Larbert Parochial School

The earliest school in Larbert Parish of which we are aware stood adjacent to Larbert Parish Church.  In 1713 the Heritors’ records show that the building was not in a good condition:

The schoolmaster represented that the schoolhouse stands in great need of repairing the session finding that the Heritors is very averse for repairing the said house they appoint John Russell to provide Straw and Divot in order to Right the said house.”  

(Reid 1998, 47).

Clearly the Heritors were not profligate with their money and this extended to the schoolmaster’s salary.  In 1711 a visiting group of ministers from the Presbytery found that at “Four boll, three firlots of oat mele and 25 pounds Scots” his salary was below the legal level and should be increased (Scott 2020, 28).

Illus: 1859 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

With the foundation of the Carron Iron Company in 1759 the eastern side of the parish became far more populous than that near the church. The muir at Stenhouse was built upon and so around 1770 a new parochial school was established at Muirhead Road and became known as Stenhousemuir Parochial School. The feu was taken from the Bruces of Stenhouse and was at that time situated in the country. The Heritors evidently did not intend to maintain two school buildings and so the old one became a private school. It was owned and sponsored by Larbert Estate. In 1859 the Ordnance Surveyors provided the following information:

“A thatched building, one storey, with an endowment of £20 sunk money. The ordinary branches of an English education taught. Average attendance 35. Property of Sir Gilbert Stirling Chambers, Larbert House, Larbert.”

It evidently did not survive for long after that date and is not mentioned again.  The pupils moved to the new Larbert Session School near Larbert Station which had been built in 1857 and became Larbert Village School.  There seems to have been some dispute about the ownership of the building next to the Parish Church.  In 1877 the Larbert School Board came to the conclusion that

The Old Village School of Larbert is not one which, in terms of section 23 of the Act, fell to be vested in, and managed by the School Board, and it would therefore follow – that whether the title of the minister and Kirk-session is good or bad, the School Board, as such, have no statutory title to the property.  It further seems to be admitted that there is no trust vested in the minister and Kirk-session, the income or revenue of which could be claimed by the School Board in terms of Section 46, for behoof of the Parish School.

(Falkirk Herald 31 March 1877, 3).
John Carruthers1695
John Oliver
c1854William Shaw1857

National Grid Reference

Larbert ChurchNS 8557 8222

G.B. Bailey, 2023