[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]
DOLLAR, a parish in the shire of Clackmannan; bounded on the north by the parish of Glendevon; on the east by Muckhart and Fossaway parishes; on the west by the parish of Tillicoultry; and on the south by the parish of Clackmannan. Its length from north to south is about 3 miles, and its greatest breadth about 1¼ mile. Its general aspect is that of a beautiful plain or valley, having the Ochils for its northern boundary, and a gently rising ground confining it on the south. The river Devon runs through it in a meandering course from east to west. The central part of the parish, in which the town is situated, forms a somewhat large and slightly sloping plain, with a southern exposure, and beautifully interspersed with hamlets, farm-houses, and enclosures. The soil of that portion of the parish which extends from the hills to near the Devon is light and gravelly; on the banks of the river the land is more moist and clayey. The Ochils afford excellent pasture for sheep, and the mutton and wool produced here are of a superior quality. The parish abounds in excellent coal, which is worked in several places and exported in large quantities to considerable distances in Perthshire. Iron also abounds, and veins of copper and lead were formerly wrought in the Ochil hills a little way above the town of Dollar. The ores are said to have been exported to some extent to Holland. Silver has likewise been found in a glen to the west of Castle-Campbell, and pebbles of some value are occasionally picked up on the top of a hill called the White Wisp. A large bleachfield on the banks of the Devon has existed since 1787. Fairs are held at Dollar on the 2d Monday of May, the 3d Thursday of June, the 2d Monday of August, and the 3d Monday of October. The greater part of the parish formerly belonged to the Argyle family, but in 1605 the whole property was feued out with the exception of Castle-Campbell and two neighbouring farms. Two ancient sepulchral tumuli are situated at a short distance from the town of Dollar. One of them, on being opened about fifty years ago, was found to contain two urns filled with human bones. The most interesting remain of antiquity, however, is CASTLE-CAMPBELL: which see. – The town of Dollar is pleasantly situated on a rising ground in the eastern part of the parish, and is 12 miles north-east from Stirling, and about the same distance north-west from Dunfermline, and south-west from Kinross. The road from Stirling to the latter town passes through it. Population of the parish in 1801, 693; in 1831, 1,447. Assessed property £1,629. The population is not increasing. By a census taken in 1836 it had fallen to 1,367, of which 1,036 belonged to the Establishment and 274 to other denominations. – The parish of Dollar is in the presbytery of Stirling, and synod of Perth and Stirling. Patron, Tait of Harvieston. Stipend, £158 10s. 7d.; glebe £18. Church built in 1775; sittings 340. – An Original Seceder congregation was established here in 1827. Church built in 1829 at a cost of about £400; sittings 264. Stipend, £80, without manse or glebe. – The parochial schoolmaster has a salary of £25 17s. 9½d., with £12 school-fees, and £6 14s. of other emoluments. Average attendance 35. – The principal educational institution in the parish, however, is the Dollar academy, which was established in 1819, by a fund amounting, it is said, to nearly £80,000, left by Captain John McNabb of Mile-end, Stepney, in the county of Middlesex. The academy is an elegant building. It is conducted by seven teachers and three assistants, and the branches taught are English, writing, arithmetic, Latin, Greek, modern languages, mathematics, drawing, and sewing. The number of scholars attending the academy in 1834 was 212. The management of the academy is vested in the minister and kirk-session of Dollar.1
1 The parish of Dollar is distinguished as having been the scene of the labours of one of the early Scottish martyrs. Thomas Forrest, who suffered death on the Castle-hill in Edinburgh, in 1538, was vicar of Dollar. The following account of this interesting person is given by Dr. McCree: “The other person who suffered at that time was Thomas Forrest, commonly called the vicar of Dollar. I shall add some particulars concerning this excellent man, which are not to be found in the common histories. He was of the house of Forret, or Forest, in Fife, and his father had been master-stabler to James IV. After acquiring the rudiments of grammar in Scotland, he was sent abroad by the kindness of a noble woman, and prosecuted his education at Cologne. Returning to his native country, he was admitted a canon regular of St. Colme’s Inch. It happened that a dispute arose between the abbot and the canons, respecting the allowance due to them, and the latter got the book of foundation to examine into their rights. With the view of inducing them to part with it, the abbot gave them: volume of Augustine’s works which was in the monastery. ‘Oh happy and blessed was that book to me,’ did Forrest often say, ‘by which I came to the knowledge of the truth!’ Having applied himself to the reading of the scriptures, he was the means of converting a number of the young canons; ‘but the old bottles,’ he used to say, ‘would not receive the new wine.’ The abbot frequently advised him to keep his mind to himself, else he would incur punishment. ‘I thank you, my lord,’ was his answer, ‘ye are a friend to my body, but not to my soul.’ He was afterwards admitted to the vicarage of Dollar, in which situation he rendered himself obnoxious to his brethren, by his diligence in instructing his parish, and his benevolence in freeing them from oppressive exactions. When the agents of the pope came into his bounds to sell indulgences, he said, ‘Parishioners, I am bound to speak the truth to you. There is no pardon for our sins that can come to us, either from the pope or any other, but only by the blood of Christ.’ He composed a short catechism. It was his custom to rise at six o’clock in the morning and study to mid-day. He committed three chapters of the Bible to memory every day, and made his servant hear him repeat them at night. He was often summoned before the bishops of Dunkeld and St. Andrews. These facts were communicated by his servant, Andrew Kirkie, in a letter to John Davidson, who inserted them in his account of Scottish martyrs. An amusing account of the vicar’s examination before the bishop of Dunkeld may be seen in Fox; and an interesting account of his trial in Pitscottie.” – Life of John Knox, p. 388, last edition.