Alloa Tower

Alloa, United Kingdom

Alloa Tower is an early 14th century tower house that served as the medieval residence of the Erskine family, later Earls of Mar. Retaining its original timber roof and battlements, the tower is one of the earliest, and largest, of Scottish tower houses, with immensely thick walls.

It was originally built as part of a line of fortifications defending the north shore of the Firth of Forth. Several 19th century works, including Groome's Gazetteer, date the tower to the year 1223. Archaeological investigations from the early 1990s date the original fortified house to the early 14th century, where it had a cellar that sometimes served as a pit prison. By the mid-14th century it had been enlarged with a great hall and rose to three storeys in height, with the entrance on the first floor. In the 15th century it was further enlarged to four/five levels while retaining its first-floor access. Late in the 16th century ground-floor access was probably added.

John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar built a very large mansion (Alloa House) in 1710 that incorporated the tower as its annexe; he made plans to remodel the tower's interior, but it is unclear what changes were actually made. The house burned down in 1800 and was rebuilt by George Angus in 1834–1838 for the 9th Earl. It was demolished sometime after 1868.



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Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Alan Howes (6 months ago)
So on Saturday we discovered Alloa Tower (National Trust for Scotland). We've lived only 12 miles away for 40 years, but this was our first visit. In our defence, it was only restored in the 90s, and it is surrounded by a fairly unattractive housing estate. But it was great. Really helpful, knowledgeable guides, great views from the roof, and an interesting history. (We are now much better informed about the Earls of Mar, both sets!) And I managed the 130 steps to the roof quite easily, to my pleasant surprise. Only downside was there seemed to be only five or so other visitors. Do go visit it!
Anna (7 months ago)
Fabulous surprise as didn't expect it to be as much to see as it was. Beautiful building with all access inside, interesting exhibits and lovely staff. Plus a lego mini figure search to keep the kids happy.
Ewan Walker (14 months ago)
A wee 'keep' for the Mar Family. As National Trust members we are always looking for new places to visit that are not famous castles and houses. This tower or keep is one of those buildings. It is situated in Alloa (only 10 miles from Dunfermline & 9 miles from Stirling Castle). Every wealthy family had to have a tower just in case they were attacked by a rival clan. This unique building has been preserved due to the funding raising efforts and hard graft of local people. They should be proud of their efforts saving it from ruin. It has multiple levels and a roof top viewing platform with great views of the area including Stirling Castle. We also visited the town centre only 5 minutes walk past Tesco. We had a coffee and cakes at Dnisi in the town centre. ??
Chapelle Crescent (15 months ago)
The most underestimated place in Alloa. What a surprise when you get inside and onto the rooftop!!! Don't hesitate and go visit this hidden gem from Alloa.
Angie Smith (19 months ago)
Nice morning spent at Alloa Tower. Really interesting and volunteers were very knowledge
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