh, dominating the skyline. This stone built castle sits on the top of Castle Rock, a volcanic plug that is thought to have formed over 350 million years ago during the Carboniferous period of history. What remains today is what is left from a volcanic pipe which cut through the sedimentary rock before cooling rapidly to form a dolerite, a type of subvolcanic rock similar to basalt.
There has been human occupation on Castle Rock since art least the second century AD but it was the 12 century that saw a castle first established on the there during the reign of David I, Prince of the Cumbrians and eventual King of the Scots. From then, it remained a royal residence until 1633 when Charles I became the last Scottish monarch to inhabit the castle.
As one of the finest stone buildings in Europe, closer examination reveals that Edinburgh Castle is a collection of buildings built over several hundreds of years rather than being all at once at the same time. These include:
St Margaret’s Chapel
St Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest surviving part of Edinburgh Castle and the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh. A category A listed building, it is an example of Romanesque architecture and was constructed in the 12th Century from local stone. It is testament to the local stonemasons that constructed that their skills and traditional craftsmanship has seen this building withstand centuries of war, bloodshed and the worst of Scottish weather.
Thought to have built around 1510 by James IV, the Great Hall is a majestic stone building that measures 29m byt 12.5n and was the chief place of tate assembly in the castle. Despite some claims, there is no evidence that the Scottish Parliament ever met here. Upon the strong stone walls, there sits a rare hammerbeam roof.
Half Moon Battery
A prominent feature on the east side of the castle, it was built on as part of Regent Marton’s renovation works that he supervised between 1573 and 1578. These vast stone walls have withstood bombardments and they are a breathtaking site to see
Scottish National War Memorial
The Scottish National war Memorial is housed in a converted barrack block that sits on the north side of Crown Square. It stands where St Mary’s Church once stood which was rebuilt in 1366, converted into an armoury in 1540 and finally demolished in 1755. It was then that it was made into a barracks, reusing the old masonry and stonework. The idea for a Scottish National War Memorial was put forward in 1917, construction began in 1923 and was formally opened in 1927. The stone structure is decorated with stone gargoyles and sculptures and gargoyles.
Today Edinburgh Castle is owned by the Scottish Government and is administered by Historic Scotland, although the army still remains responsible for parts of it. For those people who love to explore old stone buildings and see some fantastic stonework worked on by some of the finest artisan craftsman, then Edinburgh Castle is well worth a visit.
Did you know that Morningside Masonry are one of the leading stonemasons in Edinburgh? If you need some stonework restoring, get in touch with us today. We also provide lime pointing, Church stone repairs, chimney repairs and wall repairs.