- BALDERNOCK, a parish, in the county of Stirling, 7 miles (N.) from Glasgow; containing, with the village of Balmore, 972 inhabitants, of whom 814 are exclusive of the village. The name of this place is corrupted, as is supposed, from the Celtic term Baldruinick, signifying "Druid's town;" and this opinion receives strong support from the numerous remains found here, pertaining to that ancient order. The parish, of which the eastern half was in that of Campsie till 1649, is situated at the southern extremity of the county, where it is bounded by the river Kelvin, which flows towards the west, and by the Allander, running in the opposite direction. It comprehends 3800 acres, of which 3100 are under cultivation, 240 wood, and the remainder roads and water, and about equal parts are appropriated for grain, green crops, &c., and for pasture. The surface is greatly diversified, and consists of three distinct portions, succeeding each other on a gradual rise from south to north, each varying exceedingly from the others, in soil, produce, and scenery, and the whole circumscribed by an outline somewhat irregular, but approaching in form to a square, the sides severally measuring between two and three miles. The northern tract, lying at an elevation of 300 feet above the sea, and embracing fine views in all directions, contains a few insulated spots under tillage, surrounded by moss land, with a light sharp soil incumbent on whinstone. Below this, the surface of the second tract assumes an entirely different appearance, being marked by many beautifully picturesque knolls, and a clayey soil, resting on a tilly retentive subsoil; and to this portion succeeds the lowest land in the parish, and by far the richest, comprising 700 or 800 acres along the bank of the river, formed of a soil of dark loam, supposed to have been washed down gradually from the higher grounds; this division is called the Balmore haughs. Barley and oats are the prevailing sorts of grain, and all the ordinary green crops are raised, potatoes, however, being grown in the largest quantity. Draining is extensively carried on, although much land is still in want of this necessary process; and the inundations from the Kelvin, formerly often destructive to the crops on the lower grounds, are now, to a great extent, prevented by a strong embankment, and by a tunnel at the entrance of a tributary of the river, by which the torrents, before pouring forth, in rainy weather, uncontrolled, are now so checked as to obviate danger. The rateable annual value of the parish is £5713.The rock consists of trap, in the southern and midland portions; but in the northern district, limestone, ironstone, pyrites, alum, and fire-clay are abundant, several of which have been long wrought to a considerable extent, and lie in strata towards the east, stretching from the extensive coal-beds of Campsie. Iron-ore has lately been discovered in the coal-mines of Barraston, of very superior quality to the common argillaceous kind formerly wrought, and consists of a mixture of iron with carbonaceous substances, similar to that found in the mines near Airdrie. The coal and lime obtained, for 150 years, from this locality, the latter of which is excellent, and sent in large quantities to Glasgow and many other places in the country, lie in beds from three to four feet thick, and from twelve to twenty-four feet under the surface, the superincumbent strata being formed of argillaceous slate, calcareous freestone, and ironstone. Pyrites and alum are plentiful, and fireclay, for a long period, was made into bricks, highly esteemed as fire-proof. Bardowie, a very ancient mansion, once fortified, and a considerable part of which is now modernised, is ornamented, in front, with a beautiful loch a mile long, and is the seat of the chief of the clan Buchanan; towards the north-west, on an eminence, are the remains of a tower once the family-mansion, and near this is the seat of Craigmaddie, and, in another direction, the mansion of Glenorchard. The parish is traversed by a high road, running from west to east, throughout its length; and the Forth and Clyde canal passes within a small distance of the south-eastern boundary. A fair was once held in the summer, for cattle and horses, but has fallen into disuse. Baldernock is in the presbytery of Dumbarton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the patronage of the Crown; the minister's stipend is £156. 19. 1., half of which is received from the exchequer, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £19 per annum. The church is a plain edifice, built in 1795, and contains 406 sittings. There is a place of worship for members of the Free Church. The parochial school affords instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., and the fees. In the vicinity of Blochairn farm, near which a battle is said to have been fought with the Danes, are several cairns, and, not far from these, three stones called "the Auld Wives' Lifts," generally supposed to be Druidical.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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