Argyll’s lodging is designated the finest surviving 17th century townhouse in Scotland. Located on the upper approaches to Stirling Castle, it was built c1630 by Sir William Alexander. However, one part in the north-east corner dates from the 16th century, and it was this part that Sir William expanded to create the townhouse.
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Above the main building entrance is the coat of arms of the earl of Stirling, a position first held by Sir William Alexander. He was secretary of state for Scotland.
In the mid 1660s the building changed hands and became the property of the 9th earl of Argyll, Archibald Campbell, who extended the building. The townhouse stayed in his family for the rest of its time as a residence. Campbell was beheaded in 1681 for supporting Cromwell. His son pledged allegiance to king Charles II, and the earldom and estates were restored to the family.
Rooms in the residence include a laigh hall, dining room, drawing room, and bed chamber (with a four poster). The building was a town residence, not the family’s main home. Therefore the kitchens were not as big, but meals were still expected to reflect the owner’s status. Menus would have included beef and pork dishes: roasts, pies, and hand-made sausages. Home-baked breads, marzipan and other sweets were served, and tea and coffee were drunk. Many of the dishes served at a Scottish earl’s table were made from the best ingredients available, but it was not usually a healthy diet.
The crown came into possession of the lodging in the 19th century and used it for a barracks and a hospital. Historic Scotland became the owner of the property in 1996. Visitors see it as a 17th century nobleman’s home, its original purpose. The tapestries, furniture, and fittings are replicas of the original ones. An AV tour is offered as is an interpretative display about the inhabitants.
Stirling—on Castle Wynd (follow signs for Stirling castle)
Tel. 01786 431319
Open: daily, 9.30am-6pm, closed Dec 25, 26 and January 1, 2
Under the care of Historic Scotland; parking at Stirling castle up the hill.
Images are copyright Historic Scotland and may be used only with their permission.