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In 1995, the furniture, heirlooms and artefacts from inside Keir House were auctioned for more than £1.5 million.

In the same year, Mr Stirling put up for auction six paintings in Sotheby's Old Masters sale.

Dunblane is built on the banks of the Allan Water (or River Allan), a tributary of the River Forth. Dunblane had a population of 8,114 at the 2001 census which grew to 8,811 at the 2011 census, both figures computed according to the 2010 definition of the locality.

The most popular theory for the derivation of the name "Dunblane" is that it means "fort of Blane", commemorating Saint Blane (or Bláán in Old Irish), an early Christian saint who lived probably in the late 6th century.

Keir House and 15,000 acres of land were sold in 1975 for £2 million by his father Bill after 570 years of being passed down through the generations of one of Scotland's most illustrious families.

His father had not consulted his family before the sale was agreed with the Arab millionaire Mahdi Al-Tajir.

The Pieta by the 16th century Spanish painter Luis de Morales sold for £311,000.

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Incorporated into the later medieval building, but originally free-standing, is an 11th-century bell-tower, whose height was increased in the 15th century. Dunblane did not have a rich or extensive medieval diocese (37 parishes), and the cathedral is relatively modest in scale, but its refined architecture is much admired, as is its setting overlooking the valley of the Allan Water.

Since the early 1970s the town has grown extensively and is now regarded as a highly sought-after commuter town due to its excellent road and rail links and good schools.

Dunblane is close to the University of Stirling's campus at Bridge of Allan, and is a popular location for academics.

The earliest spellings of the name Dunblane are of the form Dul Blaan, the first element being a Pictish word for 'water meadow, haugh' which was borrowed into Gaelic.

There are parallels to Dul Blaan in such Scottish place-names as Dalserf, Dalmarnock and Dalpatrick, all of which commemorate saints.

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