Stirling Castle was built during the 12th century on a dolomite hill overlooking the major ford across the River Forth that, historically, was the gateway to the north of Scotland. It was seen as the strategic key to the control of the country.
It changed hands at various times during the Middle Ages. It was occupied by Edward I of England in 1296, retaken by the Scots the next year, then seized again by Edward in 1304. It was besieged by Robert Bruce in 1313, and a relieving force under Edward II was smashed by the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314. It was once more in English hands between 1334 and 1339.
It was the birthplace of kings James II, III and IV of Scotland.