Report of the Annual Commemoration at the Bonnymuir Memorial
A beautiful sunny day greeted the members and friends of the 1820 Society on 10th of April when they assembled for their annual commemoration at the site of the famous skirmish.
The ‘Battle of Bonnymuir’ took place on 5th April 1820 when a band of Scottish Radicals on their way to take over the Carron Ironworks, were confronted by British military forces in a field which is marked today by a memorial on the roadside to the East of the St. Andrew’s Works, on the B816 road. Having taken their position behind an old dyke, the Radicals allowed the cavalry to come within thirty yards of them, when they fired a volley. The cavalry instantly charged, firing a few shots when going over the dyke. The Radicals received the charge with their pikes, and made all the resistance in their power, but they soon found themselves in a bad situation and throwing away their arms, endeavoured to escape, when the cavalry captured nineteen prisoners. In September, the men were tried for treason with three executed and 19 others sent to penal colonies at Botany Bay in Australia.
After the laying of wreaths at the monument from Falkirk District Council, 1820 Society and Camelon Local History Group, followed by a minute’s silence and the playing of a lament by the piper, Amy Lowe, the gathering was addressed by Councillor Tom Coleman of the SNP, Ken Shirra of Camelon Local History Group and independent councillor Billy Buchanan. A common theme of the speakers was that the struggle for which the Scottish Radicals fought and suffered remains unfinished business due to the continued existence of rampant capitalism, spiralling social inequality and Scotland’s dependent status as an unfree nation.
The chairperson Ian Ramsay presented an inscribed crystal glass to the former chairperson of the 1820 Society, Ian Bayne, in recognition of many years of active commitment to the Society. He then thanked people for attending, especially the speakers and Camelon Local History Group for looking after the monument. Following the financial appeal and a collection, the event was drawn to a close.