The approach to Stirling is impressive with this incredible view of Stirling Castle (more of the castle in a future post) perched on top of the cliff. Its position was important in the line of defence and the town was granted a Royal Charter in the 12th century. It was witness to battles against the English during the Wars of Independence, including The Battle of Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn.
Once the newer could-be-in-any-town/city area has been navigated, you reach the old, medieval part of the city, the heart of which thankfully still survives today. Its narrower, ascending streets eventually lead up to the castle, passing buildings such as the Church of the Holy Rude where Mary, Queen of Scots worshipped, King James VI was crowned and John Knox was a regular preacher….
And the Old Town Jail which was opened in 1847. Unfortunately, it was closed so we were unable to experience what it might have been like to be imprisoned in the 1800s.
Another historic building is John Cowane’s Hospital. It was built beside the church in the mid 1600s as an alms house for elderly Guild members. John Cowane was a wealthy merchant who was also Dean of the Merchant Guild. The building was later used as a schoolhouse and hospital. The statue you can just see in the middle of the building has a strange legend attached to it as explained on the plaque below.
The weekly market, which was held after the city was granted the right to have a Merchant Guild, was held in Broad Street. Here also criminals were pilloried and/or executed, the last of which took place in 1843.
Definitely a place that requires another visit or two, there’s so much to see.