Cruciform church of mediaeval origin, almost entirely rebuilt in several phases; mediaeval square-plan tower, upper part remodelled and octagonal belfry with swept spire added by William Adam, 1738; body of mediaeval church demolished and replaced in 1810-11 by Gothic rectangular-plan building and SE mausoleum (Zetland tomb; see Notes) by James Gillespie Graham; to S, transeptal 2-storey Gothic session house with porte-cochere driveway and single storey flanking sections by Wardrop and Anderson, 1892;
to W, single storey church halls added 1996. Predominantly diagonally droved rubble laid to level beds with raised polished margins; ashlar to mausoleum and majority of tower; squared snecked bull-faced rubble with ashlar dressings to 1892 additions. Ashlar-topped base course, cill course and eaves cornice to 1811 sections. with transoms. Crowstepped gables; predominantly crenellated parapet with triangular merlons to 1811 sections, flat-headed merlons to 1892 additions. Predominantly 2-light Y-traceried windows with transoms.
N ELEVATION: 4-bay elevation with modern halls to right; advanced organ bay to centre, concealing bottom of 4-light loop traceried windows; slightly advanced outer bays.
E ELEVATION: 3-bay elevation; gable to centre bay; slightly advanced outer bays; left bay obscured to lower level by adjoining 3-bay low
2-storey Zetland tomb. To centre bay, to ground floor, shallow machicolated and crenellated porch with Tudor arched opening flanked by narrow lancet lights; 4-light loop traceried and transomed window above; dividing cornice; blind roundel to gable. To Zetland tomb: bays divided by buttresses with gabled niches to lower stages; to ground
floor, timber studded door in Tudor-arched roll-moulded opening, simple raised shields to outer bays; chamfered band course dividing ground and 1st floors; to 1st floor, to centre bay, hoodmoulded pointed-arched niche with high relief Dundas coat of arms (see Notes), to outer bays 2-light cusped pointed-arched hoodmoulded windows. To far left, greatly recessed E elevation of 1892 transeptal addition; 2-storey 3-bay elevation, advanced to centre and right bays; to ground floor, to left bay bipartite window with cusped pointed-arched lights, large pointed-arched opening to right bay; to 1st floor, lancet lights to left and right bays, to centre cusped lancet light to half storey with lancet above both in pointed over-arch.
S ELEVATION: 5-bay 2-storey elevation with modern 1996 halls adjoining to far left and single bay gable end of Zetland tomb to far right; greatly advanced gabled centre bay; advanced, parapeted ground floor flanking bays; to 1st floor slightly advanced outer bays. To ground floor, to centre bay, paired bipartite windows with cusped-headed lights; to flanking bays, tripartite windows with cusped heads; to Zetland tomb, blind pointed-arched window with 3 cusped lights with panel tracery above and head-stopped hoodmould, flanked by buttresses with gabled niches. To 1st floor, to centre bay pointed-arched 3-light window with geometric tracery and 3 blind cusped panels beneath.
W ELEVATION: 3-bay elevation, concealed to ground floor by adjoining modern halls; outer bays slightly advanced. To centre bay, 4-light loop traceried and transomed window above; dividing cornice; blind roundel to gable. To far right, greatly recessed E elevation of 1892 transeptal addition; 2-storey 3-bay elevation, to ground floor, large pointed-arched opening to left bay, inset pilastered and broken pedimented memorial panel to right; to 1st floor, lancet light to each bay.
TOWER: corniced square-plan tower, largely obscured; octagonal upper belfry stage with round-arched key-blocked openings, alternately louvred and louvered with glazing below; swept octagonal slated spire with lead finial and weathervane; 13 bell carillon (cast at Baltimore, 1926). To N elevation, to ground floor (inside port-cochere), timber-
panelled door with wrought iron hinges and lancetted fanlight in roll-moulded pointed-arched opening; to E elevation, single slit window, 2 blocked openings; to W elevation, 2 mullioned windows with 2 shouldered lights; N elevation not visible.
INTERIOR: renovated by George Deas Page, 1878-1883. Vestibule in base of tower; leading to main auditorium, timber-panelled and stained glass door in Neo-Classical war memorial doorpiece (installed in 1923), above, engraved stone tablet (see Notes), to flanking walls, doorways leading to curved passageways, to W wall classical monument with marble relief to Rev John B Paterson, by Alexander Ritchie, 1838; to E wall, Gothic monument to Rev William Begg by J and G Mossman. To W passageway, ex situ, pair of effigies (a knight and a lady, possibly later 16th century) and graveslab with Latin inscription, dated 1600; to E passageway, ex situ pair of effigies (a knight and a lady, possibly mid 15th century), a graveslab with carved shield and Latin inscription
carved shield and Latin inscription
(probably commemorating Alexander, fifth Lord Livingston, circa 1550), roof boss carved with the Livingston arms (probably from the vaulted roof of the medieval church) and a crosshead. From both passageways, curved stone stairs with cast iron balusters, leading to gallery. To main auditorium: raking horseshoe gallery on timber Roman Doric columns; to N wall, Jacobean oak pulpit (1896) with gilded finial from earlier pulpit of 1811 or 1826; flanking, wooden organ screens (1992) masking organ pipes; organ by Forster and Andrews, 1892, rebuilt l950; timber box pews; large Gothic ceiling rose (probably 1811); deep roll-moulded ceiling cornice; to N wall, stained glass windows flanking pulpit, depicting Abel, Abraham, Moses and David to left and the Good Samaritan to right, by Christopher Whall, 1896; to W and E walls, to centre, abstract stained glass windows by Ballantine and Allan, 1860-1 (moved from N wall in 1896).
BURIAL GROUND: see Notes. To SW, tall granite Celtic cross with fine carved pattern, commemorating the men of Bute killed in the first Battle of Falkirk in 1298, erected by the 3rd Marquess of Bute in 1877. To S: Monument to Sir John de Graeme (died 1298 at Battle of Falkirk), table tomb of circa 1772 (restored 1860), enclosing 3 slabs of medieval, late 16th century and circa 1723 (by William Whyte), the whole enclosed by cast iron cage of 1860 with axe-headed railings, crocketted finials to corners and lion rampant to top (see Notes); Monument to Sir Robert Munro of Foulis and Dr Duncan Munro of Obsdale, erected 1751, corniced pedestal surmounted by small sarcophagus; Monument to William Edmonstone of Cambuswallace and members of the Dollar family, late 19th century, red sandstone Jacobean style tombchest. To NE wall: to right, carved 18th century (now with 19th century inscriptions to Wilson family) wall monument, attached
columns and paired round headed arches with cornice and pediment above; to left, monument to Patrick Murehead of Rashyhill and his wife Margaret Buchanan, both died 1723, aedicule with barley-sugar twist columns, segmental pediment, inscribed panel with foliate surround and prolific carved decoration.
BOUNDARY WALLS, GATES AND GATEPIERS: boundary walls largely formed by rear elevations of adjoining buildings; to E boundary, square-plan ashlar gatepiers with sunken pointed-arched panels, surmounted by cast iron lamp standards, cast iron gates, flanking dwarf ashlar walls and ornate cast iron railing terminated by similar ashlar piers. To NE boundary, pair of cast iron square plan stop-chamfered gatepiers with ornate cast iron gate and small stretch of matching railings. To SW boundary, stone archway (listed separately)
Statement of Special Interest
Falkirk Old Parish Church is thought to have been founded on this site as early as the 7th century, although some sources claim that it was founded in 1057 by Malcolm Canmore; the tablet in the church porch bears a crude inscription supporting this theory,
but it is likely to date from the early 19th century. The church became the property of Holyrood Abbey in 1166; one of the several theories of the origin of the name of Falkirk suggests that the church fell into disuse and ruin became known as the Fallen or Fall Kirk. The earliest sections of the present church are the remains of the mediaeval church which is thought to have been built around 1450. The mediaeval church was cruciform in plan with a tower over the crossing.
In the early 18th century, the upper part of the tower was rebuilt to the designs of William Adam; the contract was agreed circa 1738 and the work was concluded circa 1741.
By the 1790s, the church was considered by its minister to be too small, but he suggested that this may be remedied in the near future. In 1800, the heritors were discussing proposals for the repair of the old church or the construction of a new one, possibly on a different site.
The proposals for the use of a new site were controversial and resulted in a lengthy struggle which was only resolved in 1810 when the Court of Session ruled that the tower of the medieval church should be retained, but that the remainder of the church should be replaced by a new structure. During the lengthy disputes, several designs had been drawn up, including schemes by Hugh Cairncross and Sibbald and
Thin. However, in March 1810, James Gillespie Graham?s design was accepted and William Black, wright and Henry Taylor, mason, were contracted to execute the work at a cost of approximately #3500. The work was competed in the autumn of 1811.
In 1891 the idea of an additional session house was discussed, and in 1892-3 this Wardrop Anderson designed extension was built on the
site of the medieval south transept, where the Livingstone effigies had originally been situated (they were left open to the elements when the transept was demolished in 1810 and stayed there until they were moved to the south porch in 1854. In the 1960s the burial ground was largely cleared and only the most important memorials remain.
The tomb of Sir John de Graeme, who died in the first battle of Falkirk, consists of a mediaeval slab with an effigy to the bottom.
The 16th century slab formed a table-top tomb above the effigy; the two upper slabs appear to be fairly close copies of this slab.
Upgraded from Category B to Category A in 2004.