Facts and figures about the Palace Project.
The Stirling Castle esplanade

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17 April 2014

Stirling Castle is where the Stewart kings and queens chose to celebrate Easter and this weekend we’ll be continuing their legacy with our event, Read the castle blog

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Key Facts About the Palace


The ceiling in the royal palace

  • The palace is a separate block within the castle walls, and the most prominent of its buildings. It is quadrangular with a central courtyard known as the Lion’s Den.

  • Beneath the palace lie the atmospheric medieval vaults. These are now home to a delightful series of family-friendly interactive displays all about the lives of people at court such as jesters and musicians.

  • A new exhibition telling the story of the castle has been created in the Queen Anne Casemates, it includes the chance to come face to face with a real medieval knight and lady, whose skeletons were discovered beneath a lost royal chapel.

  • King James V began the palace in 1538 as a sumptuous residence for himself and his Queen, Mary of Guise. He died in 1542 and may not have seen it completed.

  • The designer was probably one of several French master masons employed by James V, possibly Mogin Martin, Nicholas Roy or John Roytell. It is likely that Hamilton of Finnart, the king’s Principal Master of Work, was also closely involved.

  • Stirling Castle and its palace fell into disrepair in the 17th century. When James, Duke of Albany and York (the future James VII and II), visited in 1681 it was thought unfit for him to stay there.

  • Neglect led to decay, but refitting for military use ensured that some areas of the palace remained in very good condition as the army often covered up, rather than removed, original features.

  • The castle stopped being a military depot in 1964. It later became a paid-for visitor attraction.

  • The palace refurbishment is part of an even larger and longer-term project in which Historic Scotland has been returning the castle to its magnificence under the Stewarts, and creating a world-class experience for visitors.

  • Palace project funding involved £9 million from Historic Scotland’s own budget plus a £3 million uplift from the Scottish Government. The tapestries were funded separately, largely by philanthropic donations, and involve an investment of £2 million.