John Cowane's House

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John Cowane's House / Queen Mary's Palace

St Mary's Wynd, Stirling Old Town

The house was still inhabited in 1900 but now a ruin. Indicative of the wealth and status of a merchant of the burgh.

John Cowane, widely acknowledged as Stirling's most emminent benefactor, was born in this house around 1570. He was educated at the Burgh Grammar school in Castle Wynd. As his father and grandfather had been, Cowane eventually became a wealthy merchant. In his lifetime, he served as burgh councillor and as bailie, as a representative at the convention of Royal Burghs and as Dean of Guild. He acted as the Burgh's Member of Parliament from 1625 to 1632.

John Cowane died in October 1633 leaving a considerable personal fortune. He left 500 merks to the Church of the Holy Rude and 40 000 merks for the provision of an almshouse or hospital for twelve decayed Guild brethren of Stirling. Cowane's Hospital was built between 1637 - 49, as an almshouse for merchants. It stands close to the Holy Rude and can still be visited. There is a statue of John Cowane, nicknamed 'Staneybreeks', above the doorway. He is said to jump down from his ledge and dance every Hogmanay.


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