Church of the Holy Rude

Stirling, United Kingdom

The Church of the Holy Rude is the medieval parish church of Stirling. The church was founded in 1129 during the reign of David I, but earliest part of the present church dates from the 15th century. Construction on the new nave was underway by 1414, and based on the evidence of carved heraldry the vault of the nave was completed between 1440 and 1480. Work on the chancel did not commence until 1507 and completed around 1530 which was when the west tower was also extended to its current height. King James VI was crowned King of Scots in the church on 29 July 1567. Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney performed the ceremony, and John Knox preached a sermon. As such it is the second oldest building in Stirling after Stirling Castle, parts of which date from the later 14th century. The chancel and tower were added in the 16th century. In the Siege of Stirling Castle in 1651 by General Monk, during the English Civil War, the church and churchyard suffered damage from musket shots, which is still visible.

Stirling Castle has long been a favoured residence of the Scottish monarchs, and was developed as a Renaissance palace during the reigns of the later Stewart Kings. The Church of the Holy Rude, adjacent to the castle, became similarly associated with the monarchy, hosting royal baptisms and coronations. It is one of three churches still in use in Britain that have been the sites of coronations.

The church has a historic churchyard lying primarily to the west and north-west of the church. Stones date from the 16th century. The churchyard was extended in 1851, creating the fascinating Valley Cemetery to the north, divided from the old cemetery by only a path. This contains a series of statues by Alexander Handyside Ritchie to figures of the Reformation.

The old graveyard contains a unique stone with a carved depiction of body snatching, marking the theft of Mary Stevenson (1767-1822) by James McNab, the local gravedigger who had buried her two days earlier, on 16 November 1822, aided by a friend, Daniel Mitchell. The body was passed to John Forrest, for dissection. The two men were caught, but released due to legal technicalities and a riot ensued. Mary's body was reburied and the stone carved to mark the strange event.

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Details

Founded: 1414-1480
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Casey Hedlund (8 months ago)
Beautiful chapel and with great history! A volunteer gave us a great background on its history and was very engaging. A great stop before or after Stirling Castle.
Kenneth Li (9 months ago)
The Church of the Holy Rude, adjacent to Stirling Castle, witnessed the coronation of James VI as the King of Scots in 16th century when he was 13 months old. We visited during the Easter holiday, which seems to be the only time the church would open besides the summertime. Not in the grandest monumental scale, yet the tranquil ambient, beautiful architectural details and its historic significance make it a not-to-miss point in Stirling.
Angelina Henshaw (2 years ago)
I love graveyards and this was fantastic. So many ancient gravestones. Worth doing the ghost walk, as they go through the graveyard and tell some interesting stories.
Gavin Wilson (2 years ago)
Beautiful building inside and out, stunning stained glass windows and I was fortunate enough to hear the organ being played.
Steve Pennock (2 years ago)
Interesting displays about the publication of the bible. History of the building was interesting as well. Peaceful church.
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