On the windswept slopes of Bonnymuir members and supporters of the 1820 Society met to unveil a memorial to the men who fought at the Battle of Bonnymuir on 5th April 1820.
1820 is the year of the so-called Scottish Insurrection. The events, which were to culminate in the execution of three weavers for high treason, were, however, in large part the expression of the resentment many in Scotland felt for having fought for Britain against Napoleon only to return home and find themselves treated as seditious rabble and industrial scrap.
The leaders of the group of thirty or so men at Bonnymuir were John Baird and Andrew Hardie. They waited at Bonnymuir for reinforcements before ultimately moving on to the Carron Iron Works in Falkirk which they hoped to secure. Their presence was reported to the Government garrison at Kilsyth and a British army troop of horse led by Lt.Hodgson set off to intercept them. This troop consisted of 16 Hussars and 16 Troopers. The radicals took cover behind a five foot dry stane dyke, later known as the 'Radical Dyke' but the cavalry managed to get through an opening in the dyke and eventually overpowered the radicals. The two leaders taken to Stirling and later executed for treason.
The days events started by a fine introduction by the 1820 Society Chairman Ian Bayne followed by the unveiling of the Memorial Stone by Falkirk Provost Pat Reid. The memorial stone is magnificent and full praise must go to the 1820 Society for their efforts.
One minutes silence was observed and this was followed by a lament by piper Brad McMillan.
Speeches followed by Provost Pat Reid, Councillor Tom Coleman and Councillor Billy Buchanan. A most informative account of the Scottish Radicals was given by historian and author Dr.James D.Young.
The day was wound up by Chairman Ian Bayne with a vote of thanks and an appeal for new members to the 1820 Society.
The Memorial is located at the roadside to the east of Rollo Engineering, St Andrews Works, High Bonnybridge on the B816 road, about 2 mile west along the road from the Falkirk Wheel.
By Alex Calderhead