Airth, Stirlingshire

Historical Description

AIRTH, a parish, in the county of Stirling, 6½ miles (N.) from Falkirk; containing, with the villages of Airth and Dunmore, 1493 inhabitants, of whom 561 are in the village of Airth. The Gaelic term ard or ardhé, signifying "a hill", is supposed to have given the name to this place, the eminence called the Hill of Airth being a conspicuous figure, and forming a striking contrast to the level district by which it is surrounded. The parish is situated on the shore of the Forth, which is its boundary on the north and east for about eight miles and a half; and contains the three small landing-places or harbours of Newmiln, Airth, and Dunmore. Its length, from north to south, is six miles and a half, and its breadth three and a half; comprising 16,400 acres of land, mostly in tillage. The small river Pow is the only water besides the Forth; it rises in the parish of St. Ninian's, and after being crossed by several stone bridges, falls into the latter river near Kincardine ferry. The prevailing soil consists of alluvial deposits from the Forth; and the layers of shells at a small depth from the surface, on the lower grounds, afford plain evidence that this portion of the parish formed originally a part of the bed of the river. Most kinds of grain and green crops are raised, averaging £100,000 in annual value; and the general husbandry, which has been for some time advancing, is considered equal to that of the best cultivated districts. The rocks comprise distinct varieties of sandstone, differing in colour, texture, and extent; and there are several quarries. Argillaceous rock of the fire-proof species also exists here, on which rest beds of coal, belonging with their appropriate strata to the great coalfield of Scotland, but which are not at present worked, the pits formerly in operation, near the village of Dunmore, having been closed since 1811 on account of their exhausted state. The annual value of real property in the parish is £12,420. The plantations are chiefly in the vicinity of the beautiful Hill of Airth, and Dunmore Park, the most prominent and striking portions of the parish. On the hill is situated Airth Castle, a very ancient building, with a new Gothic front, surmounted in the centre by a tower, the whole forming a picturesque object from every part of the surrounding country. In Dunmore Park is the mansion of the Earl of Dunmore, in the Elizabethan style, built about twenty-five years since, and standing upon an extensive lawn richly diversified with trees, and encompassed with grounds thickly planted, like those of the Castle, with larch, Scotch fir, birch, oak, and beech. About 185 acres of land, recovered from the sea, have been added to the Airth estate, and 150 acres to the estate of Dunmore, within the last fifty or sixty years: the land is secured by embankments of soil and turf, defended by stone facings. Considerable tracts of moss, also, are annually recovered by the employment of what are called "moss lairds", who by hard labour are gradually reducing the large extent of moss, amounting to between 300 and 400 acres, receiving for their work £24 per acre.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis
CountyFalkirk
RegionScotland
CountryScotland
Postal districtFK2
Post TownFalkirk