Cowane was a very wealthy Stirling merchant and Dean of the
Merchant Guild who left funds for this alms house and the maintenance
of 13 elderly Guild members. Originally known as Cowane's Hospital,
it was built beside the church between 1637 and 1649. It was
not popular with the residents due to very strict house rules.
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.
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.