Before you head in to Menstrie Castle itself, take a few minutes to read the information board outside: it has a very thorough history of the castle and its residents, including Sir William Alexander, who became the 1st Earl of Stirling, and the famous military commander Sir Ralph Abercromby.
The story of Sir William Alexander continues inside, in the Nova Scotia Commemoration Room. Sir William was appointed Lieutenant for the Plantation of Nova Scotia by James VI in 1621 and had to come up with a scheme to populate the colony and support it financially. The Baronetage of Nova Scotia was the proposed solution – creating and selling baronetcies for 3,000 Scots merks apiece. The scheme failed, leaving Sir William bankrupt and Nova Scotia in the hands of the French, but 115 baronetcies were created in the meantime. As well as the exhibition telling the story of the ill-fated scheme, you can see a display of the painted shields of these 115 baronetcies, along with portraits of James VI and Sir William Alexander.
Did you know?
Sir Ralph Abercromby made a name for himself in many battles, but is perhaps best remembered for his pivotal role in the Battle of Abukir