John Cowane's Hospital

A wealthy Stirling merchant, John Cowane played a significant part in local affairs. His roles included Dean of the Merchant Guild, Baillie, Councillor and Burgh representative. He died suddenly at the age of 63, leaving no will in his wake. However, his deathbed wishes were carried out by his brother who gave the named sum of 500 merks to the Church of the Holy Rude. More significantly, work also began on an almshouse for 13 unsuccessful merchants of 'gildbreithers'.

Built between 1637 and 1649, Cowane's Hospital replaced another building adjoining the Church of the Holy Rude. Despite the 40,000 merks bequeathed for its use, Cowane's Hospital soon became unpopular with residents for its strict rules. In any case, its actual life as a hospital was short. Cromwell's troops took it over for use as a barracks in 1651 and you can still see marks left from gun fire in the tower and gravestones. Cowane's Hospital was later used as a school house, epidemic hospital and is now used for concerts, ceilidhs and meetings. John Cowane's grave may be found in the "valley" between the Church of the Holy Rude and Stirling Castle.

Address: 49 St John Street
Postcode: FK8 1ED
Town/city or near: Stirling
County: Stirlingshire

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