This evening, I am focusing on the town of Kirkintilloch (pop 20,000)  which is located in the West of Scotland, a few miles N.E.of Glasgow. This town and environs has a long history, viz:

  • Surprisingly, for a place in Scotland, the term ‘Kirk’ does not derive from an association with a church. Etymology provides a hint to the people who lived here from around the 5th to 8th centuries, A.D. These were speakers of the P-Celtic Brythonic language which is linked to modern-day Welsh. This is logical because because a short distance to the west, at Dumbarton and Govan,¬†was the power base of the Kingdom of Strathclyde, known to be Brythonic speaking. The place name is derived from caer caled din or ‘fort on the hard hill’.
  • The term ‘caer’, above, is Brythonic (Welsh) for ‘stone fort’ which can be confirmed because Kirkintilloch is situated on the line of the Roman era, Antonine Wall which was built in the second century A.D. A Roman fort is known to have existed there and now lies underneath a medieval fort in Peel Park.
  • The Antonine Wall ¬†is¬†part of a World Heritage Site and runs for about 37 modern miles. Along the line of the Wall were positioned some 26 forts,¬†of which ¬†Kirkintilloch was one.
  • Kirkintilloch was connected to the Industrial Revolution from inception:
    • The Forth-Clyde Canal, which links Scotland’s east and west coasts, passes through Kirkintilloch. This was built in the late 18th century.
    • A railway arrived as early as 1826.
  • Transportation links resulted in growth of industries such as weaving and textiles, shipbuilding and heavy industry.¬† The distinctive red British post boxes¬†and telephone booths were made here until 1984.

Other Information

  • To the north of Kirkintilloch are the Campsie Fells (hills) and Carron Valley Forest, to the west is Glasgow and the Clyde whilst to the east is Edinburgh and the River Forth.
  • The Forth-Clyde Canal is now principally used by leisure craft whilst the old tow path is open to cyclists and walkers. Thus Kirkintilloch is a useful stop for visitors using the Canal’s facilities.
  • The town has connections with Clan Cumming (successor to the powerful Comyn families) who established a castle and church in the area in the 12th century.
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