Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Day 5 - Stirling Castle, etc...RIP Cpl. Nathan Cirillo & Patrice Vincent

This is what we saw from Donn's room in The Portcullis at 8 am, we took this picture, a helluva start to the day. Obviously our first stop, after a full Scottish breakfast, was Stirling castle.

Before entering Stirling Castle we are moved by the site of the Monument to the Fallen of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Instantly remembering that Stirling Castle is their spiritual home.

We spend a moment remembering Cpl Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent, Lest We Forget.

Now part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, the regiment has 161 battle honours to its credit, and 16 individuals have been awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for valour.

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise’s) were formed in 1881. They were an amalgamation of the Argyllshire Highlanders (the 91st Foot) and the Sutherland Highlanders (the 93rd). Stirling Castle became the regiment’s home depot, recruiting from the surrounding area.

The regiment and its antecedents served in conflicts around the world, including the Zulu Wars in southern Africa, the Peninsular War in Spain and Portugal, and the Crimean War in Ukraine.

The creation of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1881 saw the two regiments march forward together – first to the Boer War in South Africa, and then to some of the fiercest trench warfare of the First World War, where almost 7,000 died. In the Second World War, the regiment saw action in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Far East.

The regimental museum is in the King’s Old Building, originally built in the 1490s as a residence for James IV. On display is a history of distinguished military service reaching back over 200 years. Displays include the regimental silver, uniforms and weapons, bagpipes and drums and other memorabilia.  Queen Elizabeth is the Colonel-in-Chief of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Leaving the Monument we move to the Statue of Robert the Bruce facing towards the famous Battle of Bannockburn.

Robert I (11 July 1274 – 7 June 1329), popularly known as Robert the Bruce was King of Scots from 1306 until his death in 1329. Robert was one of the most famous warriors of his generation, eventually leading Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence against England. He fought successfully during his reign to regain Scotland's place as an independent nation, and is today remembered in Scotland as a national hero.

Descended from the Anglo-Norman and Gaelic nobilities, through his father he was a fourth-great grandson of David I. Robert’s grandfather Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale, was one of the claimants to the Scottish throne during the 'Great Cause'. As Earl of Carrick, Robert the Bruce supported his family’s claim to the throne and took part in William Wallace’s revolt against Edward I of England.

In 1298 he became a Guardian of Scotland alongside his great rival for the Scottish throne, John Comyn, and William Lamberton, Bishop of St. Andrews. Bruce resigned as guardian in 1300 due in part to his quarrels with Comyn, but chiefly because the restoration of King John seemed imminent. In 1302 he submitted to Edward I and returned ‘to the king’s peace’. With the death of his father in 1304, Bruce inherited his family’s claim to the throne.

In February 1306, following an argument during their meeting at Greyfriars monastery, Dumfries, Bruce killed Comyn. He was excommunicated by the Pope but absolved by Robert Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow. Bruce moved quickly to seize the throne and was crowned king of Scots on 25 March 1306, at Scone. Edward I’s forces defeated Robert in battle, and he was forced to flee into hiding in the Hebrides and Ireland before returning in 1307 to defeat an English army at Loudoun Hill and wage a highly successful guerrilla war against the English. Robert defeated the Comyns and his other Scots enemies, destroying their strongholds and devastating their lands from Buchan to Galloway. In 1309 he was able to hold his first parliament at St Andrews, and a series of military victories between 1310 and 1314 won him control of much of Scotland.

At the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314 Bruce defeated a much larger English army under Edward II, confirming the re-establishment of an independent Scottish monarchy. The battle marked a significant turning point, and, freed from English threats, Scotland's armies could now invade northern England, with Robert launching devastating raids into Lancashire and Yorkshire. Robert also decided to expand his war against the English and create a second front by sending an army under his younger brother, Edward, to invade Ireland, appealing to the native Irish to rise against Edward II's rule.

Despite Bannockburn and the capture of the final English stronghold at Berwick in 1318, Edward II still refused to give up his claim to the overlordship of Scotland. In 1320, the Scottish magnates and nobles submitted the Declaration of Arbroath to Pope John XXII, declaring that Robert was their rightful monarch and asserting Scotland’s status as an independent kingdom. In 1324 the Pope recognised Robert as king of an independent Scotland, and in 1326 the Franco-Scottish alliance was renewed in the Treaty of Corbeil. In 1327, the English deposed Edward II in favour of his son, Edward III, and peace was temporarily concluded between Scotland and England with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, by which Edward III renounced all claims to sovereignty over Scotland.

Robert I died on 7 June 1329. His body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart was interred in Melrose Abbey. Bruce's lieutenant and friend Sir James Douglas agreed to take the late King's embalmed heart on crusade to the Lord's Sepulchre in the Holy Land, but he only reached Moorish Granada. Douglas was killed in battle during the siege of Teba while fulfilling his promise. His body and the casket containing the embalmed heart were found upon the field. They were both conveyed back to Scotland by Sir William Keith of Galston.

Walking past Robert the Bruce we enter the gates of Stirling Castle. Once inside we look over the rampart towards Stirling Bridge and the Wallace Monument.

Sir William Wallace 1270–1305 was a Scottish landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

Along with Andrew Moray, Wallace defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, and was appointed Guardian of Scotland, serving until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk in July 1298. In August 1305 Wallace was captured in Robroyston near Glasgow and handed over to King Edward I of England, who had him hanged, drawn, and quartered for high treason and crimes against English civilians.

Since his death, Wallace has obtained an iconic status far beyond his homeland. He is the protagonist of the 15th-century epic poem The Wallace, by Blind Harry. Wallace is also the subject of literary works by Sir Walter Scott and Jane Porterand of the 1995 Academy Award-winning film Braveheart.

William Wallace was a member of the lesser nobility, but little is definitely known of his family history or even his parentage.

When Wallace was growing up, King Alexander III ruled Scotland. His reign had seen a period of peace and economic stability. On 19 March 1286, however, Alexander died after falling from his horse.

The heir to the throne was Alexander's granddaughter, Margaret, Maid of Norway. As she was still a child and in Norway, the Scottish lords set up a government of guardians. Margaret fell ill on the voyage to Scotland and died in Orkney on 26 September 1290. The lack of a clear heir led to a period known as the "Great Cause", with several families laying claim to the throne.

With Scotland threatening to descend into civil war, King Edward I of England was invited in by the Scottish nobility to arbitrate. Before the process could begin, he insisted that all of the contenders recognise him as Lord Paramount of Scotland. In early November 1292, at a great feudal court held in the castle at Berwick-upon-Tweed, judgement was given in favour of John Balliol having the strongest claim in law.

Now to the matter of Stirling Castle.

Stirling Castle is one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position. Its strategic location, guarding what was, until the 1890s, the farthest downstream crossing of the River Forth, has made it an important fortification from the earliest times. Most of the principal buildings of the castle date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. A few structures of the fourteenth century remain, while the outer defences fronting the town date from the early eighteenth century.

Several Scottish Kings and Queens have been crowned at Stirling, including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1542.

There have been at least eight sieges of Stirling Castle, including several during the Wars of Scottish Independence, with the last being in 1746, when Bonnie Prince Charlie unsuccessfully tried to take the castle.

The Romans bypassed Stirling, building a fort at Doune instead.

Stirling remained a centre of royal administration until the death of Alexander III in 1286. In 1296, Edward invaded Scotland, beginning the Wars of Scottish Independence, which would last for the next 60 years. The English found Stirling Castle abandoned and empty, and set about occupying this key site. They were dislodged the following year, after the victory of Andrew Moray and William Wallace at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Many of the garrison were killed during the battle, after which the English commanders Sir William FitzWarin and Sir Marmaduke Tweng retreated into the castle. However, they were quickly starved into surrender by the Scots. Next summer, the castle changed hands again, being abandoned by the Scots after the English victory at Falkirk. Edward strengthened the castle, but it was besieged in 1299 by forces including Robert Bruce. King Edward failed to relieve the garrison, who were forced to surrender.

By 1303, the English again held the upper hand, and Stirling was the last remaining castle in Scottish hands. Edward's army arrived in 1304 and the Scots, under Sir William Oliphant, surrendered on 20 July. Although Edward's victory seemed complete, he was dead by 1307, and Robert Bruce was now King of Scots.

By 1313, only Stirling, Roxburgh, Edinburgh and Berwick castles were held by the English. Edward Bruce, the king's brother, laid siege to Stirling, which was held by Sir Philip Mowbray. Mowbray proposed a bargain: he would surrender the castle, if it were not relieved by 24 June 1314. Bruce agreed, and withdrew. The following summer, the English duly headed north, led by Edward II, to save the castle.

On 23–24 June, King Robert's forces met the English at the Battle of Bannockburn, within sight of the castle walls. The resulting English defeat was decisive. King Edward attempted to take refuge in the castle, but Mowbray was determined to keep to his word, and the English were forced to flee. Mowbray handed over the castle, changing sides himself in the process. King Robert ordered the castle to be slighted; its defences destroyed to prevent reoccupation by the English.

The war was not over, however. The second War of Scottish Independence saw the English in control of Stirling Castle by 1336, when Sir Thomas Rokeby was the commander. Andrew Murray attempted a siege in 1337, when guns may have been used for one of the first times in Scotland.  Robert Stewart, the future King Robert II, retook Stirling in a siege during 1341–1342. Stirling remained Scottish until the end of the war in 1357. In 1360, Robert de Forsyth II was appointed governor of Stirling Castle, an office he passed on to his son John and grandson William, who was governor in 1399.

Under the early Stewart kings Robert II (reigned 1371–1390) and Robert III (reigned 1390–1406), the earliest surviving parts of the castle were built. Robert Stewart, Earl of Menteith, Regent of Scotland as brother of Robert III, undertook works on the north and south gates. The present north gate is built on these foundations of the 1380s, the earliest surviving masonry in the castle. In 1424, Stirling Castle was part of the jointure (marriage settlement) given to James I's wife Joan Beaufort, establishing a tradition which later monarchs continued. After James' murder in 1437, Joan took shelter here with her son, the young James II. Fifteen years later, in 1452, it was at Stirling Castle that James stabbed and killed William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas, when the latter refused to end a potentially treasonous alliance with the John of Islay, Earl of Ross and the Alexander Lindsay, 4th Earl of Crawford. James III (reigned 1460–1488) was born here, and later undertook works to the gardens and the chapel royal. The manufacture of artillery in the castle is recorded in 1475. James' wife, Margaret of Denmark, died in Stirling Castle in 1486, and two years later James himself died at the Battle of Sauchieburn, fought over almost the same ground as the Battle of Bannockburn, just to the south of the castle.

Almost all the present buildings in the castle were constructed between 1490 and 1600, when Stirling was developed as a principal royal centre by the Stewart kings James IV, James V and James VI. The architecture of these new buildings shows an eclectic mix of English, French and German influences, reflecting the international ambitions of the Stewart dynasty.

Mary, Queen of Scots, was brought to Stirling Castle for safety, and crowned in the chapel royal on 9 September 1543. She too was brought up here, until she was sent to Inchmahome Priory, and then to France in 1548. Queen Mary returned to Scotland in 1561, and visited Stirling Castle frequently. She nursed Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, through an illness here in 1565, and the two were soon married. Their son, James VI, was baptised here the following year. Mary was travelling from Stirling when she was abducted by the Earl of Bothwell, beginning the chain of events that led to her forced abdication and her flight to England.

The young King James was crowned in the nearby Church of the Holy Rude, and grew up within the castle walls under the tutelage of the humanist scholar George Buchanan. Frequently used as a pawn in the struggles between his regents and the supporters of Mary, the young king was closely guarded. Stirling became the base for James' supporters, while those nobles who wished to see Queen Mary restored gathered at Edinburgh, under William Kirkcaldy of Grange. Grange led a raid on Stirling in 1571, attempting to round up the Queen's enemies, but failed to gain control of the castle or the King.

James' first child, Henry, was born in the castle in 1594, and the present Chapel Royal was constructed for his baptism on 30 August. Like his predecessors Henry spent his childhood here under the 2nd Earl of Mar, until the Union of the Crowns of 1603, when his father succeeded as King of England and the royal family left for London.

After their departure, Stirling's role as a royal residence declined, and it became principally a military centre. It was used as a prison for persons of rank during the 17th century, and saw few visits by the monarch.

James returned to Scotland in 1617, staying in Stirling during July. From 1625, extensive preparations were made for the anticipated visit of the new king, Charles I, including works to the gardens and painting of the Chapel Royal. Charles did not come to Scotland until 1633, and only stayed in the castle for two days. The castle did not feature in the civil and religious wars of the 1630s and 1640s. Following the execution of Charles I, the Scots crowned his son Charles II, and he became the last reigning monarch to stay here, living at the castle in 1650. The Royalist forces were defeated at Dunbar by those of Oliver Cromwell, and the King marched south to defeat at Worcester.

After The Restoration of Charles II, the Earl of Mar was restored as governor, and the castle was frequently used as a prison, housing several Covenanters. James, Duke of Albany, later King James VII, visited the castle in 1681. During this time, the castle's military role became increasingly important, a powder magazine being built in the castle gardens, and a formal garrison installed from 1685. At the accession of King George I in 1714, John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar was deprived of the governorship, as well as the post of Scottish Secretary.

In response, he raised the standard of James Stuart, the "Old Pretender", in the First Jacobite Rising. Government troops, under the Duke of Argyll, quickly moved to occupy the fortress, then advanced to Sheriffmuir to block Mar's way. The Battle of Sheriffmuir was inconclusive, but the rising was effectively over. The Second Jacobite Rising of 1745 saw Charles Edward Stuart lead his army of Highlanders past Stirling on the way to Edinburgh. Following the Jacobites retreat from England, they returned to Stirling in January 1746. The town soon surrendered, but the castle governor refused to capitulate. Artillery works were set up on Gowan Hill, but were quickly destroyed by the castle's guns. Despite victory at Falkirk, the Jacobites withdrew north on 1 February.

From 1800 until 1964 the Castle was owned by the War Office and run as a barracks and recruiting depot for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Many alterations were made to the Great Hall, which became an accommodation block; the Chapel Royal, which became a lecture theatre and dining hall; the King's Old Building, which became an infirmary; and the Royal Palace, which became the Officer's Mess. A number of new buildings were also constructed, including the prison and powder magazine, at the Nether Bailey, in 1810. Queen Victoria visited in 1842, and the Prince of Wales in 1859.

Stirling Castle remains the headquarters of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, although the regiment is no longer garrisoned there. The regimental museum is also located within the castle. Stirling Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and is now a tourist attraction managed by Historic Scotland.

We departed from the castle and a short walk away discovered Argyll's Lodging.

Argyll's Lodging is a 17th-century town-house in the Renaissance style, situated below Stirling Castle. It was a residence of the Earl of Stirling and later the Earls of Argyll. The Royal Commission regards it as “the most important surviving town-house of its period in Scotland”. At the end of the 20th century it became a museum.

It is uncertain who built the first house that developed into the house eventually known as Argyll's Lodging, located in Castle Wynd on the uphill approach to Stirling Castle. It is assumed that the house was built originally by the wealthy merchant John Traill and comprised two storeys with a hall on the first floor and a kitchen on the ground floor. In 1559 Traill sold it to Adam Erskine, the Commendator (lay administrator) of nearby Cambuskenneth Abbey. Erskine converted the dwelling into an L-shaped tower house comprising four floors with a small south wing and west wing, the latter containing the kitchen. In 1604 Erskine sold the house to a relative.

In 1629 Sir William Alexander, whose family was related to the Campbells of Argyll, bought the house from the Erskines. The house adjoined property of the Campbells who had owned several houses in Stirling since the fourteenth century. Around 1600 their residence stood on the corner of Broad Street and Castle Wynd. Sir William was able to buy the Erskines’ home because he was related to the family, his wife being Janet Erskine.
Sir William was born in 1577 in Menstrie, a village lying a few miles to the north east of Stirling. He was one of several tutors to Prince Henry, heir to the Scottish throne. In 1603, when the crowns of Scotland and England were united, he followed King James VI to London. He was knighted in 1609 and in 1626 was appointed principal Secretary for Scotland for life. He is chiefly remembered today for his settlement of the colony of Nova Scotia in North America under a royal charter granted in 1621. In 1630 he was elevated to 1st Earl of Stirling and Viscount Canada.

Sir William had his Stirling home redecorated when he realised that Charles I was intending to come to Scotland for his Scottish coronation in 1633. He had the house remodeled into a small palace with public and private suites and a grandly decorated exterior. He died insolvent in 1640, leaving the house to his son Charles, but the town of Stirling claimed the property in lieu of his unpaid debts. The town council wanted to furnish it as a guesthouse, but this plan was never realized, and in the 1660s, it was sold to the Duke of Argyll.

An armorial tablet on the wall above the main entrance displays Alexander's coat-of-arms. The shield is supported by a Native American and a mermaid. A scroll above displays his family motto Avt Spero Avt Sperno and a scroll below the motto of Nova Scotia per mare per terras. The crest is believed to be the first armorial representation of a beaver.

Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll was born in 1629. He was a staunch supporter of the monarchy. In 1666 he bought the house that would become known as Argyll's Lodging and built it outwards to the north and south, while enclosing the courtyard behind a screen wall with an elaborate entrance gate. He also had the interior walls decorated with paintings, some of which have survived.

In 1680, the Earl opposed the oath attached to the Test Act, intended to ensure the loyalty of the holders of public office to King Charles II, because it also demanded conformity with the king's ideas on forms of church government and religious worship. The earl’s refusal to take the oath led to him being declared a traitor in 1681. He was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, but escaped, disguised as a woman, and fled from Leith to the Netherlands. His estates were confiscated.

The Earl had possessed the foresight, however, to have an inventory drawn up of all the belongings in his house in Stirling and had assigned them to his wife, Lady Anna Mackenzie, daughter of the Earl of Seafield, whom he had married in 1670. Due to the fact that her first husband, the Earl of Balcarres, had remained loyal to the King, the latter granted her a pension and allowed her to keep her personal property.

In February 1685 Charles II died and was succeeded by his brother James VII. Argyll returned to Scotland intending to lead a rebellion against the King to coincide with the Duke of Monmouth's revolt in England. In June, shortly after landing, Argyll was captured in Renfrew, taken to Edinburgh and beheaded in the town's Grassmarket.

The house remained in the hands of the Campbells for the best part of a century. In 1746, during the Jacobite rebellion, the Duke of Cumberland resided in the house.

Leaving Argyll's Lodging, we moved across the street beside The Portcullis and into the Old Town Cemetery. This is no ordinary graveyard. The famous poet William Wordsworth was so moved by it that he wrote  'We know of no sweeter cemetery in all of our wanderings than that of Stirling.'

Spreading over the valley between the Castle and the Church of the Holy Rude, the cemetery has three distinct parts. Many merchants’ and craftsmen’s tombs in the historic kirkyard beside the Church carry the carved symbols of their trades.

Beside the Valley Cemetery, laid out in the 1850s, is Drummond’s Pleasure Ground with its statues of Protestant heroes and martyrs. There are great views from the Ladies’ Rock where the women of the court used to admire their knights’ prowess in the tournaments held in the valley below.

Randy was looking for evidence of ghosts in the grave yard so Donn got out as quickly as his little hoofies could carry him.

The Old Town Cemetary is part of the Church of the Holy Rude.

The Church of the Holy Rude is the medieval parish church of Stirling, Scotland. The church was founded in 1129 during the reign of David I, but the earliest part of the present church dates from the 15th century. As such it is the second oldest building in Stirling after Stirling Castle, parts of which date from the later 14th century. The chancel and tower were added in the 16th century.

Stirling Castle has long been a favoured residence of the Scottish monarchs, and was developed as a Renaissance palace during the reigns of the later Stewart Kings. The Church of the Holy Rude, adjacent to the castle, became similarly associated with the monarchy, hosting royal baptisms and coronations. It is one of three churches still in use in Britain that have been the sites of coronations.

King James VI was crowned King of Scots in the church in 1567. Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney performed the ceremony, and John Knox preached a sermon.

In the Siege of Stirling Castle in 1651 by General Monk, during the English Civil War, the church and churchyard suffered damage from musket shots, which is still visible.

Donn racing out the end of the grave yard soon doscovered the bulding next door, the Cowane Hospital.

Cowane's Hospital is a 17th-century almshouse in the Old Town of Stirling. It was established in 1637 with a bequest of 40,000 merks from the estate of the merchant John Cowane (1570–1633). Subsequently converted for use as a Guildhall the building is considered by Historic Scotland to be "a rare survival of 17th century burgh architecture and one of the finest buildings of its kind in Scotland."

The hospital is located on St John Street, between the medieval Church of the Holy Rude and the 19th-century Old Town Jail.

John Cowane was descended from a family of Stirling merchants who had been trading with the Dutch since the early 16th century. The Cowanes exported fish, coal and wool in exchange for luxuries such as prunes, saffron and spices which were supplied to the royal court of James V at Stirling Castle.

John Cowane also ventured into money lending, invested in shipping, and was a substantial landlord in the burgh. He served on the town council, was elected Dean of Guild in 1624, and sat in the Parliament of Scotland from 1625–1632.

He never married, though in 1611 he was fined £6 for fathering a child out of wedlock: the mother was also fined and forced to do public penance.

On his death in 1633, Cowane was a wealthy man. He left sums of money to numerous charitable causes, including 500 merks to the Church of the Holy Rude. The largest bequest was the 40,000 merks which he left for the establishment of a hospital. This was intended to provide for "twelve decayed guild brethren", that is, elderly members of the Merchant Guildry of Stirling who could no longer support themselves. The establishment of a hospital, or almshouse, would allow them to live rent-free in their old age. In the 1630s a merk was worth two-thirds of a Scots pound, and was equivalent to one English shilling.

The hospital was to be managed by a trust, overseen by Patrons who were drawn from the town council, the guilds, and kirk ministers.

John Cowane, also known as Auld Staneybreeks was born around 1570 and was a contemporary of Guy Fawkes. The Cowane family were one of the best known merchant families in the Stirling area.

All available evidence suggests that John Cowane started his apprenticeship in his father's booth on Broad Street. After some time as a merchant John Cowane decided that life would be more advantageous to him if he became a money lender. This activity brought our benefactor great wealth and he then invested in several shipping ventures which it is understood gave him the opportunity to travel abroad. Some unkind persons have stated that our benefactor was a pirate or at best a privateer but there appears to be little evidence to support this suggestion which no doubt was put forward by those who were obviously jealous of his position and wealth.

Apart from his money lending and shipping activities John Cowane was also a substantial landlord in Stirling and records shown that he was an extremely cruel landlord and often evicted widows and their families for non-payment of rent upon the death of the bread winner. This would seem to be at odds with his extremely generous bequest to the town, however, as the bequest was made on his death bed it may be that while he was dying John Cowane was suffering pangs of conscience and wished to make amends before he met his maker. John Cowane passed away in 1633.

Inside Cowane Hos[ital we meet a group of Scottish women celebrating the 20th anniversary of a curling tour of Western Canada in 1995.

In the parking lot at the Cowane Hospital we met Iona Leishman. Donn remembered talking to her when we were at Argyll's Lodging earlier in the day.

Iona is Stirling’s Heritage Artist, working at the top of the town in an ancient alms house, Cowane’s Hospital.  She invited us up to her studio to see some of her work.

Iona is involved in painting a body of work commemorating the momentous events of the Battle of Bannockburn 700 years ago.  The work titled ‘Warscape’ will was exhibited in Stirling Castle’s Chapel Royal from 3 May to 1 June 2014 reflects the land that abides benignly in spite of fearsome human activity.  In her work she imagines the dense tree cover in full leaf that surrounded the rain-swollen burn and marshes of 1314, contours witnessed by outcrops and mountains familiar to us today.  The work reflects the human energy of battle and conflict, the colour and the bravery, honouring too, the innocent people caught up in the tide of war.

She was Historic Scotland’s first artist in residence and worked in Stirling Castle, 2011 – 2012. The deeply atmospheric castle hugely influenced her painting as she connected energetically with a powerful sense of place.

Her previous experience as an ‘en plein air’ landscape painter complements her historically imagined work. She works through layers of paint to find subjects and she said "it can feel like finding treasure when I find what I’m looking for". She added, "Re-imagining time and place means my work carries a storytelling nature."

Leaving the Cowane Hospital we wander the streets of Stirling soaking in the day's experience ending up back at the PortCullis Pub for a celebration of Guy Fawkes Day with fireworks in the court yard arranged by the son of our hosts, James.

After raising a glass or two of scotch it's off to bed.


  1. its not scotch its whisky!!!

    however otherwise awesome piece =)

    I am hooked sir so kindly oblige me in writing more.
    all the best. Jx

  2. hey wheres my comment? stupid thing...