Alloa Tower is one of the largest surviving medieval tower houses in Scotland although it has been modified over the centuries and now its medieval exterior encases an 18th century mansion. The outer fields and grounds that once surrounded it have been taken over for the development of modern buildings but Alloa Tower remains a striking monument. It is also one of the first, and largest, of Scottish tower houses, with enormously thick walls.
Built in the town of Alloa in central Scotland (Clackmannanshire) during the 14th century, the tower house was the ancestral home of the influential, and some say cursed, Erskine family, the Earls of Mar and Kellie.
Alloa Tower is open to the public and has many fascinating secrets and surprising architectural anomalies. There is a stone well built into the walls, artworks by Henry Raeburn and Van Dyck and even a dungeon sure to send a chill up your spine. Fabulous china, silverware, period costumes and furnishings are also on display.
Alloa Tower was the residence of the 6th Earl of Mar who led Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 and was used by Mary Queen of Scots, just after the birth of her son.
The views from the top of the tower house are said to be exceptional.
THE CURSE OF ALLOA TOWER
According to the legend the ‘Curse of Alloa Tower was set upon John Erskine, Earl of Mar by the wrathful Abbot of Cambuskenneth. According to the legend, the Earl apparently helped himself to stones from the ruins of Cambuskenneth Abbey near Stirling so as to build his new renaissance mansion, Mar’s Wark. The abbot was said to have laid eight curses on the Erskine family of which four, possibly five, came true. However, there’s quite some debate about whether the story of the curse was made up after the misfortunes experienced by the Erskine family.
It’s worth noting that the was at one time a grand mansion attached to the tower but this was burnt to the ground during August of 1800 AD and completed one of the eight curses.
Alloa Tower is said to be quite haunted and there have been reports of strange noises, orbs and even the ghosts of children. Paranormal investigators have studied the tower house on many occasions and while all agree that there is a spooky vibration to the place – they seem unable to decide what’s causing it. Among the ghosts apparently seen by people is a monk in black robes, a prisoner in the dungeon and a ghostly serving girl.
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