15 October 2015
Take a whistle-stop tour of Scotland’s past with our fun history alphabet. ...
A harbour town in the north east which is famed as the location for the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, most probably at Arbroath Abbey. The Declaration, which dates to 1320, was addressed to Pope John XXII on behalf of Robert the Bruce and set out Scotland’s status as an independent state with the right to defend itself against attack.
The Battle of Bannockburn, fought near Stirling on 23-23 June 1314, saw the forces of Robert the Bruce face those of Edward II of England. Despite fielding a smaller army, Bruce gained victory over Edward, forcing a retreat by the English. Stirling is home to the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre which presents the history of the battle via battle immersion and audio visual facilities.
A marvel of Scottish engineering, the Caledonian Canal was created by Thomas Telford to connect Inverness with the settlement of Corpach near Fort William. The canal opened in 1822 after almost twenty years of construction, including the creation of 29 locks and four aqueducts.
Once the capital of Scotland, Dunfermline in Fife has strong connections with the Scottish monarchy; twelve of Scotland’s kings and queens are buried in the town’s abbey and both King James I and King Charles I were born here, as was businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, whose life is commemorated by a museum in the town.
Scotland’s capital is steeped in history, from the earliest Iron Age fort on the site where Edinburgh Castle now stands, through the turbulent times of the Middle Ages, when Edinburgh was besieged numerous times in the fight for the crown, on to the Age of Enlightenment when the town attracted the great minds of the day; and to the Industrial Revolution.
Hundreds of historic buildings pay testament to the city’s rich past, with highlights including the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the buildings along the Royal Mile, Greyfriars Kirk and Kirkyard, the New Town and Calton Hill.
Classed as one of Europe’s finest military fortifications, Fort George is an eighteenth-century fortress near Inverness built as a base for the army of King George II in the wake of the Jacobite rebellions. The fort, which is still a working military base, contains the Highlanders regimental museum and the Seafield collection of arms and military equipment.
The city of Glasgow is an ancient port settlement whose prosperity and place in history resulted in large measure from its position on the River Clyde. The city was founded by the Christian missionary St Mungo in the sixth century and the settlement developed from a village dependent upon agriculture to become the second city of Empire in the 19th century. Glasgow University was established in 1451 and it was made a royal burgh in 1611.
In the 1800s, Glasgow became famed as a centre for both ship and locomotive building and by 1931, it was Britain’s biggest city (after London).
A Borders castle whose location has placed it at the centre of history for more than 400 years. Built around 1360 by Sir Hugh de Dacre and nicknamed locally as ‘the strength of Liddesdale’, the castle was fought for throughout its history and in 1566, was visited by Mary Queen of Scots who wrote 25 miles from Jedburgh on hearing that her lover Bothwell was seriously ill there.
Isle of Iona
This small island in the Inner Hebrides has an important place in history as a once-flourishing centre of monasticism. Dubbed Scotland’s ‘cradle of Christianity', the Christian presence began here with the arrival of St Columba in 563AD. Columba and his fellow monks established a monastery on Iona and used this as a base for evangelical work.
The island is home to the medieval abbey of Iona, a medieval nunnery and a heritage centre. Many Scottish monarchs are buried on Iona, including Kenneth MacAlpin and Macbeth.
The Jacobites were the supporters of King James VII (James II of England) who was deposed in 1689 in favour of William and Mary of Orange. Between 1688 and 1746, there were several Jacobite risings in support of Roman Catholic claimants to the throne, most notably in 1715 and 1745.
The West Highland Museum at Fort William has a large collection of Jacobite artefacts.
Founded during the reign of Alexander I, Kelso Abbey was inhabited by a community of Tironensian monks, Kelso Abbey was one of Scotland’s wealthiest royal houses thanks to its royal patronage. Kelso’s proximity to the Scottish/English border meant that it was raided on many occasions, particularly during the sixteenth century.
Although little of the monastery complex is in evidence, the church has substantial remains, most notably its Galilee porch, partial west front and great western door.
This uninhabited Orkney island is home to a remarkable piece of World War Two history – the Italian Chapel. The building was created by Italian prisoners of war using scrap and donated materials and inspired by the churches of the prisoners’ homeland.
Constructed from two Nissen huts, the building’s beautiful interior belies its simple exterior, and includes detailed religious paintings by Domenico Chioccetti, whose family retain their connections with the chapel today.
Mary Queen of Scots
The subject of hundreds of books over the centuries, and still a focus of debate among historians, Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587) was queen of Scotland from infancy until forced to renounce the throne in favour of her son, the future James VI.
Mary was married three times and the death of her second husband, Henry Lord Darnley led to accusations of her involvement in his murder. She fled to England to seek the assistance of her cousin Elizabeth I of England but was executed on the queen’s orders on 8 February 1587.
Now classed as a World Heritage Site, New Lanark is a mill village in Lanarkshire which was founded by David Dale in 1786, who also built housing for his workers, a pioneering approach which was expanded by his successor (and son in law) Robert Owen, who created a school and a welfare programme.
The Orkney Islands are famed for their prehistoric remains, including the Iron Age site Mine Howe, the ancient Tomb of the Eagles and the 4,000-year-old Ring of Brodgar. The main town of the archipelago is Kirkwall, which is home to twelfth-century St Magnus Cathedral.
Designated as a city to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, Paisley has a long history as a weaving settlement, being famed for its distinctive paisley textile pattern. Paisley Abbey has strong links with royalty, being the burial place of Robert III.
This West Lothian town, sometimes known as South Queensferry, stands on the site of a historic crossing point of the Firth of Forth. Queen of Margaret (1045-93) established a ferry service between Edinburgh and Queensferry, to serve pilgrims travelling to St Andrews.
Scotland’s national bard was born in Alloway in 1759. Among his best known works are Auld Lang Syne, Scots Wha Hae, Tam o’ Shanter and To A Mouse. His birthplace can be visited as part of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, which is also home to important artefacts relating to his life.
The city of Stirling was the location of several important battles in the history of Scotland, including the Battle of Stirling Bridge (1297) and the Battle of Bannockburn (1314). Stirling Castle was an important royal palace and a favourite of the Stewarts, with James V carrying out an extensive building programme here. The city’s Victorian Wallace monument pays tribute to freedom fighter Sir William Wallace.
This fourteenth-century is located on an island in the River Dee and has a fascinating history as the home of the ‘black’ Douglas earls of Douglas. The castle was besieged by James II in the 1450s, as he sought to temper Douglas ambitions and thereafter, it remained in Crown hands.
Today’s visitors can admire the substantial ruins, including the formidable tower house which withstood a king’s siege bombardment.
Situated on the banks of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle was one of the largest castles in Scotland and an important Highlands stronghold. The site has more than 1,000 years of history and it is here that St Columba is said to have performed miracles in the early days of Christianity in Scotland. In the Middle Ages the castle was at the centre of many a bitter feud, changing hands between Scotland and England several times.
The substantial ruins offer stunning views of Loch Ness.
Dundee’s Verdant Works is a former jute mill that pays tribute to the city’s place at the heart of the jute industry when, in the nineteenth century, Dundee was a world-renowned jute maker. High Mills was built at the height of the Industrial Revolution and here, workers toiled in terrible conditions to weave jute from India which was then exported around the world.
Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) was a historian and novelist who had a great love of Scotland and expressed this through his prose and poetry. Among his best known works are the Waverley novels, Rob Roy and Ivanhoe, each of which were based upon Scottish myths, legends or history.
Explore the history of X rays, surgery and pathology at Surgeons Hall Museum,Edinburgh, recently re-opened after restoration. The museum is home to the collections of the Royal Surgeons of Edinburgh which include ‘natural and artificial curiosities’ as well as medical books, pamphlets and artefacts.
Yolande of Dreux
Yolande of Dreux (1263-1322) became Scotland’s queen consort on her marriage to Alexander III whome she married on 15 October 1285. After the death of Alexander, Yolande married Arthur II, Duke of Brittany, with whom she had six children.
The ZE postcode area covers the whole of the Shetland Isles, including Lerwick, a harbour town in Shetland. The port was originally a settlement which served herring fleet vessels and crew, then developed as a whaling and fishing centre. Historic attractions include Fort Charlotte, the Victorian Town Hall and Shetland Museum.