- KILLEARN, a parish, in the county of Stirling; containing 1224 inhabitants, of whom 390 are in the village, 4 miles (E. S. E.) from Drymen. The name of this place is supposed to have been derived from the compound Celtic term Kill-ear-rhin, signifying "the church of west point," which is descriptive of the situation of the church near the western extremity of a mountainous ridge twenty miles in length, extending from Killearn to Kilsyth, and called Campsie Fells. The parish lies in the western district of the county; it is twelve miles in length, varies in breadth from two and a quarter to four miles, and comprises about 17,000 acres, of which 7000 are under tillage, 1140 in plantations, and the remainder pasture and waste. The river Endrick runs along the northern boundary, separating the parish from Drymen and Balfron; and from this stream the surface gradually rises towards the south, where the mountainous ridge already referred to has an elevation of 1200 feet above the level of the sea. The intermediate lands comprehend, in succession from the river, first, a rich though narrow tract of alluvial soil on its banks; secondly, an arable portion from one to two miles broad, on which are situated the village and church, and which from its commanding height, in some parts, of 500 or 600 feet above the sea, affords extensive and beautiful prospects; and, thirdly, a belt of pasture land a mile broad, which is followed by the lofty ridge, of trap rock, at the southern boundary. In the last-mentioned quarter are several semicircular excavations, formed in the western extremity of the range, and known by the name of Corries. Some of these measure a mile in diameter, and have a highly interesting aspect, from the variety of stone of which the rocks consist; and in the same part of Killearn, where it joins Kilpatrick, is an artificial lake of 150 acres, formed as a reservoir for a supply, in dry seasons, to the Partick mills, situated on the Kelvin, near Glasgow. The Endrick is a turbid impetuous stream, which is joined by the river Blane in the lower part of the parish, and flows in a western direction, for several miles, till it falls into Loch Lomond. There are also numerous rivulets and mountain streams, forming strikingly picturesque cascades in their precipitous courses through rocky fissures: the most romantic of these cascades is in the glen of Dualt, where there is a fall of sixty feet.The soil is various, but in general mossy; in some places it is rich and fertile, and produces barley, abundance of oats, a little wheat, and good crops of potatoes, hay, turnips, and beans. The milch-cows, fat-cattle, English and Highland sheep, horses, and other live stock, kept or reared in the parish, are valued at £6000 per annum. A large portion of the waste land is capable of being brought under the plough; but little attention is paid to this circumstance, the extensive and effectual draining of the parts already under cultivation being found to answer better for the employment of capital. The estate of Killearn, especially, has received the advantage of this kind of improvement; and the proprietor, in 1837, built a kiln, in which about 500,000 tiles for draining are annually made. The parish is not so forward as many others in scientific husbandry; but much has been effected within the last thirty years, and the amount of produce has been doubled. The rateable annual value of Killearn now amounts to £6850. The prevailing substratum is red sandstone; but in several places are limestone and freestone, of which latter some quarries are in operation, the material being generally used for houses, but occasionally formed into millstones, though in little repute for durability. The higher parts of the mountains are trap rock, which is supposed, from the numerous fissures, to have been thrown up through the sandstone, in a state of fusion. Coal, also, is said to exist; but the numerous attempts to find it have all failed. The wood consists chiefly of young oak, which is cultivated for the sake of the bark, though, on account of the deteriorated value of this article, the firs and larch are beginning to receive more attention. The original plantations, comprising larch and the usual forest trees, were formed, about the beginning of the last century, by one of the Graham family, whose ancestors had possessed almost the whole parish; and the late Mr. Dunmore, who, many years afterwards, projected turnpike-roads, and introduced the cotton manufacture and various rural improvements, encouraged also the planting of waste lands. In the vicinity of his residence at Ballikinrain, are some fine old yew-trees, of large bulk, and in a very thriving condition; and near the old mansion-house of Killearn are beautiful specimens of oak and silver fir, of great height. On the lastnamed estate, an elegant seat has lately been erected, on the margin of the river Blane; and there is a mansion in the castellated style, at Carbeth, which, as well as several other neat residences of proprietors, is richly ornamented with wood.The village, traversed by the turnpike-road to Glasgow, is built in an irregular straggling form. It is principally inhabited by families occupying small plots of ground, let on long leases by Sir James Montgomery about 1770, with the privilege of building, which circumstance has operated to produce a gradual increase of the population, previously to that year reduced by the consolidation of several small farms. There is a woollen-factory, in which the raw material, amounting to about 400 cwt. annually, passes through each process till made into cloth. A post-office has been established under Glasgow. The parish is in the presbytery of Dumbarton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the patronage of the Duke of Montrose. The minister's stipend is £152, with a manse, built in 1825, and a glebe of eight acres, valued at £12 per annum. The church was rebuilt in 1826, and contains 500 sittings. The parochial school is situated in the village; the master receives a salary of £31, with £8 in lieu of house and garden, and about £10 fees. There is a mineral spring in the parish, one of the ingredients of which is lime, and which petrifies the moss growing near it. At a place called Blaressen Spout-head, marked by several erect stones, tradition asserts that a battle was fought between the Romans and Scots. George Buchanan, the celebrated historian, was born in 1506, at Moss, to the south of the church, in a farm-house occupied by his father, part of which remained till 1812, when a modern edifice was erected on its site. An obelisk 103 feet high, after the model of that erected on the Boyne, in Ireland, in honour of the victory of William III., was raised in the village in 1788, by several gentlemen, in memory of this distinguished man. Napier of Merchiston, also, the inventor of logarithms, held property in Killearn, and resided for a considerable period in the adjoining parish of Drymen.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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