Villages.- There are three villages - Herbertshire, Denovan, and Torwood; the former contains about 761, and the two latter about 150 inhabitants each There are eight tippling-houses, one to every thirty-seven families; and in the closely adjoining village of Denny, there is a tippling-house for every twenty families, and the whole seem to be well-frequented, some of them both night and day.
Bridges.-Previous to the year 1824, carriages passed the Carron near Dunipace House by a ford, and foot-travellers by steps. In that year, a handsome bridge of three arches was erected a little below the ford. In 1828, the bridge over the Carron, between the parishes of Dunipace and Denny, on the Glasgow and Stirling road, being considered unfit, from its height and narrowness, for the wheel-carriages of the present day, and also in an unsafe state from its age, was removed, and a neat substantial bridge of three arches erected in its place.
Farmers' Society.-About two years ago, a Farmers' Society
was formed for the purpose of encouraging agricultural improvements,
and particularly for improving the breed of cattle. The Society
has a ploughing match and a cattle-show every year. Almost all
the proprietors and farmers in the parish are members. Much good,
in these particulars, has already been done, and much more is
expected from the exertions of this respectable Society.
Poor.-The number of poor on the roll averages about 10, who receive from 1s. to 3s. per week respectively. The heritors assess themselves annually, generally at the rate of 20s. per hundred pounds Scots of valued rent. The amount from collections at church door, and interest of a sum belonging to the parish, varies from L. 50 to L 60 per annum. Besides this, the late William Simpson, Esq. of Plean, left L. 500 to the kirk-session for behoof of the poor not on the roll. The interest of this sum is expended annually in purchasing coals, paying house rents, and otherwise, as the kirk-session may direct.
Schools.-There are two schools - the parochial school, situated near the centre of the parish, and a private school in the small village of Torwood. The greatest part of the scholars attending this school, come from the contiguous parishes of St Ninians and Larbert. There was a parochial school-house built in this parish in 1696, but whether it was the first in the parish or not, cannot be determined, the parish, or rather existing session records, extending no farther back than 1707. The number of scholars attending the parochial school has averaged, for the last twenty years, about 60. Fees for reading, 2s. 6d., with writing, 3s.; arithmetic, 3s. 6d.; Latin, French, and Greek, 5s. per quarter. The schoolmaster is kirk-treasurer, for which he receives L. 2, 2s. per annum. The salary is the maximum. The school-room and school-house are built on a liberal scale. The garden is of the required extent. The office of session-clerk, worth L. 5 per annum, has not been held by the present schoolmaster, nor by his immediate predecessor. The number that cannot read, is not great; but many, particularly of the female part of the rising generation, read so imperfectly, that they can reap little practical benefit from it. This arises chiefly from the prevailing but reprehensible practice of putting mere infants to work, in the several manufactories in this district.
Ecclesiastical History.-This parish was originally a chapel of the of Egglis, now St Ninians, and was conveyed, along with the other chapels and oratories of that parish (i.e. the said abbey was founded very lately before the said annexations) to the newly founded Abbey of Cambuskenneth, by Robert the sixteenth Bishop of St Andrews, about the year 1130. An uncle of the renowned Sir William Wallace was parson or officiating priest of Dunipace, in the latter part of the thirteenth century. Sir William frequently made his uncle's house his home. The following lines, said to be composed by his uncle in the fashionable style of that period, were often repeated by that hero:
Dico tibi verum, libertas est optima rerum
Nunquam servili sub nexu vivito fili.
-Which may be translated,
I tell you truth, of all things liberty's the best,
0 never be my son with slavery opprest.
At the period of the Reformation, Dunipace and Larbert were erected into separate parishes. Dunipace was then more populous, and by far more wealthy than Larbert, so much so, that the latter parish could not maintain a minister. A union, therefore, with Dunipace was desired, and accomplished under the authority of two acts of the Scottish Parliament 1617 and 1624. From various documents, and from immemorial usage, it appears that the terms of union were,
"That there should be one minister only for the two parishes; that each parish should retain and maintain its own church, and its own school; that each parish should have its own kirk-session, and maintain its own poor separately; that the celebration of Divine service, and the pastoral labours of the minister should be equally divided between the parishes."
It appears also, in consequence of the above terms of union, that Divine service was uniformly celebrated alternately in both churches. The sacrament of our Lord's supper was also uniformly dispensed alternately, the Fast-day services preceding each sacrament being performed in the church of the other parish. On other occasional fasts,~public worship was observed alternately. This union seems to have given satisfaction to all concerned, till after the induction of the late Dr Robert Knox, in 1794, when a deviation from the terms of union was observed to take place, by the minister preaching oftener in Larbert than in Dunipace.
This apparent indifference about Dunipace on the part of the minister, reduced still farther the debris of that congregation, the greater part of whom had already become Seceders. At last, on tile 28th of April 1799, alternate service was finally given up. In 1801, complaint was made to the presbytery of Stirling against Dr Knox, who obtained a vague kind of sentence in his favour, which was afterwards confirmed by the synod of Perth and Stirling "allowing Dr Knox to preach oftener in Larbert than in Dunipace, on account of the increase of population in the former parish ;" -a decision evidently ultra vires of any ecclesiastical court, the civil rights of the parish being thereby injured, such as the collection for the poor, &c, After this, Divine service was performed two days in Larbert, and one in Dunipace till 1823, when Dr Knox declined preaching altogether in the parish of Dunipace. The sacrament of our Lord's supper was not administered in Dunipace, after 1795 till 1830. A process before the church courts was commenced by the heritors in June 1825, for recovering the rights of the parish of Dunipace; but the death of Dr Knox in the month of December following, put an end to that contest. The present incumbent, the Rev. John Bonar, was inducted to the charge of these parishes in 1826, and immediately resumed the practice of preaching two Sundays in Larbert, and one in Dunipace. But the impropriety of having either of these parishes without the regular dispensation of Divine service, became so apparent to all concerned, that, after some preliminary arrangements, an assistant to Mr Bonar, at the joint expense of both parishes, was obtained, by which Divine service was performed in both churches every Lord's day. Mr Bonar, however, continued to preach as above, till the opening of the new church of Dunipace. Since that time, Mr Bonar has preached alternately in both churches, agreeably to the original terms of union between these parishes. The congregation of Dunipace has, from a few individuals, increased to several hundreds. The kirk-session at present consists of the moderator and three lay elders.* Here, as elsewhere, there is an unwillingness to accept of that office.
* Since the above was written, other two elders have been eleeted,
making the present number five.
Old Church .-This church was situated within a few yards of the "Hills of Dunipace," where the buryiing-ground belonging to the parish, still is. It was a very plain building, with galleries in front and ends, affording accommodation for 350 sitters. The date of its erection is unknown. From several appearances of arches in its walls, it probably had originally several aisles attached to it. Its stability was not called in question, till two or three years before its removal, when a mason was employed to insert in its front wall, a marble tablet to the memory of William Simpson, Esq. who left, as above stated, L. 500 to the poor of the parish-This mason, and others employed for the purpose of inspecting it, declared its walls to be in a dangerous state; of which opinions the result was
The New Church.-This church stands a mile and a half to the westward of the old church, on the top of one of these little knolls with which, as was formerly noticed, this district abounds. Its Situation is peculiarly fine. It is built in the Gothic style, with a tower, in which there is a very good bell. It is seated for 604 individuals, and cost L. 2500. It was opened for public worship on Sunday the 29th of June 1834.
Stipend - The parishes of Dunipace and Larbert, being under the pastoral superintendence of one minister, his stipend is allocated from the teinds of both parishes. The stipend, as fixed by the Court of Teinds in 1823, the period of the last augmentation, is 8½ chalders of barley and 8½ chalders of oatmeal, at the fiar prices of the county, with L. 16, 13s. 4d. for communion elements. The manse was lately repaired at the mutual expense of both parishes. These repairs cost L. 660. At the manse, which stands in the parish of Larbert, there is a good glebe, the common property of both parishes, and there is another glebe belonging to the parish of Dunipace, worth at least L. 10 per annum. The Crown is patron.
Revised September 1841.