"The King's House", now known as the King's Old Building, was built for James IV in about 1496. Its north end is located on the highest part of the castle rock and it is likely that the site had already been built on, probably several times, in the earlier history of Stirling Castle.
It was traditionally believed that James II's murder of the 8th Earl of Douglas on 22 February 1452 took place in what later became known as the Douglas Room at the north end of the King's Old Building. The building did not exist at the time, but this is probably a good indication of an earlier King's residence on this part of the rock.
When originally built in 1496, the main rooms would have been on the first floor, rising to roof height. Below was a vaulted ground floor. Projecting from the front of the building would probably have been timber galleries, providing an external link between different parts of the accommodation.
The location is spectacular, on the very edge of the sheer cliffs that line the west side of the castle rock. Views to the west extend to Ben Lomond, while to the east they could well have been equally impressive, as the Great Hall had yet to be built.
To the south the King's Old Buildings would have linked to the range that preceded the construction of the Palace, while to the north they connected with an earlier Chapel Royal, probably more within the Inner Close than the successor you see today.
The King's Old Building has probably been altered more frequently than any of the other principle buildings in the castle. It ceased to be the monarch's residence from the completion of the Palace in the 1540s and subsequently saw a variety of uses. It had already become known as the "King's Old Work" by 1687 and in 1719 was used to house a number of the officers in the military garrison here. In the 1790s floors and windows were inserted to provide accommodation for a larger garrison.
In 1855 there was a serious fire at the north end of the building. This was later rebuilt with a fine frontage overlooking the quiet and attractive Douglas Garden to its north, and the North Curtain Wall beyond it. By then the magazine placed in the Douglas Garden in 1681 (and still there) had been made redundant by others more safely located in the Nether Bailey.
Today the King's Own Building houses the regimental museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. There have been suggestions from time to time that the building should be restored as has happened with the Chapel Royal, the Great Hall and the Palace, but there is so much uncertainty about what it was like when originally built that this seems very unlikely.
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Stirling Castle In Fiction
Hide and Seek by Ken Lussey (26 May 2023).
It’s April 1943. Medical student
Helen Erickson is followed from London to her aunt’s farm in Perthshire. What do her pursuers want? Meanwhile Monique Dubois is
attending a secret meeting at Stirling Castle when an old adversary is murdered in a chilling echo of a dark episode in the castle’s