Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Airth

Airth, a village and a parish of E Stirlingshire. Thevillage lies ½ mile from the Forth, 8¼ miles SE of Stirling, 5¾ N by E of Falkirk, and 2¾ E by N of Airth station (in St Ninians parish), on a branch of the Caledonian, this being 3 miles S by W of South Alloa, 3¾ NNE of Larbert Junction, 22¼ NE of Glasgow, and 32¼ WNW of Edinburgh. It has a post office under Larbert, a cross bearing date 1697, the parish church (1820: 800 sittings), a Free church station, and a U.P. church: at Dunmore, 1½ mile NNW is St Andrew's Episcopal church (1851),an early English edifice, with nave and chancel, and several good stained windows. Pop. of Airth village (1841) 850, (1861) 466, (1871) 520.

The parish contains also the port of South Alloa, 23/8 miles NNW. It is bounded S by Bothkennar, SW by Larbert, and W by St Ninians: whilst NW, NE, and E it is washed for 6 miles by the Forth, here widening from 2 to 9 furlongs. From NNW to SSE it has an extreme length of 5 miles: its breadth from E to W varies between 7 furlongs and 31/8 miles: and its area is 6388 acres, of which 572 are foreshore and 339¾ water. Excepting the central hills of Dunmore and Airth, the latter and higher of which but little exceeds 100 feet, the surface everywhere is low and level, and seems at a late geological period to have all lain under the waters of the Forth. Strata of shells, at no great depth, are found throughout the low grounds: and in 1817 the skeleton of a whale, 75 feet long, was discovered in cutting a road, more than 2 furlongs from the present beach. Much fertile land along the Forth has been recovered from the tide: and still more has been reclaimed from a state of moss in the W, where Letham and Dunmore mosses have still an extent of some 300 acres, 270 more being pasture, and 4850 in tillage. The Pow Burn, entering from St Ninians, winds through the middle of the parish to the Forth, a little above Kincardine Ferry, and is crossed by the ' Abbey Town ' and other bridges: and a spring, one of several said to have been medicinal, is called the ' Lady Well,-both names suggestive of Airth's former connection with Holyrood Abbey. The rocks belong to the Carboniferous formation, and Dunmore colliery was working here in 1879: sandstone, too, of various texture and hue, being quarried at several points. Plantations,luxuriant and well assorted, adorn the Airth and Dunmore estates, one chestnut at Airth having a height of 65 and a circumference of 16 feet, and a Scotch pine at Dunmore containing upwards of 250 feet of cubic timber. Airth Castle, on the SE extremity of circular Airth Hill, which commands a magnificent view, dates partly from the latter half of the 16th century, partly from 1802. Its modern northern façade is a meagre pseudo-antique, but the southern and eastern fronts have many interesting features. Thus, ' Wallace's Tower ' stands on the outer, not inner, angle, is corbelled only on its eastern side, and presents a pepper-box turret, which Billings pronounces of native, not French or Flemish, origin: and on either hand of the tower are a row of curious gabled dormers, one of them having a starry-headed tympanum (Baronial Antiquities, 1852). On the eastern slope of the hill stands the ruined church, once held by Holyrood, with a N round-headed arch, belonging to the Transition period or close of the 12th century, the 15th century Airth aisle, and the 16th century Dunmore aisle (Procs. Soc. Ant. Scot., 1879, pp. 165-170). An earldom of Airth was conferred in 1633 on William Graham, eighteenth Earl of Menteith, but became extinct at the death of its second holder in 1694: Airth Castle belongs now to Wm. Graham, Esq., who owns 1145 acres in the shire of an annual value of £3242. Dunmore, a plain, though castellated mansion, with splendid gardens, is the seat of Chs. Adolphus, seventh Earl of Dunmore (b. 1841: suc. 1845), who is fifth in descent from Chs.Murray, first Earl of Dunmore (cre. 1686), the second son of John, first Marquis of Athole, and who owns in Stirlingshire 4620 acres, and in Inverness-shire 60,000, valued at £4494 and £2239 per annum. In all, 8 landowners hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 4 of between £100 and £500, 4 of from £50 to £100, and 8 of from £20 to £50. Airth is in the presbytery of Stirling and synod of Perth and Stirling: the living amounts to £445. Four schools, Airth public and sewing, South Alloa, and Lord Dunmore's, with respective accommodation for 182, 108, 80, and 79 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 128, 54, 47, and 33, and grants of £107, £26, 6s., £35, 8s., and £24. Valuation (1881) £13,769, 6s. 5d., including £1620 for railway. Pop. (1801) 1855, (1811) 1727, (1831) 1825, (1861) 1194, (1871) 1396, (1881) 1362.—Ord. Sur., sh. 39,1869.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a village and a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "populated places")
Administrative units: Airth ScoP       Stirlingshire ScoCnty
Place: Airth

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