infobox UK place
country = Scotland
official_name= Stirling
gaelic_name= Sruighlea
scots_name= Stirlin
population= 41,243 (2001 Census)
os_grid_reference= NS795935
unitary_scotland= Stirling
lieutenancy_scotland= Stirling and Falkirk
constituency_westminster= Stirling
constituency_scottish_parliament= Stirling
constituency_scottish_parliament1= Mid Scotland and Fife
post_town= STIRLING
postcode_district = FK7-FK9
postcode_area= FK
dial_code= 01786
latitude= 56.117222
longitude= -3.939722

static_image_caption=Stirling City Centre

Stirling (Gaelic: "Sruighlea", Scots: "Stirlin") is a city and former ancient burgh in Scotland, and is at the heart of the wider Stirling council area.

The city is clustered around a large fortress and mediæval old-town. It is a centre for local government, higher education, retail, and light industry. Its population (as of the 2001 census) was 41,243, making it the smallest city in Scotland.

One of the principal royal strongholds of the Kingdom of Scotland, Stirling was created a Royal burgh by King David I in 1130, which it remained until 1975, when the county of Stirlingshire was absorbed into Central Region. In 2002, as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, Stirling was granted city status.


Originally a Stone Age settlement, Stirling has been strategically significant since at least the Roman occupation of Britain, due to its naturally defensible Crag and tail hill, which latterly became the site of Stirling Castle, and its commanding position at the foot of the Ochil Hills on the border between the Lowlands and Highlands, at the lowest crossing point of the River Forth, a position it retained until the construction of the Kincardine Bridge during the 1930s. It is supposed that Stirling is the fortress of "Iuddeu" or "Urbs Giudi" where Oswiu of Northumbria was besieged by Penda of Mercia in 655, as recorded in Bede and contemporary annals.

A ford, and later bridge, of the River Forth at Stirling brought wealth and strategic influence, as did its port. The town was chartered as a royal burgh by King David in the 12th century, with charters later reaffirmed by later monarchs (the town then referred to as Strivelyn). Major battles during the Wars of Scottish Independence took place at the Stirling Bridge in 1297 and at the nearby village of Bannockburn in 1314, as well as several Sieges of Stirling Castle.

The origin of the name Stirling is uncertain, but folk etymology suggests that it originates in either a Scots or Gaelic term meaning the place of battle, struggle or strife. The town has two Latin mottoes, which appeared on the earliest burgh seal of which an impression of 1296 is on record: [RM Urquhart, "Scottish Burgh and County Heraldry", London, 1973]

:"Hic Armis Bruti Scoti Stant Hic Cruce Tuti" ("The Britons stand by force of arms, The Scots are by this cross preserved from harms") and:"Continet Hoc in Se Nemus et Castrum Strivilinse" ("The Castle and Wood of Stirling town are in the compass of this seal set down.")Standing near the castle, the Church of the Holy Rood (Holy Cross) is one of the town's most historically important buildings. The Church of the Holy Rude, which was rebuilt in the 1400s after Stirling suffered a catastrophic fire in 1405, is the only surviving church in the United Kingdom apart from Westminster Abbey, to have held a coronation. On the 29 July 1567 the infant son of Mary Queen of Scots was crowned James VI of Scotland here. Musket shot marks from Cromwell's troops during the War of the Three Kingdoms are clearly visible on the tower and apse. Another important historical religious site in the area is Cambuskenneth Abbey.

During the War of the Three Kingdoms, the Battle of Stirling also took place in the centre of Stirling on 12 September 1648.

The fortifications continued to play a strategic military role during the 18th century Jacobite Risings. In 1715, the Earl of Mar failed to take control of the castle. In January 1746, the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie seized control of the town but failed to take the Castle. On their consequent retreat northwards, they blew up the church of St. Ninians where they had been storing munitions; only the tower survived and can be seen to this day.

Economically, the city's port supported overseas trade, including tea trade with India and timber trade with the Baltic. The coming of the railways in 1848 started the decline of the river trade, not least because a railway bridge downstream restricted access for shipping. By the mid 20th century the port had ceased to operate.

Famous residents have included Mary Queen of Scots, King James VI of Scotland, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, documentary film pioneer John Grierson, film music composer Muir Mathieson, animation pioneer Norman McLaren, TV presenter Kirsty Young and footballer Billy Bremner (captain of Leeds United and Scotland).

The Barnwell brothers, Frank and Harold, worked at Grampian Motors in Causewayhead, and in 1909 they designed and flew the first powered flight in Scotland. Frank Barnwell went on to design aircraft including the Bristol Blenheim. A small monument to the brothers' pioneering achievement has been erected at Causewayhead roundabout.

Stirling is also famous for its many hauntings, like the Green Lady of the Castle, seen by many a Soldier and "The Settle Inn" near the Castle which is one of the most haunted places in Scotland. Other haunted pubs include "The Golden Lion" and "The Albion Bar" - named after the local football team Stirling Albion.


In terms of local government, the city of Stirling is a part of the wider Stirling Council area, which governs on matters of local administration as set out by the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994. Elections to the council take place every 4 years. The Council is currently controlled by the Scottish National Party. [cite web|publisher=Stirling Council|title =SNP take control of Stirling Council| url = | date = 2008-03-13| accessdate = 2008-03-28 ] The Provost of Stirling is Fergus Wood. [cite web|publisher=BBC News|title =Council votes to remove provost| url = | date = 2008-03-28| accessdate = 2008-03-28 ]

In terms of national government, there is a Stirling constituency of the Scottish Parliament with the MSP being Bruce Crawford of the Scottish National Party and a Stirling constituency of the House of Commons represented by Anne McGuire of the Labour Party. As Scotland comprises a single European Parliament Constituency, Stirling participates in electing 7 MEP's using the d'Hondt method of proportional representation every 4 years.


Stirling is renowned as the "Gateway to the Highlands" and is generally regarded as occupying a strategic position at the point where the flatter largely undulating Scottish Lowlands meet the rugged slopes of the Highlands along the Highland Boundary Fault. The starkness of this contrast is evidenced by the many hills and mountains of the lower Highlands such as Ben Vorlich and Ben Ledi which can be seen to the northwest of the city. On the other hand, the Carse of Stirling, stretching to the west and east of the city, is one of the flattest and most agriculturally productive expanses of land in the whole of Scotland.

The land surrounding Stirling has been most affected by glacial erosion and deposition. The city itself has grown up around its castle which stands atop an ancient Quartz-dolerite Sill, a major defensive position, which was, in turn at the lowest crossing point on the River Forth. Stirling stands on the Forth at the point where the river widens and becomes tidal. To the east of the city the Ochil Hills dominate the skyline with the highest peaks in the range being Dumyat and Ben Cleuch. The Ochils meet the flat floodplain or Carse of the River Forth to the east of the distinctive geographical feature - Abbey Craig, a crag and tail hill upon which stands the 220ft (67m) high Wallace National Monument ["Gazetteer for Scotland" [ Abbey Craig] ] .

The climate of Stirling differs little from that of much of the rest of central Scotland. The warm, Gulf Stream air current from the Atlantic Ocean is the predominant influence, with a prevailing southwesterly wind.

Areas of Stirling

Top of the Town

Top of the Town and consists of Broad Street, Castle Wynd, Ballengeich Pass, Lower Castle Hill Road, and St Mary's Walk. These streets all lead up to Stirling Castle and are the favourite haunt of tourists who stop off at the old town jail, Argyll's Lodgings and the castle. Ballengeich Pass leads to the graveyard at Ballengeich and the Castle Wynd winds past the old graveyard. The Top of the Town from Broad Street upwards is renowned for its unique cobblestoned roads, and cars can be heard rattling over the cobblestones on the way down. Craft shops and tourist focused shops are evident on the way up and once at the top one is treated to a panoramic view of Stirling, without having to pay to get into the castle.

Other areas

* Bannockburn
* Braehead
* Broomridge
* Cambusbarron
* Cambuskenneth
* Causewayhead
* Cornton
* Cowie
* Fallin
* Kings Park
* Raploch
* Riverside
* St. Ninians
* Torbrex


The city of Stirling had a population of 41,243 at the 2001 census, which has risen to 44,460 according to mid-2004 population estimates. ["Settlement Population Estimates 2004" [ General Register Office for Scotland, 2004] ] The wider Stirling Council area had a population of 86,370 in 2004. The city is reputed to be the third fastest growing area of Scotland in terms of population. ["Stirling Council City Profile" [ Stirling Profile] ] According to the 2001 census, 52.7% of the population was female compared to 47.2% male. Stirling had both a smaller proportion of under 16's, at 16.7% compared to the Scottish average of 19.2% and a smaller proportion of those of pensionable age - 17.8% - compared to the Scottish average of 18.6%. [cite web
title=Browser Population||accessdate=2008-08-12
] The highest proportion of the population, at 24.3% was concentrated in the 16-29 age group. Stirling also had a higher proportion of non-Scottish born residents at 16.5% compared to the Scottish average of 12.8%. The population was also slightly younger than the Scottish average - the median age for males was 34 to the national average of 37; and the median age for females was 36, to the national average of 39. The population peaks and troughs significantly when the students come and go from the city.


At the centre of a large rural agricultural hinterland that encompasses some of the flattest and most productive land in Scotland, Stirling principally functioned as a market town, symbolised by its Mercat cross, with farmers coming to sell their products and wares in the large agricultural market that was held in the town. Today, agriculture still plays a part in the economic life of Stirling, given its focus at the heart of a large rural area, but to a much less extent than previously.

With Stirling's development as a market town and its location as the focus of transport and communications in the region, it has developed a substantial retail sector serving a wide range of surrounding communities as well as the city itself. Primarily centred on the city centre, there are a large number of chain stores, as well as the Thistles shopping centre. However this has been augmented by out-of-town developments such as the Springkerse Retail Park on the city bypass to the east of Stirling, and the development of a large Sainsbury's at the Raploch.

A major new regeneration project on the site of the former port area and the 40-acre former Ministry of Defence site, adjacent to Stirling Railway Station, is currently underway. [ [ Stirling Council: Council » Latest News ] ] Known as Forthside, it has the aim of developing a new waterfront district linked to the railway station via a new pedestrian bridge, the development comprises retail, residential and commercial elements, including a conference centre, hotel and Vue multiplex cinema, that will ultimately expand the city centre area, linking it to the River Forth, which has been cut off from the city centre area since the construction of the A9 bypass under the railway station in the 1960s. [ [ InStirling report on Forthside project] ] For the first time in 100 years, local people will have access to the banks of the River Forth in the city centre with landscaped public areas, footpaths, cycleways and an improved public transport network.

In terms of the service sector, financial services as well as tourism are the biggest employers. The financial services and insurance company Prudential have a large and well-established base at Craigforth on the outskirts of Stirling. In terms of tourism, the presence of such historical monuments as Stirling Castle, the National Wallace Monument and other nearby attractions like Blair Drummond Safari Park, the key role which Stirling has played in Scottish history, as well as the scenery of the area, has bolstered Stirling's position as an important tourist destination in Scotland.

The University of Stirling and Stirling Council are two of the biggest employers in the area. Knowledge related industries, research and development as well as life sciences have clustered around the university in the Stirling University Innovation Park, close to its main campus. Other public sector agencies that are major employers in the city include Central Scotland Police, Scottish Prison Service, NHS Forth Valley and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Stirling is home to national construction companies Ogilvie group, chaired by Duncan Ogilvie who is listed the times rich list claiming he is worth £35 million. And home to Fes group (Forth Electrical Services)


Public Transport to districts within the city and to the surrounding towns, like Bridge of Allan and Alloa, is almost completely provided by buses operated principally by the First Group, although there are also railway links to Bridge of Allan, Dunblane, and, since 2008, Alloa. At the heart of Scotland's Central Belt, Stirling has direct road connections to the major cities of Glasgow, via the M80 motorway, and Edinburgh, via the M9 motorway, as well as inter-city rail links from Stirling Railway Station. Transport infrastructure in the area will be further improved with the completion of the Upper Forth Crossing and the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail link, as well as a planned upgrade of the A80 Trunk road to Motorway standards. The City of Stirling is home to a large number of commuters, with 12,000 residents commuting to work in other areas, with 13,800 workers also travelling in to the city. ["Stirling Council, Property and the economy" [ Keeping an eye on your business] ]

ports and Recreation


ClubSport Stirling is the area's voice for sports clubs and is managed by volunteers from its affiliated sports clubs. [cite web| accessdate = 2008-08-26|publisher=Stirling Sports Council|title=ClubSport Stirling sports development promotion Scotland UK |url = ] It was one of the first in Scotland to set up a Charter status which is only granted after certain criteria has been fulfilled. This Charter Status promotes good practice including structure, aims and a safe environment to coach in. Charter Status is awarded at ClubSport Stirling's annual awards ceremony which is held during November in the Albert Halls.

Local sporting teams include the football team Stirling Albion F.C. who play at Forthbank Stadium, the rugby union team Stirling County and the athletics team Central Athletic Club based at University of Stirling. Stirling Wanderers Hockey Club have also moved to a brand new (international standard) pitch at Forthbank for season 2008/09. [cite web| accessdate = 2008-08-26|publisher=Stirling Wanderers|title=Stirling Wanderers Hockey club: The website for field hockey in Stirlingshire |url = ]

Footballers Billy Bremner and Duncan Ferguson were born in Stirling, as were rugby internationals Kenny Logan,Allister Hogg and Alison McGrandles, jockey Willie Carson, and cricketer Dougie Brown.

Stirling is also a major centre of sports training and education in Scotland. The Scottish Institute of Sport is headquartered in a purpose built facility on the campus of Stirling University which opened in 2002. Also at the university in the state of the art Scottish National Swimming Academy as well as the Gannochy National Tennis centre which is seen as a tennis centre of excellence [cite web| accessdate = 2008-08-26|publisher=sportscotland|title=sportscotland serves communities with Lottery funding |url = |date=2004-08-14 ] .

Furthermore the university itself has its own dedicated Sports Studies department and was ranked amongst the best in the United Kingdom for its provision of sports facilities, with the maximum 5 star award, shared by 16 other universities in the UK [ "Stirling University" [ External Visitor Information] ] . Stirling University also currently hosts the Scottish men's lacrosse champions.

Stirling and its surrounding area has a number of 9 and 18 hole golf courses, the largest of which is the Stirling Golf Course, located in the Kings Park area of the city.

Closure of Rainbow Slides

On 25 January 2008, it was announced that Stirling Council had decided to close the city's swimming pool, Rainbow Slides, permanently with the loss of 33 jobs. [ [ BBC NEWS | Scotland | Tayside and Central | Swimming pool to close for good ] ] Stirling councillors decided to shut the city's Rainbow Slides, built in 1975, because repair costs were too high. Metal slats from the facility's roof fell into the water in December as the pool was being used by swimmers [ [ BBC NEWS | Scotland | Tayside and Central | Pool closed after roof collapses ] ] . No-one was injured in the incident.

The pool closed for good on 29 February. A new public pool is due to open at the city's Forthside development in March 2009. The decision to close the facility has proved controversial as it leaves the city without a public pool for more than a year.


The University of Stirling opened in 1967 on a greenfield site outside the town. Currently there are 9000 students studying at the university, of which 7000 are undergraduates and 2000 are postgraduates. Students of over 80 nationalities are represented at the university, with 14% of students coming from overseas ["Visitor Information - Useful facts and figures" [ Stirling University Facts and Figures] ] . It has grown into a major research centre, with a large science park - Innovation Park, located immediately adjacent to the main university campus. Innovation Park has grown since its initiation in 1993, and is now home to 40 companies engaging in various forms of research and development ["Stirling University Innovation Park" [ About us] ] . In January 2008 it was announced that Students from Singapore would be able to gain degrees in retail from the University of Stirling in a tie-up with the country's Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP). [cite web| accessdate = 2008-08-26|publisher=The Scotsman |title=Stirling in degree deal with Singapore polytechnic |url = |date=2008-01-21 ]

Stirling is also home to part of the wider Forth Valley College which was formed on 1 August 2005 from the merger of Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannan colleges.

There are four main high schools in Stirling itself - Stirling High School, with a school roll of 940 pupils, Wallace High School with 950 pupils, St Modan's High School, and Bannockburn High School in Broomridge. All the city's secondary school premises have been redeveloped as a result of a Public-private partnership scheme.

Twinned cities

*flagicon|France Villeneuve d'Ascq, France
*flagicon|United States Dunedin, Florida, United States
*flagicon|Hungary Óbuda, Hungary
*flagicon|Canada Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada


ee also

*Stirling Castle
*Battle of Stirling Bridge
*Battle of Stirling (1648)
*Central Scotland Police

External links

* [ Stirling Council Website]
* [ Stirling Castle] (Historic Scotland)
* [ Mapping the Town] : the history of Stirling, presented by Julian Richards (BBC Radio 4) (RealAudio format)
* [ University of Stirling]
* [ Photos of Stirling]
* [ More photos of Stirling] - Taken by Stuart Gillespie, Pastor of Calvary Chapel Stirling
* [ Cambusbarron Village] - Local website with lots of information about the village and the Stirling area
* [ Stirling Chinese Community] - Stirling Chinese Community
* [ Stirling Gaelic Choir]
* [ Tolbooth, Stirling's venue for live music]

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