Welcome to AIRTH
This site is full of information about the village of AIRTH in Stirlingshire, Scotland. The village is situated on the south side of the River Forth, south west of the Kincardine Bridge on the A905. It is equidistant from Glasgow and Edinburgh in central Scotland.
The original medieval village of High Airth, ( situated in the shelter of the castle up on the hill ), was founded by William the Lion in about 1188. Nothing of the original village remains although a prestigious housing estate has recently been situated in the visinity of the old village.
Airth was created a burgh in 1203, and was once the most important community in the District.
King James IV, in his efforts to create a Scottish navy, founded a royal dockyard in the area and High Airth became a base for shipbuilding and ship refitting. The mighty warship " The Great Michael" (pride of Scotland and one of the wonders of her age), was brought to Airth after her hull was constructed in Newhaven, to be fitted out with masts and rigging. Airth, at the time was concidered to be a safer port due its inland location and therefore less likely to be attacked by the English navy. Other warships such as "The James" and "The Margaret" are also mentioned as being refitted here.
Unfortunately the dream of a naval force to be reckoned with ended in disaster, when in 1513 the great fleet sailed to aid the French against the English. The Earl of Arron, Hereditary Lord High Admiral inexplicably sailed north around the top of Scotland and down the west coast. Before this glaring error could be rectified the enterprise collapsed.
About the same time King James IV and most of the Scottish nobility perished at Flodden field. Ironically the day might have been saved had not hundreds of the best gunners been requisitioned to man the fleet.The great ships vanished into oblivion and "The Great Micheal" lay rotting in Brest only two years after being built.
The term "ERTH" means a hill, there are actually two hills there. A stretch of level open ground sweeps from their bases to the banks of the River Forth. On these hills stood Airth Castle and Elphinstone Tower, (named ERTHMORE and ERTHBERG respectively.)
The present day castle dates back to 1488 when it replaced an earlier castle which had been destroyed by fire. Additions were made in the 16th and 19th centuries.
The ruins of Airth Old Parish Church, dating back to about the 12th century and showing some architectural styles of that period, can be found to the north - east of the castle. The old church is now in such a state of disrepair that it is no longer possible to enter near it. It stands on the very edge of the rock on which it was built. It reportedly contains the tombstones of the ancient Airth family and their many branches that resided in the vicinity.
Airth remained isolated until recently from the outside world and as you walk round the village you will see many houses bearing coats of arms, symbosa or trade badges, initials of past owners and dates affixed.
There appears to be two municipal buildings," The Market or Blue House," and " Turnpike " which has the date 1705, reportedly being the former council chambers.
The ruin of Airth's trade, and with that its importance seems to date back to 1745 when, after a cannon battle between Bonnie Prince Charlies forces and two sloops of war anchoured in the firth, the Jacobite fleet of boats was seized and destroyed by government troops to prevent them from being used by "the pretender's" army to cross the River Forth.
Points of interest in the Parish of Airth
The Pineapple is the major tourist attraction. Situated to the west of Airth, it was built in 1761 (architect unknown) undoubtedly as a retreat or folly.
The Mercat Cross, this is thought to be oldest structure in the present village and can be found in the middle of Airth.
The Horseshoe Door, The old Blacksmiths shop.
Airth Castle dominates a hill to the east of the village and has now been turned into a top class hotel.
Abbeytown Bridge carries the old Falkirk - Airth road across the Pow Burn.
The Headless Cross The ancient cross that marked the limits of monastic land
The Airth Highland Games are held in the village every July and people come from all over the world to watch and compete
The games are professional with all the usual events from Tossing the caber to Highland dancing
Bruce the Reformer Robert Bruce,The Reformer. Airth's equivalent to John Knox.
James Bruce The Abbyssinian Traveller who discovered the scource of the Nile.
Places of Interest near Airth
Stirling The historic city of Stirling has many sites of historic interest
Bannockburn The site of Robert the Bruce,s famous victory over the English
The Legend of Arthur's Round Table, Could this area be the site of King Arthur's Camelot ??
Falkirk, Another well fought over town in Central Scotland
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