A group of costumed performers in front of Stirling Castle

I’ve just started my role as Themed Year Liaison Manager, a position created to make the most of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology (YHHA), culminating in a wonderful festival of treats based in Stirling. ‘History Live’.

I intend to blog throughout the process; from the initial conception – co-ordinating as many people as possible to celebrate YHHA – to the final delivery of a comprehensive, diverse programme of events around Stirling with something for everyone.

A parade of costumed performers on the Stirling Castle esplanade

First steps

I start off with a trip up to Stirling Castle to make initial enquiries. Back in my former office in the Old Kings Building at Stirling Castle, I’m reminded of those freezing mornings, with the eerie creaking noises under the floorboards. A 14th century knight’s body (with an axe wound in his head) was discovered here in 1997, and there have been all sorts of strange noises ever since. I am struck by how history comes alive in the most basic of ways in this wonderful old building.

The skull and re-constructed face of a medieval knight whose skeleton was found at Stirling Castle.

The skull and re-constructed face of a medieval knight whose skeleton was found at Stirling Castle.

Wouldn’t it be great to do a CSI type investigation into what happened to this unfortunate soldier? Who planted that axe in his skull? Senior Learning Manager, Craig Fletcher, puts this suggestion forward – and the germ of an idea is born. And this is what this year is all about, making history come alive for both Scots and visitors alike, engaging as many people as possible in an exploration of their heritage in as varied a fashion as possible.

Living history

You may be fascinated by the ghosts of the past, or perhaps you want to learn how some of our wonderful old buildings are put together. You may fancy a walk through Stirling with a knowledgeable local guide, to discover the hidden gems in your own city – the ones you never knew were there. Perhaps you are excited about the opening of the Engine Shed – a hugely innovative centre, due to open in July this year, where you can learn the building techniques that lie behind the wooden carvings of the Stirling Heads and limestone hurling on the Great Hall. Or maybe you have a secret yearning to weave a tapestry, an ancient skill brought to life in the Unicorn tapestries in the Royal apartments.

Two children building a stone wall

You’ll be able to try out traditional skills at the engine shed

These are some of the events we have in the pipeline already:

  • Renaissance Revelry – an afternoon of dancing, food tasting and jousting at Stirling castle on both 30th September and 1st October
  • Walking tours of Stirling organised by STAGS are running on the same dates, taking you through the winding streets of Stirling
  • Skills workshops in the Engine Shed
  • Tasting sessions at Argyll’s Lodgings.

Get involved

Calling all historians, lecturers, attractions in the Stirling Area. Do you have an idea for History Live? An event that we could include in our festival, an attraction you would like to showcase, or even a passion for a topic around the theme? Please email audrey.jones@hes.scot for information on how you can get involved.


About Author


Audrey Jones

Audrey joined HES in March this year and is responsible for delivering ‘History Live’ - a celebration of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology culminating in a Stirling-based festival at the end of September. Audrey has previously worked at Stirling Castle, VisitScotland, Kyles on Scotland and the Edinburgh Playhouse and is also an STGA blue badge guide.