Built by rich local merchant John Cowane in 1637 as an Almshouse for 'decayed members of the Guild of Merchants', this former guildhall commonly hosts concerts.
Referred to as ‘Auld Staney Breeks’, John Cowane was one of Stirling’s richest merchants during the mid 17th-century. Dean of the Merchant Guild, he left funds to build Cowane’s hospital, which originally acted as a place for Guild members to meet. It was constructed between 1637 - 1649 next to the Church of Holy Rude.
After its time acting as a Guildhall, Cowane’s served as a school and a hospital during epidemics. To remind everyone of the building’s past, a statue of Cowane is perched above the entrance, while portraits of old Guild Deans pepper the walls. According to local myth, people say the statue comes to life on Hogmanay and does a jig.
The Hospital is open to the public 10.30am - 4.30pm from Tuesday to Sunday until the 30th July 2015. After this date sadly, due to rising costs, the building together with John Cowane's Coffee House will be closed to the public. The building will still be available to hire for functions such as weddings, ceilidhs, concerts, parties, meeting space and private tours.
Donations towards its upkeep and proposed restoration are welcome. You can donate online at www.cowanes.org.uk
Private viewing of the Hall for school trips, historical societies or other interested parties can be arranged by appointment. A member of the Trust’s management team or a knowledgeable volunteer will give a history of John Cowane, the Hospital and Garden together with a brief overview of the exciting plans for the restoration of the building and grounds. A small charge will apply.
The Hall is now licensed to hold civil wedding ceremonies and is also available to hire making a fantastic venue for many occasions.