Arthurs Oven  Stirlingshire


In 1882-4, Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland described Arthurs Oven like this:

Arthur's Oven or Arthur's O'on, a famous quondam Roman antiquity in Larbert parish, Stirlingshire, on a sloping bank about 300 feet N of the NW corner of the Carron iron -works. It was demolished in 1743, for the purpose of lining a mill-dam across Carron river; was considered up to the time of its destruction to be the most complete and best preserved Roman building in Great Britain; was described and discussed in enthusiastic manner by many antiquaries; was accurately depicted in Camden's Britannia, and in several later works of high authority; can still be well understood by means of copies of the drawings made of it; and perhaps may continue for many ages as interesting to the curious as any great existing monument. ...

The following account of it is given in R. Stuart's Caledonia Romana (1845):-' This building was of a circular form, its shape in some measure resembling that of a common beehive. It measured at the base from 29 to 30 yards in circumference, and continued of the same dimensions to the height of 8 feet, from which point it converged gradually inwards in its ascent, till at an elevation of 22 feet the walls terminated in a circle, leaving in the top of the dome a round opening 12 feet in diameter. On its western side was an arched doorway, 9 feet in extreme height, and above it an aperture resembling a window of a slightly triangular form, 3 feet in height, and averaging nearly the same in width. The whole was formed of hewn freestone, laid in regular horizontal courses, the first of them resting upon a thick massive basement of the same material, which, to follow out the simile, represented with curious fidelity the common circular board on which the cottage hive is usually placed. The interior of the structure corresponded with its general appearance from without, the only difference being in the concavity of the shape, and in its having two projecting stone cornices round its interior surface, the one at a height of 4 and the other of 6 feet from the ground. The style of the workmanship was singularly perfect, and showed an intimate acquaintance with masonic art. No cement of any description had been made use of in its construction, yet the stones were so accurately joined together that even the difficult process of forming so diminutive a cupola by the concentration of horizontal courses was accomplished there in the most skilful and enduring manner. '

Arthur's Oven was demolished in 1743, but the Ordnance Survey 1st edition Six-inch map of Stirlingshire, sheet XXIV, published 1865 (, accessed 1st Dec 2012) marks "Site of ARTHUR'S OON" at this location, just north of the Carron Iron Works. Additional information about this locality is available for Larbert

Arthurs Oven through time

Arthurs Oven is now part of Falkirk district. Click here for graphs and data of how Falkirk has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Arthurs Oven itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Arthurs Oven, in Falkirk and Stirlingshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 22nd October 2019

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