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Tullibody Stories - scroll on down or use the links below
The Origins of the Village of Tullibody - Click on the small picture to see a larger version

According to local tradition, Tullibody was founded in the year 834AD by Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Scots. King Kenneth and his army is said to have camped on the Baingle Brae the night before he defeated the Picts and overthrew the Pictish Kingdom. It is said that when King Kenneth and his army camped there, he and his followers took an oath that they would not lay down their arms until they or their adversaries fell. After the battle, the victors returned to their camping ground and the King caused a stone to be erected where the Royal Standard then stood. It was at this time that King Kenneth is said to have founded the present village, which he called 'Tirl-bothy', said to mean 'The oath of the crofts'. The King's stone was known as 'The Stanin' Stane o' Kenneth McAlpin' . That stone was removed, by persons presently unknown, about 1805. The stone stood about 100 yards east from the point where the low and high roads branch off at the Ditch Loan. King Kenneth is thought to have founded the present village a little to the east of his Stone, probably around the area of the Auld Kirk..

History tells us that by about 900AD the four main peoples - the Picts (the original inhabitants), the Dál Riata (Scots or Gaels), the Britons and the Angles, who lived in what we today call Scotland, were united in one Kingdom called Alba (pronounced Alapa), which later came to be called Scotland. The man historians credit with the creation of this kingdom, is the new kingdom's first king, Kenneth MacAlpin, Cinaed mac Ailpin, who rose to prominence in about 842 AD. Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Scots and Picts, Ard-righ Albainn, died at Forteviot and was laid to rest on Iona in 860 AD. The Picts and Scots had been united under other Kings before King Kenneth, but it is King Kenneth who is credited with creating a Kingdom, and a dynasty, both of which survived his death. King Kenneth's original kingdom of Alba lay north of the Forth and Clyde. Alba is still the Gaelic name for Scotland today.


The original village or 'clachan' of Tullibody, which King Kenneth is said to have founded, lay round about the Auld Kirk and the Priest's Well in the present graveyard. The picture shows the marker for that well in May 2001. The old village was demolished in 1805 by the Abercrombies, who owned the whole place then, and a new 'improved' village built to the south of it around the present-day Tron court. It was about that time that the 'The Stanin' Stane o' Kenneth McAlpin' disapeared. Much of this 'new' village was mostly demolished in the 1960s, when the present day Main Street and Tron Court were built



In the War Memorial at Tullibody - In 1920, a large boulder, known as 'Samson's Button' or the 'Haer Stane', was used as a base, into which was plugged a replica of 'The Stanin' Stane o' Kenneth McAlpin'. The cross is of granite and stands 10ft 6 inches in height. - The 'Haer Stane' is listed by the Royal Commission of Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland as one of Scotland's Ancient Monuments. It is said to be lying exactly where it was dropped by a glacier over 10,000 years ago. It was chosen as the War memorial - in memory of the 27 local men who fell in the Great War (1914-18) - because it lay half way between the two villages from which they came - (Cambus and Tullibody). It is said that the Haer Stane used to be surrounded by a ring of about 60 rough, methodically arranged, upright stones each about two or three feet high. Such a stone circle would date from before 800 AD.


A large stone in a field on the campus of Stirling University, in what was the grounds of Airthrey Castle, marks what is said to be the actual site of King Kenneth McAlpin's battle with the Picts. The stone is over eight feet in height. Sir Robert Abercromby bought Airthrey Castle in 1796, and Airthrey Castle subsequently succeeded Tullibody House as the Abercromby Seat. Did the Abercrombies take 'The Stanin' Stane o' Kenneth McAlpin' with them when they moved to their new house? Is this it? The hills in the background are the Ochils.

Other sources say that like most of the names in Clackmannanshire, the name Tullibody comes from the Gaelic and is descriptive, from - tulach - meaning a knoll or hillock and both or bothy meaning a cottage or hut, so that the name perhaps means the small hill with huts on it. Tullibody may be far older than 834 AD. People have lived in this area for many thousands of years. Testimony to this is the midden of seashells, mostly oyster shells, which date back to 4470-4158 BC, recently found on nearby Braehead Golf Course. These shells were left there by Hunter-Gatherers who lived there then. Also, the old local place name of 'Banchory' is thought to be derived from 'Bangor' (Irish and Welsh) and indicates that in early times Tullibody may have been a place where religious education was carried on with a view to training the Celtic monks who went out to the country round about to evangelise the people. The village has various names in old records, as Tullibothy, Tullebotheuin, Tullibodeuin, and Dumbodenum.
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SAINTS - The present-day Tullibody Parish Church is dedicated to St. Serf. The ruined Tullibody Auld Kirk (old Church) was originally dedicated, pre-reformation, to St. Mungo. The first day of July is St. Serf's Day. St. Serf presents a legendary, even mythical figure, and stories associated with him may refer to more than one person. St. Serf is credited with conquering the local religion of Manau (a sea God) and setting up Churches in the Ochils area sometime between 400 and 700 AD. Manau is the old name for the district around Clackmannan - see below. St. Serf is said to have slain a dragon at Dunning and performed various miracles. He also made prophecies. His travelling companion was a ram. One story has it that St. Serf was ordained in the 5th century by St. Palladius at Culross. St. Serf is said by some to have actually founded the monastery at Culross in the 5th century. St. Serf, also known as Servanus, is also said to have occupied a hermitage at Culross, and after many wanderings to have died there. According to another story, St. Serf (also known as St. Servius) taught the Faith to St. Mungo (also known as St. Kentigern) at Culross. Mungo means 'dear one' and Kentigern means 'chief lord'. St. Mungo is said to have been born at Culross. Saint Mungo (or Kentigern) died on 13th January 603 and he is remembered on this day each year by a service in Glasgow Cathedral, where his tomb was once a place of pilgrimage. Both St. Serf and St. Mungo are also said to have owed their knowledge of Christianity to St. Ninian - 'the Apostle of the Southern Picts'. St. Ninian (whose real name may have been Uinniau) was born in Galloway, in Southwest Scotland. He was the son of a Chieftain. St. Ninian studied divinity at Rome. The Pope made him a Bishop, but his real master was St. Martin, Bishop of Tours. St Ninian (or Uinniau) lived from 360 to 432 AD. In 731 AD, Bede, a Northumberland historian, wrote in his Historia Ecclesiastica that St Ninian was the first named Christian in Scotland.
.....In any case, it seems that Kentigern was born of royal Gododdin blood and conceived in or around Traprain Law - but not legitimately. His illicititly fornicating mother, Princess Thenu, was condemned to be thrown off the cliffs of the Law as punishment handed down by her pagan father. But after prayers to the Virgin Mary, presumably for a soft landing, she was cast adrift in a coracle in the Firth of Forth. After having fetched up at Culross, the seaside sanctuary of St. Serf, Kentigern was born. - from page 89 of 'The Faded Map' - 'Lost Kingdoms of Scotland' by Alistair Moffat

MANAU - The picture shows the Stone of Mannan or Manau, a whinstone boulder three foot long by two feet, which to this day occupies pride of place in the main street of Clackmannan. Clach na Manau is the Gaelic version of the original name for the Stone of Manau, the core of an ancient Kingdom and the derivation of the name Clackmannan. The Stone of Manau is perched on top of a monolithic plinth, which was dragged from the Abbey Craig near Stirling in 1833. Although locals dispute how long the stone of Manua was at its previous location, near Clackmannan, on the 'Look Aboot Ye Brae', by the nearby River Forth, legend has it that the Stone has played a roll in the community since pagan times, when it was worshipped for supposedly containing the spirit of Manau, a Celtic God of the sea and fertility. Even today, locals joke that the stone continues to confer virility on local men and fertility on local women. Manau is the old name for the whole district around Clackmannan.
Click on the small picture to see the larger version

The Vikings - In c. 877 AD, the Scottish King Constantine II (son of Kenneth MacAlpin) had a battle with Danish Vikings at ‘Dolair’. The Danes won, many of the Scots were slain and the rest were pursued into Fife, where Constantine was killed -
Tullibody in the 12th Century

In the middle of the twelfth century Tullibody was a well-endowed living in the gift of a family of Makbeth. The incumbent was Hugh of Rokesburgh, who was secretary to Nicolis the Chancellor of Scotland. We learn from Bishop Keith that he was appointed Bishop of Glasgow in 1199.
Click on any of the small pictures to see a larger version

The Auld Kirk - 10th March 2007

Above - Pictures of Tullibody Auld Kirk - (Old Church). The Auld Kirk has been roofless since 1917, but there has been a church on this site since at least 1147, when King David I granted the lands and Inches (islands) of Tullibody to Cambus Kenneth Abbey. The present ruins are 16th century. The original clachan (or village) probably existed around the Auld Kirk until about 1805. More than likely, the original Clachan stood around the Priests Well (capped in 1905) a few yards to the East of the Auld Kirk, in the New Graveyard..

In 1147, David I, King of Scots,(1124-1153) the 'sair sanct for the croun,' built the noble Abbey of Cambuskenneth, known at first as the Church of St. Mary at Stirling. To this Abbey the king was generous in his gifts, and in a document of a liberal character we find this reference to Tullibody: - 'In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. I, David, by the grace of God King of the Scots, with the assent of Henry, my son, and the confirmation and witness of the bishops, earls, and barons of my kingdom, grant to the church of St. Mary at Striveling, and to the canons regularly living in it, those subjects undernoted, and I confirm it in perpetual peace. These, then, are what I grant o the foresaid church ... also the land of Dunbodeuin (Tullibody), which is between the water of that land (Colling) and the land of Lochin ... and the island which is between Polmasse and Dunbodeuin.'
It was customary for the monasteries, while drawing the tithes or teinds, to supply resident vicars or to send a monk when occasion required. The grant of these lands seems, however, not to have carried the church with it. The patronage still remained in the hands of the Makbeth family. But in 1170 we find Simon, son of Makbeth, making a grant of the Church to the Canons of Cambuskenneth, merely stipulating that these should enter upon possession 'after the death of Hugh de Rokesburgh'. And the further donation of the advowson runs as follows - 'Simon, son of Makbeth, to all their men and friends, and to all the children of holy mother Church, health. Let all now and in time to come know that I have given and granted, and by this my charter have confirmed, to God and the Church of St. Mary at Cambuskenneth, and to the canons serving God there after the decease of Hugh of Rokesburgh, the Clerk of the Chancellor, the Church of Tullibody, in free and perpetual alms, for the salvation of my soul, and the souls of my progenitors and successors, to be held as freely and peaceably, fully, and honourably, with the lands and teinds, and all rights pertaining to it, as they hold more freely, peaceably, fully and honourably, their other alms. At Stirling, 1170 AD' Thus Tullibody became a vicarage of Cambuskenneth, and was served by the clergy of that place.
The grant of the church was confirmed by Laurence, Bishop of nearby Dunblane and by Pope Innocent. The confirmation by the Pope in 1207 runs - 'Innocent, bishop servant of the servants of God to his beloved children the abbot and canons of St. Mary at Cambus Kenneth health and the Apostolic blessing. I confirm the grant of... the church of Tulybotheuin with all its possessions and pertinents, Tulybotheuin and the island which is called Redinche lying between Tulybotheuin and Polmase...'
There is an entry in the Acta Auditarum dated 9th August 1471, of an action raised by Henry, Abbot of Cambuskenneth, and his convent, against Alexander Seton, 'anent the spoilation of the fruits and lands of the Kirk of Tullibody, taken up by the said Alexander as farmer to Dean Thomas Mellon, Canon of Cambuskenneth, belonging to the abbot.'


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The Myretoun Maid

On the north side of Tullibody Auld Kirk, in the graveyard, lie the remains of a stone coffin known as the 'Maiden Stone'. Sometime around 1450, in the reign of King James II, the priest of Tullibody, Peter Beaton, is said to have got the Myretoun Maid, Martha Wishart, pregnant. Martha was the daughter of the Laird of Myretoun. The priest, after completely winning the damsels affections, proved insincere. He is said to have been lured by the prospect of ecclesiastical advancement and broken his vows to the maid. The maid died of a broken heart because of the affair. On her death-bed she gave instructions that her body be placed in a raised stone coffin by the north door of the church, so that the site of it might shame her betrayer as he went to and from Mass. The priest is said to have caused the north door of the Church to be built up, and the present south door opened out, so that he might not have to pass her grave. The priest is said to have been shunned by everybody, eventually went mad and died a maniac.

On the North side of the Auld Kirk is the Maiden Stone, the stone coffin in which the Maid was laid to rest. - January 2, 2005
Looking approximately North from the Maiden Stone towards the present St. Serf's Parish Church. The Ochils hill behind the left-hand end of the parish church is the Myretoun hill. The present day Myretoun farm lies at its foot. Balquarn Glen is the Ochils Glen seen behind the right-hand end of the church.The hills are just over 1 mile behind the Church. - 31 August 2005
Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - The single remaining stone which covered the stone coffin known as the 'maiden stone' has recently been pushed out of position.
- Click on the small picture to see the larger version (800x600 pixels)

As an old ballad says - "In solid stone - a lasting tomb, / Not buried in earth's mouldy womb, /But placed above, and at the door / Which opened to the sacred floor /That every time the priest went there, /To offer his unhallowed prayer, / His eye might rest, his foot might tread, /On injured Martha's lowly bed ......." Another poem from a different source - "When the sun shone bright in the noontide sky, / Fair Martha's image met his eye, / Her spirit stood in the hallowed door, /And cried 'thou must enter here no more'; / Thus frantic, shunned and shunning men, /He, a maniac, died in the dim wood glen." - The reference to a 'dim wood glen' may refer to a story that the lovers are said to still haunt their trysting place, which is said to have been a spot above the second cascade in Balquarn Glen behind the Myretoun farm.

'John Crawford writes of the Maiden Stone - The Maiden Stone is a rude sarcophagus of fine white freestone, hollowed in the form of a human body, with a small aperture in the centre of the bottom, about an inch and a half in diameter, and two in depth, evidently intended to hold a coin or coins, possible to appease the manes of some phantom of idolatrous ritual. Originally, this singular relic of the middle ages had been covered with three angular blocks of the same material as the main body, one of which still maintains its primal position, another having been stolen by a drunken blacksmith of Kippen and converted into a tempering trough; while a third, which covered the lower part or foot of the coffin, was made a barley mill of by a roistering crofter, whose cottage stood till recent times a short distance southeast of the Old Churchyard. A fearful expiation was was latterly exacted, it is said, from the perpetrators of the sacrilegious acts, the smith becoming insane, and the crofter, reduced to the lowest stage of indigence, by his own hands dissevered the link that connected him with mortality.' (From Part 1 of a Historical Sketch of Tullibody -Robert Kirk - 1890)


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King O' Muirs

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King O' Muirs is associated with James V, King of Scots (1513-1542), who, on one of his wanderings among his subjects in disguise as the Gudeman of Ballengeich, was offered hospitality by a tenant farmer named Donaldson, who lived on the Muir, near Tullibody. Ballengeich suggested that Donaldson might visit him at Stirling Castle, where Donaldson discovered his guest to have been the King. The King presented Donaldson with the title 'King O' Muirs'. The title was taken as being hereditary. The last Donaldson of King O' Muirs fame moved to nearby Alloa, where it is said that King Street was named after him. King O' Muirs is still the local name for the road from Tullibody to Fishcross (the B9140) and there is still a farm of that name on that road.
The picture on the left shows King o' Muirs Farm in March 2005. The present farmhouse is late 18th century. The house that the King visited was on another nearby site, in a small wood to the south-west. Some of the outbuildings, to the left in the picture, have recently been turned into private houses.



'Guidman' literally means 'good man'. In those days, a Guidman or Gudeman, however you spell it, meant a tenant farmer. 'Ballengeich' is Gaelic for the 'Winding Pass', the name for the back way into Stirling Castle - the entry away from the town. Picture on the left shows Stirling Castle. The castle is about seven miles from Tullibody.

There is also a similar story of the Gudeman of Ballengeich about the 'King of Kippen' on another site

In 1513 Henry VIII of England invaded France. James IV, King of Scots, (Father of James V - 'the Gudeman of Ballengeich') in support of the 'Auld Alliance' between Scotland and France, then invaded England. This invasion led, in 1513, to the Battle of Flodden. The Battle of Flodden was a disastrous defeat for the Scots, with estimates of Scottish losses numbering as high as ten thousand. Numerous nobles were killed in the battle, including King James. James V was born in 1512, and, because of his fathers early death at Flodden, was a 17-month old baby when he came to the throne. He was married twice - first to Madelaine of France, with whom he had no children; then to Mary of Guise, with whom he had three children, James, Arthur and Mary. James's reign ended quite suddenly. He had been unwell since a hunting accident in 1537. In 1541, both of his young sons died. In 1542 the Scots once more invaded England in support of the Auld Alliance with France and were defeated at the Battle of Solway Moss on 24th November 1542. After these events, a disappointed King James (who was not actually at the battle) is said to have simply taken to his bed and died. His last words were said to have been the oft quoted (but untrue) prophecy about the Stewart dynasty - 'It came with a lass and it will pass with a lass'. James V's remaining daughter grew up to become Mary, Queen of Scots, whose son, James VI, in 1603, became James I of the United Kingdoms of England and Scotland on the Death of Elizabeth I of England. James VI of Scotland was Elizabeth I of England's nearest relation. This led to the establishment of the United Kingdom as we know it today.

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The Auld Brig

The Auld Brig (Old Bridge) was erected about 1535 over the nearby River Devon. It was one of several bridges erected in the neighbourhood of Stirling by Robert Spittal, philanthropist and Royal tailor. Born around 1480, he had become tailor to King James IV and Queen Margaret by 1509. The King and Queen often lived in Stirling Castle. During his lifetime, Spittal gave to worthy causes and is especially remembered for providing the area with three vital bridges, at Doune, Bannockburn and Tullibody. The Auld Brig at Tullibody is hog backed to slow traffic in the interests of safety, it has two river and three flood arches. It measures a total of 442 feet in length and is 20 feet in width at the approaches, narrowing down to 11 feet 6 inches over the central portion. The Auld Brig now, in 2011, provides a route for pedestrians and cyclists.
Below - Pictures of the Auld Brig on March 31 2005 -
Click on the small pictures to see the larger version


On 23rd January 1560 Kirkcaldy of Grange broke down the east-most arch of the Auld Brig to impede a French army in their retreat from Fife - 'William Kirkaldie cutt the Brig of Tullibodye'. The French, under D'Oisel, were there to support the Regent Mary during disputes between her and her subjects. The Regent Mary was the widow of King James V, and mother of Mary Queen of Scots. The Catholic French had been in Fife, but when a Protestant English fleet cut off their route back to Edinburgh they retreated towards Stirling to cross the Forth there. They found an arch of the bridge over the Devon at Tullibody had been destroyed so they repaired it with the roof of the church. The French used the rafters from the roof of Tullibody Auld Kirk to make a bridge across the Devon. According to John Knox - 'the French, expert enouch sicne factis, took doon the roofe of a parish church and maid a brig over the water called Dovane and so they escapit and came to Striveling, (Stirling) and syne to Leith.'
In 1697, John, 6th Earl of Mar agreed with Mason Thomas Bauchop (father of the more famous Alloa Master Mason Tobias Bauchop, who witnessed the document) that the said Thomas 'shall construct and build a new arch at the east end of the bridge at Tullibody, finish the gate, and mend the mid-pillars thereof, and to bat it with iron, mend the calsie of the whole bridge, and to put on it a tirlace gate, with lock and key thereto.....' . It is uncertain how much of the present structure is Spittal's bridge and how much Bauchop's. There are records of repairs to the bridge in 1600, 1616, 1663, 1665, and 1681 in the Royal Burgh of Stirling's archives. For hundreds of years the Auld Brig was the only way over the Devon from Stirling to Clackmannan and Fife in Winter. Before 1841, there was a Post Office in Clackmannan and the mail coach from North Queensferry to Alloa and Stirling passed through Clackmannan every day about 10 a.m. - while a travelling coach stopped in the burgh every week-day about 6 a.m. on the way to Alloa and Glasgow via Stirling. These coaches must have used the Auld Brig at Tullibody. Charles Roger, in his book - A WEEK AT BRIDGE OF ALLAN - published in 1853, on crossing the Auld Brig, wrote - Resuming our course westward by the turnpike, in about a mile we cross the Devon by a narrow and crooked bridge, the older portion of which was one of the erections of the enterprizing Spittal.

In 1915, the Auld Brig was replaced by the more modern steel framed Downies Bridge and the Auld Brig fell into disuse. Downies Bridge was in use until Sunday 8th August 1999 when it was closed, because of danger of collapse. On the Thursday before this date, engineering consultants abseiled below Downies Bridge and discovered a fresh buckle in the main beam. The bridge also suffered from substantial corrosion with loose and missing rivets. A new bridge had been built for some time but had not been brought into use because of shortage of cash. Council workers hoped to have the new bridge in use by Sunday August 22nd. They worked 15-hour shifts seven days a week to finish the bridge. The closure of the bridge caused traffic chaos in the area. The new bridge was opened to traffic on the evening of 18th August 1999, ahead of schedule. Downies bridge was demolished in March, 2003. The picture on the left shows Downies Bridge - I never heard it called Downies Bridge until after it was closed!

The Auld Brig
The Auld Brig
a pillar of Downies Bridge
Downies bridge
the New Bridge in August 1999

2003 - Since the opening of the new road (A907) and the new bridge, what was the old Stirling road and the now refurbished Auld Brig now forms a way for pedestrians and cyclists (it's part of the National Cycle Network). For pictures of the new road and bridge go to pictures

Other old Bridges in the locality -
Tullibody Bridge crossed the Devon on the road between Menstrie and Tullibody on the Menstrie Brae. It was demolished sometime in the 1960s..
Tullibody Bridge carries the road from Menstrie to Tullibody over the Devon, half a mile north of Tullibody village. It crosses the river in two segmental arches. Above the central cut-water on the west-side is a 17th century blazon bearing helm and mantling and a shield per pale: dexter, a chevron between three boars' heads erased, for Abercromby; sinister, a fess betweem three (?) boars' heads erased, for Gordon, the width between the parapets is 10 ¾'.

- the above from
'Old Clackmannanshire' - A.I.R Drummond - Clackmannan District Libraries 1987
Cambus Iron Bridge, Cambus, - There is a fine example of an early 19th century cast iron bridge leading from the distillery on the east bank of the Devon
Menstrie - The Auld Brig - 1665 - is a rubble built, humped-back single-arch with an inscribed panel on the south.
Rumbling Bridge - 1713 and 1864 - The old lower bridge, only 12 ft wide without parapets, was built by William Gray. The bridge above was superimposed 150 years later creating an unusual double bridge. Viewed from below, it is a spectacular sight, and the reverbrating sounds of the river forcing its way through the rocks explain its name.
Fossoway Bridge - still carries the main road traffic on the A91 north of Muckhart - nobody knows when this bridge was built - is a single segmental arch of great antiquity, repaired in 1780, and again in 1882, the date it bears.
- the above from -
Clackmannan and the Ochils - An illustrated architectural guide - Adam Swan - Scottish Academic Press - 33 Montgomery Street -
Edinburgh EH7 5JX - (1987) ISBN 07073 0513 6

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The Vicar's Bridge - The Good Vicar of Dollar

Thomas Cocklaw, the last Catholic Priest at Tullibody before the Reformation, adopted the principles of the reformers. On finding marriage warranted by the Scriptures, he took himself a wife. This so enraged the superior clergy that they apprehended three of the four men who had been at the wedding. They were John Keillar, a black friar, John Bevarage, also a black friar and Duncan Simpson, a priest at Stirling. All these suffered death by fire at the stake on the castle hill of Edinburgh. The king himself came to see this horror. Thomas Forrest was the Good Vicar of Dollar, who was seized by Bishop Beaton and burnt at the stake following has attendance at Thomas Cocklaw's wedding. The Vicar's Bridge is east of Dollar on a side road. It is signposted on the A91 Stirling to St. Andrews Road between Dollar and Muckhart. A bridge was erected on this site over the Devon in the 16th century.

Pictures taken Friday, March 18, 2005    

A 1765 plaque (left hand picture above) states - Sacred to the memory of Thomas Forrest the worthy Vicar of Dollar who among other acts of benevolence built this bridge. He died a martyr A.D. 1538. The plaque is still there, although it is almost illegible. The middle picture shows the location of the plaque on the opposite side of the bridge from the lay-bye. This is a beautiful place, but it has more than one dark association. An old oak tree nearby has the initials JB cut into its bark. In 1865 Joseph Bell attacked a baker near the bridge. He was found guilty of murder and became the last person to have a public execution in Scotland. His ghost is said to haunt this place - it is believable. It can be a dark and forbidding place. The original bridge collapsed in the 1950's and has since been replaced. Nearby public footpaths follow the original medieval roads in the area. Click on the small picture to see the larger version - (800x600 pixels)

Thomas Cocklaw was tried for the crime of getting married by the then Bishop of Dunblane. At his trial he was also accused of reading the bible to his people. The Bishop tried reason, explaining in a friendly way that he managed very well without reading the Bible himself. And that it was a pity to make all this fuss about it. When it came to the question of marriage, the Bishop was very stern, although he had seven children himself and was not married to their Mother. It was quite common in those days for Priests to have unofficial families - but they were not supposed to get married. Thomas Cocklaw fled for his life, but he was caught in England and burned at the stake. We do not know the fate of Cocklaw's wife. The trial was on 17th January 1538 or 39 - depending on which calendar you use. (In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII published a Papal Bull that established a new-style (Gregorian) calendar, but it took Britain almost 200 years to follow suit.)

Thomas Forret (d. 1540)
Thomas Forret, Vicar of Dollar, Clackmannanshire, and Scottish martyr, was descended from an old family which possessed the estate of Forret in the parish of Logie, Fifeshire, from the reign of William the Lion till the seventeenth century. The name is sometimes erroneously given as Forrest. His father had been master stabler to James IV. The catholic priest, Sir John Forret, for permitting whom to administer the sacrament of baptism at Swinton in 1573 the Bishop of St. Andrews was complained against (Calderwood, History, iii.272), was probably a near relative.

As at that time in Scotland no one except a black friar or grey friar was in the habit of preaching, the friars, offended at the innovation, denounced him to the Bishop of Dunkeld as a heretic, and one that "shewed the mysteries of the Scriptures to the vulgar people in English." The bishop, who had no interest whatever in ecclesiastical controversies, remonstrated with Forret not only for preaching "every Sunday," but for the more serious offence of not taking the usual due from the parishioners when any one died, of "the cow and the uppermost cloth, "remarking that the people would expect others to do as he did. He advised Forret, therefore, if he was determined to preach, to preach only on "one good Epistle or one good Gospell that setteth forth the libertie of the holie church." On Forret explaining that he had never found any evil epistle or gospel in the New or Old Testament, then "spake my lord stoutlie and said, "I thank God that I never knew what the Old and the New Testament was". This innocent instance of devout gratitude on the part of the bishop gave rise to the proverb in Scotland: "Ye are like the Bishop of Dunkeld that knew neither the new law nor the old law." Forret systematically warned his parishioners against the sellers of indulgences. He also took care specially to teach them the ten commandments, and composed a short catechism for their instruction on points of prime importance in Christian belief. He was in the habit of carrying bread and cheese in his gown sleeve to any poor person who was ill. He studied from six in the morning till twelve, and again from dinner till supper; and, in order the better to hold his own against disputants, committed three chapters in Latin of the New Testament to memory every day, making his servant, Andrew Kirkie, hear him repeat them at night.

Though several times summoned before the Bishop of Dunkeld he escaped further interference until February 1539-40, when he and four others were summoned before Beaton, the bishop of Glasgow, and the Bishop of Dunblane as "chief heretics and teachers of heresy", and especially for being present at the marriage of the vicar of Tullibodie, and for eating flesh in Lent at the marriage. They were on 28 February burned on the Castle Hill of Edinburgh.
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The Reformation


On 11th May 1559, John Knox preached a sermon 'vehement against idolatory' in the Church of St. John in Perth. As a result, members of the congregation damaged the ornaments of the Church, and then rushed out to sack the houses of the Grey and Black Friars, and the Carthusian Monastery. That's how the reformation started in Scotland.

Tullibody has its place in the Reformation. Thomas Cocklaw was the last catholic priest there. This priest adopted the principles of the reformers. He got himself married. The clergy retaliated by putting the attendants at his wedding to death. Cocklaw escaped with the Canon of Cambuskenneth to sanctuary in England. We do not know what happened to his wife. For more on this see the story about
The Vicar's Bridge

Tullibody got the freedom of Protestantism early, but in that freedom lost her revenues. A certain 'Commendator,' Adam Erskine, who made no provision for service in the parish, appropriated the stipend of Tullibody Kirk. The damage done to the Auld Kirk by the French was soon repaired (see story about The Auld Brig ), and readers appointed to conduct the service for lack of duly qualified clergy. Among their duties was teaching in the village school. The names of three such persons are known: -1567 - Andrew Drysdail - 1574 - John Kempt - 1576 - Thomas Makbreck. In 1579 the people subscribed for a minister and the Presbytery appointed Alexander Faergie. It could not have been a success, because within a year the minister was 'forcit by poverty' to leave. In 1581 the County of Clackmannan was divided into the parishes of Cambus Kenneth, consisting of the lands immediately around the Abbey; Logie, Clackmannan, Tullibody and Tillicoultry, in the Presbytery of Stirling; and Dollar, in the Presbytery of Dunfermline. In 1593 a minister of Alloa was appointed to serve the parish of Tullibody, and in 1600 the two parishes were united.

Click on the small picture to see the larger version

St Serf's - the present Parish Church (built 1904). The Auld Kirk was condemned as unsafe in 1904 and replaced by this Church. The new church was designed by Peter MacGregor Chalmers.- Picture taken in summer 1999.

There are many very old gravestones in the graveyard at Tullibody. There are even supposed to be arrow marks on some of the stones from when the villagers were compelled by law to practice archery. The only place available was the graveyard! But I have never seen such marks. - Picture taken in summer 1999.
The Manse and the three Kirks along the Menstrie Road - From right to left - the Manse (the Minister's house - 1847/48 ), the Church Hall (built as the Free Church - 1844), the ruined Auld Kirk and the present St Serf's Parish Church (1904). The hills are the Ochils. Picture - 10 March 2007
Sir George Harvey's famous picture shows the Auld Kirk as it was, but we do not know if it really shows us Tullibody as it was. According to the picture the Manse must have been on the other side of the Menstrie Road from the Auld Kirk

The Act of Assembly of 1600 uniting Tullibody to Alloa, and ordaining the parishioners to attend the parish church there, is to be found in 'The Book of the Universal Kirk'. It is as follows - 'At the General Assembly held at Montrose, Session 7, 21 march 1600. Anent the supplication given in be the parishioners of Tullibodie making mention, Albeit the said parish of Tullibodie be an Auld parish separate from all others having within itself the number of four or five hundred communicants or thereby, and pays their teinds to the Abbot of Cambuskenneth (presumably the above named Commendator) quho rigorously exacts the same. Nevertheless the Presbytery of Striveling has by thair ordinance commandit the said Kirk of Tullibodie to be united to the Chapell of Alloway most wrongouslie seeing the said complainers be ane anterior command of the said Presbytery not only re-edified thair said Kirk of Tullibodie but also upon thair awin charges furnischit a pastour to the said Kirk; like as zet they are most willing to do, notwithstanding thair teinds are most wrongouslie led away by the said Abbot as said is. Desiring therefor thair said supplication to be considerit and the said unioun to be dissolvit as at mair lenth is content in the said supplication.'
To this complaint to the Assembly the Presbytery was called upon to reply- ' The brethren of the Presbytery of Striveling being callit to give a reason for this thair unioun of the said Kirks answerit that the cause moving them was - First, that both the said parochines lay very commodiouslie to the said Kirk of Alloway. Secondly, that the number of both the said parochines wold make but one sufficient Congregation. Thirdlie, that thair could not be ane stipend obtainit for the said Kirk of Tullibodie in so farre that at the desyre of the saids complainers, there being an pastour appointint to the said Kirk upon promise that she wold furnish him a sufficient stipend, he was forcit for poverty to leave them; quheras be the contrair be the unioun of the two kirks the Erle of Marre furnishes a sufficient stipend to ane Pastour resisdent at the same. The General Assembly having considerit the premises ratifies and approves the union of the said Kirks of Alloway and Tullibodie and ordains Alloway to be the paroch kirk in all times coming.'

Famine in Scotland - In 1623, the crops failed and many peasants abandoned their empty holdings and wandered through the countryside in search of alms to ward of starvation. There were severe outbreaks of disease and famine in the 1640s and 1690s.

1643 - On the eve of his march to the battle of Kilsyth, the Marquis of Montrose quartered his men in Tullibody woods, and while he dined with the Earl of Mar his men 'barbarously plundered the nearby town of Alloa'.
1695, July 7th- The Session taking into consideration the largeness of the Parish, and that there be many in the Barony of Tullibody old and infirm and not able to come to the church at Alloa, thought fit that there should be a sermon in Tullibodie once in the fortnight upon the Tuesday in all time coming.'
'1705, 2nd November - The minister informed the session that he preached at Tullibodie on the day formerly condescended upon, and that in regard the meeting was frequent (well attended) he resolved to preach now and then on a week day. As there was no convenient house for meeting it was commanded to George Haig to bespeak the Laird of Tullibody to see for ane for the time to come.'

1715 - After the battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715, forty bodies were laid to rest just north of the Auld Kirk, possibly soldiers of the Earl of Mar, who resided in Alloa and who led the Jacobite cause.
1745 - A small party of Prince Charles Edward Stuart's men who tried to cross the ford at Cambus were all shot, their bodies flung into what came to be called "The Highlandman's Hole".

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Tullibody 1805 - The Moving of the Village

After the reformation, Church services at Tullibody seem to have been very irregular, and ultimately ceased. About 1760, George Abercromby, Laird of Tullibody, roofed in the Auld Kirk with blue tiles, which were replaced in 1824 to protect a tomb, the Tullibody family, with others, having taken to burying within the walls, during the time of ruin. Sir Ralph Abercromby procured a bell for the Auld Kirk, and the belfry was built for it by Alexander Fairlie. It was an old-man-o'-war's bell, and bore the inscription, 'Duke of Kingston, 1756'. At this time an addition was made to the kirkyard. Both round the 'Priests Well' and on the west of the church there still remained the oldest part of the village - the old Clachan. Between 1790 and 1805 new roads were made, the old Clachan around the Auld Kirk was removed; the parsonage, which stood north-west of the well, had been in ruins since 1600; and the new town rigs were laid out (presumably) in the area of the present day Tron Court - and perhaps also around Tullibody Cross. The whole complexion of the village was altered. It would appear that the old village was demolished and the inhabitants removed to what would have been an 'improved' new village. It was around this time that the 'Stan'in' Stane o' Kenneth McAlpine' which by then had stood on the western declivity for nearly a thousand years, about 100 yards from where the low and high roads branch of at the ditch loaning, was removed.

Pictures of Tullibody Kirks on the Menstrie Road in 2004 - Click on the small picture to see the larger version - (800x600 pixels)

The ruined Auld Kirk - belfry being repaired
The Church Hall - formerly the Free Church (1844)
St. Serf's Parish Church (1904)

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Ministers - Church of Scotland and The Free Church at Tullibody
From 1600 (after the Reformation) the parishes of Alloa and Tullibody were combined - see above
For more information - see also The Book of the Bazaar - on this site.

A working system came about that the Church of Scotland Minister at Alloa (St. Mungos) was also the Minister at Tullibody. His assistant, usually a probationary minister, normally took the services at Tullibody. In 1843 the congregation of Tullibody Free Church was formed by members of the Church of Scotland who, in Tullibody and surrounding district, formed themselves into a Free Church congregation under Mr. Stevenson, who at that time was assistant in the Parish. They worshipped in the Auld Kirk until 1844, when they removed to a purpose built church. Tullibody Free Church, by John Burnet, 1844, was built to a superior design to many buildings in pointed gothic. It is one of the earliest surviving buildings of John Burnet (senior). The Manse, next door to the Free Church (now the Church Hall), was erected in 1847/48 for the free church minister and the architect for this building was John Melvin (senior)

After the Free Church Congregation moved to their new church in 1844, the Auld Kirk was abandoned until Mr. Murray, assisted by Mr. Kelly, started to hold services there. In March 1879, Mr. Bryson took over there. He became Church of Scotland Minister at Alloa and Tullibody on 15th September 1870.

Free Church Ministers at Tullibody were; 1843 - George Stevenson, who went to India; 1857 - William P. Goldie, who went to Stirling; 1869 - John Girvan, who went to Maryhill; 1857 - Andrew Thom MA, who was the Free Church Minister until his death in 1929.

After Rev. Thom's Death the two Churches in Tullibody, the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, were united. Rev. W.D.O. Rose, from Ayton, Berwickshire, became Minister to the combined congregations on 5th July 1929. Rev Thom had lived in the manse. After his death Rev Rose and his family lived there. At first services were held on alternate weeks in the Free Church and the Parish Church (St Serfs) which had been built in 1904.The Free Church building was converted into the Church Hall in 1951. Rev Rose was minister at Tullibody till he died in 1951.

Church of Scotland Ministers at Tullibody from 1904 when the new parish Church (St. Serfs) was opened (the Auld Kirk's roof was removed in 1917 for safety reasons) - 1904 - Rev L MacLean Watt ; assistant -Rev Andrew Robertson; 1905 - assistant - Rev A L Kemp MA; 1909 - assistant - Rev Thomas Caldwell; 1912 - assistant - Rev Harry Leggatt MA; 1914 - assistant - Rev A W Scudamore Forbes (away at the war); 1918 - Mr George C Thomson was the preacher. Rev Thomas Miller stood in for Rev Scudamore while he was away at the War. 1920 - Rev RJ Thomson took over from Rev L MacLean Watt. 1929 - Rev WDO Rose - see above. Ministers at Tullibody - 1951 - Rev Ian L Cowie; 1961 - Rev George Charlton; 1968 - Rev Charles Chirnside; 1986 - Rev Andrew B Dick; 2000 - Rev TJ Brown

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The Abercrombies - The Lairds of Tullibody

The ABERCROMBIES came to Clackmannanshire from Skein in Aberdeenshire. George (died 1699) buying the estate around Tullibody in circa 1655. Alexander (1675-1754), the second Laird, was only a near relative who had lived with George since childhood. A committed Hanovarian, he built the house and laid out the grounds, acquiring nearby Menstrie Castle in 1719. His son George (1705 - 1800), second of Tullibody, one time Professor of Law at Edinburgh University, was the Laird who brought fame to the estate. A noted improver, he lived to the age of 95, to see has eldest son knighted; he was Sir Ralph Abercromby, later hero of the battle of Abikour Bay, Egypt, (fighting Napoleon) in which he was killed; his second son knighted, Sir Robert Abercromby, Governor of Bombay; and his third son Lord Abercromby, a Law Lord in the Court of Session. In Waverly, Sir Walter Scott relates how his young hero Edward Waverly, a guest at Tully-Veolan House, pays a visit to an outlawed clan chieftain - Donald Bean Lean - to negotiate the return of his host's stolen cattle. The story was based on an incident when, as a young man, Abercromby found that his cattle were apt to be stolen by raiders of the Clan MacGregor. Abercromby chose to visit the celebrated Rob Roy MacGregor, and it is this visit to Rob Roy's cave that is written about by Scott. Mr. Abercromby was regaled with beef from two of his own cattle, and was dismissed in perfect safety, after having agreed to pay in future a small sum of blackmail, in consideration of which Rob Roy not only understood not to steal his herds in future but to replace any that should be stolen from him by other freebooters.
George Abercromby, father of Sir Ralph, when he roofed in the church, wished to beautify the burying ground by planting trees. Robert Mason, the sexton, however, rooted them out, and for this was put in jail at Clackmannan. His objection was that the people would not be able to rise from their graves on the great day of judgement because of the tree roots. The trees were replanted outside the ground.

In 1833 the Auld Kirk was again put in order. The west windows were broken out, the old north bole was filled in, the area was seated with pews, and once more there was a regular church service at Tullibody. In 1837, the old bell was unfortunately cracked, and so a new one was cast, which bore the inscription 'Tullibody, 1838,' and measured twenty inches in depth by twenty-five inches in diameter. In 1838 the communion was celebrated, and the services continued until 1843, when Mr. Stevenson, who was then assistant, left with the party that formed the Free Church. On the erection of the Free Church the Auld Kirk was again deserted till the time of Mr. Murray. Mr. Kelly of Alva having been appointed by Dr. Brotherson his helper, the two young ministers once more resumed the Tullibody services. During the incumbency of Mr. Shaw there was again a break. In March 1879 Reverend Bryson resumed regular services (but nowadays in the Parish Church (built 1904) along the road) there is a Divine service every Sabbath, and the Communion is celebrated twice a year. A Sabbath school has likewise been formed, and a congregation is consolidated (from 1902).

Tullibody House, (now sadly demolished) stood to the south of Braehead, between the River Forth and the 'Low Road' to Alloa. The original house was built about 1660 by a Mr. Robert Meldrum. Alexander Abercromby built a new house there around 1710 as a replacement for the earlier building. The portrait and landscape painter Alexander Nasmyth was later involved in the development of the gardens. About 1796, Sir Robert Abercromby bought the Airthrey estate and Airthrey Castle subsequently succeeded Tullibody as the Abercromby Seat. For the next two hundred years the Abercrombies were to own Tullibody House and the Tullibody Estate which included the village. Avenues and clipped hedges conveyed an idea of formality and constraint affording shade and shelter both in hot and cold. Tullibody House was seen by contemporaries as a centre of enlightenment and intelligence in an Arcadian setting. Witness the memory of John Ramsey of Ochtertyre who referred to it as the loved haunt of my youth. He visited it again, as an old man in 1803; "I was glad to see the house so much improved, yet so much like what it was in the cheerful morn of my youth." In 1809, he recorded after another visit: "Our entertainment was good but not overloaded or overdressed, and I have seldom seen a second course more honoured by the eating. Even I ate some fritters not to be particular. The conversation was very good .... the house is a good one and much improved and without doors everything is gay and well disposed. Plenty of gravel walks and good roads......". Tullibody was then one of the neatest and best places in the country. Tullibody remained part of the Abercromby estate and its industries were rooted in agriculture. In the first half of the twentieth century Tullibody House was the home of Major Hugh C. Forrester, a JP and Deputy Lieutenant of Clackmannanshire, who was a scion of a local family of coal merchants. The occupants of the Baingle house had malt barns, which supplied Cambus brewery. By the 1880s the Delph Ponds were more in demand for skating and curling than by the tannery and new employment was needed. Tullibody Tannery, for most of the nineteenth century, was a flourishing concern with subsidiary manufacture of glue and bone meal. In the 1880s the success of the operation was blighted by a banking failure and the factory was bankrupted in 1889. John Tullis & Son then took over. By 1900, 1,000 hides per week were being processed there. Tanning only ceased in 1962, after which the building was converted into a plastics factory.

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My Sources for the Website - plus some other books-
I started off writing what I knew and what I had been told by people while I grew up in Tullibody. I then added to that by what I found in Books, pamphlets & Newspapers and also what people, who had seen the site, told me and sent me - This site wasn't planned - it just developed. I've cut the site back a lot so that it is now just less than 20Mb in total and free to me and so that I hope it might stay on the Internet when I'm gone. but I can still make space for anything that anyone sends me - JS

Some of the Books are :-
The Book of the Bazaar - Edited by Lauchlan Maclean Watt - Alloa, Published by Malcolm Gardner for the Executive Committee of the Parish Church bazaar 1902 - A copy of this book was placed in the timecapsule buried below St. Serfs Church in 1904. I've scanned in the bits about Tullibody in this book on this site - the Book of the Bazaar - Tullibody 1902
Clackmannan and the Ochils - An illustrated architectural guide - Adam Swan - Scottish Academic Press - 33 Montgomery Street -
Edinburgh EH7 5JX - (1987) ISBN 07073 0513 6

Historical Sketch of Tullibody - Part 1- Robert Kirk - Clackmannan District Libraries 1983
Historical Sketch of Tullibody - Part 2 -Robert Kirk - Clackmannan District Libraries 1992

Old Clackmannanshire - A.I.R Drummond - Clackmannan District Libraries 1987
'St Serf's Parish Church, Tullibody 1904-2000'- Information about the Ministers from Margaret J Mercer's book
The Green Hills - Stories of the Ochils - Rennie McOwen - Clackmannan District Libraries 1989
A Week at Bridge of Allan - Charles Roger - Edinburgh; Adam and Charles - Black, North Bridge 1853 - reprinted by Sunprint, 38 Tay Street, Perth 5TT 1996 - ISBN- 1 900 489 03 01
The Ochils - Placenames, History, Tradition - Angus Watson - Perth and Kinross District Libraries 1995 - ISBN 0-905452-16-X
A History of the Scottish People- 1560-1830 - T.C.Smout - Fontana Press 1985 - ISBN 0-00-686027-3
Monarchs of Scotland - Stewart Ross - Lochar Publishing - 1990 - ISBN 0-9484903-22-5
For more local pictures see 'Old CLACKMANNAN, SAUCHIE, TULLIBODY and other airts of the Wee County' by Guthrie Hutton - Published by Stenlake Publishing, 54-58 Mill Square, Catrine, Ayrshire KA5 6RD Telephone/fax 01290 551122

AND.. other books which all True Scots should appreciate-
by Blind Harry - William Hamilton of Gilbertfield - The Luath press Edition 1988 - Luath Press Limited Edinburgh ISBN 0-946487-43-X
'The Bruce'
by John Barbour -Cannongate Classics an imprint of Cannongate Books Edinburgh ISBN 0 86241 681 7