National Gazetteer, 1868

Falkirk - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

"FALKIRK, a parish, market town, and parliamentary borough in the county Stirling, Scotland, 10 miles S.E. of Stirling. It is a station on the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway. The parish is bounded on the N. by Dunipace, Larbert, and Bothkennar, on the E. by Polmont and Muiravonside, on the S. by Slamannan (these last three places, with Denny, were anciently within the parochial limits) and the county of Lanark, and on the W. by the county of Dumbarton and Denny. Its length is 7 miles, its breadth 4, and it contains the town of Grangemouth, and the villages of Camelon, Lawerston, Bainsford, Barleyside, Bonnybridge, and Glen. The principal rivers of the parish are the Carron, which traces its N. W. boundary, into which fall the Bonnywater, rising in the S.W., Westquarter Burn, and Avon Water. The Forth passes within a short distance of the N.E. boundary. Several rivulets and one or two small lakes of minor importance are within this parish. The surface is generally flat, but beyond the "Carse of Falkirk" it becomes more elevated, and presents a prospect of cur passing beauty. Falkirk churchyard commands the Firth of Forth and the Ochil hills, as described by Sir Walter Scott. The soil is for the most part carefully husbanded; about one-eighth is woodland. The mineral productions are coal, which is abundant, and copper, lead, silver, and cobalt, which are only found in small quantities. Kerse House is the seat of the Earl of Zetland; Callendar House of William Forbes; Bantackine House is another residence. The road from Edinburgh to Glasgow traverses the interior. This parish is in the presbytery of Linlithgow and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, in the patronage of the crown. The minister has a stipend of £339. The church was built in 1810, on the site of an ancient edifice constructed in 1105, part of which now forms the portal of the present church. In the churchyard are the graves of Sir J. Graham and Sir J. Stewart, who fell under Wallace in 1298; also of the two Monros, who fell in 1746. The district of Camelon is a parish quoad sacra. Here are two Free churches, three United Presbyterian and Reformed Presbyterian churches, Congregational, Evangelical Union, Baptist, and Roman Catholic chapels, two parochial schools, grammar school, and numerous other schools. Falkirk, anciently called Eglais bhrec, the "spotted church," in allusion to the varied shades of stone in the building, changed its name to Eglais Chris, or the "broken church," after it became a ruin, and hence its modern name of Falkirk. The town was formerly one of the forts of Agricola, on the wall of Antoninus, and was afterwards included in the old barony of Callendar. It stands in the middle of the parish. The High-street is wide, and about half-a-mile long, the subordinate streets and alleys being generally narrow and straggling. Falkirk was erected into a burgh of regality in 1646 by the Livingstone family, of Callendar, who possessed it till 1715, when it was forfeited to the crown. It is now a parliamentary burgh, returning, with Airdrie, Hamilton, Lanark, and Linlithgow, one member to parliament. It is governed by a provost and 12 councillors. Here are a sheriff's and small debts courts. The town contains the townhall, a handsome building erected in 1813, five banks, insurance offices, gas and water works, mills, distilleries, public reading-rooms, and libraries, also a gaol, Union poorhouse, and Livingstone's hospital, founded in 1640 for four aged persons. It supports five newspapers, published weekly. The Forth and Clyde canal runs through the whole length of the parish, and about midway branches off the Edinburgh Union canal. The principal trade carried on is in leather, coal, and cast iron. The great Carron iron works are just without the parish boundary. Two great battles took place in this parish: the first in 1298, when Wallace was defeated by Edward I., with a loss of 15,000 men; the second in 1746, when the Pretender routed the royal troops under General Hawley-the latter battle-field is now crossed by the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway, and by the Union canal. At a short distance to the N.W. of this parish is the field of Bannockburn. Numerous antiquities are met with in various parts of the parish, including part of Antoninus's Wall, a Roman causeway leading to Almond Castle, and the site of the Roman town Camelon, where traces of buildings existed till within a recent period. Market days are Thursday and Saturday. Fairs are held on one Thursday in each month, except February, September, and December. Trysts are held on the second Wednesdays in August and September, and on the second Tuesday in October, for the sale of black cattle."

"BARLEYSIDE, a village in the parish of Falkirk, in the county of Stirling, Scotland, not far from Falkirk."

"BONNYBRIDGE, a village in the parish of Falkirk, in the county of Stirling, Scotland, 4 miles to the W. of Falkirk. It is seated on the banks of the Bonny Water, a branch of the river Carron."

"CAMELON, a village in the parish of Falkirk, in the county of Stirling, Scotland, 1 mile W. of Falkirk. It is seated on the N. side of the Forth and Clyde canal, not far from the Scottish Central railway. The nail manufacture is carried on here to a considerable extent. Old Camelon, situated a short distance N.W. of the village, was a Roman town, and a seaport at the eastern end of the wall of Antoninus. In 1707 an anchor was found here, and there is other evidence that the sea within the historical period reached to Falkirk."

"CASTLE CARY, a hamlet in the parish of Falkirk, in the county of Stirling, Scotland, 6 miles to the S.W. of Falkirk. It is a station on the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway. It is situated near the wall of Antoninus, of which it is supposed to have been one of the principal stations."

"GLEN, a village in the parish of Falkirk, county Stirling, Scotland, 2 miles from Stirling."

"GRANGEMOUTH, a quoad sacra parish, post town, and bonding port, in the parish of Falkirk, county Stirling, Scotland, 3 miles N.E. of Stirling. It is a station on the Grangemouth branch of the Glasgow and Edinburgh railway. It is situated at the confluence of the Grangeburn with the river Carron, and a little above the point where these united waters and the Great canal fall into the Forth. It was founded by Sir Lawrence Dundas in 1777, and although it is small in extent, yet its position at the entrance of the Forth and Clyde canal, and the facilities it enjoys for inland communication with Stirling, have rendered it an important and active place of business. It contains some well and regularly built houses, good docks, quays, and wharfs, the largest of which is that of the Carron Iron Company; also a branch bank and custom house. Its subports are Stirling and Kincardine. Among-its imports are hemp, flax, timber, tallow, iron, and grain. The ship-building and rope-making trades are, perhaps, its most considerable branches of industry. A lighthouse, visible for 10 miles, was erected at the mouth of the Carron in 1847. Steamboats are in communication with Port Dundas by way of the canal. There are a Free church, United Presbyterian, and Baptist meetinghouses, and a chapel-of-ease; also, a library and four schools."

"LAWERSTON, (or Laurieston), a village in the parish of Falkirk, county Stirling, Scotland, 2 miles from Falkirk. The village was founded by Sir Laurence Dundas, of Carronhill, and is chiefly inhabited by weavers. The Linlithgow and Stirling hounds are kennelled here."

"PORT-DOWNIE, a hamlet in the parish of Falkirk, county Stirling, Scotland, 2 miles W. of Falkirk. It is situated at the junction of the Union with the Forth of Clyde canals."

Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003