Stirling Castle's Gatehouse
The Gatehouse at Stirling Castle
© Virtual Scotland
The Gatehouse, Stirling Castle
The above photograph shows Stirling Castle's Gatehouse. The present forework was built around 1500, for King James IV of Scotland, with evidence of an earlier wall visible in parts of its lower masonry. It is likely that the main defensive wall always ran along this line.
The main design of the forework consistes of a central gatehouse with ¾-round towers at all four angles. Either side of the gatehouse is a ½-round tower and a pedestrian entry with iron portcullis. The current gateway is only about a third of the height it was prior to damage inflicted upon it during the siege of 1651. The existing battlements were added in 1810.
Evidence shows that the exterior walls of the Great Hall were painted in much the same colour we see today. When we look at the gatehouse and the surrounding walls we see drab boring stonework decorated with intricate carvings. At the time of James IV the walls of the forework were limewashed and the carvings coloured. The tall towers were topped with tall conical roofs vastly different to today and far more colourful.