Wiston and Roberton


Wiston and Roberton
   WISTON and ROBERTON, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Lanark; containing, with the village of Newton, 929 inhabitants, of whom 141 are in the village of Wiston, 7 miles (S. W. by W.) from Biggar, and 201 in the village of Roberton, 9½ miles (S. W.) from the same town. This place comprehends the old parishes of Wiston and Roberton, which were united in the year 1772. Their names, of uncertain origin, were probably derived from proprietors, one of whom, from the designation of a farm in the former, called The Place, would appear to have been resident. The parish is about six miles in length and four in breadth: it is bounded on the south-east by the Clyde, and comprises 9400 acres, of which 3800 are arable, 200 woodland and plantations, and the remainder moorland and pasture. The surface is strikingly diversified with hill and dale. The hill of Tinto, or "the hill of fire," perhaps so called as originally a seat of the Druidical superstition, on the northern confines of the parish, has an elevation of 2300 feet above the level of the sea, commanding an unbounded prospect over the adjacent districts, and embracing, among numerous other prominent objects, the heights of Hartfell, Queensberry, Cairntable, and Goatfell, the Isle of Arran, the Bass Rock, and the hills in the north of England and Ireland. Nearly in the centre of the parish is the hill of Dungavel, rising with a double apex to a considerable elevation, and strongly contrasting, in its rich verdure and beauty of appearance, with the rugged, precipitous, and harsh features of the former. The scenery is in many points beautifully picturesque, and embellished with woods and thriving plantations. The soil is chiefly light and gravelly, alternated with a rich black loam, and in some parts with portions of marshy land; the crops are, oats, wheat, barley, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is advanced; the lands are drained and partly inclosed, and the farm houses and offices are daily improving in comfort and appearance. Much attention is paid to the management of the dairy, and to the breed of live-stock. From 300 to 400 milch-cows are kept on the several dairyfarms; they are now exclusively of the Ayrshire breed. The sheep, of which 4000 are on the average annually pastured, are chiefly of the black-faced Linton breed; the horses necessary for agricultural purposes are of the Clydesdale breed. The silver medal of the Highland Agricultural Society has been awarded to Mr. Muir, for his success in reclaiming waste land here, for which the abundance of lime affords every facility so far as that kind of manure is wanted.
   The woods, of which more than one-half have been planted within the last few years, are very carefully managed; they consist of larch and Scotch fir, with an intermixture of various forest-trees. The substrata are chiefly greywacke, of which the hills are composed, red sandstone, and limestone; the last is extensively wrought, and the works produce annually about 18,000 bolls. In the seams of limestone are found imbedded corals, branches of trees, and shells of different kinds. Coal is supposed to exist, and an attempt was formerly made to explore it; but the works were suddenly suspended, and have not been since resumed. Hardington House, of ancient date, is a handsome residence, finely seated in a richly-planted demesne. The village is pleasantly situated; and facility of communication with Biggar, the nearest market-town, and with other places in the district, is afforded by good roads kept in due repair by statute labour, and by the turnpike-road from Stirling to Carlisle, which passes through the whole length of the parish. The rateable annual value of Wiston and Roberton is £4953. It is in the presbytery of Lanark, synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the alternate patronage of the Crown and Lord Douglas: the minister's stipend is £204. 9., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £40 per annum. The church, formerly that of the old parish of Wiston, which was enlarged after the union of the two parishes, is a plain edifice adapted for a congregation of nearly 400 persons. In the village of Roberton is a place of worship for members of the Relief. The parochial schools of Wiston and Roberton are both kept up, afford a liberal education, and are well attended; the master of the former has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with £15 fees, and a house and garden; the master of the latter, a like salary, with £12 fees, and the same accommodations. In these schools more than 130 children receive instruction. A subscription library is supported, and has a wellassorted collection of books on general literature; and there is a library in connexion with the Sabbath schools, which is also open to the public. A friendly society, established for many years, contributed to reduce the number of applications to the parochial funds, but has now ceased to exist.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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