Stirling Castle Palace Project

here is a wonderful presentation of the refurbishment of Stirling Castle. I know I have posted quite a bit about the Castle but I think it is just so amazing what they have done with it. It really takes my breath away and I can’t wait to get back to Scotland so I can go and see it for myself.

Stirling Castle Tapestries

Press Release from Stirling Castle:

“Stirling Castle Presents – A Palace Fit For A Queen

Four fabulous tapestries have been hung on the walls of Stirling Castle’s Royal palace – marking a key moment in a £2 million weaving project.

Our celebrations for the opening of Stirling Castle’s spectacularly refurbished Renaissance palace offer a fantastic weekend of family fun on 4 and 5 June. Be among the first people to see inside six magnificent royal apartments which have been returned to how they might have looked in the 1540s, when it was the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots. You can also enjoy:

● Royal procession – 11.45am, Saturday only: Mary of Guise, Mary Queen of Scots and the royal party arrive at the castle and are welcomed by cannon fire.

● Feast your eyes: See a team of cooks prepare a feast fit for royalty. They will be roasting, boiling and pouching everything from venison and trout to beef and (a few) vegetables. But the main attractions are likely to be a decorated boar’s head, complete with apple in mouth, and a model warship made from sugar which fires tiny cannonballs.

● Gunpowder and rapiers: Four costumed gunners will fire salutes from a cannon set on the gatehouse. And there will be a Renaissance military encampment where visitors can find out how the bow and arrow is gradually being replaced by the gun and see why gentlemen are prefer the rapiers to the broadsword.

● Meet the mighty: Mary of Guise, widow of James V, along with little Mary Queen of Scots, will meet their subjects. Remember to bow and curtsey.

● Plots and politics: Dramatic events are shaking Scotland – meet the French ambassador Henri Cleutin and his rivals at court as they cook up all sorts of plots, but beware, it could spill over into swordfights at any moment.

● Looks could kill: A make-up demonstration will reveal the beauty secrets of Renaissance women. It will also explain the risks, as cosmetics contained poisonous substances including lead. Visitors can see how a lady was dressed by her servants each morning, beginning with a shift and tight corset.

● What a giggle: Peterkin the Fool will entertain the crowd with jokes, juggling and acrobatics.

● Sounds of the 40s – that’s the 1540s: Hear the hurdy gurdy and a harp-type instrument called a psaltery. Then there’s the rackett, a small wind instrument which makes a big noise, a little like a swarm of bees.

● Strutting their stuff: See displays of Renaissance dance of the types that courtiers and nobles would have enjoyed at a major royal party.

Tickets for Stirling Castle Presents – a Palace Fit for a Queen can be purchased from at http://www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk. They are £13 adults, £6.50 children, £10 concessions.

To make sure that everyone has the best possible time numbers will be limited and tickets must be bought in advance.

The castle gates will open at 10am and activities start at 11.45am.

Opening hours have been specially extended on both days and people without event tickets can buy tickets after 4pm – the castle gates will shut at 7pm. ”

For a video of how they restored the palace, click here.  Stirling Castle has also updated their blog today with some information on the restoration.

Stirling Castle Restoration

 

Stirling Castle is one of my all-time favorite castles and now it’s got even better.  Right now, Historic Scotland is carrying out a £12 million project to return Stirling Castle’s Royal Palace to how it may have looked in the mid-16th century. From Easter 2011 visitors will be able to step back into the sumptuous world of Stirling Castle’s royal court.  See http://www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk for more information.

If you like, you can also have a look at my blog post https://ajb47.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/stirling-castle/ for a bit more information about the castle and in the post, I mention the absolutely stunning tapestries that are being re-created for the castle.  I didn’t have any adequate pictures of how they made the tapestries but in the video below, they show the women weaving them.  I was fortunate enough to see them working on one of the tapestries when I was back in 2007 and  it was incredible!

 

Stirling Castle

This is one of my most favorite castles in the whole world.  It is absolutely fantastic!  It’s been described as being “like a huge brooch, clasping Highlands and Lowlands together” and it is rich with history.  Stories of battles, royal life, court  intrigue, young kings and old kings.  The architecture and artwork is spectacular and much of it is still intact today. 

We took the tour through the castle with a docent who breathed life into medieval times and as he described the battles, he told us to look over the ramparts and to picture William Wallace fighting for Scotland there.  It sounds a bit corny but it didn’t feel that way as we looked at the landscape and thought of how it could have looked all those years ago.

Stirling Castle sits high on a volcanic rock and overlooks the surrounding countryside. Before the marshes to the west were drained and the roads were built, whoever had control of  the castle was in a good strategic position to control central Scotland.

The buildings that are there now are mostly from the 15th and 16th centuries, when the courts of James IV, James V and James VI were held at the castle.  After James  VI/I left Scotland for England to become King over Scotland, Ireland and England in 1603, the buildings were adapted for military use.

The period in history that Stirling Castle is most well-known for is the late 13th and early 14th century when there was fierce resistance to the English attempts to dominate Scotland.  Stories of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce have become popular, especially with the making of the epic Mel Gibson movie.

Wallace Monument

There is lots of information at the Wallace Monument http://www.nationalwallacemonument.com/ and if you feel like a climb up a big tower, you can see all around the countryside .. or so I’ve been told.  I saw the big tower from the ground.

Back to the castle … the outer defences, the gatehouses, outer and inner closes, the King’s old building, the Chapel Royal, the Great Hall, the Palace, the Great Kitchens, the Guard House and the Royal Parks and Gardens. So amazing! I will include a few of the photos I took but really the website does it so much more justice. http://www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk/ I just noticed they have a blog too .. I will link that to my page.  

One of the most fascinating things we saw there was the making of tapestries.  This was part of a special late medieval project with 7 tapestries, telling the tale of the Hunt of the Unicorn.  A really magnificent work that will eventually go on the Queen’s Inner Hall. Each tapestry takes between two and a half to four years to finish and it’s all done by one team of weavers, one group working at the castle, where you can see them weaving and another group working in their studio in Sussex. These tapestries are based on an original series, which are on display in the Cloisters Museum at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.