Originally published in the Scotsman on 20 July 2016
This name is of British origin, recorded as egglesbreth in c. 1120. It likely originally meant ‘the speckled church’. In the Gaelic era, the name was translated as An Eaglais Bhreac, of the same meaning and using cognate elements. Gaelic eaglais, and its British equivalent, are loan words from Latin ecclesia ‘church’, whilst breac means ‘speckled’.
The Gaelic form of this name is well remembered for two reasons: William Wallace’s famous battle took place here on the 22nd of July 1298; moreover a fair was held here until relatively recent times, when Highlanders would drove their cattle here to sell.
The modern name Falkirk is an early translation of the Gaelic or British form into Scots ‘faw kirk’ of the same meaning. The -l- has crept in due to hypercorrection, since in Scots a syllable final -l is sometimes dropped (such as Scots ba’ for English ball).
For further research please see our database: Falkirk