- LARBERT, a parish, ecclesiastically united to the parish of Dunipace, in the county of Stirling; containing, with the villages of West Carron, Kinnaird, Stenhouse-Muir, and part of the village of Carronshore, 4404 inhabitants, of whom 487 are in the village of Larbert, 2 miles (N. W.) from Falkirk. This parish is bounded on the south by the river Carron, and is about three miles in length and two and a half in breadth, comprising an area of 3400 acres, of which, with the exception of 200 acres of woodland and plantations, the whole is arable, meadow, and pasture. The surface rises gradually from the south-west to the northeast, where it attains an elevation of nearly 100 feet; and though not commanding an extensive prospect, yet it embraces numerous interesting and impressive features. The river formerly abounded with salmon; but, since the establishment of the Carron iron-works, they have almost disappeared. A small stream called the Chapel burn rises in the adjoining parish of Dunipace, and, after a course of about three miles, in which it turns a couple of mills, falls into the Carron near the village of Carronshore. The soil is generally fertile, and near the confines of Falkirk is a considerable tract of rich carse land; the crops are, wheat, oats, barley, beans, and hay. The system of agriculture within the last few years has been greatly improved; the lands have been drained and inclosed, and the farm-buildings are commodious. The plantations are chiefly confined to the grounds of the principal landholders, and consist of oak, ash, beech, sycamore, Huntingdon willow, and firs. In the grounds of Kinnaird are some fine oaks, and an avenue of lime-trees, and there are also some stately trees at Carron Hall; but in general the soil is unfavourable to the growth of timber. The main substrata are sandstone, coal, and ironstone, all of which are wrought to a great extent; the coal on the lands of Carron Hall and Kinnaird are worked by the Carron Company, who employ about 150 men in the collieries. The rateable annual value of Larbert is £26,246.The village of Larbert is situated in the south-western portion of the parish, on the road from Stirling to Falkirk, with which latter town it has a communication by a bridge over the Carron; the inhabitants are chiefly engaged in the iron-works. A post-office has been established here; and the Falkirk trysts are held upon a heath near it, the property of Sir Michael Bruce, on the second Tuesday in August, September, and October, chiefly for black-cattle and horses. The number of cattle sold at the first of these trysts seldom exceeds 4000, and of horses 400; at the second, 17,000 cattle and 700 horses; and at the October tryst, 20,000 cattle and nearly 1000 horses. For the accommodation of the persons attending these meetings, there are numerous inns. Facility of intercourse with Edinburgh and Glasgow is maintained by good turnpike-roads which pass through the parish. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Stirling and synod of Perth and Stirling: the minister's stipend is £272, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £26. 10. per annum; patron, the Crown. The church, situated at the western extremity of the parish, is a handsome structure in the later English style of architecture, erected in 1819, after a design by Mr. Hamilton, of Glasgow, and containing 1200 sittings. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average £60 per annum. Among the relics of antiquity formerly existing, was a conical building of stone called Arthur's Oven, supposed to have been of Roman origin, and which was demolished in 1743 for the sake of the materials. The interior, twenty feet in diameter, was surrounded with two stone shelves near the base, and was open towards the vertex; the entrance was arched, and over it was a kind of window of square form, tapering towards the summit. Roman mill-stones and fragments of pottery were found within 300 yards of the site, by some labourers draining a peat-moss, in the year 1800; and in other parts of the parish are some remains of ancient square towers, thought to have been the residences of old chieftains. The most distinguished person connected with the parish was James Bruce, the Abyssinian traveller, who died at Kinnaird in 1794.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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