Bannockburn House in Stirlingshire is a fantastic example of a community working together to save listed and historically significant buildings and estate for future generations.
Previously privately-owned, the 17th century A-listed mansion house and estate is steeped in history – Bonnie Prince Charlie made it his HQ in both 1745 and 1746 – but has suffered from partial abandonment over the past 60 years.
Despite years of neglect however, the house retained many original features, including moulded timber wall panels, elaborate plasterwork, a decorative timber staircase and fire surrounds with mosaic tiles. Members of the local community recognised that it had the potential to be a valuable resource for the wider regeneration of Bannockburn.
And when it came on the market in 2016, a group of local residents and volunteers formed a Trust to try to purchase the house and grounds for the local community to save it from falling into further disrepair.
A charitable organisation, the Bannockburn Trust was set up with the aim of safeguarding the property, grounds, architecture and history, and – following lots of fundraising and hard work by the volunteers – the sale was completed in late 2017.
Now run by the Bannockburn House Trust for the community, visitors to the house can step back in time and enjoy guided tours of the property – including seeing where Bonnie Prince Charlie once slept – and experience life in the servants’ quarters, learn about our connection to tartan and admire the beautiful, ornate architecture. There are ghost tours and walks in the gardens and the house is available for private hire for meetings, conferences, workshops and photo and film shoots.
The Trust sees the building and 30-acre estate as a vehicle for the development of the wider, local community. The Trust’s activities centre on a social enterprise approach, which is delivering employment, volunteering and training opportunities for local people. Exciting progress has been made in gardening, horticulture, bee-keeping, traditional building and construction skills training, as well as events, retail and historical tours. These activities are complemented by a 15 year Master Plan for the redevelopment of the buildings and 30-acre estate.
You can find out more about Bannockburn House, its history, its architecture, the volunteers and the team behind the community buy-out and the day to day running of the property for the benefit of everyone involved here.
And if you’ve been inspired to get involved, they are always looking for volunteers!
Supporters and funders:
Scottish Land Fund, local councillors, Stirling Council and other funders who stepped in to support the project, including AHF Transforming Heritage, the Climate Challenge Fund, the European Union, Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER, Historic Environment Scotland, National Lottery Heritage and Community Funds, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Rural Development Programme and Scottish Rural Network LEADER.