Houston and Killallan

   HOUSTON and KILLALLAN, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Renfrew; including the village of Crosslee and part of the late quoad sacra district of Bridge-of-Weir, and containing 2818 inhabitants, of whom 623 are in the village of Houston, 14 miles (S. W.) from Glasgow. This place consists of two parishes which were united in the year 1760, when the population in both of them was scarcely more than one-third of the present number. The principal resident proprietor is W. M. Fleming, Esq., whose ancestor, Peter Fleming, held the estate of Barochan, in this parish, and being celebrated for his skill in falconry, received from James IV. the hood of his favourite hawk, richly studded with gems, as a reward for his dexterity, which hood, though many of the jewels have been lost, and among them a ruby of great value, is still preserved in the house at Barochan, the residence of his descendant. The parish of Houston is supposed to have derived its name from Hugo de Padvinan, who obtained a grant of the barony of Kelpeter from Baldwin, sheriff of Lanark, and who substituted his own name for that by which the barony had been previously called. The name of the other parish is thought to be a corruption of Killfillan, an appellation said to have been obtained from Fillanus, its tutelary saint.
   The united parish is about six miles in length and three in breadth, and is bounded on the north and east by the parish of Erskine; on the south, by the river Gryfe, which separates it from the parish of Kilbarchan; and on the west by the parish of Kilmalcolm. The river Gryfe has its source in the upland moors and high hills between Kilmalcolm and Largs, the latter place situated on the coast of the Frith of Clyde; and, augmented by numerous streams which meet near Duchal, it enters the parish, and pursues a rapid course towards the low lands at Fulwood, in which it is precipitated over several rocky heights. Thence it winds its way into the Clyde, first receiving the river Black Cart at Walkinshaw, and the White Cart near the bridge of Inchinnan. The surface is irregular, and in many parts beautifully diversified. In the lands of Houston is an extensive wood, consisting chiefly of oak, ash, birch, and plane trees, of which many are of venerable growth; there is a similar wood of natural growth, and extensive and thriving plantations, at Barochan. The high grounds in the district of Killallan, likewise, are largely planted with oak, ash, beech, and Scotch fir; and the mosses have been covered with trees which appear to be thriving well. Agriculture forms but a secondary pursuit in the parish, and comparatively only a small portion of land is in cultivation; the greater number of the inhabitants being employed in the various manufactures which have been established. Improvements have, notwithstanding, been made in draining the grounds, and many of the mosses have been reclaimed, and produce abundant crops; the farm-buildings are substantial and commodious, and are all roofed with slate. The scarcity of common manure has led to the introduction of a compost of moss prepared with oil, which, under proper management, has been found to answer well. The substratum is chiefly clay, covered in some parts with moss six feet in depth; in the higher districts, granite of good quality is prevalent; and in the lower parts, sandstone and limestone are quarried. Coal exists in abundance; and mines have been opened for the supply of the extensive works in the parish, and for fuel in the neighbouring places. Barochan, the patrimonial seat of Mr. Fleming, is of considerable antiquity, and has recently undergone great improvements; it is beautifully situated, and embellished with ornamental plantations, forming a conspicuous feature in the landscape. A subscription library has been established in the village of Houston. Fairs are held in May, chiefly for milch-cows, young cattle, and for others, of the Highland breed. The rateable annual value of the parish is £11,293.
   The chief manufacture is that of cotton, for which several extensive mills have been erected, mostly on the banks of the Gryfe. The principal are the New mills, near the Bridge of Weir, in the district of Killallan, erected in 1792, and at present conducted by Messrs. Findlay; they contain 6240 mule spindles, and are driven by a water-wheel thirteen feet in diameter, with power equal to that of twelve horses, and afford employment to nearly 100 persons. The mill at Gryfe grove, erected in 1822, contains nearly 1000 mule spindles, and 500 for water-twist, with the requisite machinery, set in motion by a water-wheel of cast-iron, of twelve feet diameter, and giving occupation to about forty persons: adjoining is a mill erected by the same proprietor, for carding wool. A mill has also been erected by Mr. Shanks, in which are 1400 spindles, driven likewise by an iron water-wheel twelve feet in diameter. Gryfe mill, to the east of the Bridge-of-Weir mill, and belonging to Messrs. John Freeland, and Co., was built in 1793, and contains 18,000 spindles; it is set in motion by a water-wheel nineteen feet in diameter, and employs nearly 300 persons. Crosslee mill, conducted by Messrs. Stevenson and Sons, is driven by a wheel of cast-iron, twenty-six feet in diameter, and equivalent to seventy-horse power; it affords constant employment to 300 people. Houston cotton-mills, situated on the burn of that name, and built in 1793, is driven by a wheel of eighteen-horse power, about thirty feet in diameter, and employs 140 persons: attached to this mill is a steam-engine, by which the machinery is set in motion when the water of the stream is insufficient for that purpose. Houston bleachfield, on the same rivulet, belonging to Messrs. Carlisle, is an extensive establishment, chiefly employed for the manufacturers of Glasgow and Paisley: about 4000 pounds of cotton and 60,000 pounds of linen-yarn and thread, and about 12,000 pounds of raw silk, are annually bleached in this establishment, in which fifty persons are engaged. The parish is in the presbytery of Paisley and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and patronage of Alexander Speirs, Esq. The minister's stipend is £264, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £13. 10. per annum. The church, erected in 1775, is conveniently situated; it is in good repair, and is adapted for a congregation of 800 persons. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship; and there is a Roman Catholic chapel. The parochial schoolmaster has a salary of £34, with £24 fees, and a house and garden.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bridge of Weir — infobox UK place country = Scotland official name= Bridge of Weir gaelic name= scots name= os grid reference= NS387655 map type= Scotland latitude=55.856511 longitude= 4.577666 population= 4,635 [cite web|publisher=Scotland s Census Results… …   Wikipedia

  • Weir, Bridge Of —    WEIR, BRIDGE OF, a village, and lately a quoad sacra parish, partly in the parish of Houston and Killallan, and partly in the parish of Kilbarchan, Upper ward of the county of Renfrew; containing 1571 inhabitants, of whom 1432 are in the… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Erskine —    ERSKINE, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Renfrew, 10 miles (N. N. W.) from Glasgow; containing, with the village of Bishopton, 1407 inhabitants. This place, of which the name is of uncertain origin, is of considerable antiquity:… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Killellan —    KILLELLAN, Renfrew.    See Houston and Killallan …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

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