Restoration of Clackmannan Tolbooth begins


Restoration of Clackmannan Tolbooth begins

Work  has begun on a project to restore the historic Clackmannan Tolbooth, which incorporates the belfry tower built around 1680 and a surviving gable wall first built in 1592.

Austin-Smith:Lord are providing conservation architecture services for the restoration of the Category A listed building which will include stone works, roof replacement and refurbishment of the clock, bell and weathervane.

Clackmannan Tolbooth was originally erected in 1592, though the belfry tower that is visible today was built around 1680. William Menteith, Sheriff of Clackmannan, presented a petition to Parliament requesting that a tolbooth be built as he and his predecessors had been obliged to hold courts in the open air and to keep prisoners in his house. An Act was passed on 5 June 1592 which authorised the construction of the tolbooth and the collection of taxes to pay for it.

A bell presented by Sir Lawrence Dundas in 1765 was rung each evening until 1939. By 1792, the tolbooth was said to be ‘a heap of ruins’ and the main part of it was probably demolished about 1822 when the Clackmannanshire Sheriff Court was transferred to Alloa.

The partial remains of the tolbooth at Clackmannan are of outstanding interest because of their early date. There are no surviving tolbooths of medieval date in Scotland, and only a very few from the last quarter of the 16th century.

Provost Donald Balsillie, who visited the site along with children from Clackmannan Primary School and the project team, said: “I am very happy to see work beginning on this important project.  The tollbooth is a much loved landmark for the people of Clackmannan, as well as being of outstanding national interest.

Dr Susan O’Connor, Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), said: “Clackmannan Tolbooth has been at the centre of this community for centuries and HES is proud to support the restoration works so it can continue to tell its story, now and in the future. Our grant programmes support a huge range of projects and it’s particularly meaningful to contribute to a site like this where only a number of contemporary examples remain.”