A Brief History
The history of Doune goes back to before the year 2000 BC. The Gaelic word “dun” means a hill or fort and there are many ‘duns’ in Scottish place names, such as Dunblane and Dunfermline. Burial mounds and chambers have been found in the area, and also various standing stones.
The first known fortification was a sizeable Roman fort, which was discovered in an area now covered by the cricket ground and part of the Doune Primary School grounds.
ln Medieval times the tiny settlement of Doune clustered around Doune Castle for protection. There may have been a castle on this site since the 11th century, but the present building, built by the Duke of Albany, dates from the late 14th century. It sits on a strategic site on the boundary between lowland and highland Scotland, where it would have been well placed for trade and for defending river crossings.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the centre of the village slowly moved towards its present location at the intersection of the trade routes used for the droving of cattle from the Highlands to the markets in Falkirk and beyond. At this time the village became an important centre for pistol making and also dressing of skins, and the making of shoes and and sporrans. Most of today’s village buildings date from the 19th and 20th centuries but there are still remains of Doune’s more distant past if you look carefully.
Deanston’s known history is more recent, though there may have been pockets of habitation at times. The village took off in the 1700’s with the building of the cotton mill, which at its peak employed 1000 workers. The building is still in use, but now in the guise of Deanston Distillery. There are also some attractive rows of cottages, known as the divisions, built for mill workers and still inhabited to this day.
If you want to know more about our fascinating past, why not drop into the Information and Heritage Centre at the Cross in Doune. There you will find leaflets about the area and also various well-written books by local experts. Alternatively, explore more of the pages in the Heritage Menu.
From 1800 BC onwards – evidence of habitation in the surrounding area (not necessarily continuous)
Roman fort – c 83 AD to the late 80’s AD and possibly also c 140 AD to c 158 AD. Presumably some local inhabitants would have come to live in the surrounding area to provide services, but no documentation on this is available.
Doune Castle first built 13th century; rebuilt late 14th century. Around this time, the first houses probably started to cluster around the castle for protection, and to provide services.
Doune moved to its present position during the 16th and 17th centuries, in order to be on the main north/south drove route for trade. The main locally produced goods for trading at this time were pistols, sporrans and shoes.
Deanston – 1785 cotton mill built; village of Deanston starts to grow around it
Some other interesting dates
Old Kilmadock Cemetery – earliest use may be pre 700 AD
Bridge of Teith built 1535, widened 1866
Mercat Cross originally set up c 1620
Thomas Cadell arrives Doune 1646
Deanston Mill built 1785/1786
Deanston Mill upgraded early 1800’s
Deanston “divisions“ built early 1800’S
Kilmadock Parish Church built 1822 (also known as Kilmadock East Church)
Railway opened 1858, closed 1965