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(67) Plate XXXI/a

(67) Plate XXXI/a -

                                                               Plate XXXI.

                                          EDINBURGH CASTLE.

IN Plate V. we gave a general view and also a general description of the city of Edinburgh; we shall now
confine ourselves to the Castle, which forms the principal feature of the present plate.—It is quite uncer-
tain at what period a fortress was first erected upon the site of the present castle. The etymologies too of
the different names, by which it has been called, are equally so. The first name, which it bore, was Castell
Mynyd Agned,
that is, the Fortress of the Hill of Agnes: it was then called Castrum Puellarum, because,
as some say, the Pictish kings kept and educated their daughters in it: Dr. Stoddart in his "Remarks"
says it was called the Maiden's Castle, probably from being dedicated to the Virgin Mary by the piety of
some ancient monarch. Its present name is however, and with some degree of probability, derived from
Edwin, a Saxon prince of Northumberland, who, in order to defend this part of his kingdom from the
warlike and ferocious Picts and Scots, erected a fortress here about 626, which was called Edwin's-burgh
or Edwin's castle. From this period we know nothing of it till 1174, when Henry II. having taken William,
surnamed the Lion, prisoner, he restored him to liberty upon condition of his giving up this and some other
fortresses to the English: being again in the hands of the Scots, it was taken by Edward III. It was re-
taken about twenty years after by Robert, who rased it, in order to prevent its becoming a receptacle for
the English upon their incursions. It was however rebuilt in 1341 by Edward III. Its situation is appa-
rently so strong, that, if history did not inform us of the frequent success of its assailants, we should have
supposed it almost impregnable, previous to the use of cannon. It is built upon an almost perpendicular
rock, near three hundred feet high, and inaccessible but from the east. The forms of a garrison are still
kept up, but its chief use at present is as barracks for soldiers, and a receptacle for prisoners of war.
There has been an additional building lately erected for the use of the soldiers, but in point of beauty it
but ill assimilates with the other parts of the building. The interior affords but few remains of its an-
cient splendour, and the apartments are generally very small. The room, in which James I. of England
was born, is still called the king's room; in which there are his arms and cypher, with inscriptions in the
dialect and character of the time. This view was taken in 1800.

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