The Siege of Stirling Castle


The Siege of Stirling Castle is quite possibly one of the most famous sieges and it is often referred to as "The Great Siege".

The Castle itself was the center of a lot of dispute and it was sieged and changed hands several times. The Great Siege took place in 1304.

This picture is of Stirling Castle in its current state.



Castles and Fortressess have been sieged in many different ways. The most popular of which was simply starving the occupants out by not allowing them to move in and out of the castle. Eventually they ran out of food, water, and strength which caused them to surrender.

But when we think of sieges we often think of massive war machines and siege engines bombarding the walls of the castle and lots of soldiers scaling the walls with hooks and ladders. And this is what happened at the siege of Stirling Castle. It was the epitomy of a traditional medieval siege.

Some of the siege is well recorded and some of it is speculation. What we do know is that the sieging force (Edward I) had twelve siege engines and they built an unusually large siege engine called "The War Wolf" It is believed that this large siege engine was a trebuchet.

These siege engines bomarbarded the castle and its walls with stone balls, lead balls and Greek Fire. The siege lasted four months from April to July of 1304 and there were only 30 soldiers garrisoned inside which is quite a testament to how effective a castle was at protecting its occupants.

The controversy of the siege

It was over 700 years ago that this siege occurred so there is some discrepancy and dispute as to the means of siege.. A few different theories exist including that the castle was eventually taken when they filled the moat and used scaling ladders to climb the walls. And there is a theory that the wall was breached by a battering ram. There is also another theory that the occupants were simply starved out. All of these theories are plausible and they are methods that were used to siege castles. One or more of these theories may be true and it is quite likely that all these methods were used in part!

Whatever it was it is certain that the siege of Stirling castle is one of the most traditional sieges that ever took place and it is called "The Big Siege" for good reason.


If you would like to know more about siege engines I have lots of great stuff on them here: How to make a catapult - How to make a trebuchet


































































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