History in Structure

Churchyard With James Bruce Monument, Larbert Old Church

A Category A Listed Building in Larbert, Falkirk

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Latitude: 56.019 / 56°1'8"N

Longitude: -3.838 / 3°50'16"W

OS Eastings: 285528

OS Northings: 682203

OS Grid: NS855822

Mapcode National: GBR 1H.SV1C

Mapcode Global: WH5QS.0ZP3

Plus Code: 9C8R2596+JR

Entry Name: Churchyard With James Bruce Monument, Larbert Old Church

Listing Name: Old Parish Church Churchyard and Monument to James Bruce of Kinnaird and Mary Dundas

Listing Date: 9 August 1977

Last Amended: 22 September 2005

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 342956

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB10496

Building Class: Cultural

Also known as: Old Cemetery of Larbert

ID on this website: 200342956

Location: Larbert

County: Falkirk

Electoral Ward: Bonnybridge and Larbert

Parish: Larbert

Traditional County: Stirlingshire

Tagged with: Cemetery

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Irregular-plan multi-period churchyard / cemetery, partially enclosed with random rubble boundary wall, containing many unusual grave markers including cast-iron obelisk to James Bruce, Carron Ironworks enclosure with Distyle Doric temple mausoleum, several family enclosures, rare cast-iron grave markers and many other interesting grave stones dating from the 17th century onwards. Currently located in car park outside SE corner of churchyard (see Notes). William Haworth for Carron Ironworks, late 18th century. Cast-iron obelisk on plinth. Rectangular plinth with rope work edges and long inscriptions to side panels; 4 lions couchant with bared teeth to top corners of plinth supporting obelisk which is capped by classical everlasting lamp (simplified replacement of original). Oval reliefs depicting goddesses to each side of obelisk. CARRON ENCLOSURE: large irregular-shaped enclosure on sloping site with boundary/retaining wall topped by spear-headed cast-iron railings with decorative scrolled brackets; 3 steps to gate on S side of enclosure. Channelled sandstone ashlar Distyle Doric temple mausoleum at W of enclosure with 3 steps to portico, cast-bronze door, barrel-vaulted ceiling and Angel memorial on plinth inscribed to William Dawson. 1825 urn on tall fluted column inscribed to Joseph Stanton. Graves of other managers of the Carron Ironworks including several sarcophagi-shaped tombs and a brown marble Celtic Cross (1867). A detailed description of the other monuments is in 'Buildings of Scotland', p580. ELPHINSTONE AND DUNDAS ENCLOSURE: roughly square-plan enclosed by ashlar-coped random rubble boundary wall with plain iron gate; 1663 date stone over former entrance to E wall. Several memorial stones set in wall, the oldest dated 1640. Full description in RCAHMS Inventory, p156. OTHER FAMILY ENCLOSURES: predominantly enclosed with spear-headed railings set in low coped boundary walls. Most with large and imposing grave stones CAST-IRON GRAVE MARKERS: predominantly Sun Foundry, later 19th century in various locations across churchyard. Predominantly sandstone stones set in arched cast-iron frames, many in poor condition. Very rare cast-iron obelisk to George and Elizabeth Smith (died 1833) near centre of churchyard (poor condition). OTHER GRAVESTONES: a few 17th and 18th century gravestones; many early, mid and late 19th century and some 20th century stones of varying style, size and quality including several lying slabs and obelisks. Older ones fully described in RCAHMS Inventory pp156-8. BOUNDARY WALL, GATES AND GATEPIERS: coped random rubble boundary wall facing church with ashlar pyramidal-capped gatepiers; slightly taller, squared snecked sandstone boundary wall facing road with coped ashlar gatepiers and decorative 2-leaf cast-iron gates by Sun Foundry.

Statement of Interest

The monument belongs in a walled enclosure situated in the south of the churchyard, where there is a stone plinth for it to stand on. This enclosure is currently overgrown with trees (2005) and following restoration the monument was placed in a temporary position in the church car park. The Church committee are planning to restore it to its original position (2005). The monument was listed on its own on 9 August 1977. For reasons of consistency it is now listed with the churchyard, which merits listing at category A in its own right. The Parish Church is listed separately at category B. The present church was built in 1820, replacing an earlier building. The churchyard is therefore considerably older than the present church, as is evident from the several 17th and 18th century grave stones that survive. These are mostly located near the entrance closest to the church, with the later graves situated further back. The rather irregular shape of the churchyard indicates that it has been extended several times. In 1759 the famous Carron Ironworks was established in Larbert and the village grew in both size and wealth, as is evident from the large number of imposing early-mid 19th century monuments in the churchyard. The Carron works was the first foundry in Scotland to smelt iron with coke rather than charcoal, and was therefore at the forefront of the industrial revolution. The coal was mined on James Bruce's land, and the resulting income enabled him to travel to Ethiopia. At the West end of the churchyard is the Carron enclosure, in which are buried some of the managers of the foundry. The most handsome monuments are the Doric mausoleum to William Dawson and the tall column topped by an urn to Joseph Stainton, the third manager of the foundry. The cast-iron grave markers are not by Carron, but mostly by George Smith's Sun Foundry, which had a speciality in producing iron work for cemeteries. Most of these are composed of an inscribed stone set in an arched cast-iron frame and date from the 2nd half of the 19th century. This type of grave marker is relatively rare and it is most unusual to find so many of them in the same churchyard. Even more unusual is the cast-iron obelisk to George and Elizabeth Smith. The Bruce Monument, which was erected by James Bruce in memory of his wife, is particularly important as an early example of work from the Carron foundry. It is believed to have been designed by William Haworth, a woodcarver who worked as a designer and model-maker for Carron for 56 years from 1782. William Haworth was a very accomplished designer and carver from London, and had trained at the Royal Academy. The architect John Adam (brother of Robert) was one of the principal shareholders of the Carron Ironworks at this period and Haworth brother was strongly influenced by the designs of Robert and James Adam, who frequently used Carron to cast the iron work (such as fireplaces) for their interiors. The influence of Adam is evident in the Bruce monument. James Bruce was a local landowner and was famous in his time for being the first European to reach the source of the Blue Nile, a dangerous and difficult expedition since Ethiopia did not encourage foreign visitors. He was also charted the Red Sea and was an excellent linguist, able to converse in 13 languages. Miles Bredin's biography of Bruce is fascinating, and a shorter but rather scathing account of his life is to be found in the New Statistical Account. Churchyard previously covered by curtilage cleary defined as part of listing September 2005.

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