Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

Edinburgh Castle Esplanade is the area for four weeks of the year the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo his held.  During the months of July and August is the main showcase of Edinburgh. This is when The Fringe Festival and Edinburgh International Festival takes place and tourists from around the world can be seen in their 100s of thousands. Looking around the Esplanade you can see memorials, statues and plaques to the regiments and heroes of the past battles. There is one obelisk, one statue, 3 plaques, 3 crosses, a wall fountain and the Ewart grave. Below are photographs of all the things to see before entering Edinburgh Castle where there are many more things to see. St Margret’s Chapel 3 Museums, Mons Meg a giant cannon and the firing of the One O’clock Gun every day except Sunday.

Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

EDINBURGH CASTLE DRAWBRIDGE

The drawbridge at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle spanning the moat which helped protect the Castle from intruders. On guard on either side of the drawbridge are statues, on the right is William Wallace and the left is Robert the Bruce when facing the castle. Above the gateway, can be seen the coat of arms and motto of the Regiment of Scotland, who were based at Edinburgh Castle until the amalgamation of the Scottish regiments in 2006.

Edinburgh Castle drawbridge entrance

EDINBURGH CASTLE ROBERT THE BRUCE STATUE

King Robert the Bruce. On the left side facing the Edinburgh Castle drawbridge stands on guard. 

Robert I, known as Robert the Bruce, became King of Scots on 25 March 1306. At the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314, he led a Scottish army and defeated the English army lead by Edward II. To confirm an independent Scottish monarchy in 1320 a letter was sent to Pope John XXII declaring that Robert the Bruce was their rightful monarch. This letter was the ‘Declaration of Arbroath’ and it asserted the antiquity of the Scottish people and their monarchy. In 1324 Robert the Bruce received papal recognition as king of an independent Scotland. Robert died on 7 June 1329. He was buried in Dunfermline Abbey and his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey. 

Edinburgh Castle entrance King Robert the Bruce statue

EDINBURGH CASTLE WILLIAM WALLACE STATUE

Sir William Wallace (Braveheart) on the right side facing the Edinburgh Castle drawbridge stands two mighty warriors. William Wallace was born in the 1270s At Stirling Bridge 1297 he defeated the English army. Around 1298 he was knighted and appointed ‘guardian of the kingdom’. On the 22 July 1298, the Scottish army lead by Wallace battled the English arms of Edward I near Falkirk, the Scots were heavily defeated but Wallace escaped. Edward hated Wallace and put a price on his head. Wallace was finally captured on the 3 August 1305 in Robroyston, north of Glasgow and transported to London. He was charged and tried with treason, which he denied, saying he had never sworn allegiance to the English king. His execution was held on 23 August 1305, where he was hung, drawn and quartered. His head was placed on London Bridge, and his limbs displayed in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling and Perth.

Statue of William Wallace at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle

EDINBURGH CASTLE PLAQUE SIR WILLIAM ALEXANDER FIRST BARON OF NOVA SCOTIA

In 1621, King James granted Sir William Alexander the land in North America between New England and Newfoundland, as Nova Scotia (“New Scotland”). To promote the settlement of Nova Scotia, the Baronetage of Nova Scotia was created in 1624. Scots Law, baronets had to “take sasine” by symbolically receiving the earth and stone of the land of which they were baronet. To make this possible, as Nova Scotia was so far away, the King declared that sasine could be taken either in Nova Scotia or, “at the Castle of Edinburgh as the most eminent and principal place of Scotland”.

EDINBURGH CASTLE PLAQUE OF SIR WILLIAM ALEXANDER FIRST BARON OF NOVA SCOTIA

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE SERGEANT CHARLES EWART MEMORIAL AND GRAVE

Battle of Waterloo 18th June 1815. In 1938 the actual remains of Ensign Ewart were re-interred on Edinburgh Castle’s Esplanade. Look behind the memorial stone and you can see his head stone.

 Ensign Charles Ewart Memorial Stone Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

Ensign Ewart Grave Memorial Stone Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

Ensign Charles Ewart Grave Stone Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE ENSIGN EWART GRAVE STONE

Date of the Battle of Waterloo on end of Ensign Charles Ewart Memorial Stone      The Eagle from the French Standard at the Battle of Waterloo.

 Ensign Ewarts Memorial Stone Edinburgh Castle Esplanade The Eagle      Ensign Ewart's Memorial Stone date of Battle of Waterloo 1815

 

THE TAKING OF THE FLAG

As Ewart fought his way deep into the heart of the 45th French Infantry, he was caught in a fierce fight with a French officer. The French officer was saved from Ewart’s fatal strike by the arrival of his senior officer, Francis Kinchant. The French officer surrender to Kinchant saving his life. No sooner had Ewart turned away from the scene when he heard a gunshot just behind him. When he turned back, he saw senior officer Kinchant fall of his horse and the French Officer trying to hide his gun with which he had just killed Kinchant. Ewart, furious at what the French Officer had done, he lashed out with his sword ignoring the Frenchman’s pleas for mercy and took the Frenchmen’s head off with one stroke of his sword. (See the sword in Edinburgh Castle) Ewart was now near to the 45th French Infantry standard bearer. Rather than retreating, Ewart continued forward and battled through to take the flag back to his own lines and into history, in Ewart’s own words, what was to follow; “It was in the first charge I took the eagle from the enemy. I had a hard contest for it, he made a thrust at my groin, I parried it off and cut him down through the head. After this a lancer came at me; I threw the lance off by my right side and cut him through the chin and upward through the teeth. Next, a foot-soldier fired at me and charged me with his bayonet, which I also had the good luck to parry, and then I cut him down through the head; thus ended the contest. As I was about to follow my regiment, the general said, ’My brave fellow, take that to the rear; you have done enough till you get quit of it’, which I was obliged to do, but with great reluctance. I retired to a height, and stood there for upwards of an hour, which gave a general view of the field, but I cannot express the horrors I beheld. The bodies of my brave comrades were lying so thick upon the field that it was scarcely possible to pass, and horses innumerable. I took the eagle into Brussels amid the acclamations of thousands of spectators who saw it. Displayed in the Regimental Museum in Edinburgh Castle is the sword said to have been used at Waterloo by Ensign Charles Ewart.

 “The Fight for the Standard at the Battle of Waterloo”

 By, Richard Ansdell R.A.

The painting depicts Ensign Ewart at

The Battle of Waterloo with the French standard.

 This painting can be seen in Edinburgh Castle.

Ensign Ewart With the French Battle Flag at Waterloo  “The Fight for the Standard at the Battle of Waterloo”  By, Richard Ansdell R.A.

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE THE KING’S OWN SCOTTISH BORDERERS

On the 19th March 1689 David Leslie Earl of Leven gathered a regiment of soldiers within two hours to defend the City of Edinburgh. For Leven’s regiment’s gallantry in defending Edinburgh and later at the Battle of Killiecrankie with a resounding victory for the Jacobite’s lead by James VII of Scotland and II of England, the magistrates of Edinburgh gave the unique right of recruiting by the beat of the drum, marching through the Edinburgh streets with drums beating and flags flying and bayonets fixed. The regiment was later named The King’s Own Scottish Borderers.   

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE KING'S OWN SCOTTISH BORDERERS PLAQUE

PRINCESS LOUISE’S FOUNTAIN on EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE

PRINCESS LOUISE HER ROYAL HIGHNESS, Marchioness of Lorne, 9th Duchess of Argyll and Queen Victoria’s daughter. She had many honours bestowed upon her. The 91st Argyllshire Regiment name changed in her honour to 91st (Princess Louise’s Argyllshire Highlanders) Regiment of Foot. She had a strong connection with Canada and a province (Alberta), a mountain (Alberta) and villages of Caroline and Alberta named after her. The inscription on the memorial Drinking Fountain above the trough reads; THE PRINCESS LOUISE’S ARGYLLSHIRE HIGHLANDERS.

 

PRINCESS LOUISE’S FOUNTAIN on EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE

FIELD MARSHAL HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS FREDERICK DUKE OF YORK ON EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE

THE DUKE OF YORK (1763-1827) was appointed Commander in Chief of the British Army in 1795. His father King George III and his mother Queen Charlotte were instrumental in shaping Edinburgh’s New Town with streets named by and after themselves and their family. King George III was the first King of Great Britain and Ireland.

​KING GEORGE III (George William Frederick) was born 4 June 1738 in London. He became king in October 1760 at 22. His wife was Charlotte and they had 16 children, 10 sons and 6 daughters and were married for 57 years. He died in January 1820 at 81. During his reign he had Edinburgh’s new town built and purchased Buckingham House in London in 1762 which later became Buckingham Palace.

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE FREDERICK DUKE OF YORK STATUE

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE GORDON HIGHLANDERS 

This memorial is to the officers and men of the Gordon Highlanders who lost their lives in the South African war from 1899 to 1902 in Natal, Transvaal, Cape Colony and The Orange Free State. The Gordon Highlanders was an army infantry regiment from 1881 until 1994. The regiment took its name from the Clan Gordon and recruited principally from Aberdeen and the North-East of Scotland.

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE GORDON HIGHLANDERS 

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE CELTIC CROSS

The Celtic Cross was erected in memory of Colonel Kenneth Douglas Mackenzie of the 92nd Highlanders for forty-two years. He died on duty in 1873. 

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE CELTIC CROSS COLONEL MACKENZIE

THE RUNIC CROSS, EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE

The Runic Cross was erected in 1862 for the memory of the officers, non-commissioned officers and private soldiers of the 78 highland regiment who died at the suppression of the First Relief of Lucknow in 1857 during the Indian Mutiny (1857-59). Eight men of the 78th Highland Regiment were awarded the Victoria Cross and the regiment also received the Victoria Cross during the campaign. The troubles started due to the bullets being covered with pig fat which they had to bite. Putting pork of any kind in their mouths is against the religious beliefs of Hindus and Muslims.

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE RUNIC CROSS

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE, 72ND HIGHLANDERS OBELISK

The Obelisk was erected in memory of the officers, Non-commissioned officers and men of the Duke of Albany’s 72nd highlanders who died in the Afghan campaigns of 1878, 1879 and 1880.

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE 72ND HIGHLANDER OBELISK

SCOTTISH HORSE MEMORIAL CROSS, EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE

This is a memorial to the men of the Scottish Horse Regiment who were killed during the South African War of 1901-1902. 

EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE SCOTTISH HORSE MEMORIAL CROSS

 

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