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Social History of Plean Estate
We start in the 1700's when your right to vote pretty much depended on how much land you owned. With this in mind Robert Haldane, who was already the owner of Airthrey Estate on which Stirling University now stands, bought Plean Estate from the Earl of Dunmore. The Haldane family continued to own it until 1799 when it was sold to pay debts.
In 1800 the estate was bought by Francis Simpson the son of a clerk at Carron Company. He had served as a Lieutenant before joining the Merchant Navy and becoming a Captain working in the Far East. Having amassed a large fortune he returned to Scotland and commissioned and built Plean House around 1819 together with the other estate buildings.
Some archive photographs showing the house and the local coal industry. Click on the thumbnails to see enlarged view.
The Gardener's Cottage Revealed
During July a community excavation was organised by our Countryside Ranger, Jennifer Davidson and Murray Cook, Stirling Council's Archaeologist. Together with volunteers they spent four days working on an area of ground where it was known that a cottage had existed and believed to have been demolished in the 1960's. They uncovered most of the foundations which have been left exposed and it is planned to return to the lodge during 2013 to expose the rest of the building and to start to look at other buildings round the estate to recover.