Edinburgh Castle and Arthur's Seat

Hillforts

Edinburgh Castle Public domain.jpg


Edinburgh Castle and Arthur's Seat
Hillforts
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Arthur's Seat and Edinburgh Castle are 2 sites in Edinburgh that are seen to have previously been hillforts. 

 

Arthur's'Seat's hillfort

Firstly Arthur's Seat, 


* This sits above Edinburgh, and has a great view across the city and to the Firth of Forth bridges and Fife. myn

* Atlas of hillforts lists 4 sites as hillforts on the Hill, one after itself, being a 8.5 hectare summit, then also at Samson's Ribs, Salisbury's Crags, and Dunsapie Hill. I kind of feel, why not list them all as the same site, even though it seems that experts say they were not. 

* The seat is 1 and a half miles east of Edinburgh Castle, and has Holyrood just below to the west. It hits 251 metres in sea level. 

* The main Hillfort occupies the summit and it's subsidiary Crow Hill. 

* Hillfort evidence just about surrounds the lead massif of Arthur's Seat, at Dunsapie Hill plus above Samson's Ribs, which is dated to pre history. The site was also likely site for the Votadini, mentioned in the Y Gododdin written on around the year 600. 

* A couple of stony banks on east of the hill are remains of a Iron Age hillfort.

* Arthur's Seat is often mentioned as one of the possible locations for Camelot, the legendary castle and court of the Romano-British warrior-chief, King Arthur. 

* Walter Scott used to walk about when he was young. 

* I have been up there as a kid but don't remember it, and half way up it in my 20s. 

* The site has a massive amount of history after the Hillfort eras, so much I feel it would dominate the article, so won't go into that, but it is as it is by Edinburgh which would have been a highly literate centre of Scotland for so long. Now all places as so literate, but it has been and very populous for Scotland for a long time, centuries infact. 

* Before 638, Edinburgh like many parts of South East Scotland, just like South West Scotland and Strathclyde, was a bastion of the Old North, Y Goddodin, of the Brythonic speaking Britons. Though that year the Northumbrians took Lothian into their homage. The Saxons influence was strong for 3 centuries, but in 950, the burh, (fortress), named in a 10th Century Pictish Chronicle as the oppidum of Eden was abandoned to the Picts and Scots. 

* With them being given full ownership of the more Scottish version possibly quite Saxon and maybe some remnant Brythonic peaking speaking Lothian. With so with it, what was called Din Eidyn in British Cumbric, Dùn Èideann in Gaelic, and the mutated term for that Edinburgh and it's rock in English, by England's king in 973. This as Northumbria’s decades old independence as a occupied Viking kingdom in northern England, had been ended by a reconquering English king who in his takeover, had no option but to accept the Scots now led Lothian. For a long time before then, while the Vikings held York, the Saxons had major sites like Bamburgh Castle which had been the centre of a Celtic kingdom, after the Romans, they took it from them in 527, with a slight interruption around 600,  and had it as a major part of Saxon Northumbria, even after the Vikings took York, influencing territory held by the Saxons in Lothian, that is now in Scotland. It is uncertain how much this Saxon move affected local populations, as in migration from the Saxons, but surely they did affect it, but not as much as the already there British, and later development of it as a centre of Scottish territory again after that time period, so more migration from Pictish lands etc.  

* In fact though, Lothian, the area around Edinburgh to a  extent had always been separate of English control in some sense, like after the Battle of Dun Nechtain in 685, when the Picts crushed Northumbria, Lothian was at the mercy of the Picts, possibly all the time after. So what I am saying is maybe Lothian and South East Scotland was more just disputed territory in a way, other than Saxon forts like Dunbar. Maybe it was like North East Wales, where there were some Saxon villages on the coast, around these times but in a land where the Welsh societies, and leaders, led the vast majority of the area, and absorbed the Saxon villages by the 10th Century.  Scotland's 9th century king Malcolm, actually supposedly retook Melrose and sacked Dunbar. 

* Though it took till 1018 for the Saxon fort at Dunbar to be taken by the Pictish Scottish kingdom. Dunbar on the coast half way between Edinburgh and Berwick had also been a Iron Age hillfort. The border between the Kingdom of Scotland, and the Saxons was made around this time and other than Berwick which changed hands a lot, is pretty much the same 1000 years later, in this part.  


* Indeed Edinburgh had 57,000 people in 1755, when only 3 other Scottish locations had over 10,000 people, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow. Now those 4 are still Scotland's four largest, must enlarged. Now Edinburgh has around half a million depending on where you mark the boundary, possibly double if you include other urban areas, most don't consider part of it. Edinburgh had had at least 10,000 people since even the 16th Century. Probably Edinburgh had 12,000 in 1500. With by 1560 about 4,000 also in Leith and Canongate. Indeed in 1600 Scotland was among the most urbanised as of it's towns in Europe, just behind Italy, the Low Countries and England. 

* In the 14th Century Edinburgh, and Berwick were Scotland's largest towns with possibly 20,000 in Berwick, and a little, or much less in Edinburgh. Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee were still important, but how many people they had I am unsure of. 

* Excavation at the airport for Edinburgh, have found in 500 - 300 BC a chariot burial occurred, a rare site in this part of Iron Age Scotland. Chariots were I am sure used well. But Chariot burials are more famous for other parts of Europe. 

Much not celebrated poet McGonigal stated, Then, as for Arthur’s Seat, I’m sure it is a treat, I must say, a nice little ditty to be fair. Better than much of his other stuff. Not that I will be too critical of the fellow. 

Robert Louise Stevenson described it as as "a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design"

And Walter Scott liked the place as well, with his suggestions causing the unemployed weavers of Western Scotland to help build a road now called the radical road, to alleviate poverty by giving them tasks and jobs, for a task that helped the city. 

* Below is a public domain picture of Arthur's Seat.

* You could even say Arthur's seat's hillforts. 

* In the 11th Century Dunfermline was more the capital of Scotland, before then sites at Perthshire. Edinburgh became more of the capital in 1437, as it felt safer. Where, well I shown you in my next bullet point list Edinburgh Castle. 

Arthur's seat public.jpg

Edinburgh Castle

* Its stands 135 metres above sea level. 

* Edinburgh Castle Hillfort, or Edinburgh Hillfort, or Dun Eidyn Hillfort could be the name. Or Mynyddog Mwynfawr Hillfort, or even the Hillfort of Edinburgh Csstle.  Or Caeredin Hillfort, the Welsh name for the city the capital of Scotland. or hill fort could be added., or even hill-fort. 

* Edinburgh Castle was the seat of Scottish power from the 15th Century, but had been a major site before then as well. 

* In Arthurian myth there were 40 cities, maybe Edinburgh, and Dumbarton were among those type of locations with Bath, and Caerleon, Tintagel, and the like. 

* The modern name Edinburgh I must add, is a Saxon mutation from the term Dun Eidyn which itself was likely a Celtic rendering of the term “fort of the Goddodin” and that old moniker gets a mention in the work too. 

* At the top of this page is a public domain picture of Edinburgh Castle. 

* It is fair to say the castle, or rock, was a Iron Age, likely Roman times, and Dark Ages hillfort, according to some evidence. 

* It seems to have likely to have become a fort or bastion for Picts in the 2nd Century BC, who became the Romanising North Britons.

* It was not the capital location for a long time, but surely such a position would be key. 

* Like Arthur's Seat it would have been a key site of the Votadini if used. 

*  Some say the Gododdin, the Dark Ages poem which mentions the men of the old north, the speakers of a Brythonic language, or Welsh, in Cumbria to Edinburgh, mentions this site. Well in the story it is the Camelot-like site, where the very Welsh named fort of Mynyddog Mwynfawr is. Where a spirited feast is held at a great hall within it’s palisades, before the battle. I mean it may have been Arthur’s seat’s fort rather than there, but know knows for sure. 

* Right till the late Middle Ages, Edinburgh Castle was sometimes known as Maiden's Castle. All sorts of myths swirl about that name, as it being a centre of royal women, or nuns and such like. So I have just thought of this one, what about it was just the same as Maiden's Castle in England, the great fort, or even maybe, it is a gobbledegook, turning the Welsh name Mynyddog Mwynfawr, into Maiden, then adding castle. Just like that rare place west of Offa's Dyke in England, in Llanfair Waterdine, a small half of a parish where some Welsh names were continued when it Anglified, but some were not translated but turned into gobbledegook sound alike English terms. 

* Excavations in 1990s indicate a enclosed hillfort upon the rock with house fragments revealed similar to Iron Age dwellings found in Northumbria.

* It had been supposed possibly Stirling and Edinburgh had been hillforts before being castles and this indicates that for this site. Though no evidence indicates so far it was on a scale of Traprain Law, it is a fine site. I mean a very sensible location for a bastion. 

*  The excavation also proved 1st and 2nd centuries AD occupation, maybe connected to Ptolemy's mention of Alauna. Some even feel there may have been a broch, but much of this was destroyed by later use of the site.

* It is likely the site was in use by the Saxons across that era after they took Edinburgh, but possibly with a large British / Pictish environ of populations nearby. 

* As said earlier it was taken by the Picts in the 10th century, for what became Scotland. 

* From the 11th century it was becoming itself a major Scottish royal site. 

* In the reign of King David, who established so many burghs in Scotland, the site increased in status, but likely it was still mostly a wooden castle site, so pretty much in some ways still resembling a hillfort. Though site had a stone church by then. 

* In the wars of independence in 1314, Scottish forces in a surprise attack retook the fort from occupying English forces by bravely climbing the cliff face, leading to just Stirling being in English hands, setting the stage for the Battle of Bannockburn the same year. 

* After then  as time went on it remained a major fort and castle, developing more stone redoubts. In 1571 it was for instance as pics show a large stone castle on the rock, and had started to become a place where armaments were made over a century earlier. 

* The site was involved in battles in the 16th century, the battles between the Covenanters and Royalists in the next century and properly garrisoned from 1660 to 1923. 

* The castle refused surrender to the Jacobite's in 1745 even when Bonnie Prince Charlie took the city, and marched into England. The castle even was shelling Edinburgh during this series of events. The cannons there still today fire everyday at one o clock,  but not the real shells and stuff happily, unlike in 1745 when some people were killed by such firing. 

* It's cannons were fired in a desperate effort at a zeppelin in 1916, so a rare hillfort, which had a kind of use in the world wars. It did not hit. 

* The site was later also used a prison. 

* I have been there myself, as a teenager, and saw some of the fortification. 

* In honour of the Brythonic heritage of Edinburgh Castle, I have created a list of links between Scotland and Wales in history. 

* It still has a military garrison, mostly for ceremonial purposes, which of course do matter, as they show power. This would likely be so even if Scotland became independent as for tradition. 


* It is a symbol of Scotland, and used on Hibs badge, and Edinburgh City's badge, whereas Hearts use a different part of Edinburgh as their emblem. You may say Edinburgh rugby's logo is a castle style thing. 

* Mary Queen of Scots lived there for a while, so a great claim to fame. 

* The area up by the castle the Royal Mile, is a typical caste town look of narrow winding streets of the main one, and the like, you get that in many such places, in their closest part of there has not been mass demolishing. 

* My 1980 copy of the Guiness Book of Records claims Edinburgh Castle is the biggest in Scotland, though I am sure it depends on what area you are measuring, 

* Mike Scott of the Waterboys wrote a song about Edinburgh Castle., 

* Edinburgh Castle, has tickets you need to buy, to enter it, so these Edinburgh Castle tickets, are surely the most expensive tickets you need to enter a hill fort territory in the world, as they are surely so for Britain, and nowhere else really calls them hillforts. I often feel though you get what you pay for, and there is plenty to see there. So for most of us, it is worth it. So they are my Edinburgh Castle facts, or rather hillfort facts. It is also likely the case that a Edinburgh Castle visit, surely is among the highest on the table, of most visited hill fort in Britain each year, So for Edinburgh Castle opening times though mean, that unlike many hillforts there are times it is closed. 

* There was also a floating Edinburgh Castle, one launched in 1910, built in Belfast in 1910, built by Harland and Wolff, it sailed mostly between Britain and South Africa, it also served as a armed merchant cruiser in World War One,  During World War Two, she was used as a ship holding survivors of submarine attacks, with it docked in Sierra Leone, She was then sunk at Freetown, after the war as a target. She had a sister ship called the Balmoral Castle, It was also called HMS Edinburgh Castle. 

There was also a RMS Edinburgh Castle, from 1947 that also served between Britain and South Africa, it's "Maiden" voyage was 1948. Interesting term for this ship seeing the castle's old name. It was scrapped in 1976. 

There have also been many ships called the HMS Edinburgh.  

I better say Edinburgh Castle used to be known as Maiden's Castle, or rather Mayden Castle, this was the spelling in in the 16th Century, Indeed sources claim it had this name for centuries afore then. A source called Maiden Castle in Dorset, that Mayden spelling in the 1600s. Amazingly the reasoning of why the  capital of Scotland's castle has that older name rarely mentions it's Dorset sister, but maybe there is a good reason for that, I don't know the language situation, was the Celtic of Edinburgh different to the Celtic of Dorset?  Anyway, thats a possibility of the Edinburgh name. I say, but it is better to listen to the even more learned experts on that I say.

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edinburgh castle photo.jpg

A old 19th Century Castle of Edinburgh

illustration, I think I can use it. 

I better say Edinburgh Castle used to be known as Maiden's Castle, or rather Mayden Castle, this was the spelling in in the 16th Century, Indeed sources claim it had this name for centuries afore then. A source called Maiden Castle in Dorset, that Mayden spelling in the 1600s. Amazingly the reasoning of why the 

capital of Scotland's castle has that older name rarely mentions it's Dorset sister, but maybe there is a good reason for that, I don't know the language situation, was the Celtic of Edinburgh different to the Celtic of Dorset?  Anyway, thats a possibility of the Edinburgh name. I say, but it is better to listen to the even more learned experts on that I say.

Scottish - Welsh history links bonus

As a bonus, here are some Scottish Welsh history links, in the spirit of international friendship. and unity. Scotland and Wales also each have huge links with our friends in England, and Ireland, the Northern Irish and Republic of Ireland as well.  And all other countries as well, like the USA, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand,  and our EU friends, Germany, France, Spain, Italy Poland etc etc,  etc etc etc, and Russia and Norway etc. Plus the rest of the world, Africa, South America Asia, the Caribbean etc etc. 

* Scotland and Wales are both Celtic countries by virtue of their shared Celtic heritage, as in the language family. Both being countries, whose languages Gaelic and Pictish in Scotland, and Welsh in Wales, are descended from pre-Roman, pre Saxon invasions, Celtic languages. And so the people as well really. Though we each have had amount of migrations since then of course, nothing wrong with that. I myself have Scottish heritage with affects by immigration from other lands over the centuries, and the same for my Welsh heritage as well. 

* Both survived for longer than England, against the Romans, and longer against the Saxons, and Normans as well. 

* In the late 19th Century like the 1880s, Scotland and Wales were often bastions of the Liberals, against the Conservatives and in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s Scotland and Wales were bastions of Labour and the Lib Dems, in comparison to a more Conservative dominated England. (Though I have to admit this was not always so, some times the Conservatives or Unionist Party were strong in Scotland like the 1950s, though that was unusual it was normally Labour or Liberal plurality or majority, over the conservatives, and Wales was even more so most of the time). But both also proudly supplied a fair share of Tory ministers for their cabinets , not just for the Liberal and Labour regimes they had MPs for. 

* Both in the late 13th Century had a struggle against the King of England's army. Wales's princes in Gwynedd were conquered, while the larger territory of Scotland was able to beat the kings back. 

* Scotland's Robert III did receive a emissary or letter from Owain Glyndwr. Apparently Scotland allowed it's ships to attack English colonies, that were in North Wales, to support Glyndwr, but that was the limit.  Apparently Scotland even released propaganda that the then English king was a usurper, which helped Glyndwr's position. The king was a kind of usurper, so that was quite OK. (No offence to our English friends, I am just saying that we were in league with each other against cruel invasions, though 1 million percent the English are our pals as well now no doubt. 

* The Southern areas of Scotland in the Dark Ages still had a Cumbric. British, Welsh language as shown by so many Celtic names in Southern and Central Scotland, like Dumbarton, Fort of the Britons, or Dun Eidin, etc etc. See my Celtic cities page. These were taken into the orbit of the Scottish kingdom, really a Pictish kingdom. The Picts were likely just far north Britons, speaking a Brythonic language. As shown by Aberdeen, having that term, as in Aber, or the mouth of the River Dee. Whereas Inverness also means a mouth of a river, it the Ness, it from a Gaelic term. Indeed the fact Aberdeen has a river called the Dee, like Wales, with the River Dee, in North Wales, is from similar Celtic route names for these rivers. There are other Celtic names, and very Welsh style Cumbric names, like Eccelfechan, near Lockerbie, whose origins seem to come from a similar term to the Eccles, or Eglwys names from Celtic England and Wales, and the fechan is similar origin to Llanfairfechan. There are lots of Cumbric (A language of the Britons similar to Welsh) names in Scotland, especially Strathclyde's areas. 

* Indeed near to Edinburgh is Caerketton hill, a Brythonic name, and it has a hillfort called Caerketton. 345 metres or so above sea level, very roughly. It is to the south and very closeby.  

* Both Scotland and Wales have a place called Queensferry, the one in Wales in Flintshire, right in the North East, while the one in Scotland, also called South Queensferry just west of Edinburgh. Both places have substantial bridges aside them now, the Forth crossing and the Dee crossing. As of course both Wales and Scotland have a River Dee.

* There is also a point of Ayr, which is on the coast in North East Wales, the most northern point in mainland Wales, and a town of Ayr in West Scotland.

* Both Scotland and Wales have Irish Sea coastlines.

* Both Scotland and Wales have structures famed as borders with England, for Wales, Offa's Dyke, and for Scotland, Hadrian's Wall.

* Both The Scots and Welsh have ferries to Ireland.

* In 2021 the Scottish snooker open, normally hed in Scotland, was held in North Wales.

* You can see the Isles of Man from both on a very clear day, but only from some bits. You can very much more see North West England from both.

* There are far more connections of course between Scottish Gaelic with Irish Gaelic, than with Welsh, though there are Pictish and Cumbric Brythonic influences that affected the Scottish version, including a small amount of terms. Indeed also the Scots English dialect or language, has only a small amount of Gaelic, influencing it, and even smaller amount of other Pictish or Cumbric / Welsh influences. That famous fact of there being a counting system used by shepherds in Cumbria that used Cumbric, had some same ones in Scotland. Some Gaelic words were influenced by Cumbric or Pictish as well. But the biggest word of similarity between Scots English and Welsh, is how potato became potato in English, but became Tatws in Welsh and tatties in Scots English, not from a pre English origin as we only got the potato here in the time after Walter Raleigh and co, but nice that the words developed into similar terms in the Celtic lands. In Irish Gaelic it is prartai, very important to their national story, all that sadnness, to do with Ireland terrible famine long ago, and in Scots Gaelic buntata. 

* So in Welsh the English, are called Saesneg, which kind of forms, from Saxons, while in Scotland, well the term English is used, but some like Private Frazer in Dad's army have used the term Saasanaech, it's a very rare term that is used, and is almost a derogatory term, though not actually offensive, indeed I have seen there are records of it being used in 1869, well before Dad's army, so it also comes from the term Saxons. Apparently it may also refer to speakers of English indeed in the 18th Century some Highlanders called English speaking Lowlanders it, so a Gaelic term originally then. Actually Cornish as Sowsnke, Manx with Sosnagh, and Irish Gaelic Saxanach a old term not much used, have similar terms that sounds like Saxon. Indeed in Breton it is Saozneg. 

* William Wallace may have been so named as of Wales Walis. This may be as he had Norman such heritage who had lived in Wales or as he was from a Scots Gaelic or Scots English family that had recently been speaking Northern British AKA Welsh. There are many a people called Wallace, and even Welsh in Scotland today. Even a SNP MP, was a Mr Welsh and a 17th Century covenanter, John Welsh. 8ust like how Ingis is a Scottish name. Its some kind of origin name blah blah. 

* Gwynedd was founded by a Northern British dynasty from Scotland, the Northern Britons. Many of their legends were kept alive in North Wales. Well that is the story anhow.

* Scotland won the rugby 6 nations for Wales in 2021 beating France in the last game, and Wales won for Scotland in 1999 beating England with a Neil Jenkins penalty. 

* Scottish aristocrats the Butes renovated Cardiff Castle, and Castell Coch, in the 19th Century. 

* Keir Hardie, Scottish Labour icon, was elected MP for West Ham, but also Merthyr in South Wales. 

* Scottish and Welsh PMs have led both countries, via the UK. Plus been major cabinet members. Such as Aneurin Bevan, and the NHS, and Gordon Brown the longest running chancellor in recent history to 2021 anyhow. Also Geoffrey Howe, Roy Jenkins, kind of Heseltine, and Home, to name  but a few, 

* There was a Welsh conservative MP, on the left of the party Keith Raffan, who from 1983 to 1992 was  tory MP, for the rest of the century after that it was Labour held seat, but he was also a Liberal Democrat Scottish MSP from 1999 to 2005. 

* Robert Owen, the famous social reformer, was a Welsh businessman, successful in England, who set up a utopian socialist factory and housing in Lanarkshire, Scotland in the early 19th century. 

* Both saw growth of nationalist movements Plaid Cymru and SNP from the 1960s, whose parties had began barely a decade apart in the 1920s and 1930s. Plus civic home rule movements from the mid and late 19th Century.  Plus a concurrent rise in the Gaelic and Welsh language's revivalism at that time as well, namely the .

* Both had devolution referenda in the late 1970s, which lost Scotland unfairly in a way, as there was a slight majority for. Both had devolution referenda in 1997, which voted for devolution and elected bodies for each land. 

* Scotland and Wales have been in the same union, via the union of the crowns, 1603,  the Act of Union between Scotland and England 1707, Britain's fight in World War Two, and World War One, (With allies)  and more, and our British membership of the European Union and EEC 1973- 2020, and United Nations and the fact we are all on one world, united in common humanity, citizen of the world style stuff. Plus membership of the Commonwealth, Council of the Isles, and Celtic League links. Plus the south of Scotland with Wales, was in the same Roman Empire, much earlier. Possibly they worked with each other, Gwynedd, and the Old North, in the Dark Ages as well.

* Scotland and Wales have played each other well over 100 times in men's rugby union and football. Even from the 19th Century and into 2021. (This article was written in 2021) 

* Many top Welsh players have won honours in the Scottish league, and many Scottish players in the Welsh league, or for Welsh teams in the English Football league, indeed Jock Stein played in Wales for a while, while Joe Ledley and more in Scotland. John Hartson won player of the year in Scotland in 2005, the only Welsh player up to now to, while Cardiff City's 1925 FA Cup winning side had 2 Scotsmen. Some Scotsmen playing for Welsh clubs in the Football League, have played for Scotland football, and some Welshmen playing for Scottish teams, for Wales. 

* Welsh League teams have even played in the football Scottish Challenge cup of in the 2010s. It is a Scottish 2nd, 3rd, 4th and even 5th tier cup competition. They had Connah's Quay, TNS (Based in Oswestry, just over the border, in England, but not far from the still quite Welsh speaking in the 19th Century, bit of Oswestry, which was in Engand, but just over the Offa's Dyke divide (Unlike the stadium, which is east of it), and connected with Welsh village Llansantffraid, )) and Bala, and even from the English league, Wrexham. 

In the late 1990s, with thy advent of professionalism in Rugby Union, to keep apace with the big professional teams from England, and France, then Scotland put Glasgow and Edinburgh in the cities and towns top tier of the Welsh Rugby league. As it was felt on their own there would not be enough money to have enough big teams. This lasted for 3 years before a Celtic league was established with Ireland's 4 provinces, and pretty soon a Welsh regional set up of a few super teams, and this saw the Celtic league  blossomed, with Welsh and Scottish and Irish teams winning. Also Italian and South African teams joined later. It is still going strong as a league in 2021. 

* In the post war era many Scottish doctors went to Wales. 

* Edinburgh and many Scottish cities are from Brythonic names, with some having other influences as well, like the Saxon influenced second half of the name. So like Cardiff with its more wholly Welsh Brythonic name. 

Anyway long live peace, internationalism, and friendship between the nations, but also the lands of Scotland and Wales and their neighbours. I am sure there are more links than what I have stated above but that is all I am stating. I am sure it could be easy to paint a story of division as well, as some like to do, but I like this proud of your nationality love of internationalism way forward. Its called progress.