Battle of Falkirk Muir
Working with Callendar Estates, the 1745 Association, the Battlefield Trust and
Falkirk Planning Department - the trail for the Battle of Falkirk Muir is now almost complete.
The paths are finished and the designs for the interpretation panels and posts approved.
These feature the three stained glass panels belonging to Falkirk Museum and currently displayed
in the Howgate Centre. Some of the seating is in place. Events are being organised around the
anniversary date of 17th January in order to raise public awareness.
The first of the lunchtime talks in Callendar House was about the battle and played to full audiences.
Geoff Bailey arranged with the Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society for a resistivity survey to be
undertaken on the site of the English Graves (owned by Falkirk Council) and the results were better
than anticipated with a large pit identified. This will be followed up in January 2018 by a wide array
survey. The 1745 Association held a meeting with Elspeth Reid, the archivist, about the deposition of
their library at Callendar House for the use by researchers into the Jacobite interlude. Contacts have
been maintained with Roddy Tulloch who proposes to erect a major visitor centre for the battlefield at
South Bantaskine Park. Together these would provide another important historical tourist attraction for
the Falkirk area.
Antonine Wall Walks
The new version of the Antonine Wall Walks leaflet, developed along with the Falkirk Rangers and
printed by the Planning Department, has been printed and widely circulated.
Carmuirs Community Dig
The Roman Project continued at Easter Carmuirs PS as part of the Camelon My Place scheme. Classes were held
on 26th September (Roman pottery as part of the Roman Week), 3rd October (Roman armour) & 17th October
(sand pit archaeology), with a real excavation in the school playing fields on 25th October. The latter put
two complete sections across a Roman temporary camp ditch and discovered a Roman field oven.
Each Friday volunteers have worked at Callendar House on various projects. We are now focussing on the
communion tokens within the object collection in order to produce a definitive catalogue that will be
of great use to the public, particularly those interested in identifying individual examples. It will
also help ecclesiastical scholars and numismatic specialists.
The work on First World War soldiers from the Falkirk area continues at a slow pace. In both cases it
will be essential to disseminate the results by the heritage portal of the FCT website or through a third body.
Kinneil Landscape project
On the morning of 7th November pupils from Kinneil PS helped us to strip an area of vegetation and
ivy from in front of a 17th century wall opposite to Watt’s cottage in Kinneil Park. The wall is
significant in the evolution of the building/palace at Kinneil and has since been inspected by Tom
Addyman for inclusion in his history. HES are to inspect the wall with a view to conservation work.
The clearance meant that EAFS was able to undertake a resistivity survey of this part of the site and
the result suggests that there may be Roman features here. The 17th century wall was built on bedrock,
apart from a 7m wide gap that represent the Roman ditch.
A team of students from Stirling and Edinburgh Universities is interested in using their voluntary time
as part of a Study Abroad project in furthering this work next year. With HES, Friends of Kinneil we
held a community conference in the Hippodrome at Bo’ness on Kinneil House and its history on 19th November.
Higgin’s Neuk & James IV’s Dockyard
In cooperation with the Inner Forth landscape Initiative, Scottish Coastal Heritage at Risk (based at
St Andrew’s University) and Stirling University we undertook a two week excavation at Higgen’s Neuk in
search of a tidal mill and James IV’s Royal Dockyard. The excavation attracted a large number of
volunteers, many of whom wish to continue to contribute to such projects in the Falkirk area. The mill
had been demolished but substantial remains were found including a large corn drying kiln. Chaff from
the mill was thrown into the adjacent Forth and a deposit just over 0.3m thick was found to smell like
A very substantial stone pier was discovered under the salt marsh. On a map of 1820 this is labelled as
“Old stone pier”. It butted against an earlier stone wharf, which may be associated with the naval
dockyard for Scotland. Tantalising glimpses were seen of an early river channel that may have led into
this important naval base and which it is hope to explore next year.
Background information is available at
Uncovering the hidden heritage of higgins neuk
On 16th December a pot washing session was arranged in Callendar House to process some of the finds
from the excavation. Despite its proximity to Christmas 17 volunteers participated.
The summer exhibition at Callendar House came to an end at the end of October and was dismantled.
The artefacts were removed, repackaged, relocated on Vernon, and placed back into storage. The Iron
Age enamelled terret ring was put on display in the permanent gallery. The stone ballista balls
on loan from English Heritage at Corbridge Museum were returned, as were the leas slingshot on loan
from the Dumfries & Galloway Archaeological Service. Roman displays at Bonnybridge & Bo’ness
Libraries were removed.
With the Scotland’s Garden & Landscape Heritage Society we have a team of volunteers looking at
several designed landscape in the Falkirk area. Work on Airth, Dunmore, Powfoulis, Carronvale,
Dollar Park, Westquarter, Carron House, Parkhall is almost complete and Falkirk Cemetery, Carriden,
Millhall, Parkhill, etc. ongoing.
Over the period enquiries from the public have continued:
Lunch & brunch talks
Lunch & brunch talks resumed in October with a re-telling by the Heritage Engagement Officer
of the story of the Battle of Falkirk. Not only were the three talks fully booked up
(170 attendees), but people were unfortunately turned away.
This success was continued with the second talk in November by Brian Watters when many people
who had worked at Carron Ironworks attended.
- 3rd Easter Carmuirs Ps
- 11th Talk to Association of Retired persons (57)
- 18th Ineos Pipeline Awareness training
- 26th Talk to U3A (16)
- 26th Talk to Trimontium Trust (35)
- 2nd Talk at Ivybank nursing Home (10)
- 2nd Talk to Torryburn Historical Society (52)
- 7th Kinneil PS at Kinneil Park (28)
- 8th Talk at Grahamston Parish Church (22)
- 11th Talk at Forth naturalist & Historian conference (98)
- 13th Talk at Abbotsgrange Church (17)
- 14th St Margaret’s PS – castles
- 16th Talk to Falkirk Sorpotimists (42)
- 19th Kinneil House Community Conference (55)
- 20th Larbert High School Carron ironworks project
- 23rd Talk to Falkirk Probus (26)
- 29th Talk at Cadder Church on the Antonine Wall (33)
- 6th Talk at Dullator Golf Club on Falkirk iron foundries (16)
- 8th Larbert High School “Spark & Grit” performance.
- 9th Guide for Glasgow Archaeological Society coach trip along Antonine Wall (52)
- 16th Washing the finds from the Higgin’s Neuk excavation (17)
There have been numerous meetings with outside bodies in order to coordinate and
enhance the activities undertaken by all concerned. These have included Falkirk
Libraries, Under the Trees, Scottish Waterways, Glorious Gardens, Friends of Kinneil,
Greenhill History Society, various primary schools, the 1745 Association, Falkirk
Planning Department, Roads Dept, the Antonine Wall Research Committee, Antonine Wall
Management Committee, Falkirk Local History Society (discussions over the future of
the Steeple), James Watt Group, Friends of Dollar Park, etc.