THE building of the Tollbooth in Clackmannan got underway in 1592 following a petition to parliament by William Menteith, the then Sheriff of Clackmannan, for its construction in the spring of that year.

Before this time, the local Sheriff held court at the market cross.

There was no shelter for him during poor weather as he stood on the steps of the old market cross and meted out justice.

The sheriff was also under obligation to accommodate those awaiting justice in his own home, and depending on the crime, was putting himself and his family at risk.

It seems odd that Clackmannan was the main county town yet had nowhere to hold court, pass sentences, or a place to hold prisoners.

The new Tollbooth was where the courts were to be held and for justice to be administered. With permission granted six weeks later, a site was chosen on the High Street next to the market cross and the Mannan stone, and construction began.

The cost came to around £284, all paid for by taxes on the land within the boundaries of the sheriffdom. A two-storey hall block measuring around 19 feet by 52 feet was built with the tower built around 1680.

The tollbooth was used for around 200 years before Alloa took over judicial cases for the county.

The steeple remains as does the old bell which was gifted by Sir Lawrence Dundas in 1765. It was rung every evening at six o'clock until 1939.

By 1792, the tollbooth and courthouse, although still standing, were in a dilapidated condition, and had been for some time.

When local laird John Blaw was incarcerated in a cell there for the murder of William Cairns in 1769, it must have been wind and watertight, even though it was described by contemporaries as 'a heap of ruins and a nuisance to the public'.

Notwithstanding, elections were held there, and the sheriff still occasionally held court at the Tollbooth until the last session on January 21, 1822, when the final case was heard. It was subsequently abandoned and is thought to have been demolished around the same time.

By 1865, the Tollbooth tower was still occasionally used and Frances Horne presented the Tollbooth steeple with a new clock with the latest technology which allowed for automatic lighting.

Costing around £1000, the locals were grateful for the new addition to their town and a year later he was publicly thanked.

In the mid-20th century, the town council renovated the remains, and in 2002, the roof of the tower was renewed.