OVER at Menstrie Mains Farm in Menstrie, it is believed a record was broken in the early 1930s with possibly the longest time served by an employee in Clackmannanshire.

Known only as Margaret, her surname lost over time, she served the tenants of the farm for over 83 years, working as a domestic servant and she was still going strong in 1932 at the grand old age of 96.

When she was a girl of 13, she began working on the farm when she 'fee'd' herself in the service of it in 1848.

At the time she entered employment, Menstrie Mains, also known simply as Mains Farm, stood on land belonging to the Menstrie Estate, then owned by George Abercromby of the Airthrey Estate.

It was a large farm steading with an array of buildings including the two-storey farmhouse where much of Margaret's work was carried out.

The farm was tenanted by Thomas Keir, and later went on to be tenanted by John Dawson around 1885. Between 1889 and 1892, boundary changes took place in Clackmannanshire.

At this time the proprietor of the farm was Donald Graham of Airthrey. In 1899, Robert Sheffield took over ownership, although he returned the farm to George Abercromby in 1905.

The Dawsons remained tenants until the early 1930s when the Gellatelys took it over. John Gellately and his brother James became co-tenants and in 1947 bought the farm outright.

James became sole owner in 1960, but that was long after Margaret had died.

Throughout her time working there, she very rarely had any time off, preferring to spend her days being useful, cleaning the farmhouse and doing any chores asked of her around the farm itself.

The only time she was unable to carry out her tasks was when she was ill, but this seems to have been a rare occurrence.

In January 1932, her employers, the Gellatelys, a family she had known since she was a girl, spoke with her, suggesting it was time for her to take things easier, after all she was 96, but she declined, stating she was 'doing her bit' for the farmhouse.

The old lady was still fit for her age, and only suffered from slight deafness. She could also still read without using glasses so felt able to continue in her work and did so until she died shortly afterwards.

She was known by locals as the Old Maid of Menstrie, a name which stuck.

She is thought to be the longest serving employee in the history of Clackmannanshire.