Pagans and Christians

Christianity was introduced to Stirling by the Romans around AD 400 when Stirling was part of a buffer zone between the Picts to the North and the Roman Empire to the south, but before that point it is believed that people worshipped different gods including the Earth, the Sun and the Moon.

The oldest structure in Stirling is a 5-6000 year old stone row (only two stones survive today) at Randolphfield, the stones were used in Lunar observations and aligns with a Great Standstill (where the moon is at its lowest point on the horizon) every 16 years. This ancient and holy place was used for worship for millennia. Randolphfield is the front garden of Police Scotland’s Stirling HQ on the east side of St Ninian’s Road, opposite Clifford Road.

St Ninian’s Kirk, one of the oldest Christian sites in Scotland.

Travel south from Randolphfield as if you’re leaving Stirling. St Ninian’s is on Kirk Wynd and is at least 1500 years old. The original name of the church was ‘Eggles’, which derives from the Latin word ‘Eccles’ which means ecclesiastical or church. While nothing of this early church survives, the graveyard contains two 10/11th century cross slabs, though the bulk of the other stones date from the 17th century and later.

Cambuskenneth Abbey

Cambuskenneth Abbey is said to have been founded by King Kenneth MacAlpine following a victory over the Picts in AD843. The Abbey was refounded by David I in the 12th century. Legend has it that William Wallace’s arm is buried here. However, it is definitely King James III’s final resting place and Robert the Bruce held his first post-Bannockburn Parliament here. Finally in 1651 during the siege of Stirling the bell tower came under musket fire and its west side has dozens of impacts. Leave St Ninian’s, turn left and then left again at the big roundabout onto the A9 (Burghmuir Road). Take this road, past the Burghmuir Retail Park as if you’re heading for Perth. Go past the Upper Craigs roundabout and onto the next roundabout and turn right towards Causewayhead (Causewayhead Road). Keep on this road until you’re in Caueswayhead. Turn right onto the A907 and then right again towards Cambuskenneth. You can’t miss the Abbey Tower.

Old Logie Kirk

After your visit to the Abbey, why not refresh yourself at the Abbey Inn? Then, if you have time, visit Old Logie Kirk, which is another ancient place. The name Logie derives from the Latin word ‘locus’ for (holy) place and it was likely founded in late Roman period. While nothing of this early church survives, the graveyard contains two Viking hogbacks dating to around the 10/11th century AD. The bulk of the gravestones date from the 17th century, with the earliest dating to 1620. Leave Cambuskenneth and turn left onto the A907 going towards Causewayhead, turn right towards the Wallace Monument. Then turn left at the sign Logie Kirk, park in the New Kirk’s car park and walk up the hill to the old kirk.

Dunblane Cathedral

Leave Logie and go back towards Causewayhead and turn right towards Bridge of Allan. Keep going towards Dunblane, the cathedral is well signposted. Dunblane means Blane’s Dun or Fort. It was founded in the late 800s on Holmehill (right next to the cathedral) by followers of the Celtic St Blane (who died in AD 590) and was burnt down by the Vikings in AD912. As Dunblane has a cathedral it’s really a city. Entry to the cathedral is free, and it contains the best collection of medieval carved wood in Scotland. Before you go in, walk round the building and look at the odd angles and different stones that reveal the ancient history of the cathedral. Its east side is covered in hundreds of pock marks from musket balls fired at the building over the centuries. Inside the cathedral are fragments from two 1000 year old Celtic crosses.

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