Cowane’s Hospital is a 17th Century Almshouse in the historic city of Stirling and is located in the area known as Top o’ the Town, just below Stirling Castle and opposite the Church of the Holy Rude where King James VI was crowned.
It was established in 1637 with a bequest of 40,000 merks from the estate of merchant John Cowane (also referred to as Auld Staney Breeks) and is considered by Historic Scotland to be ‘a rare survival of 17th century burgh architecture and one of the finest buildings of its kind in Scotland’.
The gardens are also seen as a ‘rare survival’ of an institutional garden of the 17th century, and were included in the national inventory of gardens and designed landscapes in 2012.
In 2019 the Patrons of the Cowane’s Hospital Trust embarked on a major conservation project which is now complete. Further details regarding the specialist conservation works can be found at www.cowanes.org.uk.
Located within the building is the newly restored Guild Hall which houses the free John Cowane exhibition together with artefacts of the Guildry of Stirling who continue to hold their court meetings in the historic surroundings as they have done for several centuries.
According to local myth, people say the statue above the entrance of ‘Auld Staneybreeks’ comes to life on Hogmanay and does a jig in the courtyard. Why not join Auld Staneybreeks and undertake the ‘Cowane’s Trail’ or search for the ‘Secrets in the Stones’? Pick up a free leaflet in the Guild Hall.
The Macmillans Kitchen takeaway hatch, located at the West Wing window, offers visitors refreshments and tasty treats to enjoy in the historic Guild Hall, or on the delightful Terrace to take in the views.
Entrance to the John Cowane exhibition and gardens is free and donations towards the buildings upkeep are welcomed by the charity.
For further information regarding Cowane’s Hospital, the Cowane’s Trust & event hire please visit www.cowanes.org.uk
The Cowane’s Hospital Trust, Registered Scottish Charity SCO19364