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Douglas Murder Guided Tours

Stirling Castle,

The Black Douglas Murder Tour


On the 22nd February 1452, one of Scotland’s most infamous and goriest murders took place at Stirling Castle…and it was carried out by the King himself!

William the 8th Earl of Douglas, head of one of the largest and most powerful noble families in Scotland, the Black Douglases, was invited by King James II to Stirling Castle to try and resolve growing tensions between them.

William, aged 22, had arrived at the castle the previous day and was cordially welcomed and plied with drink.  The next evening, while Douglas and the king were dining the monarch suddenly challenged William on the bond he had drawn up with the earls of Ross and Crawford - a mutually beneficial bond that would protect their collective wealth and power, but which threatened the monarchy.  When William refused to break the bond, the King replied telling him that he would break it, then pulled out his dagger and repeatedly stabbed the Earl.  His men joined in until Douglas had been stabbed 26 times. The final blow came when one of the king’s men struck the Douglas in the head with a poleaxe.  His body was then thrown from the window to the gardens below.

This area is known today as The Douglas Gardens and is, ironically, one of the most serene and peaceful spots in the Castle. However on the anniversary of the murder, our guide, Joe Bennett, will lead a tour setting the scene and looking at the build-up to this fateful event and the fall-out from it.  The tour will end in the Douglas Room of the Regimental Museum where participants can access the normally closed off window from which the Earl’s body is said to have been thrown.


When: 21st, 22nd & 23rd February 2014 at 12noon and 2pm each day.

Cost:  This tour is included in normal admission price.

Access:  Please note that there is no wheelchair access to the museum.



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For further information, contact
hs.stirlingcastle@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

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26 January 2014

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