History & Heritage
Thought to have been the residence of Sir John de Graham, a nobleman who died fighting alongside William Wallace at Battle of Falkirk, the castle is a fine example of a rare type of medieval earthwork. It is thought to date back to the 13th Century and is situated north of the west end of Carron Valley Reservoir, see the Community Map. The site is currently managed by Forestry and Land Scotland and is free to access and explore. Further details on access and the history of the site can be found on Forestry and Land Scotland’s Website.
Kirk O’ Muir Cemetery
Kirk O’ Muir is a small Cemetery lying just off the northern banks of the Carron Valley Reservoir. It has been thought to have housed a chapel dedicated to St Mary, founded in the 15th century, however there are currently no visible remains.
Open air worship takes place at the site on the first Sunday in August to commemorate the outdoor services, known as Conventicles, which took place in Scotland in the 17th century after the Religious Act of 1592 and Conventicle Act of 1664 forbade religious gatherings outside the Church of England.
See the Community Map for location. Kirk O’ Muir was the subject of an archaeological survey, supported by VRG, in 2017. Information on this project and its fascinating findings can be found in Completed Projects.
Craigend Distillery, known locally as the Lost Distillery, was found on the site surrounding the current Craigend House in the late 18th century. Under the ownership of James Miller the lowland distillery produced over 17,000 gallons of Whisky in 1798-99. The distillery used one of the first Boulton and Watt steam engines, to power its works. Once flourishing it faced challenges due to grain supply and taxes, it fell into administration in 1811. Following the subsequent sale of assets the distillery buildings were almost completely demolished by 1856.The only remaining surface evidence of the distillery is part of the mill building.
In the summer of 2019 Stirling Field and Archaeological Society chairman, Paul Sorowka gave a presentation about Craigend Distillery at the VRG Community Open Day. The presentation explored the innovative Stills used by James Miller for distillation and the challenges faced by distillers in the late 18th century. You can find a copy of the presentation here.
Howietoun Fishery is a Victorian fish farm in the Sauchieburn area with international significance. Created by Sir James Maitland in 1874, the fishery pioneered the study of trout and salmon farming. It supplied fish eggs and fish across the world in special transport boxes designed by Maitland, vital during a period of international decline in fish stock. Evidence of Maitland’s first experiments in fish farming can still be seen at his former home, Craigend House.
Sold by the Maitland family in 1967, the fishery was owned and operated by the University of Stirling from 1979. It was sold to a private owner in 2020. Further information can be found in the Archives and Special Collections at the University of Stirling. Fascinating photos of the fishery in the Victorian era can be found on the University Archive’s Howietoun Fishery Flickr Album