Kirkintilloch, pp.180-181.

[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]

   KIRKINTILLOCH, a parish in Dumbartonshire, forming the western half of the detached part of that county, and lying 4¾ miles east of the nearest point of its main body. It is bounded on the north by Campsie and Kilsyth, in Stirlingshire; on the east by Cumbernauld; on the south by New Monkland and Cadder, in Lanarkshire; and on the west by Cadder. In extreme length from east to west, it measures 6¾ miles; at its west end it is 2 miles broad, but has an indentation there to the depth of a mile; it slowly and regularly expands till, at its east end, it is nearly 3½ miles broad; and it contains an area of about 10,700 English acres. Kelvin-water comes in from the east, and except over one brief space of ¾ of a mile where the frontier overleaps it, flows along the whole of the northern boundary; but it has not here reached any of its scenes of beauty and romance, and crawls sluggishly along, with the aspect more of a Dutch canal than a Scottish stream. Luggie, or Logie-water comes in also from the east, runs 1¾ mile along the southern boundary, and flows chiefly westward, but partly northward, in the interior to the Kelvin at the town of Kirkintilloch; and though it generally has the same dull, repulsive aspect as the Kelvin, yet, for about a mile from Duntiblae to Oxgang, it moves between high, wooded, and interesting banks. The FORTH and CLYDE CANAL [which see] extends from east to west, a little inward from the northern boundary. The surface of the parish, lying all within the great valley, traversed by that canal, though shielded by the lofty and often abrupt range of Campsie-fells on the north, and screened by considerable undulating elevations on the south, is an almost imperceptibly declining plain, with a northern exposure, everywhere variegated with waving swells, and nowhere, except in one place of small extent, warted with rugged or rocky protuberances. The soil along the Kelvin is of a deep marshy nature, and liable to be overflowed; on a small tract in the north-east corner, it is alight reddish earth, on a whinstone and gravelly bottom; around the town of Kirkintilloch, it is a light black loam, 16 or 18 inches deep, on a reddish tilly bottom; in the southern and eastern districts, it is a strong clay; and in detached little patches in various localities, amounting in the aggregate to about 140 acres, it is black peat moss. Hardly one-half of the area is in regular tillage; about 300 acres are under wood: about 300 more are waste; and an aggregate number not easily estimated, are very unpicturesquely, though very usefully, occupied by the canal and its banks, by the path of the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway, by the town of Kirkintilloch, by the works and yards of collieries, and by the multitudinous appliances of a busy and multifarious manufacture. Coal abounds, and is extensively mined at Shirva and at Barhill, both near the Kelvin. At the latter, on the summit of the rising ground, are nearly 30 kilns for the conversion of coal into coke, which, in dark nights, diffuse far-seen streamers on the lower clouds, and whence large exportations of coke are made to Glasgow. Limestone, freestone, and ironstone also abound. – Antoninus’ wall ran through the parish for 6 miles from east to west, and had here three large forts and watch-towers. lts most easterly post was a fort, still traceable, enclosing an area of 150 square yards on the summit of Barhill, and commanding a view of almost the whole course of the wall from the Forth to the Clyde. The middle post, now nearly effaced from the intersection of it by the canal, and from other causes, was at the village of Auchendowie, and appears to have been a rectangular fort of 150 yards by 70. The westerly post, still in most parts tolerably distinct, was a fort, now called by way of distinction the Peel, on a rising ground at the west end of the town of Kirkintilloch, enclosed an area 90 yards by 80, and had the singular property of being situated on the north side of the wall. – An ancient quadrangular tower, once a strength of the Boyds, Earls of Kilmarnock, exists in a nearly entire but ruinous condition. – The parish is traversed through the town of Kirkintilloch, by the turnpike between Glasgow and Kilsyth, and has, in addition, about 20 miles of excellent roads. The Monkland and Kirkintilloch railway comes in from the south to the canal near the town. The Edinburgh and Glasgow railway will touch the town and run through the whole length of the parish. The canal has been of incalculable advantage for the conveyance both of goods and of passengers. The number of persons who enter the passage-boats at the station here averages about 2,000 per month. Population, in 1801, 3,210; in 1831, 5,888. Houses 615. Assessed property, in 1815, £7,446. – Kirkintilloch is in the presbytery of Glasgow, and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. Patron, the Hon. Admiral Fleming. Stipend £262 1s. 3d.; glebe £10 8s. Unappropriated teinds £643 10s. 3d. The parish-church was built in 1644. Sittings 740. – A part of the parish, comprehending sections of both its town and its landward districts, and containing a population of about 2,700, was recently erected into the quoad sacra parish of St. David’s. The church was built in 1837. Sittings 1,012. – There are three dissenting places of worship, all situated in the town. The United Secession congregation was established in 1765. Sittings 620. Stipend £137. – The Original Burgher congregation was established in 1801. Their place of worship was built in 1806, and cost £800. Sittings 700. Stipend £105. The Wesleyan Methodist congregation, established in 1817, assemble in a schoolroom. Sittings 170. – An ecclesiastical survey made in 1836, exhibited the population then as consisting of 3,629 churchmen, 2,349 dissenters, and 200 non-descript; – in all 6,178 persons. – Parochial schoolmaster’s salary £34 4s. 4½d., with fees, and about £4 other emoluments. Six non-parochial schools, – one of which is endowed, and one is a boarding-school, – are conducted by 7 teachers, and attended by a maximum of 545 scholars. – Kirkintilloch, anciently written Kirkintulach, and etymologically Caerpentulach, ‘the Fort at the end of the hill,’ thus taking its name from the Roman post at the west end of the town, anciently comprehended both the present parish and that of Cumbernauld; but, at the close of the reign of James IV., it began to be called Lenzie, after the name of the barony. The ancient church was dedicated to St. Ninian, and stood near Oxgang, where its cemetery still exists; and it was given before 1195, to the monks of Cambuskenneth, and continued to be a vicarage under them till the Reformation. In the town stood a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and endowed with the lands and mill of Duntiblae. This is now the parish-church; and, though incommodious and very old, withstood a recent sharp litigation for being superseded by a new edifice. In 1649, a decree of the commissioners for planting new churches ordered the division of Lenzie into two parishes, and, a few years afterwards, was carried into execution. The new parishes were for some time called Wester Lenzie and Easter Lenzie; but eventually took their modern names from the sites of their respective churches. 

   KIRKINTILLOCH, the capital of the parish just described, and a burgh-of-barony, stands on Luggie-water, immediately above its confluence with the Kelvin, 3 miles south-east of Campsie, 5 miles south-west of Kilsyth, 7 miles north of Glasgow, and 49 miles west of Edinburgh. Its site has the singular advantage of being touched by a great line of turnpike, by the Forth and Clyde canal, and by the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway. It is an irregularly built, strangely arranged, confused looking little town, conveying by its aspect the idea of such entire devotement to trade and manufacture as precludes nearly all attention to the graces of exterior appearance. A steeple surmounting a court-house and jail gives the place a sort of burghal feature. A gas-work, sending aloft its slender stalk, evinces also regard for comfort. But the vast majority of the edifices indicates the mass of the inhabitants to be a community of cotton-weavers. The castle of Kirkintilloch, once a considerable strength, the property first of John Comyn, and next of the ancestor of the Honourable Admiral Fleming, has entirely disappeared. The town has a branch-office of the West Bank of Scotland, a savings’ bank, a subscription library, a parochial library, some charitable or friendly institutions, and more than a complement of inns and ale-houses. A small weekly-market is held on Saturday; and annual fairs, chiefly for cattle, are held on the second Tuesday of May, the last Thursday of July, and the 21st day of October. Two distilleries produce upwards of 115,000 gallons a-year; a silk hat-manufactory employs upwards of 20 persons; an iron-foundery is in brisk operation; a calico-printfield has work for about 120 persons; and a variety of handicrafts, common to every town, employs, in the aggregate, about 120 workmen. But the weaving of cotton fabrics – principally lappets with a few purls and victories – yields the mass of the inhabitants what may indifferently or debatedly be called a maintenance and a starvation. The weavers are glad to earn even seven or six shillings a-week; yet they have multiplied in number with a rapidity of increase which, viewed in connexion with the poverty of their vocation, seems quite unaccountable. They amounted, a little before the close of last century, to only 185, but now amount to about 2,000, – only a fourth of whom, however, are heads of families. The number of hand-looms was, in 1828, 1,200; and, in 1838, 1,963. Those of the latter year, with the exception of eight, were all plain. – The town is said to have been erected into a burgh-of-barony by William the Lion. From its successive superiors, the Comyns, the Flemings, and the Earls of Wigton, it received charters granting and confirming the rights of electing magistrates, holding a weekly-market, and maintaining burgh-courts. From time immemorial the burgh has included two kinds of property, – the Newland mailings, which may be considered the landward part, and the burgh acres, upon which the greater part of the town is built. A Newland mailing is a piece of land rated in the cess-books at £18 Scots. The right of electing the magistrates is in the burgesses; but it is the immemorial practice of the burgh to admit as such only the proprietors of the Newland mailings, to the exclusion of the proprietors of the burgh acres, and all others. The burgess must be feudally vested in at least one-half of one of the Newland mailings. The magistracy consists of 2 bailies, 12 councillors, a treasurer, and a town-clerk, chosen yearly by the burgesses; these are 22 in number, 16 of whom are resident. The inhabitants who are not burgesses have no voice in the election of the magistrates, or in the management of the burgh’s affairs. The burgh has no property, except the court-house and gaol. The revenue is wholly derived from casualties of superiority drawn on the entries of vessels in the lands, over which the magistrates are the superior’s irrevocable commissioners. The income is about £30 per annum, and is applied to keeping up the public buildings and establishment, and paying the interest of debt. The debt is about £300. There are no taxes levied under authority of the magistrates. The proprietors within burgh are taxed with the landward part of the parish. The boundaries are extensive, the burgh lands extending nearly 3 miles in length, by ¾ of a mile in breadth. The jurisdiction claimed is equally extensive with royal burghs. In civil cases the bailies judge to an unlimited amount; in criminal, they confine themselves to petty offences. The cases of either kind are not numerous. There are no stated courts. The town-clerk acts as assessor; and is paid by court-dues and fees on charters. There are no exclusive privileges or incorporations. Population about 4,400. – When the army of Prince Charles Edward came down upon the town from Stirlingshire, in 1745, one of their number was coolly shot from a lurking-place in one of the streets. The inhabitants were, in consequence, subjected to a heavy fine; and next year, when the army was returning from the south, they fled everywhere in panic, falsely apprehending that their town was destined to the flames. Kirkintilloch was the first place in the west of Scotland scourged by Asiatic cholera. 

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