John Cowane aka Auld Staney Breeks was a very wealthy Stirling merchant and Dean of the Merchant Guild who left funds for this almshouse and the maintenance of 13 elderly Guild members. Originally known as Cowane's Hospital, it was built beside the Church of the Holy Rude between 1637and 1649.
For many years the building was used as the Guildhall where the Merchants gathered for meetings and dinners. The Guildry fixed the prices of goods, and dominated town council affairs.
Later the building was used as a schoolhouse and a hospital during epidemics. In today's times it is once again being used for concerts,meetings and ceilidhs, but the statue of John Cowane above the entrance and the portraits of Guild Deans inside remind us of its history.
View the grandeur of the Guildhall or enjoy the sunshine beside one of Scotland’s oldest bowling greens.
It is said at midnight on Hogmanay the statue will come to life and do a little jig in forecourt before returning to his post!