William Simpson Asylum

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William Simpson Asylum was established in June 1836 in memory of Francis Simpson's son William, after he died at the age of 22.[1] It housed elderly soldiers and sailors over the years[2], before changing its name to William Simpson Home.[1]

William Simpson Asylum
LocationPlean, Scotland
FoundedJune 1836

Plean Estate[edit]

The Plean Estate was once owned by the Earl of Dunmore; he had sold it to the Robert Haldane who was already the owner of the Airthrey Estate in Stirling.[3] It stayed in the Haldane family until it was sold in 1799 to Francis Simpson[3], a former Captain with the East India Company[4].

Simpson's wife Jean Sophia Cadell, daughter of William Cadell of Banton, was only twenty-one when she died in 1806, she left behind two children for Simpson to look after; one son, William, and a daughter, Frances.[5] In 1819, Francis built Plean House and the other estate buildings.[3]

William Simpson followed in his father's footsteps and joined the navy; he died of ill health at the age of 22 on a voyage to Malta in 1827.[5][4] In 1829 Francis gave £500 each to the parishes of St Ninians, Falkirk, Larbert, and Dunipace to commemorate his son, as part of the donation a marble plaque was installed in each of the churches in memory of William.[5] Francis also gifted Plean Estate to Trustees in 1829 and donated nearly £3,000 for the Trustees to open an Asylum for the benefit of old sailors and soldiers.[4][2] Francis remarried in 1830; however, he died after a fall in 1831 and is buried in Falkirk Parish Church.[3]

Plean House

Wallace Thorneycroft was the tenant of Plean House in 1901, he then bought the house in 1922 and his family stayed there until 1970.[3] The Estate then belonged to the National Coal Board before being sold to Stirling Council in 1989; they opened the Estate to the public as a Country Park.[3]

William Simpson Asylum[edit]

William Simpson Asylum was completed in June 1836[5], it was a three-floors high and could house 31 patients[2], the original title for the asylum was 'William Simpson's asylum for indigent men of advanced age'.[1] Francis had stipulated that if a position opened on the board of Trustees that the Reverend of St Ninians and his successors should fill the role.[5]

In 1907 a new building called Governor's House was finished, this was for the Governor of the Asylum, the house was designed by Andrew McLuckie and Ronald Walker.[6][4]

The Home changed its uses around 1990[4], although it has kept its close ties to former members of the armed forces.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "1800s care home to open to women". 2010. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  2. ^ a b c "OS1/32/27/192 | ScotlandsPlaces". scotlandsplaces.gov.uk. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  3. ^ a b c d e f User, Super. "Friends of Plean Country Park - Social History of Plean Estate". www.pleancountrypark.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Governor's House, William Simpson's Asylum, Plean, 1907". 2016-01-08. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  5. ^ a b c d e Edit, St Ninians Old Parish Church | powered by Church. "St Ninians Old Parish Church | From the past". www.stniniansold.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  6. ^ Goold, David. "Dictionary of Scottish Architects - DSA Architect Biography Report (July 1, 2018, 10:28 pm)". www.scottisharchitects.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-07-01.

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