“Enjoy a stay in our traditional 17th century former coaching inn. The "Stag"(as its affectionately known by locals) is a family run hotel, situated at the water's edge of the river Forth, overlooking the ancient harbour, and nestles between the world famous Forth rail and road bridges. We are located on the towns medieval cobbled High Street and Gote Lane, which ambles down to the ancient harbour where many an artist can be seen sketching the bridges. There can be few hotels offering a more dramatic location!”
Karen Purves, the previous proprietor wrote this verse about the event
There aince wis a Stag, a prood bonny Stag, whae bided in woods yont the "Ferry"
Sae cantie wis he wi a glint in his e'e and fashes he ne'er any!
Ain day oor croose Stag cocked up his lugs on hearing a dirl frae the toonthis unco clatter-
"Mon whit kin it be?" Sae he daured tae gae cannilie doon
Dumfoonert wis he at the sichts he did see as he keeked roon the bield o the kirk
Twa naigs they were luggin a boxie on wheels an' the din wis the de'ils ain work
Inside the boxie sat maisters an' maids garbed oot in goons a' sae braw
An the maisters wi' wigs a pootert as new and waistcoats as white as the snaw
Alas, the Stag louped, the better tae see, leavin the beild o' the kirk
Alang cam' the coachman, no' thinkin, wis he o' Stags loupin o' the kirk
An' lo in the gloamin' o' that nicht yestreen, oor Stag wis felled doon on this spot
So dinnae be fashed wi noises at nicht, remember oor Stags bluidy lot
We've honoured his heid, in oor alehoose it hings,tak heed guid friends yin an' a'
Yir neebors affair are thir ain, sae tae speak, an' nebbin can come 'fore a fa'
Karen Purves MBII
(There is a translation on the website, button link 'A', at the end of this article.)
The "Stag" is reputed to be haunted by a few spirits who, on occasion make their presence known. Auld Mrs Wyld, a former proprietor and inn keeper of the 17th century, can often be heard pacing up and down the top floor.... and has been occasionally seen! While, in the cellar, "Jack", an ex cellarman, can be heard moving barrels around, and playfully switching lights on and off.
It is now the starting place for the Burry Man’s tour of the burgh since the Queensferry Arms became the Orrocco Pier.
The area behind the hotel was the site of the demolished 19th century Glenforth Distillery.
Proprietors - This is an incomplete list of past and present proprietors. The information has been taken from valuation and census rolls.
1855 - James Wylde –(valuation roll)
1877-1880 - Robert Stewart, (valuation roll) (Robert in 1877 is also proprietor of a distillery on north side of high street.)
1881-1901 - Daniel Stewart (valuation and census rolls)
1913-1925 - William Murray, (valuation Roll) widower of Jessie Robert Elder who died in Buchanan Arms Hotel, Drymen, of acute rheumatic fever, in 1910 aged 44, son also named William. William senior died in 1927 aged 67, having suffered from Parkinsons Disease for 8 years so maybe his son, William, who was living in Stag Head Cottage at time of his father’s death notification, may have taken over. Their younger son, Robert Elder Murray was killed in action in Picardy, France in August, 1918, aged 22 and is remembered on Queensferry war memorial.
1930- Staghead mentioned in Valuation roll, but Proprietor is unnamed.
It seems likely that Ian Macmillan and his wife were the proprietors during the 1960’s.
Ken and Jeanette Taylor were proprietors around 1970’s until 1984 /5
1985-2010- Karen Purves - Karen was born in Edinburgh. Her parents were also publicans managing various establishments. She came to Queensferry in 1985 to manage the pub and hotel. She was a great supporter of local charities holding fundraising events and collections at the bar. Sadly she died in 2010 aged 52.
The current proprietors are – David Steel and Michelle Johnston