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King’s Knight: Stirling Castle

Unicorn tapestry (replica) at Stirling Castle

Unicorn tapestry (replica) at Stirling Castle

In King’s Knight, Isabel Graham, a ward of King James VI, is brought to Stirling Castle to be married off. Tearlach and Rory MacDougal must prove their worth to the king. Isabel is amazed at the tapestries, rugs, paintings, carvings and more that cover the floors, walls, and even the ceilings.

Isabel is particularly intrigued by the ceiling of the king’s Inner Hall, which has a ceiling of carved and painted heads. These have been recreated in full color, though the originals (many still on display) have lost their paint.

King's Presence Chamber, drawing by Geoffray Hay

King’s Presence Chamber, drawing by Geoffray Hay

While I was unable to visit in person, there is much about Stirling Castle that can be found online. The whole castle is an interactive exhibit, with re-enactments and staged displays. The kitchen is amazing, with a bread oven, working area with animals and birds hanging above (rabbit, pheasants), a roasting oven with ducks on a spit, and more.

Demonstration of swordsmanship with hand-made armor

Demonstration of swordsmanship with hand-made armor

Years ago I researched the chivalrous art of swordfighting and learned techniques from the 14th and 15th centuries. As I was particularly interested in the Scottish sword-and-a-half, I learned how the claymore would be used in battle.

I have dedicated King’s Knight to the man who taught this course for many years, William Edward (Bill) Fedun, Marshall and mentor of many wishing to learn the arts and crafts of swordfighting and the armor required to do so. Bill, age 58, died of an aggressive form of cancer while I was in Scotland researching.

Stirling Castle kitchen detail

Stirling Castle kitchen detail

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