Alloa, Clackmannanshire

Historical Description

ALLOA, a burgh of barony, sea-port town, and parish, in the county of CLACKMANNAN, 7 miles (E.) from Stirling; containing, with the villages of Cambus, Coalyland, Holton-Square, and Tullibody, 7921 inhabitants, of whom 5434 are in the burgh. This place, the name of which, in various documents written Auleway and Alloway, is supposed to signify in the Gaelic language "the way to the sea ", includes also the ancient parish of Tullibody, memorable for the erection of its village, in 834, by Kenneth M'Alpine, on the plain where he encamped the main body of his army previously to the victory which put an end to the Pictish dynasty in Scotland. In 1149, David I. erected, and annexed to the abbey of Cambuskenneth founded by him on the field where the battle took place, the church of Tullibody, which he endowed with land, and with some islands in the Firth of Forth, for the maintenance of the officiating priests. In 1559, the French forces under General D'Oysel, who were stationed on the coast of Fife, on the appearance of the English fleet made a precipitate retreat to Stirling; but being retarded in their progress by Kirkcaldy of Grange, who had broken down the bridge of Tullibody, they unroofed the church, and, converting the timbers into a temporary bridge, effected their escape across the Forth. The church, thus exposed to the injuries of the weather, soon fell into a state of dilapidation; and the parish of Tullibody, about the time of the Reformation, became united to that of Alloa. In 1645, the Earl of Montrose, on the night before the battle of Kilsyth, encamped his forces in the woods of Tullibody, and was hospitably entertained by the Earl of Mar in his castle of Alloa. The family of Erskine, ancestors of the Earls of Mar, were distinguished at an early period for their eminent services; and John, the fifth earl, who became Regent of Scotland, was entrusted with the guardianship of Mary, Queen of Scots, who, during her infancy, remained under his protection at Alloa Castle till 1548, when, by order of the estates of the kingdom, he conveyed her to the court of France. John, the sixth earl, was appointed guardian to the infant monarch, James VI., who spent many of his earlier years at Alloa, and also at Stirling. The castle of Alloa, anciently one of the residences of the Scottish kings, was in the thirteenth century given by David II. to Lord Erskine, in exchange for the estate of Strathgartney, in the county of Perth. Of the ancient edifice, one tower only is now remaining, eighty-nine feet in height, and the walls eleven feet in thickness; the other portions of the buildings which constituted the family residence, were destroyed by an accidental fire in 1800, and a splendid mansion has been since erected by the Earl of Mar. This is a spacious structure, of white freestone from a quarry in the park, beautifully situated on a gentle acclivity, within about 200 yards of the old tower, and inclosing a quadrangular area 180 feet in length, and 120 feet in breadth. The principal front occupies the whole width of the area, forming an elegant specimen of the Grecian style; and the interior contains numerous stately apartments, superbly decorated. Four entrance lodges, also, have been recently built; but the whole of the arrangements are not yet completed.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis
Postal districtFK10