STIRLINGSHIRE, a midland county of Scotland, bounded N. by Perthshire, N.E. by Clackmannanshire and the Firth of Forth, S.E. by Linlithgowshire, S. by Lanarkshire and the detached part of Dumbartonshire and S.W. and W. by Dumbartonshire; area 288,842 acres, or 451-3 sq. m. In the northwest a spur of the Grampians culminates in Ben Lomond (3192 ft.), and the centre is occupied by a group known as the Lennox Hills, consisting of Gargunnock Hills (1591), Fintry Hills (1676), Kilsyth Hills (1870), and Campsie Fells (1894). The chief river is the Forth, the windings of which constitute most of the northern boundary. The other important streams are the Carron, which rises in Campsie Fells and flows mainly east for 25 m. to the Forth of Grangemouth; the Endrick, which, rising in Fintry Hills, first flows east, then south and finally bends round to the west, a direction which it maintains for most of its course of 31 m. till it empties itself into Loch Lomond; the Kelvin, which, from its source in Kilsyth Hills, flows southwest to the Clyde at Glasgow after a run of 22 m., and the Avon, rising in the detached portion of Dumbartonshire, and flowing for 21 m. east and then north to the Forth. The principal lochs include the greater part of the eastern waters of Loch Lomond, from Endrick mouth to a point 2 m. north of Inversnaid; a small portion of the upper end of Loch Katrine, from a point in the centre of the lake opposite to Stronachlachar to Glengyle at the head; Loch Arklet, in the north-west area, i m. long by J m. wide, forming part of the water supply of Glasgow; the small Loch Coulter, in the parish of St Ninians, and Black Loch, partly in Lanarkshire. The Forth and Clyde Canal crosses the south-eastern corner of the county from Grangemouth to Castlecary.
Geology. The oldest rocks in the county are the Dalradian schists which occupy the north-west beyond a great fault which runs across from near the bottom end of Loch Lomond in a northeasterly direction passing not far from Aberfoyle. These schists are less altered and micaceous near the fault and there is some evidence for believing them to be of Ordovician age. On the southeastern side of the fault are the conglomerates and sandstones of Lower Old Red Sandstone age, which are more highly inclined and coarser nearer the fault. Resting uniformly on the lower series is the Upper Old Red series of sandstones ; but the junction between the two is faulted between Balfron and Kippen; the fault runs E.N.E.- W.S.W. Then follows the Carboniferous system which occupies the rest of the county. The lowest member, the Calciferous Sandstone group, consisting of clays and marls with cement nodules, may be seen on both sides of the Campsie Fells ; it is well exposed near Strathblane in Ballagan Burn. These beds are succeeded by alternating beds of contemporaneous tuffs and sandstones and then by great sheets of diabase-porphyrite which attain a considerable thickness and form well-marked ridges on the southern side of the Campsie Hills ; they are best developed north of Kilsyth and east of Fintry. Meikle Bin and Dungoil mark the sites of the vents from which some of these volcanic rocks were erupted. The Carboniferous Limestone series is the next in order and the lower beds may be found resting upon the volcanic rocks except where the junction is faulted and this series is let down, as it is between Strathblane and the Carron Water. As in the neighbouring counties, this series consists of a lower limestone group with the Index, Calmy and Castle Gary limestones a middle group with coals and clay ironstones and an upper limestone group with the Hosie and Hurlet limestones ; below the latter is a bed of alum shale. These rocks are considerably folded about Kilsyth and in the directions of Banton and Cairnbeg; the " Riggin " near Kilsyth is a noteworthy example of an anticlinal fold. The next series is the Millstone Grit sandstones with some coal-seams and fireclays which occurs towards the eastern boundary. The true Coal-measures are well developed between Grangemouth and Stenhpusemuir and about Falkirk. The more important seams are the Virtuewell (the highest), the Splint, Craw and Coxhead coals. Intrusive sheets of basalt have penetrated the Carboniferous rocks and are now quarried for road metal; Abbey Craig and Stirling Castle hill are formed of one of the more important of these intrusions. Later basalt dikes of Tertiary age are not uncommon. A good deal of boulder clay covers the older -rocks and an interesting blue marine clay is found beneath it in the Endrick valley. The Carse of Stirling is overlaid by the muds and sands of the 50 ft. raised beach ; and traces of the 100 ft. beach are also to be found.
Climate and Agriculture. The rainfall for the year varies from 35 in. in the far east to 55 in. in the Highland region in the extreme north-west. The mean annual temperature is 47-5 F.; for January 38 F., for July 59 F. The arable soils are of two kinds, locally distinguished as " carse " and " dryfield," the rest of the land being composed of pasture, moor and peat. The " carse " extends along the valley from Buchlyvie to the eastern boundary, a distance of 32 m. (by the river), with a breadth of I to 4 m. The soil consists of the finest clays, without stones, but interspersed with strata of marine shells. It has been largely stripped of the overlying peat, .and by draining, subsoil ploughing and the use of lime has been converted into a rich soil, especially adapted for wheat and beans. The " dryfield," mostly reclaimed since the beginning of the 18th century, occupies the valleys and the higher ground bordering the carse. It is fertile and well suited for potatoes and turnips. In the order of their importance the grain crops are oats, barley and wheat. Beans are also extensively grown. Livestock is raised in increasing numbers. The sheep are chiefly black-faced, the cattle Irish, shorthorns and cross-breeds. Ayrshires are the principal breed on the " dryfield " farms, where butter-making is largely carried on. Horses are kept only for farming operations or for stock, and a considerable number of pigs are reared. The average size of the holdings is from 70 to 80 acres. The area under wood is small. Birches grow naturally on the lower slopes of the mountains in Buchanan and Drymen, and oaks freely on the banks of Loch Lomond. Larch and Scots fir are the leading trees in modern plantations.
Other Industries. The coalfield of the south-east supplies the staple industry. Iron ore, fireclay and oil-shale are also obtained, while limestone is extensively wrought in the Campsie district, and sandstone is quarried in -many parts. The ironworks at Carron and Falkirk are important. Woollens are manufactured at Stirling and Bannockburn; calico-printing and bleaching are established in the south-west, especially at Lennoxtown, Strathblane and Milton. There are chemical works at Falkirk, Stirling, Denny and Lennoxtown. Throughout the county there are several breweries and distilleries, and at Grangemouth, the principal port, shipbuilding is carried on. The southern and south-eastern districts are served by the North British railway from Edinburgh to Glasgow (via Falkirk) and the Caledonian railway from Glasgow to Stirling (via Larbert), while branches connect Grangemouth, Denny and other places with the through-lines. The Forth & Clyde railway crosses the shire, mostly in the north, from Stirling to Balloch, and the North British also runs from Glasgow to Aberfoyle. In the tourist season there is a steamer service from Leith to Stirling (37 m.).
Population and Administration. In 1891 the population numbered 118,021, and in 1901 it was 142,291, or 315 persons to the square mile, an increase for the decade exceeded only by the shires of Linlithgow and Lanark. In 1901 there were ten persons who spoke Gaelic only and 2014 Gaelic and English.
The principal towns are Falkirk (pop. 29,380), Stirling (18,697), Grangemouth (8386), Kilsyth (7292), Stenhousemuir (5184), Denny and Dunipace (5158), Bridge of Allan (3240), and Bonnybridge (3009). The shire returns a member to parliament, and Stirling and Falkirk respectively belong to the Stirling and Falkirk district groups of parliamentary burghs. The police burghs include Falkirk, Grangemouth, Kilsyth, Denny and Dunipace and Bridge of Allan. The shire forms a sheriffdom with the counties of Dumbarton and Clackmannan, but there is a resident sheriff-substitute at Stirling and another at Falkirk. The shire is under schoolboard jursidiction, and there are secondary as well as science and art schools at Stirling and Falkirk. The town councils of Stirling and Kilsyth subsidize classes in science and art, besides manual instruction, and Denny and Dunipace maintains a mining instruction class.
History and Antiquities. The wall of Antonius, . built by Lollius Urbicus, in A.D. 142, connecting the Forth and Clyde, passed through the south-east of the county, in which it is locally known as Graham's Dyke. At Castlecary and Camelon, which were both stations of consequence on the line of the wall, many interesting relics have been found. The Camelon causeway, a Roman road, ran eastwards from Castlecary, crossed the rampart at Camelon, whence it proceeded northwards to Stirling and the Forth, where there was a station near the present bridge of Drip. Thence it crossed the river to Keir and Dunblane in Perthshire. To the north-east of the Carron foundry there stood, till its demolition in 1743, a fine circular Roman building called Arthur's Oon (oven), or Julius's Hof, but the two mounds in Dunipace parish supposed to have been raised as monuments of peace between the Romans and Caledonians are probably of natural origin. After the withdrawal of the Romans the county once more fell into the hands of the Picts, the original inhabitants, who, however, gradually retired before the advance of the Saxons and Scots. By the time of Malcolm Canmore (d. 1093) the lowland area had become settled, but the highland tract remained a disturbed and disturbing region until the pacification following the Jacobite rising of 1745-46. The county played a conspicuous part in the struggle for Scottish independence, being particularly associated with many of the exploits of Sir William Wallace and Robert Bruce. The three great battles of the independence were fought in the shire Stirling Bridge (1297), Falkirk (1298), Bannockburn (1314). James III. was stabbed to death in a cottage in the village of Milton after the battle of Sauchieburn (1488), but apart from the disastrous defeat of the Covenanters at Kilsyth (1645) an d tne transitory triumph which Prince Charles Edward won at Falkirk (1746), the history of the shire practically centres in that of the county town.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Sir Robert Sibbald, Description of Stirlingshire (1710); Nimmo, History of Stirlingshire (1777, 1880); Registrum Monasterii S. Marie de Cambuskenne.th (Edinburgh, 1872); W. Rowand Anderson, Stirling Castle (1893); J. S. Fleming, Old Lodgings of Stirling (Stirling, 1897), Old Nook of Stirling (Stirling, 1898) ; J. W. Small, Old Stirling (1897).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)