Church of the Holy Rude

Marvel at the exquisite stained-glass windows and hear tales of coronations in this delightful church set amid views of the Stirling countryside.

The Church of the Holy Rude is an extraordinary 15th-century church in front of a winding path decorated by headstones. Among the oldest sites in Stirling, the Stewart Kings chose it to host their baptisms and coronations. Capture photos of the church with the cemetery in the foreground and the undulating fields as a backdrop.

Pick up a leaflet or guidebook with information about the church as you peruse its ornate interior. Inspect the stained-glass windows that depict Biblical figures and tales.

Walk around the cemetery and note the stones dating from the 1500s. See the exceptional stone containing an engraving of body snatching. It depicts the crime of a local gravedigger who sold a corpse for dissection. The Valley Cemetery was added in the 19th century and contains impressive statues by Alexander Handyside Ritchie.

Learn the fascinating history of this church, which played a role in several wars. It was damaged during the Siege of Stirling Castle in 1651. Note the holes still visible today from musket shots.

Attend a service and drop your toddlers off at the crèche or bring your children to the Young Church. Purchase souvenirs, cards and church relics from the gift shop at the welcome desk.

Find out about the coronation of the infant King James IV of Scotland in 1567. This is the only active church in Britain besides Westminster Abbey to have hosted a coronation. The origins of the church date back to 1129, although the oldest parts of the modern-day church are from the 1400s.

Visit the church on any day year-round from late morning until afternoon. Entrance is free, but donations are expected.

The Church of the Holy Rude is a short walk northwest of Stirling’s city center. Visit nearby attractions, such as the ruined building of Mar’s Wark and the stately mansion of Argyll’s Lodging. Climb the hill of Castle Wynd to reach Stirling Castle at the summit and enjoy the views of the town and the countryside.

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