It lies on the Allan Water, a left-hand tributary of the River Forth, built largely on the well-wooded slopes of Westerton and Airthrey Hill, sheltered by the Ochil Hills from the north and east winds.
The local people of the area, during the Iron Age, were known as the Maeatae and it was they who constructed a powerful hillfort nearby. The early village consisted of seven small clachans; Bridge End, Kierfield, Old Lecropt, Pathfoot, Logie, Corntown and the Milne of Airthrey. The villages were very separate and the villagers lived in the small world of their own communities.
The site occupied by modern Bridge of Allan, stretches from the clachan of Logie across the Allan Water to the University of Stirling. It was first mentioned in a charter granted by King David I. The charter was written in connection with a dispute between the nuns of North Berwick and the monks at Dunfermline Abbey over the tithes of Airthrey and Corntown. It is undated, but had been granted by 1146.
A hog's back, narrow, stone bridge was built to replace the old ford across the River Allan, in 1520. It rose sharply from the riverbank and dipped steeply at the other side. Soon after a few cottages began to appear around the ends of the bridge and an embryonic Bridge of Allan slowly formed. In the woods above the bridge a mine opened. This was worked from around 1550, and quantities of copper, silver and gold were extracted.
By the middle of the seventeenth century the Airthrey Estate had passed to relatives of the Marquess of Montrose, the Grahams. James Graham rose for the king during the English civil war, and in 1645, as the army of the Duke of Argyll passed through the Airthrey estate on its way to the battle of Kilsyth, they burned down the manor house.
The Jacobites were in Bridge of Allan in 1745, where three hundred highlanders set up a roadblock on the bridge and charged a toll for its passage.
Major Alexander Henderson, the Laird of Westerton, drew up plans of how he wanted the village to be laid out in 1850. The plan envisaged spacious streets with pleasure grounds in the woods. He also erected a fountain in Market Street. It was at this time that many handsome stone villas were built on wide thoroughfares, with practically every second house becoming a lodging house as Bridge of Allan became a renowned spa town. Among the visitors was Robert Louis Stevenson, who visited annually during his youth.
The Museum Hall was built by the trustees of John Macfarlane in 1887, originally as the Macfarlane Museum and Art Gallery. In its use as a concert venue, it once played host to the Beatles but was subsequently allowed to fall into disuse and considerable disrepair. It is currently being redeveloped for residential use.
The first Sunday in August is usually the date for the Strathallan Games. Founded in 1852 by Major Henderson, the games attract hundreds of athletes, pipe bands, and highland dancers.
A tropical treat; Going out EATING OUT THE WESTERTON ARMS 34 HENDERSON STREET, BRIDGE OF ALLAN Tam found plenty to like about the "superior-style" pub grub on offer at this bustling hostelry - just a pity he was too hot to enjoy it.(Features)
Aug 04, 2007; Byline: BY TAM COWAN Driving from Aberdeen a few Sundays ago, we thought about trying Brechin or Forfar for a wee spot of lunch....
Hands Free to Savour Good Taste; Eating Out: Chambo Posh Diners Are Asked to Switch off Their Mobiles at This Bridge of Allan Eaterie. Well, It Can Interfere with Appreciation of the Top Quality Cuisine
Jun 01, 2002; Byline: Tam Cowan CAN using mobile phones seriously damage your health? I'll say. Particularly if you insist on roaring into...