Cowane's Hospital

Cowane’s Hospital sits beside the Church of the Holy Rude in the Top of the Town.

John Cowane is the man we have to thank for this Stirling landmark. Cowane was a wealthy Stirling merchant and when he died in 1633 he left 40,000 merks in his will for the creation of an almshouse/hospital for 12 older Guild Brothers, making Cowane’s Hospital the historic equivalent of a modern care home. A Guild was a legally protected group of artisans and/or merchants who wanted to trade their goods or practice their craft within a Scottish Royal Burgh like Stirling.

John Mylne IV, the Royal Master Mason, was employed to design Cowane’s, and local stone mason James Rhynd was responsible for its construction. Work started in 1637 but the building may not have been completed until 1661. In 1650 the famous statue of John Cowane was added to the façade, known as ‘auld staneybreichs’ to locals. It was created by William Ayton and John Mylne, who based the design on an earlier drawing by John Service, a mason and contemporary of John Cowane.

The building and statue were restored to their former glory between 2019 and 2021, and Stirling City Heritage Trust were proud to be able to grant fund the new John Cowane Exhibition housed in the Hospital Building. Cowane’s Hospital ​​​​​​ is now an events space and café.

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