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

Darren Findlay (7 months ago)
Amazingly historic, to walk in the foot steps of some of the most famous Scot’s in history is amazing. Beautiful and historic. Lovely people working there, really enjoyed chatting to them.
Matthew Fletcher (11 months ago)
Beautiful church with incredible history. Andy was so kind and knowledgeable; he offered to show us around and it made our visit so much enjoyable and meaningful. It was very peaceful, without a lot of other visitors when we went. Thank you so much for the wonderful experience!
K Elf (11 months ago)
We did not get to go into the church as they were closed, which is unfortunate. The outside is beautiful and the graveyard holds so much history in it. Being on a hilltop, the views are stunning.
Wanderers Compass Travel Blog (12 months ago)
Parish church that has been around since the 15th century. Rich with Scottish history. Gorgeous interior. Lovely wood work and stained glass. There is a small entry fee.
Faisal Madanat (14 months ago)
The Holy Rude is the medieval parish church in Sterling. The church was founded in 1129 during the reign of David I, but the earliest part of the present church dates from the 15th century. As such, it is the second oldest building in Stirling after Sterling Castle, parts of which date from the later 14th century. The chancel and tower were added in the 16th century.
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