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 now open to the public every day during May to October, 10am - 4.30pm & during November to April, 10.30am - 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday.
It now houses a coffee shop where you can enjoy refreshments and unwind in historic surroundings. Admission to the Hall is free but donations towards its upkeep and proposed restoration are welcome.
The Hospital is now home for Artist in Residence, Iona Leishman, who uses the West Wing as a studio to paint and draw scenes from Stirling’s history including Cowane’s Hospital. If Iona is in residence you may request to see her current work.
It is also home to Purple Herb Soap, who run private workshops by appointment & also hold soap making demonstrations in the Main Hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1.15 p.m.
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.
For full details of what’s on at Cowane’s Hospital visit the website at http://www.cowanes.org.uk/home/
I f you are on holiday here in central Scotland and staying at one of our self-catering holiday cottages why not consider visiting Cowane’s Hospital to enjoy some of the history and view the hall and gardens.