STIRLINGSHIRE, a county, in the eastern part of Scotland, bounded on the north by Perthshire and Clackmannanshire; on the east by the county of Linlithgow; on the south-east by part of Lanarkshire; and on the south, and also on the west, by the county of Dumbarton. It lies between 55° 56' and 56° 16' (N. Lat.) and 3° 30' and 4° 14' (W. Long.), and is about forty-five miles in length and eighteen miles in extreme breadth, comprising an area of about 489 square miles, or 312,960 acres; 16,614 houses, of which 15,813 are inhabited; and containing a population of 82,057, of whom 41,004 are males and 41,053 females. The early history of this county is involved in much obscurity. At the time of the Roman invasion it became a station of importance, and Agricola is said to have erected some fortifications on the hill on which the castle of Stirling was afterwards built, as commanding the Roman road from Camelon to the north of Scotland. In confirmation of this opinion, are adduced the remains of Roman forts in several parts of the county, the traces of the wall of Antonine, and the discovery of coins, weapons, and various other relies of antiquity. After the departure of the Romans from Britain, the county was frequently the scene of hostilities between the sovereigns of the adjacent kingdoms. The battle in which Kenneth II. of Scotland obtained that victory over the Picts which put an end to their existence as a nation, and united both kingdoms under his dominion, is said to have taken place in a field near Stirling, thence called Cambuskenneth; and two upright stones, yet remaining, are thought to have been raised in commemoration of his success. In the ninth century, this portion of the country became the conquest of the Northumbrian Saxons; and it continued to be included in their territories till the time of Kenneth III., who not only recovered this part of his rightful dominions, but also made himself master of the extensive kingdom of Strath-y-Cluyd. Ever since that period Stirling has formed an integral portion of the kingdom of Scotland. The subsequent history of the county is so intimately blended with that of its castle, which in the reign of the Stuarts became a royal residence, and so closely identified with the general history of Scotland, that any further detail here would be superfluous.
The county is included chiefly in the synod of Perth and Stirling, and contains parts of several presbyteries, and twenty-one parishes. For civil purposes it is under the jurisdiction of a sheriff-depute, who appoints a sheriff-substitute. The general quarter-sessions and other courts are held at Stirling, and the ordinary and small-debt sheriff courts at Stirling and at Falkirk; the sheriff's small-debt circuit courts are held at Lennoxtown, Drymen, and Balfron. The only royal burgh is that of Stirling, the county town; besides which the shire contains the populous burgh of Falkirk, and the thriving and pleasant towns or villages of St. Ninian's, Airth, Balfron, Bannockburn, Caniclon, Carron, Denny, Drymen, Fintry, Grangemouth, Gargunnock, Killearn, Kilsyth, Kippen, Larbert, Lennoxtown, Milngavie, Laurieston, Polmont, and Strathblane. By the act of the 2nd of William IV., the county returns one member to the imperial parliament.
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