One of the highlights of your walking tour of stirling is Cowane’s Hospital, located in Stirling’s old town, is a historic building with a rich history dating back to the 17th century. Here’s a brief overview of the history of Cowane’s Hospital:
Cowane’s Hospital was founded by the wealthy Stirling merchant John Cowane. He bequeathed funds in his will in 1633 to establish a hospital for the maintenance and support of elderly merchants and tradespeople in the Stirling area. Cowane’s vision was to create a charitable institution that would provide shelter and care for those in need.
Construction of the hospital began in the mid-17th century and was completed in 1639. The building is an excellent example of Scottish Renaissance architecture, featuring distinctive crow-stepped gables and a central tower. The architectural design reflects the wealth and prosperity of Stirling during this period.
Cowane’s Hospital was established as an almshouse, providing accommodation and support for elderly individuals who had worked in trade or commerce. The hospital also had a chapel, and part of its mission was to provide spiritual care for the residents. The endowment left by John Cowane ensured that the hospital could fulfill its charitable objectives.
John Cowane’s legacy extended beyond the establishment of the hospital. His endowment also funded the creation of the Cowane’s Trust, responsible for overseeing the hospital’s operations and ensuring that the funds were used for the benefit of the elderly residents.
Over the centuries, Cowane’s Hospital underwent various modifications and renovations. In the 19th century, the hospital was adapted for use as a school. In the 20th century, it served as a drill hall for the local Territorial Army.
In more recent years, efforts have been made to restore and preserve Cowane’s Hospital. Restoration projects aimed at maintaining the building’s historic character and ensuring its longevity as a significant cultural and architectural landmark in Stirling.
Today, Cowane’s Hospital stands as a well-preserved historic building and is often used for cultural events and exhibitions. The hospital and its courtyard are popular among locals and visitors alike. The Cowane’s Trust continues to play a role in the stewardship of this historic institution, ensuring that it remains a testament to Stirling’s past and an important part of the city’s heritage.
The building’s unique architecture and its connection to Stirling’s history make it a noteworthy site for anyone interested in Scottish heritage and architectural history and a must see on any walking tour of Stirling. Book your private walking tour of Stirling today