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Menstrie Castle

Fortified House (Period Unassigned), House(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Menstrie Castle

Classification Fortified House (Period Unassigned), House(S) (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Castle Road, 1 - 2 Castle Court

Canmore ID 47125

Site Number NS89NW 21

NGR NS 84940 96858

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Clackmannan
  • Parish Alva
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Clackmannan
  • Former County Clackmannanshire

Architecture Notes

NS89NW 21.00 84940 96858

NS89NW 21.01 84940 96870 North wing

Menstrie Castle stands on the southern side of the village. It dates from the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The house appears originally to have been quite a small L-shaped fortalice, but later the wing was extended, another wing was added and a curtain wall erected to the east to join up, thus enclosing quite a large courtyard. Only the west and south wings of the original house now remain. The gables are crowstepped and an angle-turret with gunloops crowns the south-east corner.

Menstrie was burned by Montrose in 1645. In 1963 the building was restored. Two rooms were dedicated to commemorate the link between Scotland and Novia Scotia. It also contains four flats let by the Council and is surrounded by modern housing.

RCAHMS 1933; N Tranter 1963

Located at NS 8494 9685.

Visited by OS Reviser, November 1984.


Schomeberg Scott plans: Commemoration Room for the Baronets of Nove Scotia.


Photographic Survey (1956)

Photographic survey by the Scottish National Buildings Record in 1956.

Reference (February 2013 - February 2013)

Menstrie Castle dates from the late 16th to early 17th century, and was described by Groome (1885) as “a quaint old house...the birthplace of the poet Sir William Alexander (1580-1640), first Earl of Stirling and also Sir Ralph Abercromby (1734-1801), the hero of Aboukir Bay.” Originally the structure appears to have been a small fortifies house which was later extended by the addition of wings to the north and east. The original house formed the south-west corner of the courtyard enclosed on the other sides by later additions and ancillary structures while the eastern side was enclosed by a stone wall. The oldest part of the building appears to be on the southern side where thee gables are crow-stepped and there is a corbelled out bartizan tower with gun-loops. Such defensive measures were not simply for show as the castle was reputedly attacked and burnt by Montrose in 1645. The building was occupied up to the 1950s by which time it had become largely ruinous. The National Trust for Scotland in co-operation with Clackmannanshire County Council played a large part in saving the building from demolition and in 1963 it was restored.

Historic maps help with the understanding of the development of Menstrie. Adair’s maps of 1681 and 1688 names “Menstry” as being separate from the village. Roy’s (1750) map shows an L-shaped structure aligned north-south with a wing attached to the north-east side. It also shows a large tree lined enclosure to the north of the castle with the village beyond and what appears to be a sub-divided enclosure, possibly gardens, to the south.

On the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (1863) the Castle is shown very clearly as ‘Menstry Place’ and consists of an L-shaped building forming the south and west sides of a courtyard with a couple of small outbuildings attached to the north side. The areas to the south and north are either gardens or orchards. On the 2nd edition the orchard to the south has been removed and the southern side of the courtyards has been extended eastwards by another building. There are also two structures added to the north side of the courtyard. The 1922 edition shows much the same as the 2nd edition. On the 1969 OS map only the western side of the courtyard survives; the buildings having been replaced by new housing.

Information from NTS


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