- BUCHANAN, a parish, in the county of Stirling, 1 mile (N. W.) from Drymen; containing 754 inhabitants. The name of this place was originally Inchcaileoch, which it received from an island in Loch Lomond, its western boundary; but a detached portion of the parish of Luss having been annexed to it, in 1621, containing the Buchanan estates and chapel, and the inhabitants finding this religious edifice more convenient than the church, regularly attended at the former, in consequence of which the parish assumed the name of Buchanan. This name is of uncertain origin; but the family who used it in consequence of having, at a very early period, obtained a grant of the lands so called, sprang from Anselan, a native of Ireland, who is supposed to have located himself here in the 11th century. From this ancient race, always more celebrated for literary than political or military fame, descended the poet and historian George Buchanan, born in 1506; Dr. Buchanan, author of works on the civil and natural history of India; and Dr. Claudius Buchanan, whose writings, designed to awaken the British nation to a sense of the necessity of extending education and religious instruction in India, are well known. The parish is situated at the western extremity of the county, bordering on Dumbartonshire, and is bounded on the south by the river Endrick; it is about twenty-four miles in length, and five in breadth, and comprises 76,800 acres, of which 1500 are arable, 69,750 natural pasture and waste, 4250 woods and plantations, and the remainder pleasure-grounds, &c. It contains a portion of lowland, several islands in Loch Lomond, and a mountainous ridge belonging to the highlands, stretching along the eastern bank of the loch, and terminating the Grampian hills on the west. This last is altogether a dreary barren tract, consisting chiefly of sheep-pasturage, used formerly, as is supposed, for the purpose of hunting, and now abounding in grouse, black game, and other fowl. The largest island is Inchmurrin, which is two miles in length, and about half as broad, and contains a considerable number of deer, the property of the Duke of Montrose; at the western limit, on a hill, are the ruins of a castle built by the ancient earls of Lennox, and near the same place is a lodge of modern date erected by the same family.The loch, the rich and magnificent scenery of which is perhaps unrivalled, and which has been so often described, is twenty-four miles in length, and about seven at its greatest breadth, and is twenty-two feet above the level of the sea; it contains salmon, pike, eels, &c., and a fish called powans, somewhat similar to a herring. On the east, it is joined by the river Endrick, and the Leven quits it on the south, and, running into the Clyde, affords to boats the means of communication with Glasgow, Greenock, and other places; a steam-boat, in the summer season, plies upon this beautiful expanse of water chiefly for the accommodation of visiters. Within the parish is the lofty mountain of Ben Lomond, the highest point of the Grampians, rising 3000 feet above the sea, and commanding from its summit, which is of conical form, a prospect, on the north, of an interminable range of mountains rising in succession, one above another, and, on the south, of all the rich and varied scenery in the tract from the Western Isles to the Frith of Forth. It is one of the most striking and commanding objects in the country, and never fails to excite the admiration of every beholder. The soil, on the bank of the Endrick, is for the most part alluvial; and the land, towards the mountains, comprises clay, gravel, and moss, the last supplying abundance of peat. The chief agricultural produce is barley and oats, the latter of which are raised in by far the larger quantity; potatoes and turnips are also grown, but the principal wealth of the parish arises from its sheep and black-cattle, grazed on the mountainous tracts; the sheep are of the black-faced breed, and of small size. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6400. The rocks mostly consist of various kinds of slate, but the quarries formerly wrought have been discontinued; the natural wood contains about 3000 acres; the plantations, chiefly oak and larch, were for the most part formed by the late Duke of Montrose. Buchanan House, the summer residence of the duke, is situated in the lower district, and surrounded by extensive and well laid-out grounds; the body of the edifice is ancient, but the wings are comparatively of modern date. At Balmaha is a manufactory, for the preparation of pyroligneous acid, where 700 tons of small wood are annually used, and the acid and dye-stuffs extracted from it are sold to the proprietors of print-works in the vicinity of 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 £156. 12. 8., of which above a third is received from the exchequer, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £10 per annum. The church, situated in the lower portion of the parish, is a neat edifice, built about 1764, and contains 300 sittings: a small part of the ruins of the old church remains, in the island of Inchcaileoch. The master of the parochial school receives a salary of £30, with fees; and at Salochy, in the higher district, is a school, the master of which has £15 per annum, paid by the Edinburgh Society, and a house, with a piece of grassland, given by the duke. A library was formed some years since.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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