DURING the reign of Malcolm IV, between 1153 and 1165, a motte and bailey castle was built at the top of King Seat Hill in Clackmannan.

These castles were defensive structures, but the main reason for their construction was that they were quick to erect and could accommodate the king and his entourage within weeks.

According to a contemporary description, the castle at Clackmannan was constructed of wattle and clay on top of a man-made mound of earth which was flattened on top to house the castle.

Timber was used to build a square structure complete with wooden towers and lookouts.

Within the enclosed wooden fenced courtyard would have been the main hall, kitchen, accommodation, stables, and workshops.

Around the castle and its courtyard was the traditional deep ditch, making it difficult for attackers to invade.

Living at the castle would have been local people who did menial work along with serfs, those who were tied to their lord's estate by the old feudal system, usually working in agriculture.

Once a year the St Bartholomew's Fair took place close to it, an important day due to the buying and selling of goods.

Malcolm spent time at the castle, as did his younger brother William the Lion on several occasions.

Malcolm VI

Malcolm VI

William was the grandson of David I and became heir presumptive, following the coronation of his older brother Malcolm IV.

When Malcolm died in December 1165 aged 24, William was crowned King of Scotland.

In 1195, William I fell ill at Clackmannan Castle and a crisis arose. Believing he was on his death bed, he stated that Otto, the third son of Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, and his wife Matilda of England, should succeed him.

However, he made a full recovery and the crisis was averted.

On November 9, 1204, William was visiting Clackmannan Castle and issued a charter while there.

He died in December 1214, aged 72, at Stirling and was succeeded by his son Alexander II, who visited the castle in 1231.

Here he issued a charter granting the lands of Culbract in Fife to the Abbey of Balmerino.

Sometime before 1264 alterations were made to the castle with stone being used instead of wood and clay. It was still a royal residence, and now contained a brewery.

During the Wars of Independence, the castle fell into English hands but was eventually restored to Scotland. The castle and its lands were sold by David II to the Bruce family on December 9, 1359.