County (pre 1975): Stirlingshire; Region/District (1975-1996): Strathclyde/Cumbernauld & Kilsyth; Unitary Authority: North Lanarkshire
Kilsyth is a town of 10,100 (2004 estimate), roughly halfway between Glasgow and Stirling.
Kilsyth is at 60 metres (200 ft) above sea level and occupies a narrow strip of land between the Kilsyth Hills to the north and the River Kelvin to the south. To the east and west it is bordered by marshland and bogs. The centre of the town is close to the confluence of the Garrell and Ebroch burns.
There is archaeological evidence of settlement since Neolithic times. The Romans recognised the strategic significance of Kilsyth with forts at Colziumbea and Castle Hill as well as the Antonine Wall forts of Bar Hill and Croy Hill which are clearly visible from the present-day town. In the Middle Ages, Kilsyth held a key strategic position on one of the main routes across the narrowest part of Scotland and was the site of two castles (now destroyed) at Balcastle and Colzium shown in Timothy Pont's map of 1580.
The Civil War Battle of Kilsyth took place on hillsides between Kilsyth and Banton in 1645. Kilsyth was later closely associated with the various attempts by the Jacobites to regain the crown.
Kilsyth has claims to be the place where the winter sport of curling was first constituted. The town had the world's first curling club which survives to this day. Curling was played on the Curling Pond in the Colzium Estate in the east of the town.