The life of a medieval friar who was witness to a key time in Scottish history is being celebrated with a civic programme of events in Stirling this Saturday (29th February).
Friar intro

A public service is being held in his memory in the shadows of Stirling Castle, and a memorial will be unveiled which was created using stone originally quarried for the Wallace Monument.

The Friar’s remains were discovered during an archaeological dig on Stirling’s medieval Dominican Priory, which today lies under the many buildings around Goosecroft Road and Murray Place. 

Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Bannockburn

Carbon dating has pinpointed that the Goosecroft Friar, who was probably aged between 20-35-years-old, would have been alive sometime between 1271 and 1320. This means the Friar could have lived through some of the key moments from Stirling and Scotland’s past, such as the Battle of Stirling Bridge and the Battle of Bannockburn, or even rubbed shoulders with fabled historical figures William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.

The brothers of the Priory were strongly entwined with Stirling life, both preaching and tending to the needs of Stirling’s citizens. Now Stirling Council and the Friar’s present day Dominican brothers are collaborating to reinter his remains and celebrate his life with a series of civic events.

This Saturday a funeral mass will be delivered by Brothers of the Dominican Order at St Mary’s Church, starting at 11am. Thereafter, a reinternment will take place at Stirling’s Snowdon Cemetery, in the shadow of Stirling Castle. 

Stirling Provost Christine Simpson said: “Stirling has been the centre of Scotland geographically, historically and culturally for over a thousand years, but no time period is as fascinating and important to our modern Scottish identity as the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century. But for all that importance, very little physical evidence remains from that period and it is highly unusual to be able to identify a witness to these turbulent times.”

Memorial unveiling open to the public

Stirling Baillie Chris Kane said: “We are extremely grateful to the Cowane’s Trust for donating stone from a rock quarried on the Abbey Craig 150 years ago as a lasting memorial to the Friar’s service to Stirling and to Historic Environment Scotland for carving it.

“The Friar’s funeral service will also showcase Stirling Council’s pioneering Direct Funerals initiative, which offers a low cost funeral package to help manage the financial burden experienced by all families after the loss of a loved one. 

“The funeral, interment and monument unveiling are all open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend this unique programme of civic events. It would be a fitting tribute if the Stirling community turned out in force to help us give this important historical figure the send off he so truly deserves.”

Timetable

11am – A funeral mass will be delivered by Brothers of the Dominican Order at St Mary’s Church, 15 Upper Bridge Street, Stirling.

12pm – The reinternment will take place at the Snowdon Cemetery where the memorial to the Goosecroft Friar will be unveiled (Snowdon Cemetery is located between the Castle and the Church of the Holy Rude).

More information on the 2014 archaeological dig is available at here.

More information on Stirling’s Blackfriars’ is available in an article in volume 20 of the ‘Forth Naturalist and Historian’ here.