Kirkintilloch

   KIRKINTILLOCH, a burgh of barony and a parish, in the county of Dumbarton, 7 miles (N. E. by N.) from Glasgow, and 40 (W.) from Edinburgh; containing 8880 inhabitants, of whom 6698 are in the burgh. This place, during the time of the Romans, formed part of the province of Valentia; and the vestiges of three forts on the line of the Roman wall, which passed through the whole length of the parish, may be still distinctly traced. The barony was granted by charter of William the Lion to William Cumyn, lord of Lenzie and Cumbernauld; and the town, under the appellation of Wester Lenzie, was, by charter of the same monarch, erected into a burgh of barony in 1184. The ancient castle of the Cumyns, of which no vestiges are now remaining, appears to have been of great strength in the beginning of the 14th century, when, on the forfeiture of John Cumyn, it was bestowed, together with the barony, by Robert Bruce, upon Sir Robert de Fleming, in reward of his eminent services during the struggles in which Bruce had been engaged with England, in asserting his right of succession to the Scottish throne. The present name of the town, Kirkintilloch, supposed to be a corruption of Caer-pen-tulach, signifying in the Gaelic language "the termination of a promontory," is minutely descriptive of the situation of the place at the extremity of a ridge which extends from the south of the parish into a plain on the banks of the river Kelvin. In 1745, the Highland army of the Pretender passed through the town, when a shot from a barn killed one of their men, and the inhabitants, being unable to deliver the offender into their custody, were subjected to a heavy fine. The people suffered severely from the Asiatic cholera, which visited the town in 1832, when many fatal cases occurred; but since that time no event of importance has taken place.
   The town is situated on the banks of the river Luggie, near its influx into the Kelvin, and consists of numerous irregularly-formed streets, diverging from each other in various directions; the houses are of indifferent appearance, and built without any regard to uniformity. The streets are, however, lighted with gas from works recently established by a company of shareholders; and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. A public library is supported by subscription, and has a collection of useful volumes; and there are other libraries in the parish. The environs abound with pleasing scenery, enlivened by gentlemen's seats, of which the grounds are enriched with thriving plantations. From the abundance of coal and ironstone in the immediate vicinity, and the facilities of water carriage, the place has become a seat of manufacture, and has greatly increased in population. The cottonmanufacture is pursued to a very considerable extent, chiefly for exportation to India; the articles are, flowered-muslins, gauzes, and similar fabrics, which afford occupation to about 2000 hand-loom weavers, most of whom are resident in the town of Kirkintilloch. The printing of calico is also carried on, giving employment to 120 persons; about twenty persons are engaged in the manufacture of silk hats, and there are a distillery and an iron-foundry. The quantity of whisky produced annually from distilleries, until recently, averaged 116,500 gallons. The market is on Saturday, but is not numerously attended: fairs, chiefly for cattle, are held on the second Tuesday in May, the last Thursday in July, and the 21st of October. The post-office has a good delivery. Facility of communication is afforded by the turnpike-road from Glasgow to Edinburgh, which passes through the town, and by numerous good roads that intersect the parish in various directions; by the Forth and Clyde canal, which runs for several miles along the northern border of the parish; and also by the Monkland and Kirkintilloch railway, which has its northern terminus in the town, and connects the rich coal districts in the parishes of Old and New Monkland with the canal. The act for the construction of this railway was obtained in 1824: the original capital, £32,000, was increased to £52,000 in 1833, and to £124,000 in 1839; and by an act passed in 1843, the company were empowered to increase their capital to £210,000, to enable them to form additional lines. The government of the burgh, under the charter of William the Lion, confirmed by Malcolm Fleming, who, in 1525, granted to the burgesses the lands of the burgh, a gift ratified by his successors, the earls of Wigton, is vested in two bailies, a treasurer, and twelve councillors, assisted by a town-clerk. These officers are annually elected by the burgesses, twenty-two in number, who derive their qualification from the feudal tenure of one of the twenty-two portions, called Newland Mailings, into which the rural district of the burgh is divided: the tenure of the lands whereon the town is built affords no right to vote in the election of the officers. The magistrates are invested with all the jurisdiction of royal burghs, which in civil cases they exercise to an unlimited amount, but in criminal cases only as to petty offences; the town-clerk acts as assessor, but courts are held only as occasion may require. The court-house, to which a prison is attached, is a substantial building with a spire; it is situated at the market-cross, and was erected in 1814.
   This parish and that of Cumbernauld were originally one, under the appellation of Lenzie, and continued as such till 1659, when, a church being built for the accommodation of the eastern portion at Cumbernauld, the ancient chapel of the Virgin Mary became the church of the western portion, which constitutes the present parish of Kirkintilloch. The parish is bounded on the north by the river Kelvin, and is nearly six miles in length, and about three miles and a half in extreme breadth, comprising an area of 10,670 acres, of which 4000 are arable, 300 woodland and plantations, and the remainder meadow, pasture, and waste. The surface, though undulated, is nowhere broken into hills of precipitous elevation. The principal river is the Kelvin: its tributary, the Luggie, intersects the southern portion of the lands, and flows into the Kelvin at a spot north-west of the town: both these streams abound with trout. At Gartshore is a lake called the Bord loch, about four acres in extent. The soil around the town is a light black loam of considerable depth; in the southern portion of the parish, a strong clay: other parts are peat-moss. The crops consist of wheat, barley, oats, peas, beans, potatoes, and turnips, and there is much land cultivated as gardens and orchards: the system of husbandry is improved; the lands have been partly drained and inclosed, and some large tracts of moss and waste have been reclaimed. Considerable numbers of cattle are reared in the pastures, of various breeds; on the dairy-farms the cows are all of the Ayrshire. The plantations, which are principally round the mansions of the landed proprietors, are larch and spruce, and Scotch firs, intermixed with the different kinds of forest trees. The substrata of the parish are chiefly coal, limestone, and ironstone. Coal is wrought extensively on the lands of Barr hill, the property of Mr. Gartshore, at Stron, and at Shirva; and limestone at Orchardstown; whinstone and greenstone, also, are quarried for the roads. The rateable annual value of the parish is £18,071. The mansion-houses are, Gartshore, for many centuries the seat of the ancient family of the Gartshores; Oxgang, Shirva, Unthank, Garngaber, Broomhill, Bellefield, Woodhead, Luggiebank, Merkland, Meiklehill, and Duntiblae.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Glasgow and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The minister's stipend is £262, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum; patron, J. Fleming, Esq. The parish church, formerly the chapel of St. Mary, was erected in 1644, and, though it has been repaired within the last few years, is still inconvenient; it contains 800 sittings. The church of St. David, to which a district containing a population of 3414 was till lately annexed as a quoad sacra parish, was erected in 1837, at an expense of £2300, raised by subscription; it is a neat substantial structure with 1000 sittings. The minister, who is appointed by the managers and subscribers, derives his stipend chiefly from the seat-rents. There are also places of worship for members of the Free Church, United Secession, Associate Burghers, and Wesleyans. The parochial school is attended by about 120 children; the master has a salary of £34, with an allowance of £8 in lieu of house and garden, and the fees average £30 per annum. There are also a subscription school, and another for which a handsome building was erected by a lady of the Gartshore family; the masters receive salaries of £12 and £4 respectively, in addition to the fees. The wall of Antonine may be traced for nearly six miles through the parish; the three Roman forts already noticed were at Barr hill, Auchendavie, and near the west end of the town, respectively. On clearing the ground near them were found stones with various inscriptions, on one of which was inscribed Legio Secunda Augusta fecit; and a wedge of lead was discovered, weighing eleven stone, on which is stamped, in Roman characters, the date "C.C.L.XX."

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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