Dating from the fourteenth century, Alloa Tower is one of the largest surviving tower houses in Scotland and the ancestral home of the Erskine family, the Earls of Mar and Kellie. With walls over 3 metres thick in places and rising over 25 metres to a crenellated parapet, the tower was clearly built with defence in mind. As the family rose to prominence they played an important part in many episodes of Scottish history. They were guardians of the Stuart heirs in the sixteenth century, including Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI and I. This important Scottish family is portrayed in a superb collection of paintings loaned by the present Earl, including works by Allan, Raeburn and Kneller.