Slamannan

   SLAMANNAN, or Slamanan, a parish, in the county of Stirling, 6 miles (S. S. W.) from Falkirk; containing 1179 inhabitants. This place, in the sessional records and crown presentations, is called "Slamanan, otherwise St. Lawrence," from which circumstance it is concluded that the latter name was, on account of the dedication of the church to that saint, occasionally or perhaps invariably applied to the parish till the former, the derivation of which is totally uncertain, became the ordinary appellation. In the year 1470 the chief lands were conveyed under the great seal to Lord Livingstone; and the superiority, with the patronage of the church, remained in the Callendar family, successors to the Livingstones, till 1715, when they were forfeited to the crown. From certain existing records, however, it appears that the earls of Callendar were not the sole proprietors, but that some estates were feued from the lords Torphichen. This locality, from its proximity to the ancient Caledonian forest, the remains of castles, trenches, and other military works, and the names of several places in the vicinity, is conjectured to have been the scene of many warlike conflicts; but nothing is known with certainty on this point. The parish was formerly of much less extent than at present, measuring originally only five miles in length and three in breadth; but in 1730, upon the division of the parish of Falkirk, when the whole of that of Polmont was taken from it, a part also was annexed to Slamannan, increasing its limits to six miles in length and upwards of four in breadth. At this period, the inhabitants of the annexed district were permitted to build an aisle upon the north side of the church for their own accommodation, and certain pecuniary engagements were entered into by the respective heritors, with respect to ecclesiastical matters. The surface is broken by ridges, running from east to west, and much undulated, producing a great diversity in the scenery, soil, and crops; and as the ground, rising from the north, attains an elevation of more than 600 feet above the level of the sea, at its southern limit, the severity of early frosts, and wintry storms, often impede the labours of the husbandman. The stream of the Avon traverses the parish from west to east, and formed its northern boundary before the annexation of the Falkirk portion; it takes its rise in a moss in New Monkland, and though of small breadth, yet, when swollen after rain or snow, overflows its banks to a great extent, and frequently in the time of harvest entirely destroys the neighbouring crops. It contains good trout, but they are killed in great numbers every year when some stagnant waters used for steeping lint are emptied into the stream; and after floods, on account of the mossy nature of the water, cattle invariably refuse to eat the hay made from the meadows near it. The Great Black loch, situated here, affords the principal supply to the reservoir on the lands of Auchingray formed for feeding the Monkland canal; besides which there is a loch called the Little Black loch, stocked like the former with perch and eels.
   The grounds on each side of the Avon are composed of a mixt alluvial soil, which is light and fertile, and produces good crops when not flooded; in other parts it is clayey and heavy, and to a considerable extent cold wet moss, especially between the ridges, and in the western district, where the crops only come to maturity in very fine seasons. Oats and barley are raised, and a little wheat, with large quantities of potatoes, turnips, and cabbages, and some lint. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4373. The nature of the strata was unknown, and the mineral contents of the place unexplored, till the recent construction of the Slamannan railway, the cuttings for which partially laid open the rock, and caused bores to be made by way of experiment; fine freestone has been found in abundance, and good coal, then discovered, is now wrought by the assistance of steam-engines lately erected at a pit where numerous workmen are employed, and whence nearly 200 tons are sent daily for sale, by the railway. Ironstone, also, as well as coal of various kinds, is spread over the parish; and as a decided impulse has been given, by the facilities of conveyance supplied by the new method of transit, to agricultural efforts, so it is expected that mining operations, now comparatively in their infancy, will derive equal advantages. The only hamlets are two or three clusters of houses scarcely deserving the name, one of which, in the eastern quarter, is called Cross-Roads, on account of two roads intersecting each other. The railway, for the construction of which an act was obtained in 1835, diverges from the Glasgow line at Airdrie, and reaches to the Union canal at Causeway-End, three miles west of Linlithgow, constituting a line of more than thirteen miles. It enters this parish at the south-western extremity, where the counties of Stirling and Lanark meet, and, crossing it about the centre, advances easterly to Bankhead, crossing the Avon by a handsome bridge, and entering the parish of Muiravonside. The capital of the company, originally £86,000, was increased in 1839 to £140,000; and an act for making a railway to connect this line with the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway was passed in 1844. Coal and peat are the fuel of the inhabitants, who now obtain both from their own district, from which, also, the large whinstone blocks used in the construction of the railroad, which runs for more than three and a half miles through the parish, were quarried. The marketable produce is disposed of at Falkirk and Airdrie. The parish is in the presbytery of Linlithgow and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, and in the patronage of the Crown; the minister's stipend is £257, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £28 per annum. The church, rebuilt about 1816, is a plain edifice, nearly square, and contains upwards of 600 sittings. The parochial school affords instruction in Greek, Latin, mensuration, and all the ordinary branches; the master has a salary of £34. 4., with a house, and £20 fees. There is another school, and about a hundred children receive instruction in the parish.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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