Stirling's Military Heritage
Series: Military Heritage
- Gregor Stewart
15th July 2020
Stirling is associated with two of the most notable names and battles in Scottish history: William Wallace and the Battle of Stirling Bridge, and Robert the Bruce and the Battle of Bannockburn. Stirling’s military history, however, stretches back to when the Romans invaded Scotland and formed a line of fortresses as their first boundary just north of Stirling. A Roman road cuts through the town, and it became a road used by every military force to invade Scotland.
A castle has existed in Stirling on Castle Hill since at least 1110, with the town growing on the slopes around it. During the Wars of Independence with England control of Stirling and its castle was much fought over, bringing some of the most famous characters from Scottish history to the town. It was said that ‘he who controls Stirling, controls Scotland’. After the Union of the Crown in 1603, Stirling Castle’s role as a royal residence declined, and instead it became a centre for the military. The Jacobite forces failed to take the castle in 1746, and by the 1800s the castle was adapted to create barracks and training facilities.
Today, reminders of the importance of Stirling can be found all around the town. The battle sites and castle are popular tourist attractions, and the castle remains the headquarters of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders infantry regiment. An annual military show to honour and celebrate the armed forces is also held in the town, which is recognised as one of the main military events in Scotland.