The village of Doune lies six miles north west of Stirling. Located just off the A84, travellers are afforded the briefest glimpse of the village which lies to the north of the road.
Doune’s recorded history goes back at least as far as the Romans, who had a fort in the area; the site later occupied by Doune Castle. The discovery of medical instruments suggests the Romans also had a hospital here on the site of what is now the local Primary School.
The village’s more recent history owes much to the Castle in whose shadow it originally grew. Over the years the centre of the village migrated steadily westwards, towards the line of the main cattle droving route from the Highlands to the markets of central Scotland. Doune Castle now stands a little to the east of the village. At this time Doune was also the Highland centre for pistol making and produced the world famous Doune pistols, reputedly hammered from horse shoe nails. Apparently, the first shot fired in the American Civil war came from a Doune Pistol.
Nowadays, the centre of the village at is the Mercat Cross at which the main streets of Doune intersect. The Mercat Cross was the commercial heart of the village, and the centre of the many fairs held in Doune throughout the years. A more grisly testament to the movement of the centre of the village can be seen from the declaration of King Charles I that public executions should take place at The Mercat Cross rather than the Castle.
On the south side of the River Teith lies the small village of Deanston. This was a company village built in 1785 to house workers for the vast Adelphi cotton mill, designed by Richard Arkwright. In the early 19th Century the mill provided 1000 jobs for adults and children. Until 1933, all workers lived either in Deanston or Doune. The mill was enlarged and updated in 1950, then converted into Deanston Distillery, with the weaving shed becoming a warehouse. The distillery has since seen a change of ownership and is currently in production of Deanston Malt.