Mar’s Wark was the town house of John Erskine, Earl of Mar and Keeper of Stirling Castle. The house is situated on the approach to the castle at the head of the old town in one of the most prominent sites in the burgh. Today the remains of the house, which are wonderfully embellished with figurative carvings, allow a glimpse into a lost world and the ideas of the stonemasons who created them. In 1733 Stirling Town Council approached the Erskine family with a view to turning Mar’s Wark into a workhouse but during the Rising of 1745, the house was occupied by the Jacobite troops leading to considerable damage to the building. Mar’s Wark was eventually left to decline into ruin and the Town Council tried to have the building demolished on grounds of vagrancy. Fortunately the plan was never enacted and today visitors to Stirling can still see the remains of this fabulous building.
Church of the Holy Rude
The Church of the Holy Rude (meaning Holy Cross) is the second oldest building in Stirling after the castle, founded in 1129 during the reign of David I as the parish church of Stirling. The original church was destroyed, along with much of Stirling, by a fire in March 1405. Shortly afterwards a grant was made by the Lord Chamberlain of Scotland to have a new church built. The Nave, South Aisle with rounded Scots pillars, Gothic arches and original oak-timbered roof and the Tower were completed about 1414. Tradition says that King James IV may have helped masons build the later eastern end during the early 16th century. Because of its close links with the castle, the church always had the support and patronage of the Stewart monarchs and many important events in Scotland’s history took place here including the coronations of James IV and James VI. It is reputed to be the only church in the United Kingdom, other than Westminster Abbey, to have held a coronation and still be a living church today.
This beautiful and historical building is open to the public free of charge during April-October with foreign language interpretation available.
For more information visit www.holyrude.org
Old Town Jail
Located in the heart of the city’s historic old town, the city’s famous prison offers an authentic experience that demonstrates how the Victorians made sure that crime didn’t pay! Visitors will meet many characters along the way including the prison warden, the Victorian reformer, Stirling’s notorious hangman, and the convict determined to escape. A memorable experience not for the faint-hearted!
The Old Town Jail is opened April-October each year. For information visit www.oldtownjail.com.
Located in the heart of the old town, the Tolbooth is Stirling's venue for live music and the arts. Re-opened in 2002, after a sensational restoration and redesign by award winning architect Richard Murphy, it has quickly established a reputation as one of the best live music venues in the country. The Tolbooth has always been a feature of Stirling's cultural life and has been a court, jail and even hosted a parliament in the reign of James VI. Today it is the base for Stirling Council's Arts and Events Team and the home to some of the best musicians and performers working in Scotland.
For more information visit www.stirling.gov.uk/tolbooth.