The octagonal 'Tattie Kirk'
Falkirk - a local history
The town of Falkirk lies in an area rich in history.
Many of the most influential characters fo Scottish history
have been associated with the district - Braveheart himself,
William Wallace came to the town and fought a famous battle
here in 1298 - the first battle of two in the town's story.
Mary Queen of Scots was great friends with a local noble
family, the Livingstons, who lived in Callendar House,
one of the town's mansions, from the14th to the 18th century.
Their daughter, Mary was one of the queen's ladies in
waiting - the Four Marys. Even Bonnie Prince Charlie came
to the town - his Jacobite troops taking part victoriously
in the 2nd Battle of Falkirk in 1746.
The town's name comes from Scots gaelic meaning 'speckled
church'. The 'Faw Kirk' eventually became Falkirk but
a more ancient name was recently commemorated in a new
hostelry in the town centre being named Ecchlesbreach
from the original gaelic.
Reminders of the town's past are easily seen. Central
to the modern day shopping area is the Steeple - formerly
the town's gaol. This tall tower, symbol of the town and
its football club has been there since 1814 ,designed
by David Hamilton but a steeple has stood on that spot
since the late 17th century. The Steeple was struck by
lightening in 1927 but rebuilt to its original design.
Click map for a larger image
Also in the High Street is the parish church. It stands
on the site of the church that gave Falkirk its name and
within its graveyard lie the remains of Sir John de Graeme,
a knight who fought with Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk
in 1298. The same knight gave his name to Graeme High
Graeme High is also located in an area rich in history.
Directly opposite to the school can be found the ditch
of the Roman Antonine Wall. Pupils can make good use of
this when trying to recreate the life of a Roman soldier
in Scotland during the occupation, especially if the history
department decides to visit on a cold rainy typical winter's
Falkirk is still an industrial centre, though the old
industries like the many Iron foundries have had their
hey day and most have closed. The most famous Carron Iron
Works has been demolished except for its clock tower and
many of the young Falkirk 'Bairns' as we from Falkirk
are known have little idea of its glorious past making
iron goods such as baths, man- hole covers and even large
cannons, known as Carronades. Still today in many foreign
climes, if you look at the man-hole covers under your
feet, you will see the name Carron, Falkirk or one of
the other foundries of the town, like Grahamston Iron
This company is also famous for the remarkable gates
which grace the entrance to the works. Made for an exhibition
in Edinburgh, which was opened by Queen Victoria in 1886,
these are probably the largest cast-iron gates in the
Further legacy of these times is present in the two canals
which flow through the town - the Union and the Forth
and Clyde. These have for many years been neglected but
recently there has been work to try and restore parts
of the canals and make them an asset to the town once
more. At one time using these canals, goods could be transported
across Central Scotland from Edinburgh to Glasgow. The
Seagull trust, at present organises trips for disabled
groups along the Union Canal from a boathouse in Falkirk.
Falkirk has even made the Guiness Book of Records with
the entry of the smallest street - Tolbooth Street, which
is just behind the Steeple in the High Street.
'Better meddle wi' the Devil, than the Bairns of Falkirk'
is the old saying which gave the townspeople their nickname
and throughout the world, the Bairns of Falkirk remain
proud of their heritage, keeping up to date with events
through the much loved and eagerly awaited weekly newspaper,
The Falkirk Herald, which this year celebrates its 150th