|Scottish Gaelic: Cill Saidhe|
The bandstand in Burngreen, Kilsyth
Kilsyth shown within North Lanarkshire
|Population||10,100 (2004 Estimates)|
|Council area||North Lanarkshire|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East|
|Scottish Parliament||Cumbernauld and Kilsyth|
Kilsyth is at 60 metres (200 ft) above sea level and occupies a narrow strip of land between the Kilsyth Hills to the north and the River Kelvin to the south. To the east and west it is bordered by marshland and bogs. The centre of the town is close to the confluence of the Garrell and Ebroch burns.
From earliest recorded times Kilsyth was one of the main routes between Glasgow, Falkirk and Edinburgh, and is very close to the Roman Antonine Wall, the Forth and Clyde Canal and the main Glasgow to Edinburgh railway line, with the nearest railway station at Croy. The main A80/M80 motorway is close by to the south. Formerly two separate stations existed in the town on separate, although linked, railway lines. One, The Kelvin Valley Railway went to Glasgow, Maryhill while the other, the Kilsyth and Bonnybridge railway went via Banknock to Falkirk.
The town occupies a sheltered position in the Kelvin Valley, and is bisected by the A803 between Kirkintilloch and Falkirk. The old drovers' road from Stirling, (the Tak Ma Doon Road), and the route south to Cumbernauld via Auchinstarry Bridge, intersect the A803 at Kilsyth.
History and development
There is archeological evidence of settlement since Neolithic times . The Romans recognised the strategic significance of Kilsyth with forts at Colziumbea (NS 7391 7774) and Castle Hill (NS 7091 7610) as well as the Antonine Wall forts of Bar Hill and Croy Hill which are clearly visible from the present-day town. In the Middle Ages, Kilsyth held a key strategic position on one of the main routes across the narrowest part of Scotland and was the site of two castles (now destroyed) at Balcastle and Colzium shown in Timothy Pont's map of 1580.
The Civil War Battle of Kilsyth took place on hillsides between Kilsyth and Banton, North Lanarkshire in 1645. Kilsyth was later closely associated with the various attempts by the Jacobites to regain the crown.
The town economy has shifted over the past three centuries from farming, handloom weaving and extractive industries to light engineering, transport and service industries. Many of the townsfolk of working age now commute to work in nearby Glasgow and other larger towns nearby.
Kilsyth has claims to be the place where the winter sport of curling was first constituted. The town had the world's first curling club which survives to this day, Kilsyth Curling Club. Curling was played on the Curling Pond in the Colzium Estate in the east of the town.
In the 1950 s the town boasted as having the highest proportion of council housing in Europe as the old miner's rows and other slum accommodation was removed. In recent year several small housing estates have been developed on either end of the town.
There are over three thousand properties in the Kilsyth area (including the local villages. There are two large new developments underway in the town, by Dawn Homes at Burngreen Brae and by Taylor Wimpey at Cavalry Park. These will bring around 360 new properties to the town over the next four years and increase the population of the town by another one thousand people.
Religion and revivals
Following its foundation as an early monastic settlement, the town has a long tradition of radical protestantism and was the scene of major revivals under the leadership of James Robe in 1742 and William Chalmers Burns in 1839, part of the Second Great Awakening. William Irvine (evangelist and founder of the Two by Twos and Cooneyites sects) was born in Kilsyth in 1863. The formation of the new Church of God, the first Pentecostal Church in Scotland in 1902 led to further outbreaks of revival in 1908 and to Kilsyth becoming the main early focus of Pentecostalism in the north of Britain. The influx of Roman Catholic immigrant workers from Ireland led to outbreaks of sectarian violence at the Duntreath Arms Inn (adjacent to Innsbridge) in 1905, which followed a mistaken visit by an Orange band which disembarked at Croy and marched to Kilsyth. The Riot Act was read at the ensuing battle. It was one of the two 'dry towns' from the 1920 s to 1960 s when a poll dictated that no alcohol would be sold. This was a result of the amount of drinking by miners and the consequent poverty and violence at home. Sunday walks over the Tak Ma Doon Road to the Carronbridge Hotel were popular.
Kilsyth was originally part of the earldom of Lennox. The parish was called variously Monyabroch, Monaeburgh, or Moniabrocd, but part of the parish was called Kelvesyth by the beginnings of the 13th century. The lands passed through the hands of branches of the Callendar and Livingston families as their fortunes waxed and waned, eventually becoming the property of the Edmonstones. Kilsyth was established as a Burgh of Barony in 1620. A Town Charter was granted in 1826, permitting the holders of plots to elect a Town Council. It used to be part of Stirlingshire, but is now within North Lanarkshire jurisdiction.
In 2012, the multi-member ward was represented by three elected councillors; Jean Jones (Labour), Heather McVey (Labour) and Alan Stevenson (SNP).
Jamie Hepburn MSP was elected as Cumbernauld and Kilsyth (Scottish Parliament constituency) member of the Scottish Parliament on 5 May 2011 with a majority of 3459. Since May 2015 Stuart MacDonald has been the Westminster MP for the Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East (UK Parliament constituency).
Kilsyth Community Council, as the locally elected representative body, is an active community group but enjoys very limited powers.
Attractions and events
Kilsyth has many of the elements associated with a Scottish market town, including a pedestrianised Main Street with a wide range of local and specialist independent shops, attractive parks and gardens at Burngreen and Colzium complete with bandstands, welcoming hostelries such as the Coachman Hotel, the Boathouse and the Scarecrow pub, and a fair choice of local restaurants - European, Indian, Chinese and fish 'n' chips. The nearby villages of Croy, Banton, Queenzieburn, and Twechar are within easy walking distance from Kilsyth.
Townhead reservoir, known locally as Banton Loch, is the site of the Battle of Kilsyth and is the main reservoir for the Fort and Clyde Canal. A thriving marina has been developed at Auchinstarry close to the climbing wall and lakes at the old quarry.
Kilsyth Lennox Golf Club was founded in 1899. The original nine hole course was the Balmalloch area of the town, but moved in 1905 to the present position North East of the town. Between 1997 and 2002, the majority of the greens and tees were redesigned by Rocky Roquemore, the American Golf Course architect. The club hosts a Festival of Golf in the first week in July.
Kilsyth has a public swimming pool, open seven days a week, a public library, a small hospital and health centre (being rebuilt and due to open in 2015), and a range of recreational facilities such as tennis courts and bowling clubs. A feature of Burngreen Park is a chidren's road safety attraction with a model road layout and bikes, etc. for hire. It is also an accredited Walkers are Welcome town.
Nearby attractions include the Falkirk Wheel, a huge boat lift that connects the Union and Forth & Clyde Canal networks, and the Antonine Wall – marking the northern edge of the Roman Empire. Kilsyth is about 30 minutes from Glasgow, 15 minutes from Falkirk, 30 minutes from Stirling and 45 minutes from Edinburgh by car, bus (new express link in 2011) or train from nearby Croy station.
Kilsyth has held an international carnival in mid-August – in 2007 this was held on Sunday August 12 and headlined the Peatbog Faeries and David Sneddon. It is held in the grounds of the wooded Colzium estate nearby. Following a two-year break, the carnival was relaunched in mid-August 2010 as a multi-day music, comedy and dance festival under the banner of the BIG KIC headlining Salsa Celtica, Dougie MacLean and Fred MacAulay.
Civic Week festivities are held in June each year, with the traditional crowning of the Civic Queen. The festival features a variety of cultural and sports activities. A Christmas Festival is held annually supported by the Rotary Club of Kilsyth (meets 6:30 Thursday in The Coachman Hotel).
The town is well represented on the football front, being the home of Kilsyth Rangers F.C. who are the local junior team, and there are two amateur teams - Kilsyth United AFC & Kilsyth Amateurs. There is also the Golden Gloves Boxing Club and many other organisations such as Boys Brigade, Scouts, Guides, the marvels Cheerleaders, gymnastics, swimming and sub aqua clubs, tae kwan do, Rotaract, athletics, walking, senior citizens, blind and disabled, etc.
Kilsyth has three primary schools: Kilsyth Primary and Balmalloch Primary and St Patrick's Primary School (Roman Catholic). Children from each school can progress to Kilsyth Academy while children from St Patrick's Primary generally advance to St.Maurice's High located in nearby Cumbernauld. Kilsyth Academy is situated on Corrie Road and hosts a range of functions throughout the year.
- Incorporates material from http://www.paperclip.org.uk/kilsyth.htm, http://www.banton.n-lanark.sch.uk/ and http://www.kelvinvalleypark.info/ made available under the GFDL.
- Dennison, Ewart, Gallagher and Stewart, Historic Kilsyth (Historic Scotland, 2006), 2.
- Lennie, Tom (2009). Glory in the Glen: A History of Evangelical Revivals in Scotland 1880–1940. Fearn, Ross–shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-1-84550-377-2.
- Parker, Doug; Parker, Helen (1982). The Secret Sect. Sydney, Australia: Macarthur Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-9593398-0-2.
- "Kilsyth Church of God – History". Archived from the original on Nov 4, 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
- Lennie, Tom (2009). Glory in the Glen: A History of Evangelical Revivals in Scotland 1880–1940. Fearn, Ross–shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications. p. 422. ISBN 978-1-84550-377-2.
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