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Mar's Wark

Mar's Wark is a ruined town-house located on Castle Wynd, below Stirling Castle, opposite the top of Broad Street. It was built 1569-72 by John Erskine, the 1st Earl of Mar, who was hereditary keeper of the castle and became Regent of Scotland in 1571. Mar built himself a grand Renaissance palace, befitting his status. What remains are of two storeys, although there may originally have been three, with much of the building stone having been taken from the ruined Cambuskenneth Abbey. The facade is decorated with a string course of hewn stonework, carved armorial panels and gargoyles, and includes two octagonal towers flanking the arched entrance. It has been suggested that the building was never fully completed, with the possibility it was intended to be extended around a courtyard.

Another John Erskine, who was the 6th Earl of Mar (1675 - 1732), led the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 and, after its failure, Mar's Wark was converted into barracks. During the Second Rebellion of 1745-6 it was damaged by cannon fire and within a generation it had fallen into ruin and its stone looted for use in other buildings.

Managed by Historic Environment Scotland, the ruin is now protected through a Category-A listing owing to its historical and architectural importance. The rear of the building and its gardens are now occupied by Mars Wark Cemetery.


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