Langton Mill

Illus 1: Map showing Langton Mill taken from RHP 48371 dated 1809.

The lands of Langtoun with the mill appear in a charter of 1598.  Although they lay within the lordship of the barony of Callendar they were, at that time, a subsidiary of the estate of West Kerse.  Another charter of 1631 mentions not only the mill but also the multures, confirming that this was a baronial mill.  John Beyge was pursued for the duties of the “Langtoune mylne” by James Livingston of Langton in 1639, suggesting that he was the miller there. In 1657 John Davie was designated “mylner at the foirsaid mylne of Langtoune“.  For some reason the minister of Falkirk, Richard Callander, received an annual rent out of the Land of Langton Mill in 1686.  At that time the mill and mill lands belonged to David Guidlett of Abbotshaugh, though they were still part of the superiority of West Kerse. 

Illus 2: 1860 Ordnance Survey Map showing the site of Langton Mill on the west bank of the Westquarter Burn near the Ford.

Somewhat surprisingly the mill does not appear on Pont’s map of the 1580s or Roy’s of 1755.  It had probably closed by 1817 when Grassom was producing his map of Stirlingshire and had already been demolished when the Ordnance Survey arrived in 1860.  It had stood on the Westquarter Burn to the south-east of Langton Farm and the 1817 Valuation Roll shows that the mill had become integrated with Langton Farm.  It appears on a map of 1809 consisting of three buildings and a mill dam (RHP 48371).  Traces of the lade can still be seen near the foot of the escarpment where the 1860 map shows a well.

In 1902 James Robertson, a Laurieston nailer then aged 82 years, gave a series of reminiscences, one of which pertained to Langton Mill around 1810:

“At one time meal was the chief and favourite article of diet of the common people, and I remember when it was not only very dear, but very scarce.  Some millers, who had a stock, held it in reserve, thinking that the price would rise and that they would make a better sale, but this system of dealing did not supply the immediate wants of the people.  At that time there was one Harley who was in the Langton Mill, and he had a big stock of meal which he would not sell.  The Laurieston folks were furious at this, and one David Buchanan (the village idiot), a curious body, went to the mill with a band of young lads and lasses, and told Harley that he was to sell the meal and not keep it up, “as a curse would come upon those who kept up the meal.”  Harley was terrified, and went to Sir Thomas Livingstone, who had recently come to Westquarter, and told him that there was a riot in Laurieston, and that the mob was going to burn his mill and work mischief because he would not let them have his meal.  Sir Thomas called out the six batonmen of Laurieston, and they took David Buchanan prisoner.  The fury of the Laurieston folks was greatly increased because of this, and Sir Thomas had a hot time of it, as the crowd was not at all particular as to its behaviour.  Men and women were alike offensive, and on one occasion, when Sir Thomas Livingstone was surrounded by a crowd, Slow Maggie got hold of his stick, and hit him over the head with it, saying at the same time to him, “They had little in their heads that made you a sir.”  The result of the tumult was that the crowd released David Buchanan, and Sir Thomas and the batonmen then went to Falkirk to call out the Yeomanry to quell the Laurieston riot.  The people called this military force ‘sour-dook soldiers,’ and instead of being afraid of them took their fun out on them, and the young folks pelted them with old boots and all sorts of missiles.  The next step was to call out the Sheriff to read the Riot Act in the village.  This having been done, the village soon assumed its normal appearance, and the affair, together with the part Sir Thomas took in it, became for long a standing joke.  There was no riot in the village at all.  There was certainly some uproar, but the whole thing originated with this money-grabbing miller, and a number of Laurieston youths, who wanted him to sell his meal at a cheaper price.  The meal was selling at 3s per peck at that time.  David Buchanan was taken before the Sheriff at Stirling and tried for the part he played in the so-called Laurieston riot, but the Sheriff said he was non compos mentis, and could not be condemned.”

(Falkirk Herald 29 November 1902, 7).

Sites and Monuments Record

Langton MillSMR 1072NS 9117 7905

G.B. Bailey, 2022