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Sieges of Stirling Castle
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Sieges of Stirling Castle

Table of contents
1 1299 - English constable, John Sampson besieged by Scots rebels
2 1304 - Edward I lays siege to Scots rebels
3 1337 - Failed siege by Andrew Murray
4 1571 - 1585. 3 sieges between Scots factions during the reign of James VI
5 1651 - Oliver Cromwell takes castle during civil war
6 1746 - Charles Edward Stuart during the final Jacobite rebellion

1299 - English constable, John Sampson besieged by Scots rebels

1304 - Edward I lays siege to Scots rebels

After the defeat of William Wallace's Scots army at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298 it took Edward Longshanks 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.

1337 - Failed siege by Andrew Murray

1571 - 1585. 3 sieges between Scots factions during the reign of James VI

1651 - Oliver Cromwell takes castle during civil war

1746 - Charles Edward Stuart during the final Jacobite rebellion

See Also: History -- Military history -- List of battles -- History of Scotland -- Wars of Scottish Independence