CLACKMANNAN TOWER, which lies on King’s Seat Hill on the outskirts of the village, is one of several tower houses in Clackmannanshire.

The hill was ideally placed but it was not until the 12th century that a fortified structure was built there.

This was known as the Castle of Clackmannan and was one of a number of royal residences for King Malcolm IV. It is thought to have been his hunting seat as it was close to the King’s Forest of Clackmannan.

It was later used by William, King of Scots, Alexander II and Alexander III. Following the death of Alexander III in 1286, whose heirs had pre-deceased him, the Wars if Independence broke out and Clackmannan Castle effectively came under the rule of Edward I of England.

Following the defeat of his son Edward II at Bannockburn in 1314, it returned to Scottish control and King Robert Bruce lived there in 1316, 1317 and possibly 1318 and visited it frequently from 1322 until 1327, two years before he died.

At that time, it was not unusual for furnishings and household goods to be transported to where the king was currently living.

Among the items in the entourage were the windows. Glass was expensive, and a system of portable windows meant that the principle rooms in the castle could be glazed and is believed to be the case at Clackmannan Castle.

In the late 14th century, and with money running out, David II sold the castle and Barony of Clackmannan to Robert Bruce on 9th December 1359.

It was around this time Bruce re-built the northern tower in pink sandstone ashlar with its ground floor cellars, a great hall on the first floor and a guard house at the top. Before this, it was a motte and bailey castle.

Over years, and rising living standards, the building was altered and added to, with the 14th century tower being heightened, which is clearly shown by the change in the colour of the sandstone, with a second tower added in the 15th century to form a substantial L-shaped tower house.

The north wing was built using coursed rubble and ashlar and has four stories with the south tower being slightly higher at five.

The fact the attic rose a full story above the main tower is unique in Scotland. Both have a cape-house on the roof to cover the internal stair cases.

A spiral stair in the original tower at ground level to the first floor was built and a kitchen was installed on the first floor of the south wing.