Where was the First Battle of Falkirk (1298) fought?
There is a long tradition in the district that the battle was fought in and around the Grahamston area, perhaps a mile north of the town centre. Certainly our Victorian ancestors were quite happy to accept this version, hence they gave local streets names like Campfield, Wallace, Bute and Stewart and marked the maps accordingly. However a site to the north of the town doesn't fit too well with what we know of the movements of troops and the topography of the battlefield. We know that the Scots were drawn up on sloping ground with the town of Falkirk behind them. We also know that the two armies were separated by a water course of some kind or possible a piece of swampy ground. This helps us narrow the range of suitable candidates.
Current favourite site is Mumrills to the east of Laurieston with the Scots army drawn up on the on the slopes just opposite the Beancross Restaurant. In front of them to the east is the Westquarter Burn. Another site which finds favour with quite a few observers is on the road from Redding to Hallglen around Woodend Farm with the Scots and English placed on either side of the Glen and, once again, the Westquarter Burns. Polmont Hill where the ski slope is located is another candidate and one author writing a life of Wallace places the battle much further to the south not far from Avonbridge with the Avon separating the armies. These are only three of many; others include Bells Meadow, Wallacestone and Grangemouth. Unless we are very lucky and somebody turns up a huge stack of bones somewhere then we will probably never know. However, there would be a down side to such a discovery - it would deprive us all of our favourite sport, that is, thinking up new possibilities and arguing about them!
Ian Scott 2005