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Notorious event in Scottish history to be explored at Stirling Castle this weekend

18 February 2013

Visitors to Stirling Castle will be able to experience where one of the most notorious events in Scotland’s history took place this weekend (22nd – 24th February).

The castle was the setting for the infamous murder of Sir William, 8th Earl of Douglas, better know as ‘The Black Douglas’ by King James II and his courtiers in a battle for power over Scotland.

Visitors will be able to get a glimpse of the “Douglas Room” within what is now the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum. The actual room, on the site where the murder took place is not accessible to enter but can clearly be seen from the museum.

The museum is taking part in an event that the castle is holding to mark the anniversary of The Black Douglas’ death, which took place at the castle in 1452.

Visitors will be taken on a special ‘Black Douglas’ themed tour by the castle guides, including a visit to the Douglas Garden, where the Earl’s body was thrown from a window.

The museum is housed on the site of a former royal residence. It was there on February 22nd 1452 that Sir William Douglas met an untimely end.

During his minority rule, James II’s reign saw much bloodshed as rival factions vied to control Scotland. The death of William Douglas had far reaching consequences with Scotland spiralling into civil war thereafter.

Eleanor Muir, Visitor Experience Manager for Stirling Castle said;

“In the fifteenth century, the castle was a place of celebration and splendour but it was also the centre of political intrigue.

“The brutality of the Douglas murder and the circumstances in which it took place, particularly with the monarch’s involvement, was highly unusual and sent shockwaves around Europe.”

“We are pleased to be working with the museum to help reveal this fascinating part of the castle’s history to visitors.”

As part of the event, visitors will also be able to access parts of the museum that are not normally open to visitors such as the Officers Ante Room.

Major Robert Elliot for the museum said;

“The site of the museum played an important role in the Douglas Murder story.

“We’ll be offering visitors the opportunity to find out more about these connections, but there will also be an opportunity to find out about the contemporary history of the site.

“For example, we’ll be allowing access to the Officers Ante Room which is one Her Majesty, The Queen has used on many occasions on her visit to the Headquarters so this is a great opportunity to get access to an area of the castle not normally seen by visitors.”

The Douglas tours will take place at the castle from 22nd - 24th February at 12 noon and 2pm and are included in the castle admission price. The tour is not recommended for young children. Some areas visited during the tour may not be suitable for wheelchair users

Notes for editors:
  • For all the latest on what is happening at Stirling Castle, visit our website at and sign up for our free e-newsletter.

  • Historic Scotland has 345 historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit:  

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For further information

Iona Matheson
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8703 or 07827 956 858