Cowane's Hospital was built by rich local merchant John Cowane in 1637 as an Almshouse for 'decayed members of the Guild of Merchants'. It is also referred to as the Guildhall, dates back to the 17th century and is situated in Stirling's Old Town.
Cowane’s Hospital is a 17th century almshouse in the historic city of Stirling. It is also known as The Guildhall, as the Stirling Guildry have held their meetings here for several centuries. Cowane’s is in the area known as Top o’ the Town, just below the castle and next to the Church of the Holy Rude where King James VI was crowned.
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.
Sadly this highly important gem of Scottish architecture is now at risk and a campaign is underway to raise £3 million to save the building and its wonderful gardens, which includes one of Scotland’s oldest bowling greens and give them a sustainable new future.
There is a coffee shop on site where visitors can enjoy afternoon teas, light lunches and refreshments. Visitors can also have a look around the great hall and the surrounding gardens free of charge. Donations towards the buildings upkeep and proposed restoration are welcome. For further information regarding Cowane's Hospital or to make a donation please visit www.cowanes.org.uk
The building can be hired for paranormal investigations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
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.
Please note that as we prepare for a major restoration project we are only able to cater for quite a small number, and limited types, of events bookings such as
Once the work is complete we will have excellent new facilities available for activities of all kinds.
The restoration project will also mean that the hospital will be closed from the summer of 2018 to autumn 2019.
If you have any questions please get in touch.
The Cowane’s Hospital Maintenance Trust, Registered Scottish Charity SCO42873