According to legends, Stirling, once the seat of power in ancient Scotland, was under threat from encroaching Danish Vikings. These Norsemen were in the process of ambushing this sleepy Celtic village along the River Forth, when one of the soldiers accidentally stepped on the paw of a sleeping wolf cub. The pup yelped alerting its mother who howled for her mate. This commotion was enough to wake the town and prevent a hostile takeover.
The validity of this tale is debatable as there are similar stories in Brittany, Cornwall, and Edinburgh. However, this did not prevent the town from embracing this legend by incorporating an image of a wolf into the city seal and the Mercat Cross on Broad Street. Several other buildings around modern-day Stirling contain an image of a wolf.
One structure that proudly showcases the fable of the wolf is located on Port Street, just opposite of what was once Burgh Gate, a walled defense that protected the city.
In 1897, architect John Allan constructed a building to house a grocery store for local merchants Macfarlane and Robertson. On the first floor, visitors can find the relief of the wolf with the words: “Here in auld days, The wolf roam’d, In the hole of a rock, In ambush lay.”
Know Before You Go
Visible and accessible at all times of the day. Located at the intersection of Port Street and Dumbarton Street, above what is now a restaurant.