AN HISTORIC 17th-century mansion, where Bonnie Prince Charlie famously resided for part of the Jacobite rebellion, is one step closer to community ownership.

Bannockburn House Trust made a successful bid to the Scottish Land Fund and will be awarded £648,300.

This will help the locals to purchase Bannockburn House and its 25 acres of surrounding land for community use.

Built in 1672, the house has an important place in Scottish history.

Bonnie Prince Charlie spent a night there in 1745 during his march to the south to gain support for the Jacobite cause.

Then, in January 1746, he made the three-storey mansion his headquarters ahead of the Battle of Culloden in April that year where he also met his mistress, Clementina Walkinshaw.

Once in the hands of the local community, this historic mansion will be the focal point for local people, as well as visitors to the area.

The trust have a number of immediate and long term plans including open days, events and exhibitions and providing access to the gardens and woodland space.

In the longer term, there are plans for the building to provide a base for new employment and volunteering opportunities through the restoration of the house, developing visitor facilities and offering the house as a venue for larger events and functions.

Welcoming the award, Alan Marshall from Bannockburn House Trust, said: "This is fantastic news, not just for the members of the trust, but for the whole community who have been a part of this project since day one.

"On behalf of everyone involved, I’d like to thank the Scottish Land Fund for this hugely significant grant which takes us to within touching distance of securing this strategically important property for the whole community.

"We do have further sums to raise to meet the agreed purchase price, but make no mistake, this award was make or break to the eventual success of the project, so to hear that we have been successful is just fabulous.

"As well as thanking the Scottish Land Fund, we would also like to thank Stirling Council for their support in helping us with the bid.

"We couldn’t have done it without them, or without the many volunteers and helpers who worked tirelessly to get us to this point."

Bannockburn House Trust is one of seven groups sharing in over £1 million of Scottish Land Fund cash.

John Watt, Scottish Land Fund committee chair, said the award to the Bannockburn House Trust represents an important milestone in their pursuit of community ownership.

He added: "We were impressed by their community consultation which showed a real desire by local people to bring the historic building into community use.

"The Scottish Land Fund recognises the long term benefits of projects like this and so we are delighted to be able to help this enterprising community turn their ambitions plans into reality."

Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, said: "Thanks to the support of the Scottish Land Fund, this historical 17th century mansion will move a step closer towards community ownership.

"Bannockburn House Trust plan to transform the building into a focal point for local people and visitors, creating new jobs and volunteering opportunities, as well as hosting community events, activities and bringing other long term benefits to the local area."

Ailsa Raeburn, head of community assets for HIE, said: "Bannockburn House has a unique history and it’s great to see that its story will continue within the community for many years to come.

"The Scottish Land Fund works with a wide range of representative bodies such as voluntary organisations, social enterprises or community councils to help them buy and manage local land, land assets and buildings well and deliver meaningful benefit for the whole community."