Stirling Attractions Visit Scotland

Stirling Tolbooth and Clock Tower

The first Tolbooth built circa 1530 was demolished in 1689 and replaced by the present Tolbooth was built circa 1704 in Jail Wynd, Stirling FK8 1DE where it stands today. With extensions in 1785 and 1808 when a jail and courthouse were included. The tower was the prison for offenders prior to being hanged at the gallows outside the Tolbooth. The dead were buried under the Tolbooth and their ghost are said to haunt the building to this day.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling Tolbooth and Clock

Hardie and Baird Murdered in Stirling

In 1813 in protest at their reduced standard of living 40,000 weavers went on strike for over two months.  A dispute that only ended when the government arrested the leaders of their union and forced the men back to work.

Andrew Hardie and John Baird were tried on 4 August.  At the trial the judge advised to you Andrew Hardie and John Beard I can hold out little or no hope of mercy as you are the leaders, I’m afraid that example must be given by you. They were accordingly sentenced to death for their views and beliefs betrayed by the establishment that they had sought to reform the rest of the rebels were sentenced to be transported overseas to penal colonies in New South Wales and Tasmania.  

Public executions in Stirling were usually handled by the hangman or staff man as he was known. Previously in the 17th-century executions took place at the mailing gallows where the black boy fountain now stands.  On this occasion such was the public feeling for the two condemned men officials were brought in secret from Glasgow to Stirling to undertake their grisly work. Two men were required one hangman and one decapitated.  Baird and Hardie were executed on eight September at Stirling in front of a crowd of 2000 people.

Brave to the last, both men gave short speeches on the scaffold, Baird ended his speech ‘although this day we die in ignominious death by unjust laws our blood which in very few minutes shall fall on the scaffold will cry to heaven for vengeance and may yet be the means of our afflicted countrymen’s speedy redemption’. Hardy then spoke of ‘our blood shed on the scaffold for no other sin but seeking the legitimate rights of our ill-used and down trodden beloved countrymen’ then when the sheriff angrily intervened he concluded by asking those present ‘go quietly home and read your Bibles and remember the fate of Hardie and Baird’. They were then hanged and after a will on the scaffold cut down to be beheaded by the decapitator.

The following description of the execution was written by local, Sgt Thomas Lucas whose diaries are held in the council archives.

‘The execution of Baird and Hardie took place before the broad stair on the townhouse between the hours of two and 3pm, they were drawn on a huddle from the castle to the place of execution, guarded by a strong guard of horse and foot and attended by three established clergy. They both addressed to the spectators and declared that they were murdered for the cause of justice truth and liberty. The crowd shouted out ‘Murder’. After hanging 35 minutes a fellow in disguise severed their heads from their bodies in a very bungling an awkward manner, by several strokes with an axe to each of them. The hangman Headsman Hurdleman hurdle and the horse were all from Glasgow.  Their corpses were put into coffins and carried into prison and about 9 o’clock the same evening they were interred in the churchyard, a military guard placed over their graves, to prevent their relations from lifting their bodies, in order to bury them in their own parishes.

Both officials were gowned and masked so that their identity could not be seen by the Crowd. The robe worn and axe used by the decapitator can be seen in the Smith Museum at an art gallery today.

Tolbooth Stirling

The plaque is a memorial to John Baird and Andrew Hardie who were publicly hanged outside the Tolbooth on the 8th September 1820 for the cause of Justice and Truth. 

Tolbooth Stirling Baird and Hardie Hanging Plaque

The White House Stirling

The White House Clan & Craft Gift Shop near the entrance to Stirling Castle. The building was originally built circa 1715 for the  workers building fortifications for the castle against invaders. It is uncertain of its uses in history but has stood here for circa 300 years.  

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | The White House Stirling

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | The White House Stirling Plaque

Mar’s Wark Stirling

Mar’s Wark was an impressive mansion house built by the Regent of Scotland the Earl of Mar in 1571. The Earl died the next year and the building was never completed. The House has been a ruin since 1777 with no roof. 

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | Earl of Mar's House Walls Stirling

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | Mar's Wark Stirling Plaque

Earl of Mar’s House Ruins Stirling

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | Earl of Mar's House Walls Mars Wark Stirling

Holy Rude Stirling

The church of Holy Rude was built in 1129 and is the second oldest building in Stirling. Founded by David ! as was Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh. The meaning of “Holy Rude” is Holy Cross. In 1405 the great fire of Stirling engulf the church and most of Stirling. A new church was built in 1414 and in 1567 James IV was crowned here and this church along with Westminster Abbey are the only two in the United Kingdom that coronations have been held, still in use as Churches today.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | The Holy Rude Church Stirling

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | The Holy Rude Church Stirling

Old Stirling Jail House Stirling

The Old Town Jail was first opened in 1847 to replace the Old Tolbooth which was dubbed the worst jail in Britain. Take the Jail tour and hope there are no ghosts.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | Old Jail House

Stirling Cross Market

A Mercat Cross has stood close to the Tolbooth since it was built circa 1530 and in 1704 the present building was completed The cross was take away in 1792 and was re-erected in 1891. A Mercat (Market) Cross was the centre of the town where a market would be held and any news was proclaimed from the Cross. The Stirling people call the unicorn on the top of the cross ‘The Puggy’. The Unicorn is the only original part of the first Mercat Cross.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | Stirling Mercat Cross

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | Stirling Mercat Cross Plaque

Stirling Arms Plaque Stirling

Lettering on the plaque reads; ‘Sterlini’ (Stirling) ‘Oppidum’ (main settlement or Town) with what could be the Wolf on  top as the Library and Albert Halls both have shields with the same inscription and wolf.  

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | The Stirling Arms

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | The Stirling Arms Coat of Arms

Old Stirling Bridge Stirling

The Battle of Stirling Bridge was a battle of the First War of Scottish Independence. On 11 September 1297, the forces of Andrew Moray and William Wallace defeated an English Army of Edward I. The original bridge was a wooden structure at the narrowest point on the River Forth. The present bridge with four arches was built circa 500 years ago replacing the old wooden bridge.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | Old Stirling Bridge

Battle of Stirling Bridge Story

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland Stirling | Stirling Bridge Battle Story

On 11th September
William Wallace and
Andrew De Moray led the Scots in Victory against the English at the Battle of
Stirling Bridge. The bridge
is a modern structure with
four arches. On Wallace’s instructions a carpenter
John Wright removes pins causing the bridge to
collapse, thereby ensuring victory. Thereafter all
first born sons of the
Wright family are nick
named “Pin” until the last
of them dies in 1900.

The victory was almost unthinkable, England
had the greatest fighting machine in the known
world and could not have foreseen that a “peasant
army of spearmen” would
be any threat to them.

Battle of Stirling Bridge Date 1297

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Battle of Stirling Bridge date Stone

Robert Burns Statue Stirling

The statue of Robert Burns stands on the Dumbarton Road with Rob Roy MacGregor standing behind and the cold city wall towering over them both. It was gifted to Stirling by the Provost David Bayne. Erected in 1914 at the time the foundation stone of the Municipal building was laid. A bronze figure of Robert Burns on a granite plinth. There are also bronze plaques with three illustrations of Burns work ‘The Vision’, ‘Cottar’s Saturday Night’ and ‘Tam O’Shanter’ with Robert Burns at the plough. Robert Burns first visited Stirling in August 1787.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland |Robert Burns Stirling

Rob Roy MacGregor Statue Stirling

Rob MacGregor was born in 1671 in Glengyle in the Trossachs in sight of Ben Lomond. He fought in many battles for the Jacobite cause. He was a cattle rustler and outlaw that became an icon due to Daniel Defoe publishing the novel “Highland Rogue” in 1723, and 3 years later the book caused him to become a hero of the people and by public acclaim Rob Roy received a Royal Pardon. A redheaded Scotsman with an entrepreneurial skill turning to crime and becoming a hero. He died of old age in Balquhidder Glen in 1734.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland |  Rob Roy MacGregor Statue Stirling

Stirling Wolf Carving

The Wolf of Stirling has been its protector for over 1000 years when a band of Vikings came in the dead of night to take the town, but were chased off by a pack of Wolves. The Wolf is in the Stirling coat of arms and can be seen on the mercat cross and tolbooth as well as other buildings in Stirling. 

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | The Wolf Stirling

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | The Wolf Stirling Plaque

Claymore and Targe Stirling

The Claymore and Targe were weapons used in battle for over 300 years 14-17 hundred. A claymore is a two handed sword like the one William Wallace used. The Targe is a small round shield for the head of the Vikings.  .

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Claymore & Targe Stirling

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Claymore and Targe Stirling Plaque

Old City Wall Stirling

Stirling was the Royal Court of the Stuart’s and was a target for the English Kings. In 1547 a wall was built around the town to protect it from English invaders. There is a wall walk which gives amazing views of the countryside and Old Stirling Town. The wall is up to 8 meters high and 2 meters thick.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Old City Wall Stirling

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Old City Wall Stirling

Beheading Stone Stirling

On “Mote Hill” is the beheading Stone and cannon. This was the site of a Pictish Fort. Circa 1400 heads have rolled of the stone, most famously in 1425 Murdoch, Duke of Albany lost his head on the order of King James I.Marks that can be seen on the stone come from the Axe of the Executioner.The Stone is in a protective cage.Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Beheading Stone Hill Stirling

Auchenbowie’s House Stirling

Auchenbowie House in St. John Street, was built in by Robert Bruce of Auchenbowie as a town house. He was Provost of the burgh in 1555-56. In 1555 he built the Lairds House now Auchenbowie House at Auchenbowie, Stirling, FK7 8HE.


Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Auchenbowie's House Stirling

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Auchenbowie's House Plaque Stirling

Municipal Building Stirling

Provost David Bayne had the Municipal Building in Stirling built in 1914. The foundation stone was laid on 11th July 1914 by King George V. The building was officially opened in 1918 in March of the same year. Inside is a stain glass window of Alexander II presenting the town’s charter in 1226.

Municipal Buildings Stirling

Stirling Clock Tower

Provost David Bayne was a grocer and a member of the Stirling Town Council for 21 years. I his time he donated the clock that stands on the roundabout in 1910, when most people had no watches. This was an important part of people in Stirling’s lives. He also had the municipal building built and donated the statue of Robert Burns to the city.

William Wallace Statue Stirling

William Wallace was the peoples champion and became the guardian of Scotland in 1298. King Edward met William Wallace at Falkirk three months later and defeated him but Wallace escaped and went into hiding, where he remained till caught at Robroyston by Sir John Monteith in August 1305. Monteith a Scotsman handed him over to Edward I. William Wallace was tried for treason, which Wallace denied. He said “I have never sworn allegiance to the English king”. This did nothing for his innocence and he was executed on 23 August, where he was hung, drawn and quartered. His head was placed on London Bridge, and his limbs displayed in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling and Perth.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | William Wallace Statue Stirling

William Wallace Statue Renovated

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | William Wallace Statue Stirling

Boys Club Stirling

The building was restyled in 1929 for use by the Boys Clubs of Stirling. This was originally where the Flesh Market stood 1740 N.L.S Map Castle and town of Stirling. The Market was still present in 1860 map of Stirling.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Boys Clubs Stirling

Lord Darnley’s House Stirling

What is called Darnley’s House was the townhouse of Alexander Erskines of Gogar who was the keeper of the Keys to Stirling Castle. Alexander was removed from his post in 1578.
Previous to Erskine building a house here circa 1590 was a tavern which Darnley was known to frequent. It is more likely that Darnley had resided here as a guest. Lord Darnley born 1545 died Edinburgh 1567. Was the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots and the father of the future James VI of Scotland and I of England.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland |  Lord Darnley's House Stirling

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Lord Darnley's House Stirling Plaque

Cowane’s House Ruins Stirling

This was one of the largest houses in Stirling. Owned by the Cowane family Burgess of Stirling. 15 

John Cowane was born in St Mary’s Wynd Stirling in 1570 to a highly respected Burgess and merchant of Stirling. Supplier to the Royal Household. John work for his father until his father’s death in 1617 when he took over the business which stood in Broad Street the main area of Stirling at the time. The son John Cowane was the most powerful individual in Stirling a money lender, landlord, and held the most powerful position on the council (Chairman Dean of Guild). He was the man that also gave his wealth back to the people in the for of Cowane’s Trust. The Hospital he built has a statue of him which is known locally as ‘Old Staneybreeks’. He had a son out of wedlock who relied on his father for everything. He died in 1633.leaving everything in his trust.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | John Cowane's House Stirling

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | John Cowane's House Plaque Stirling

Cowane’s Hospital (Guild Hall) Stirling

On the Death of John Cowane in his will he left sums of money to many charities and to Holy Rude his church. His larges bequest was of 40.000 to build a hospital (Almshouse). The Hospital was built circa 1640 later a statue was added and is said to come alive at Hogmanay (to much drink me think). The statue was removed for renovations and is due back before Hogmanay 2019. Stirling’s Merchant Guild was occupants of the hospital from 1724. The Hospital was used as a Guild Hall It was used for its purpose (hospital) in 1832 during the cholera epidemic which killed around one-third of Stirling’s population. The Hospital as a historic monument is being renovated. (April 2019).

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Cowane's Hospital Stirling

Cowane’s Hospital Stirling Plaque

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Cowane's Hospital Stirling Plaque

The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum

The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum was founded in 1874. A bequest left by Thomas S Smith who died in 1869. ts original name was the Smith Institute for the people of Stirling, Dunblane and Kinbuck. Today it is a cultural centre of Stirling with a museum Art Gallery and library which is a memorial to the life and work of Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham. Thee museum covers Stirling from prehistoric times to the present. 

Wallace Monument Stirling

National Wallace Monument was built between 1861 and 1869. The Wallace Monument is a 67 metre tower with three exhibitions within the Monument. The first floor is The Hall of Arms, second floor is the Hall of Heroes the third floor is The Royal Chamber and then there is a balcony around The Crown at the top of the building with amazing views. There is a spiral staircase with 246 steps that takes you to each exhibit and to the top.

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Wallace Monument Stirling

Cambuskenneth Abbey Stirling

The Abbey at Cambuskenneth has only the bell tower that still remains standing but is well worth a visit. It is situated between Stirling Castle and the Wallace monument. Cambuskenneth Abbey was founded in 1140 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Abbey was originally named the Abbey of St Mary of Stirling or Stirling Abbey. The abbey was similar to Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh as it was close to the Castle and a road joined the abbey to the Castle. 

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | Cambuskenneth Abbey Stirling

King James III and Princess Margaret of Denmark

The Graveyard is of high importance as Margaret of Denmark wife of King James III was buried here in 1486. When James III was killed at the Battle of Sauchieburn his body was brought to the Abbey to be buried beside his wife. The tomb can be seen beside the Cambuskenneth Abbey graveyard. 

Stirling Attractions | Visit Scotland | King James III tomb with his wife Princess Margaret  of Denmark