Built from rubble Menstrie Castle, with its distinctive pepper box turrets, crow stepped gables and notable Renaissance-style entrance arch, is a baronial mansion house dating from the 16th century.

The first record of a building existing on the site dates from 1322 when it was owned by Dougal Campbell, a member of the Clan Campbell of Argyll.

The Argyll Campbells found the house to be comfortable and it soon became a favourite with them; however, in 1526 the title was transferred to Andrew Alexander, a local landowner.

It is thought his son Andrew built part of the three-story house that can be seen today.

Due to arson in 1645, fire destroyed the kitchen. A few years later the house was acquired by Major General James Holburne, and he had the family’s coat of arms erected above the main door.

In 1719 the house was sold by his grandson James Holburne, 1st Baronet of Nova Scotia, to the local Abercrombie family.

By the late 1800s the building had become run-down with fire breaking out once more in 1950.

It was saved from demolition thanks to a campaign led by actor Moultrie Kelsall and restored by Clackmannanshire County Council under the auspices of the county architect William Higgins Henry, winning a Scottish Civic Trust award for its sympathetic renovation.

Today the Grade A listed building is used as accommodation and there is a small museum run by the National Trust for Scotland.

It gives a short history of the building and its noteworthy inhabitants, such as the poet and courtier to King James VI, William Alexander, who was born there in 1567.

He became Secretary of State for Scotland during the reign of James’ son Charles I. More importantly he went on to colonise Nova Scotia in Canada where he became its first Governor General in 1621.

He was granted the Barony of Menstrie in 1597 by Archibald, the then Earl of Argyll, and became the 1st Earl of Stirling in 1633. Alexander died bankrupt in London in 1640.

Another person of note is the distinguished soldier and politician Sir Ralph Abercrombie who was born at Menstrie Castle in October 1734, although he grew up on his father’s Tullibody estate.

He saw action during the Seven Years’ War, the French Revolutionary Wars and the invasion of Egypt where the British fought Napoleon’s French forces.

Here he was fatally wounded at the Battle of Aboukir and died at Alexandria on 28th March 1801.