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Muiravonside, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Written and Researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

Muiravonside Parish, Stirlingshire in the 1800's (nineteenth centrury)

Muiravonside parish contains the post office village of Avonbridge, the village of Madiston and Rumford, the village of Linlithgow-bridge, is on the eastern border of Stirlingshire. It is bounded on the north, the east, and the south-east by Linlithgowshire, and on the other sides by the parishes of Slamannan and Polmont. Its length north-north-eastward is fully 6 1/2 miles; its greatest breadth is 3 3/4 miles, and its area is about 14 3/4 square miles. The river Avon, whence it gets the name of Muiravonside, so circles round it as to form on all sides, except the west and north-west, its boundary-line; it traverses; while in contact with it, a distance measured in straight lines and regular segments, of 10 1/4 miles, but measured along its beautiful sinuous bed, of probably 15 or 16 miles; and over most of the way, it is richly curtained with wood, or traverses a romantic dell, or otherwise possesses features of high scenic interest. The extreme west of the parish is part of the moorish tableau which flanks the south side of the great valley of the Forth and Clyde canal; and the rest of it declines eastward, in a series of ever varying ridges, towards the dell of the Avon and the carses of the Forth. The highest grounds have not an elevation of more than 400 feet above sea level, of 150 feet above the hollows at their own base; yet they command a gorgeous extensive project of the basin of the Forth, from the Lothians to Stirling, and from the flanks of the carses to the Ochils. Though much of the surface was originally moor and moss, yet all of it, except about a twentieth is occupied by plantations, so disposed as to embellish tracts naturally bleak and dismal. The soul of the western district is cold and wet, -- much of it retaining a strong dash of its original mossy character; but that of the eastern district is predominantly of light gravelly nature towards the Avon, and of a clayey character in the interior. The rocks are partly eruptive and partly coal formation. A fine-grained blue whinstone is extensively quarried. A Sandstone of very close grain, with a fracture resembling that of marble, capable of retaining the chisel marks of sculpture unchanged through centuries, is worked. Coal has in recent years been found in great abundance, and now very extensively mined. Iron ore, of fine qualtiy, though with comparatively small percentage of metal, is worked in the vicinity of Maddiston, The principal landowner is Forbes or Callendar. The gross yearly value of raw produce was estimated in 1841 at 38, 250 pds. Assessed property in 1841, at 38,250 pds. Assessed property in 1860 was 12,773 pds. Several mills of different kinds stand on the Avon and are propelled by its water power. Half a mile north of the parish church stands the old castle of Almond, surrounded by fosse, and formerly a seat of the Earls of Callendar. Three-quarters of a mile above Linlithgow-bridge, on the Avon, stands Emanuel Priory. The parish is tranversed by the road from Edinburgh to Falkirk, by Union canal, by the Slamannan railway; and by the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway; it shares with Linlithgowshire the honours of the magnificent aqueduct and viaduct across the Avon; and it has near access to Edinburgh and Glasgow railway, on the east side at the Linlithgow station, and on the west side at the Polmont station. Population in 1832, 1,540; in 1861, 2,660. Houses, 519.

The parish is a presbytery of Linlithgow, and synod of Lothian and Tweedale. Patron, the Crown. Stipend, 231pds. 2s. 8d.; glebe 9 pds. Unappropriated teinds, 88pds. 19s. 0d. Schoolmaster's salary now is 55pds, with 24pds. fees, and a glebe of 6 acres. The parish church was built about the year 1808, and contains 600 sittings. There is an United Presbyterian church at Avonbridge, built in 1803, and containing 308 sittings. There is a non-parochial school and a parochial library. The tract now forms the parish of Falkirk, and does not appear on record as a separate parish till the year 1606. A chapel stood in old times at Ballenbriech, on the Avon, 3 miles west of the present parish church. The popular name of the parish, or rather popular abbreviation of the proper name, is Moranside.



The Imperial Gazeteer of Scotland or Dictionary of Scottish Topography. Volume I/II. London: A. Fullarton & Co., 473.

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