On This Day 4th December 1214
The death of King William (the Lion) in Stirling Castle
The 800th anniversary of the death of King William is significant not least because it brought to a close the longest active reign (49 years) of any Scottish monarch before the Union of the Crowns (for unlike James VI he knew no minority). Born in c. 1143 on the royal estate at Huntingdon, William was the second son of Prince Henry of Scotland, and grandson of David I. With the untimely death of Henry in 1152, William inherited his father’s title of Earl of Northumbria. The following year David I also died and William’s older brother Malcolm (IV) became king at the age of 12. In 1157 He became king on Christmas Eve 1165, after the death of Malcolm from illness.
From a Stirling perspective William deserves to be remembered for the creation of what we call today the King’s Park. This is imprecisely dated but occurred within the first decade of his reign (1165-1175). William was deeply absorbed in Anglo-Norman chivalric culture and travelled to France (with Malcolm) on Henry II’s campaigns in 1159, and again (as king) in 1166. Both occasions allowed the young William to witness military action, but also to be involved in elite aristocratic sports such as hunting and tourneying (which was banned in England at the time). William returned to Scotland in late 1166 with ‘an enhanced chivalric reputation’ (Owen 1997: 35). It is therefore reasonable to imagine that he was inspired by these experiences on the Continent and wasted little time in creating his Park at Stirling, the first of its kind in Scotland, for holding hunts and tournament jousts. Although the Park has altered considerably over the centuries in size, form, and function it has been a constant and distinctive feature of Stirling since its conception. It provided additional prestige to the royal castle and court in the medieval period and remains an invaluable and treasured space today. It is Stirling’s debt to William and in essence his memorial.
Further details of King William (the Lion).
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This Season's meetings.
December: no meeting
January 29: Stuart Campbell, “Walking the Stirling Marches ”
February 26: Eleanor Muir, Visitor Experience Manager, Stirling Castle,
“ Renaissance Rags and Riches at the Royal Court in Stirling – A presentation by the costumed Interpreters at Stirling Castle ”
March 26: Bill Inglis, “The Battle of Sherrifmuir”
April 30 : AGM. followed by Dr David Caldwell, “Doune Pistols”
All meetings held at Raploch Community Campus, 7:30pm start, details here on About Us page.
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