The Bastion & Thieves Pot – Stirling, Scotland - Atlas Obscura
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The Bastion & Thieves Pot

Hidden in this modern shopping center is a relic of 16th-century capital punishment. 

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Concealed in the recesses of the Thistles Shopping Centre lies the remnants of the town’s dungeon.

Like many Scottish cities of this time period, there was a protective barrier, known as “The Burgh Wall,” that surrounded the environs. The current shopping complex just happens to have been constructed over this ancient defensive structure. Descending an iron spiral staircase, visitors will find themselves in what was once a mid-1500’s guard tower.

Visitors will also find various artifacts with written descriptions that retell the history of what was once the capital stronghold of the Scottish nation. These include a replica of “Lady Justice” that presided over the town’s Tolbooth, stockades, and royal roundels that are displayed within Stirling Castle.

Not to be missed is the Thieves Pot, which is a glass-covered hole where prisoners were kept shackled for a variety of crimes. Along with these displays is an audio commentary provided by local ghost walk performer, David Kinnaird.

During the pre-Industrial Age, minors were sent to work in the Thieves Pot extracting metals.

Know Before You Go

Located near the western entrance, along Port Street. A spiral staircase will lead you down to the display. Unfortunately, it is not wheelchair accessible.


Entry is free, but only accessible when the mall is open. Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 5:30 pm and until 8:00 pm on Thursday. Saturday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm and Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

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