What is the story of the Hills of Dunipace?

      The two large conical mounds called for many decades ‘the Hills of Dunipace’ stand near the old and new cemeteries on the back road between Larbert and Denny, close to the River Carron.  At one time there may have been three of these large mounds but now only the most perfectly formed one is immediately obvious with the second looking less interesting!  For decades, perhaps centuries, these were thought to have been man-made and there were even suggestions that they were placed there jointly by the Romans and the local tribesmen as a symbol of peace between them. This story goes on to say that they named the place dun  from the celtic tongue of the tribesmen meaning hill, followed by pace from the latin of the Romans meaning peace.  Hence Dunipace or the hills of peace.  Nice story for sure but too contrived to be true?

      An examination of the structure of the mounds confirms that they were formed by nature, being the remains of the old 100ft raised beach.  That does not, of course, stop them having been deliberately shaped by men for some kind of ceremonial or even defensive purpose.  As far as we know there is no archaeological evidence to suggest that there were burials on the top or that one of them had a motte or fortification on top.   The whole area is steeped in history.  The hills themselves stand beside an ancient cemetery surrounded by a stone dyke.  Not far away are the last remaining stones of the old mansion home of the Primrose family – the ‘Place’ of Dunipace.  The most famous of the family, Sir Archibald, was beheaded for supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745.  According to Geoff Bailey’s book on the Battle of Falkirk, Falkirk or Paradise, Sir Archibald’s headless trunk makes an annual appearance on 15th November and walks seven times round the hill of Dunipace.

Ian Scott (2005)