Site hosted by Build your free website today!


Some History of Clackmannanshire... in Central Scotland

The name Clackmannan is a corruption of the Gaelic Clach Mhanainn, which means the Stone of Mannan (or Manau - a sea god) - Manau was also the ancient name of the district..

Manannán or Manann (Old Irish Manandán), also known as Manannán mac Lir (Mac Lir meaning "son of the sea"), is a sea deity in Irish mythology. He is affiliated with both the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomorians.

The Stone of Mannan is a whinstone boulder three foot long by two feet, which to this day occupies pride of place in the main street of Clackmannan beside the ancient Tollbooth (c1592) and market cross. The stone is perched on top of a monolithic plinth which was dragged from the Abbey Craig, near Stirling, in 1833 by Bruce of Kennet and sixteen horses. Although locals dispute how long the stone was at its previous location, 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.

Click on the small pictures to see a larger version    
Clackmannan Tower-2005
Stone of Mannan - 2006
Stone of Mannan - 1906

Clackmannanshire, often called the Wee County, or more often, the Wee Coonty by locals, is the smallest county in Scotland - area, 30,477 acres (123 km²) and population 48,630 in 2005. Lying on the north bank of the River Forth, Clackmannanshire is bordered by Stirlingshire to the west, Perthshire and Kinross-Shire to the north and the Kingdom of Fife to the east. The Ochil hills form the counties Northern border. see map

Family names associated with the county include Erskine, Abercromby, Bruce, Schaw, Colville, and Campbell.

Until 1822 the small town of Clackmannan was the county town. Clackmannan was created a Royal Burgh in 1153-64(?) in the reign of King David I. It's now ruined castle, Clackmannan Tower, was a Bruce property, the land on which it stands having been granted to Robert Bruce, an illegitimate grandson of King Robert the Bruce, in the 14th century. King Robert himself lived at Clackmannan Tower in 1316, 1317 (probably in 1318) and visited this favourite hunting seat frequently from 1323. It's last occupant, Lady Catherine Bruce, retained King Robert's great double-handed sword and at parties she sometimes used this to "knight" favoured guests. Included among these was Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns. The Tower is now an impressive ruin, albeit unstable due to mining subsidence - see picture above.. Clackmannan is built with a Castle (Clackmannan Tower) at the high point (King's Seat Hill) to the west and the towns main street and market place running down along a ridge to the east. The early life of the tower as a royal hunting lodge ended in with its sale to Robert Bruce in 1359. Clackmannan's time of greatest prosperity was in the late 17th Century. Clackmannan harbour was situated where the Black Devon meets the Forth, but the harbour silted up, the nearby port of Alloa expanded, and Clackmannan fell into ruin and decline. The Sheriff Court was transferred to Alloa in 1822 when Alloa became the county town.

The motto on the County Arms is "Look aboot ye" - the usual story told about this is that when King Robert the Bruce lost his glove while out hunting near Clackmannan, he sent people to look for it with the instruction "Look aboot ye". The glove is said to have been found on the 'Look aboot ye Brae', near Clackmannan. There is another version of the story, which I heard as a youngster, from Mr. Downie, the then headmaster of Abercromby School, Tullibody, that it was a mounted knight in armour, who had lost his glove, and it was a local, who told the knight to go and 'Look aboot ye' - i.e 'find it yourself'. Mr. Downie told us that in those days, William Wallace (at Stirling Bridge) and King Robert the Bruce (at Bannockburn) had taught the Scots how to 'take care' of mounted Knights (using long knives to slit the horses belly) and that, as a result, the ordinary Scot had little fear of them and that this was what this motto referred to. Clackmannanshire's motto is "Circumspice" in Latin or "Look Aboot Ye" in Scots. It's 'Look Aboot Ye' on the County Arms as shown (left) on County Roadsigns.

The Bruce Family - The end of the 17th century saw the beginning of the decline of the Bruces of Clackmannan. From the 1650s Sir Henry Bruce developed the extensive coalfields of Clackmannan, being fortunate in having coal seams near the harbour, but the cost of draining the seams below the Forth and Black Devon were great. Sir Henry died in 1674 leaving immense debts to his son, David Bruce. David Bruce was the hereditary Sheriff at Clackmannan and a member of the British Parliament during the reigns of Charles II and James VII & II. He refused to take the Oaths of allegiance to William and Mary and was removed from Parliament in 1693. The collieries were poorly managed and David Bruce went bankrupt in 1708. To pay his creditors, he sold the estate and the Sheriffdom to Colonel William Dalrymple, 2nd son of the Earl 0f Stair. David died in Clackmannan in 1712, and his son, Henry, 15th Baron of Clackmannan, came out for Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) in the 1745 Jacobite uprising. He died in 1772, but his widow Catherine Bruce of Newton continued to live in the old mansion and tower until her death.

Towns and Villages in Clackmannanshire -are Alloa, Tullibody, Cambus, Clackmannan, Kennet, Sauchie, Fishcross, Coalsnaughton, Forestmill, Glenochil.... - 'Hillfoots' settlements along the south side of the Ochil Hills on the A91 Stirling to Kinross Road - in order from Stirling - Blairlogie (not in Clackmannanshire), Menstrie, Alva, Tillicoultry, Dollar, Pool of Muckhart and Yetts of Muckhart.

Alloa, a small industrial town on the river Forth, has been the county town since 1822. It was created a Burgh of Barony in 1497. It used to be a seaport, exporting coal and salt to the Low Countries in the Middle Ages. In 1723, Daniel Defoe described Alloa as pleasant and full of trade. In 1772 it exported almost one third of Scotland's total coal production. In the 1850's it was handling 2000 Ships per year. However, silting and alternative forms of transport made the harbour redundant and it was infilled in 1951, before the growth of leisure and tourism indicated an alternative future. Alloa's industry consists of woolen mills, glass works, brewing, distilling and engineering.

Alloa was the home of the Erskines of Mar, who built Alloa Tower -(picture), which at one time formed the centre of a palatial complex. The Erskines, later created Earls of Mar, were once one of the greatest families in the land, and the 6th Earl, John, was Secretary of State for Scotland under Queen Anne and was later renowned for his grovelling sycophance towards the Hanoverian George I. However, following a Hanoverian snub, he raised the Jacobite standard of James Edward Stewart (The Old Pretender) in 1715 but unfortunately proved an inept military leader. Following the failure of the rebellion he forfeited his estates and title and fled to France. Apparently the unfortunate Earl was popularly known as "Bobbing John" because of his habit of changing sides. Alloa Tower has recently been refurbished - picture - May 2006.

John Erskine was born in 1675, the son of Charles Erskine, 22nd and 5th Earl of Mar. He succeeded his father in April 1689, but did not take his seat in the Scottish Parliament of the Prince of Orange until 1696. The Prince of Orange named Mar to his Scottish Privy Council in 1697, and Princess Anne of Denmark raised him to many offices in her government. Although he signed the proclamation of the Elector George I of Hanover in 1714, he was suspected of Jacobite sympathies and dismissed by that prince. Mar escaped from London, and on August 26, 1715, held a great council of Scottish nobles and gentry, known as the "Hunting of Braemar". In September 1715 King James III and VIII named him Commander-in-Chief, and in October 1715 he created him Duke of Mar. Following the defeat of the 1715 Rising, Mar accompanied James to France and served as Secretary of State. In 1722 he lost James' confidence and retired from public life. - Jacobite Documents

The Alloa burgh boundaries were extended out in the 1890s to include Shaftesbury Street and Hill Street's western extension, then known as Viewfield Place, but it was only in 1926 that approval was given for the 120-house scheme covering the Moir Street and Garvally Crescent area. The council scheme at Inglewood was not developed until the 1950s. In 1911 the local writer James Archibald commented 'A favourite rustic walk is out the Auld Road, round by Lornshill, and home again by the Tullibody Road.

Clackmannanshire - The area between the Forth and Devon has provided the historic core of modern Clackmannanshire. Until the late nineteenth century the county was comprised of only four parishes Clackmannan, Alloa, Dollar and Tillicoultry, the parishes of Alva and Muckhart only having been added since that time. Of the original parishes, Clackmannan and Alloa lay entirely between the two major rivers (Devon & Forth), while Dollar and Tillicoultry both extended south of the Devon. The sheriffdom of Clackmannan was centered on the small town of Clackmannan. To the east it was separated from Fife by forest and a series of low rises. To the west the plain extended beyond the hamlet of Alloa into Stirlingshire until it was choked by the Ochil Hills at Causewayhead. In medieval times an agricultural, if not civic, tranquillity extended across the area. Despite appearances change was underfoot. Magnates such as the Schaws of Sauchie and the Bruces of Clackmannan were already making a start on developing the local coalfields. As the medieval turbulence calmed and civil strife became less common, fortified towers such as those at Sauchie and Clackmannan began to be supplemented or even replaced by more open structures suited for ostentation and polite living. Old Sauchie House, built 1631, was one of the first of these new houses and as the eighteenth century got under way, other structures such as Schawpark House, Tullibody House and The Garlet made their appearance. By the end of the century these had been joined by the mansions at Brucefield, Kennet pans and Kennet House, the later with its own or ornamental gardens. Tower Houses in Clackmannanshire were occupied by the Bruce, Erskine, Argyll and Schaw families. All of these families provided attendants for the Stewart Monarchs at their nearby seat at Stirling Castle. There were also other tower houses and castles in the country - Hartshaw, Alva, Manor, Menstrie, Tillicoultry, the Blair, Glendevon, and the Bishop's Palace at at Cowden - all but three now gone. The eighteenth century in particular saw the development of enthusiasm for a variety of rural projects that were to lead to the semi-industrialisation of the countryside.

New mills were also being established at Jellyholm and Keilarsbrae in the first half of the century. Not surprisingly, the pace quickened after 1760, the date generally, held to mark the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The Watermill Pit at Sauchie, sunk in the 1760's was notable for its waterwheel driven by a lade from Gartmorn Dam, but in some ways it merely symbolised wider developments. The collieries in the Sauchie area now began to be served by a network of waggonways leading down to the shore of the Forth, as did those south and west of the town of Clackmannan. It was in this same period that the shoreline itself began to be pushed back and the salt marshes west of Kennetpans were reclaimed for agricultural use. By 1795 John Francis Erskine was able to note: "About 30 years ago there was scarcely a crop of wheat to be seen in the district. Now there is a considerable quantity sown every year, especially in the carselands". The buildings of George Meikle's pioneering water powered threshing mill at Kilbagie in 1787 and the continual improvements in buildings over the last third of the century were other tokens of agricultural improvement. Attention now began to swing back to improvements in the industrial sector. Such failures as that of the Stein distilling enterprise at Kilbagie were more than balanced by developments such as the opening of the Devon Iron Works in 1792 and by the creation or renovation of woollen mills such as that at Keilarsbrae. The iron works not only made use of local resources of ore for the first time, but also gave a boost to the local coal industry. It was in this period at the start of the nineteenth century that the mining settlements around 'New' Sauchie began to coalesce, as land was feued to colliers. To the north, along the ridges and slopes beside the Devon, the face of the countryside was changed by the development of smaller rows of houses and hamlets. In the far north, at Devonside, textile mills made their appearance. The area west of Alloa had still a very rural character but here the redevelopment of Tullibody early in the century and the slow rise of the tanning industry brought change. By the middle of the century the new railways were beginning to form a primitive skeleton linking these areas together. The swathe of countryside east of Gartmorn Dam was the only area to remain a land of hamlets and isolated agricultural settlements at the opening of the photographic age. The Forth has been the artery that has brought the industrial lifeblood to the south of Clackmannanshire. The network of capillary links, whether in the form of waggonways, roads or railways, have all played a part in linking the centres of industrial vitality to the main waterway.

The Schaws of Sauchie - The barony of Sauchie was granted by King Robert the Bruce to Henri de Annand in 1321. One of Henri de Annand's two co-heiresses married into the Schaw family and they acquired the whole property a century later. They built Sauchie Tower around 1430/1440 and it remained the family's principal residence until 1631 when they built a mansion house alongside. The Schaws of Sauchie were among the most influential families of mediaeval Scotland. Sir James Schaw, Governor of Stirling castle, refused James III access to his son, and thus played a major roll in the conspiracy that led to the king's murder at Sauchieburn in 1488. George Schaw, Abbot of Paisley, was Lord High Treasurer of Scotland in 1495 and the Schaws continued as Governors of Stirling castle to James IV. The Schaw crest of three covered golden cups commemorates the hereditary post of of master of the Royal Wine cellar granted to Alexander Schaw in 1529, and reconfirmed on his grandson by James VI. William Schaw (1550-1602), was King's Master of Work responsible for work at Stirling castle, Holyrood and Dunfermiline Abbey and for developing freemasonry in Scotland. The Sauchie lands fell to a kinsman after George Schaw died without heir about 1690, and then passed, by his daughter's marriage in 1752, to the Cathcart family. As the Schaws and Cathcarts prospered as mine owners, their estate workers became miners and the settlement moved south to the mines, leaving Sauchie Tower almost isolated. About 1700 the Schaw family moved to a new mansion at Schawpark by Gartmorn (on the present day Schawpark Golf Course - Alloa Golf Club), the mining village near them becoming Newtonschaw (New Town of Schaw). William Schaw Cathcart, the first Earl (1755-1843), was the most distinguished of a remarkable family of statesmen. As Russian ambassador, his services were of the greatest importance in the overthrow of Napoleon. He retired to Britain, but sold Schawpark to his sister's family, Earls of Mansfield, in 1826. The Earl of Mar's miners' cottages at Holton Square was the first of many colliery rows in the area, and by the mid 19th century - with the collected mining villages becoming known as New Sauchie - almost a suburb of Alloa. Schawpark (the mansion) fell into decay in the mid 19th century. The house was unroofed in 1925 and finally demolished in the 1950s - I saw the ruins as a youngster - Author JS. By the mid nineteenth century the internal timbers of Sauchie Tower (picture) - on the banks of the Devon nrear Fishcross- were decaying and falling down. The Tower was sold in 1982 for an 'old Scots penny' in the hope that the new owners would restore it, but it remains a semi derelict shell with a temporary roof, cables binding the walls to stabilise the masonry and bricked up windows. I think Sauchie Tower was where the original village of Sauchie was. Sauchie means place of the willow trees.

Gartmorn Dam is the oldest man made reservoir in Scotland still used as a Public Water Supply. It was created about 1713 by the Earl of Mar to provide waterpower, via a lade, to drain his coal mines at Holton. It is now used as Alloa's water supply.
Gartmorn Dam -2005

Cambus - (on the River Devon) The West Cambus sawmill on the left bank is known to have been occupied by the wood merchant William Mitchell in the 1890s. After Devon Place was demolished a modern distillery was built and thrived there until the late 1980s. A large boiler house was built where the village smithy was. After the distillery was closed the site was cleared, there are no buildings here anymore. The Devon was once a thriving Salmon River, but after the pollution of the industrial years, and because the water flow is much reduced by dams upstream, few salmon ever venture here anymore. Knox's Brewery - The Forth Brewery run by the Knox family was one of many such enterprises that flourished in the Alloa area in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Robert Knox, the founder of the firm, had a brewery in operation at Cambus by 1792, which made use of water transport for importing supplies and distributing its finished products. Robert Knox's two daughters married James and George Armitage of Ceylon. Robert lived in Tullibody House in the 1860's and 1870's. The 'New Brewery' was completed in 1866 on a less restricted site to the north of its predecessor, this time served by a siding from the Stirling and Dunfermline Railway. In the years during and after the Second World War the company faced supply restrictions and its line dwindled to a single dark, heavy beer. Its share capital was finally taken over by Blair & Co. (Alloa) Ltd. in August 1954. The brewery closed four months later, temporarily reopening during the hot summer of 1955. Three years later it was converted into the Strathmore Distillery, specialising in the production of lowland malt. The Stirling and Dunfermline Railway was closed to passenger services in the early 1960s and was completely closed in the 1970s. The distillery closed down recently (2001). Jenny Paterson's Corner - At the turn of the century Miss Catherine Duncan owned the village post office. The Misses Duncan had been associated with the post office since 1874, when they took over its management from one James Galloway The post-mistress in the early years of the century was a Miss Janet Paterson. She was still operating the post office and the associated grocer's shop at the time of the First World War.

Castle Campbell, now partly ruined, in Dollar Glen, was once somberly known as Castle Gloom (or Gloume) and the two burns in the deep rocky gorges on either side of it are called Care and Sorrow. The castle guards the old drove road, which ran from Dollar, up Dollar Glen, through Glen Quey, across the old bridge across the Devon in Glen Devon and on through the Borland Glen to Auchterarder. Dollar Castle was a stronghold of the Clan Campbell and the powerful Earls of Argyll. John Knox preached there in 1556. In Dollar can be found Dollar Academy - an internationally famous school. - picture taken in February 2005


Before 1841, there was a Post Office in Clackmannan Burgh and the mail coach from North Queensferry to Alloa and Stirling passed through Clackmannan about 10 a.m. every day, while a travelling coach ran through the Burgh every week day about 6 a.m. on the way to Alloa and Glasgow via Stirling. Passenger carrying steam-boats sailed between Stirling and Granton (near Edinburgh) along the River Forth, calling at river ports like Alloa, Clackmannan and Aberdour. The fares were quite small.

The Silver Glen lies approximately 1km to the east of the town of Alva, Clackmannanshire, and takes its name from the silver that was mined there in the early 18th century. Later, an ore of cobalt was found. The Silver Glen is a narrow glen in the Ochil Hills situated between the Nebit and Wood Hills behind Alva. In 1712 a silver mine was opened up here by Sir John Erskine. Many of the old mineworkings can still be seen, but the new landowners, The Woodland Trust, have installed locked gates on the more extensive workings, as there are several unprotected shafts within. There is not much trace of silver to be found, as the dumps have been picked clean, on the surface at least, by many generations of collectors.There are other mine workings at Carnaughton Glen, on the west side of Alva (in the middle of the golf course), which are often confused with the Silver Glen. These too have been explored, and in 1966 no significant traces of silver were evident. Nor does there seem to be any written record of their purpose. However there was some evidence of copper ores, notably malachite. Again, there is at least one deep shaft, this time water-filled, so casual exploration by the inexperienced is not advised. Silver from the Silver Glen was used to found the colony of Nova Scotia in Canada - see Menstrie Castle (below)

July, 2010 - A pipeline is being laid from Alva - up the Silver Glen and Glen Wirrel to carry cables to windmills being erected near the Frandy - (Upper and lower Glendeven Reserviours)

Menstrie Castle is a late 16th century building. Its steep roof, crowstepped gables, dormer windows and pepperpot towers were restored after a campaign led by the actor Moultrie Kelsal to save it from demolition. The castle has been turned into flats, but it contains a commemorative room to the Baronets of Nova Scotia, in recognition of the Castle as the birthplace, in 1580, of Sir William Alexander, poet and statesman, and founder of Nova Scotia. Also born in the castle, in 1734, was Sir Ralph Abercromby (on this site) the hero of the Battle of Aboukir.




The Clackmannanshire Bridge From the Daily Mail - Thursday, November 20, 2008

First Minister opens new Forth Bridge
A new £120 million bridge over the River Forth was officially opened by First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday.
The Clackmannanshire Bridge was built to reduce traffic on and around the existing Kincardine Bridge, just under a mile downstream.
Around 20,000 vehicles a day are expected to use the new crossing, which is three-quarters of a mile long and weighs 35,000 tons.
The bridge was named after the local authority - Scotland's smallest - following a campaign backed by thousands of people.
Improvements to the connecting trunk road network have also been carried out, with 3.6 miles of roads and 3 miles of cycleways constructed.
A convoy, including an electric car and a bicycle, crossed as part of the opening ceremony.
Mr. Salmond said: "This is a world-class infrastructure project which will cut journey times, improve Central Scotland connections and provide a unique gateway to Clackmannanshire, Fife and Falkirk. For local communities, the Clackmannanshire Bridge will deliver not only visitors, but safer roads and environmental benefits. It will remove the long-standing congestion from the centre of Kincardine and encourage safe cycling, while benefiting local businesses".
Some 30,100 vehicles a day cross the Kincardine Bridge - but the opening of the new crossing is expected to reduce that to 18,100. It is hoped the number of of vehicles passing through Kincardine will fall from 16,500 a day to 2,800 - a fall of more than 80 per cent.

References & More Information
Clackmannan and Ochils - An Illustrated Architectural Guide - Adam Swan - Scottish Academic Press, Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland - ISBN 07073 0513 6 -1st Edition 1987 - Printed by Lindsay & Co.Ltd., Edinburgh.
Old Clackmannanshire - by A.I.R. Drummond - Clackmannan District Libraries 1987

Historical Sketch of Tullibody Part 1 by Robert Kirk (c1890) - Clackmannan District Libraries 1983
Historical Sketch of Tullibody Part 2 by Robert Kirk (c1937) - Clackmannan District Libraries 1992
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. I've scanned the bits about Tullibody in this book - - See extracts from The Book of the Bazaar on this site
'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
On page 38 of the above book is shown a picture of Tullibody Post Office and the text there infers that this building was on main street and has been demolished. It has not. Tullibody Post office still ocupies the same building as the one in the picture on the Stirling Road - May 2006

As regards the God Manau - Manannan mac Lir was the special patron of sailors, who invoked him as 'God of the headlands' , and of merchants, who claimed him as the first of their Guild. His favorite haunts, to which he gave his name, was the Isle of Man, and the isle of Arran, in the Firth of Clyde, where he had a palace called 'Emhain of the Apple Trees.' He had many famous weapons- two spears called 'Yellow Shaft' and 'Red Javelin', a sword called 'The Retaliator', which never failed to slay, as well as two others called the 'Great Fury' and the 'Little Fury'. He had a boat called 'Wave Sweeper', which propelled the and guided itself wherever its owner wished, and a horse called 'Splendid Mane', which was swifter than the spring wind, and traveled equally fast on land or over the waves of the sea. No weapon could hurt him through his magic mail and breast plate, and on his helmet there shon two magic jewels bright as the sun. He endowed the Gods with the mantle which made them invisible at will, and he fed them from his pigs, which renewed themselves as soon as they had been eaten.
From CELTIC MYTHS AND LEGENDS by Charles Squire - Lomond Books - ISBN 1 84204 015 4



The Old Statute Labour Road along the Hillfoots of the Ochil Hills
The old Statute Labour Road from Stirling to Kinross went from Stirling over the bridge there then along the causeway to Causewayhead then along the southern side of the Ochil Hills - known locally as the 'Hillfoots' - by Auld Logie Kirk, through Blairlogie, above the flood Plain of the River Forth, through Menstrie, and then on through the present-day upper parts of Alva, Tillicoultry and Dollar (following the valley of the River Devon) to Muckhart (Pool of Muckhart and Yetts of Muckhart) and then Kinross. From the medieval period, the Kings of Scotland and ordinary folk used this road when travelling from Stirling to Falkland Palace and the inland parts of Fife. This old road still exists in parts and stretches of it are now a pleasurable walk. The old road joins the modern A91 near Muckhart. This statute labour road was also known as the 'Stirling to Kinross High Road' and nowadays, in many of the places mentioned above is just the 'Back Road'.

Sheltered in the lee of the Ochil hills lie the Hillfoots villages of Blairlogie, Menstrie, Alva, Tillicoultry and Dollar. Each village grew arround a fast-flowing burn, necessary for water and power for the meal mills and later woollen mills. The villages of Alva and Tillicoultry developed as small industrial textile towns. each village usually enjoyed the patronage of a laird on whose ground it was built and who resided nearby. the old road from Stirling to Kinross passed through each village some way up the slope, and sections of it are still in use. In each village, the oldest cottages can be found at this level, someway uphill of the 1806 turnpike road*.

The 1806 turnpike road is now the modern A91 Stirling to St. Andrews road.

From 1699 onwards, in Scotland, the Statute Labour Road System obliged people to supply labour, tools, horses and carts for road-mending purposes for up to 6 days a year without pay. This System was widely resented and very inefficient. The keeper of the records, often the local schoolmaster, had few powers of enforcement, and, if he took advantage of them, he was likely to be outlawed by his community. A modification of the system allowed a set sum of money to be paid instead. This helped a little but there were problems with collecting the money. Efforts at road making under the statute labour system proved inadequate for the needs of the agricultural and industrial improvements of the 1700's.

The old Statute Labour Road along the hillfoots was superseded by the new Stirling to Kinross turnpike road in 1806. Part of the new turnpike was designed by Crauford Tait, with curves following the River Devon to provide changing views through the valley. The turnpike system lasted into the late 1800's when roads became the responsibility of local authorities. The Department of Transport assumed responsibility for a network of main roads in 1919. This has continued to the present time.

In 1798 Thomas Garnett, M.D., a professor in Glasgow University, found the highroad in very good condition. It was, however, too narrow for two vehicles to pass each other without difficulty. At gates (turnpikes) tolls and duties were demanded from vehicles, horsemen and cattle drovers. **page 43-44 below

My starting place for walking the old road is in front of Auld Logie Kirk.

The Parish of Logie one of the oldest in Scotland, nestles at the foot of the Ochil Hills, north of the River Forth at The first church at Logie was dedicated to St. Serf confirmed as the possession of the Monastery of North Berwick and a record is made of a Ysaac Michaele, clerk parson of "Logie" around year 1210. -

Three roads meet in front of the Auld Kirk and it must have been a busy junction when the old road was in use. One of the roads is today private - A gate there with no entry and private signs on it leads to what was the road to Blairlogie. An old house on that road, so I was once informed, was, in the past, a coaching Inn. Denied access through the gate, to get to Blairlogie, the walker must walk along the pavement of the modern A91 eventually turning left into the old village of Blairlogie to the crossroads there - signposted as 'The Square'

Walking along the pavement of the A91 towards Blairlogie passes the entrance to the Witches Craig Caravan Park - behind the park is seen the Witches Craig, on top of which, the Devil, in the guise of a Black Dog, is said to dance with the witches.

Click on the small picture to view the larger version
Witches Craig -  
At the crossroads in Blairlogie (signposted as 'The Square') - the left road leads to where the road to Auld Logie Kirk must have gone, across what is now fields, while the road right leads along among the old houses on what was the old road to Menstrie. Further on, a style gives access from the old road to a car park which is accessed from the A91. The old road then goes on to where it has been planted over with trees and a public path leads down to the right back to the A91 pavement. - Other paths to the left give access to Dumyat and (across a ricketty bridge) the farm road leading up to Dumyat Farm (used to be called Lipney) and Menstrie Glen.
A young Robert Louis Stevenson, who holiday as a boy at Blairlogie, heard the the story about the black dog and the witches on the witches craig - and Black Dog became one of the characters in Robert's book, Treasure Island. Robert Lious was taken to holiday for health reasons to Blairlogie for the mountain air and the goats' milk.Goats were kept at Fossachie (now gone) in the Ochil Hills above Blairlogie.
Goats were kept at both Fossachie and at Lipney (now Dumyat Farm) in the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, mainly as a source of goat milk for wealthy invalids who visited Blairlogie and drank goat milk or goat whey for their health.
Blairlogie -
Blairlogie from the A91
Blairlogie - the old road
Back on the A91 the farm road leads up to Dumyat farm and Menstrie Glen.
Walking along the pavement of the A91 to Menstrie, the first building in Menstrie is a church on the left. Just before the Church take a path to the left into the woods. This path runs along behind gardens and houses on what must be the route of the old road. This path becomes a tarred road leading to Menstrie Auld Brig-
On the old road, a path gives access to Menstrie Glen and the Ochil hills. - view looking back in the direction of Blairlogie -

Carrying on, the old road crosses Menstrie Auld Brig. - This picture is looking back in the direction of Blairlogie - Part of Dumyat - the most westerly of the Ochil Hills is in the picture.

Menstrie - the Auld Brig, 1665, is rubble built, humped-back single arch with an inscribed panel on the south. The stone walls of the 1642 corn mill can yet be spotted, just above the Auld Brig. *Page 66

The old road is then continuous from Menstrie Auld Brig to Alva. It is tarred for part of the way and wide enough for farm traffic. It makes for a pleasant walk.

The picture shows the Old Statute Labour Road as it is now between Menstrie and Alva

Alva - The centre of historic Alva, as with all the Hillfoot communities, is uphill from the main road (Stirling Street) where the old back road (Back Road, Beauclerc Street, Ochil Road) crosses the Alva Burn at the entrance to Alva Glen. *Page 67

The old road then can then be easily followed through the upper parts of Alva and then via the Woodland Park Car Park on to Tillicoultry

Between Alva and Tillicoultry the road splits with a high road and a low road. The high road (at first a single-track tarred road with passing places) goes up by the car park at the Woodland Trusts place (signposted on the A91 on the outskirts of Alva) and then degenerates into a narrow path, but it goes all the way to Tillicoultry. The low road starts off as a narrow path near Alva and goes between fields and then through woods before, after crossing a fence, leading on to Tillicoultry Golf course where it ceases to exist. I was assured, years ago, that the right-of way is across the Golf Course to the clubhouse. I don't know if that's true or not but nobody stopped me when I did it recently! The low road is sign posted with a sign saying 'Path' at the Alva end, but no corresponding sign at the Tillicoultry end or on the Golf Course.

Tillicoultry developed from the small village of Westerton at the upper part of Tillicoultry Burn, by the Middleton and Clock Mills where the old Stirling High Road passed over Middleton Bridge and cut along what is now Frederick Street. *Page 76

John Tait, a wealthy Edinburgh lawyer, had bought a tolerably good house on the old high road in 1780. His son Crauford, who succeeded in 1800, was the principle mover in the matter of the new Turnpike Road from Stirling to Kinross. The latter improved both house and estate, demolishing the original hamlets on the road. The stretch of the new Turnpike was designed with curves following the River Devon to provide changing views through the valley. *Page 86

In 1798 Thomas Garnett, M.D. (Mentioned above) recorded a small village with a wretched Inn, it is unfortunate that there is not a house which could afford tolerable accommodation for travellers. *Page 88
Cross Keys - The heart of the old town is the sloping square facing the Cross Keys from which Argyle Street leads south, High Street to the east and west and Hillfoot Road to the northeast. Cross Keys House on Hillfoot Road, is a former 18th century Drover's Inn now converted into houses. Reference 2 page 89

In front of Dollar Golf Club House - going to the left (West) - the old back road - (the old High Road) - a narrow tarred road leads around behind Dollar, behind the Academy, until it peters out into a narrow muddy path leading in the direction of Tillicoultry.

The Back Road - The Academy is bounded along its northern perimeter by the old high road from Stirling to Kinross, open to the hills beyond until enclosed by 20th century developments. *page 95
Gateside is an ancient estate, an old charter stipulating that the fueholder must present a passing monarch with ale: five gallons each of old brewed ale, new ale and ale in the process of brewing. In the 18th century, it was the principle Inn serving travellers passing along the old road. The house brewed its own beer until the 19th century, the water coming from a spring in Brewer's Know behind. *page 95

In front of Dollar Golf Club House - going to the right (East) - the old back road - (the old High Road) - passes Dollar museum - Castle Road is a steep narrow tarred road on the left which leads up to Dollar Castle and the old drove road to Glen Quey, Glendevon and Auchterarder - the old road is a narrow tarred road leading around behind Dollar to where it makes a junction with the modern A91 just before the village of Muckhart.



*Clackmannan and the Ochils - An Illustrated Architectural Guide - Adam Swan - Scottish Academic Press - Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland - ISBN 0703 0513 6 - 1st edition 1987 - Printed by Lindsay & Co. Ltd, Edinburgh

**OLD CLACKMANNANSHIRE - A.I.R. DRUMMOND - Reprint by MANNAN PRINT, North Street, Clackmannan - First Published 1953 - Republished 1987 - CLACKMANNAN DISTRICT LIBRARIES


Links -