Campbelltown

   CAMPBELLTOWN, a burgh and parish, in the district of Cantyre, county of Argyll; containing with the villages of Dalintober and Drumlemble, 9634 inhabitants, of whom 5028 are in the burgh, 60 miles (W. S. W.) from Glasgow. The name of this place was once Dalruadhain, from its being the seat of the ancient Celtic Scots, and subsequently Lochhead, from its situation at the inland extremity of the loch of Kilkerran. Prior to the commencement of the eighteenth century, it was merely an inconsiderable fishing village; but it was erected into a royal burgh, through the interest of the Duke of Argyll, in 1700, and then assumed its present name, in compliment to the family of its patron. The town, which, since that period, has greatly increased in extent and importance, is beautifully situated on the southern shore of the lake or inlet now called Campbelltown bay, along which it extends in the form of a crescent. It consists of several spacious and well-formed streets, diverging to the east and west from the central or main street, which leads from the old quay to the Castle hill, formerly the seat of the ancient lords of the Isles, and now the site of the church. Parallel with these, to the south, are various streets, of which Argyll-street, leading to the grounds and mansion of the duke, is intersected at right angles by several others, of which one extends from the new pier to the Gaelic church. The streets are well paved, and lighted with gas; and the inhabitants are supplied, though scantily, with excellent water, conveyed from a spring in the neighbourhood, at the expense of the burgh. There are two circulating libraries, which are furnished with journals and periodical publications. The immediate environs abound with handsome seats and villas, the residences of numerous respectable families, ranged along the north and south shores of the bay, which is nearly two miles in length, and about one mile in breadth, and is enlivened with gentlemen's pleasure-boats, and by the frequent arrival and departure of the steamers navigating the Clyde.
   
   The trade of the town arises chiefly from its distilleries, and fisheries, which are carried on to a very great extent. There are not less than twenty-five distilleries, which together, in 1842, consumed 303,711 bushels of barley, and 79,508 bushels of bear; producing 747,502 gallons of whisky, of which 12,978 gallons were shipped for England, 3413 to Ireland, 4346 to foreign parts, and the remainder, 58,760 gallons, principally to Glasgow. The trade of the port consists mainly in the exportation of whisky, malt, black-cattle, sheep, horses, beans, potatoes, turnips, and other agricultural produce, with butter, cheese, and fish; and in the importation of barley, yeast, coal, timber, iron, and general merchandise. The fish taken off the coast are of the usual variety of white fish, and, till recently, were caught by single lines, in great numbers; but the quantity has been greatly increased by the introduction of lines of great length, floated on the surface of the water by buoys, and to which are appended numerous single lines, of length sufficient to reach the depth at which the fish are most generally found. About 500 families are employed in this fishery. The herring-fishery is extensively carried on, during the months of June, July, and August; and in 1843, 150 boats, of four men each, were engaged in this fishery, in the sound of Kilbrandon. Cod, haddock, and ling are also taken in abundance, and are partly sent in a fresh state to Glasgow, whence they are conveyed to the neighbouring towns, and partly dried for the purpose of exportation to distant markets.
   The number of vessels registered, as belonging to the port, is thirty-three, chiefly sloops and schooners in the coasting trade; this is exclusive of the number of fishing-boats, which is very considerable, and there is also a vessel of 515 tons, employed in the timber trade with Canada. In 1842, 646 vessels entered inwards, and 365 cleared outwards, two of which were in the foreign trade. The custom-house department is under the superintendence of a collector, comptroller, and two tide-waiters; and the excise-office has a collector, two clerks, three supervisors, and fifty officers. The harbour is sheltered on the north and south by lofty hills, and on the south-east by the isle of Devar, with which it is joined, on the south side, by a bar of sand nearly half a mile in length, which is visible at low water, and, by intercepting the violence of the waves, renders the anchorage peculiarly safe. The entrance is from the north, by a narrow channel of great depth; and the harbour, which has generally from three to fifteen fathoms water, has two boldly projecting piers, of which the eastern, called the new pier, is of recent formation. The quays are well adapted for the loading and unloading of vessels, and every requisite accommodation has been provided, for facilitating the trade of the port. The market, which is on Thursday, is amply supplied with grain and agricultural produce; and fairs are held for cattle, horses, and various kinds of merchandise, at Whitsuntide, Lammas, Michaelmas, and Candlemas. In the market-place, which is in the centre of the main street, is an ancient cross, richly sculptured with foliage, and supposed to have been brought from Iona.
   By a charter of William III., the town, which was previously a burgh of barony, was erected into a royal Burgh, and the government vested in a provost, two bailies, a dean of guild, a treasurer, and twelve councillors, who are elected under the provisions of the Municipal Reform act. The burgesses have no privileges beyond the freedom of carrying on trade within the burgh; the fees of admission are, to a stranger, as a merchant burgess, £3. 3., and as a craftsman, £2. 2., and to the sons, sons-in-law, or apprentices of burgesses, one-half of those sums. The magistrates hold courts for civil matters, to any amount; in criminal cases, their jurisdiction is confined to misdemeanours and offences against the police, in which they are assisted by the town-clerk, who acts as their assessor. The town-house, situated in the central part of the town, is a neat building, with a handsome spire, and contains two councilchambers for the transaction of public business, and a spacious hall in which the courts are held. Above these, is the prison for debtors, consisting of two apartments; and on the ground-floor, are three cells for criminals, all badly ventilated and lighted, and of which two are damp. The burgh is associated with Ayr, Irvine, Inverary, and Oban, in returning a member to the imperial parliament; the parliamentary boundaries extend beyond those of the royalty of the burgh, including the populous villages of Dalintober and Dalaruin. The number of householders of the rent of £10 and upwards, within the royalty, is 165, of whom seventy-four are burgesses; and beyond the royalty, but within the parliamentary boundary, forty.
   The parish forms a portion of the peninsula of Cantyre, including the ancient parishes of Kilkivan, Kilmichael, and Kilchonsland, which were united about the time of the Reformation. It is bounded on the east by the sound of Kilbrandon, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and is about thirteen miles in length, and from six to ten in breadth, comprising an area of 87½ square miles; two-thirds of the land are arable, and the remainder pasture, heath, and waste. The surface is diversified with hills, rising both from the north and south shores of the bay of Campbelltown, and varying from 800 to 1000 feet in height. Of these, the highest is Bengaillin, about a mile from the town, and commanding an extensive prospect, embracing, to the north-west, the islands of Islay, Jura, and Gigha; to the north-east, the isles of Arran, Bute, and Cowal, with the Frith of Clyde; to the south, the lowlands as far as Loch Ryan, with Ailsa Craig; and to the south-west, the coast of Ireland, with the isle of Rathlin. Between the town and the bay of Machrihanish, which indents the western shore, is a tract of level ground, about four miles in length, and nearly three in breadth, called the Laggan of Cantyre, having an elevation of nearly forty feet above the sea, and of which the soil has the appearance of being alluvial. The soil of the parish is extremely various, but, in many parts, of considerable fertility; the principal crops are, bear, oats, barley, potatoes, which are raised in large quantities, and beans. The system of agriculture is improved, and much of the waste land has been drained; the hills, of which some are cultivated on the acclivities, afford pasturage for black-cattle and sheep, the latter of the native breed. The substrata are chiefly sandstone, limestone, and ironstone, and the rocks are composed of mica-slate, porphyry, greywacke, and trap; some beautiful varieties of green, brown, and other porphyry, occur on the island of Devar. Coal is found within three miles of the town, but of inferior quality; and there are several mines in operation, formerly wrought by a company, for the supply of the town, to which the coal is conveyed by a canal. Several plantations, chiefly of ash, elm, plane, larch, and Scotch and spruce firs, are in a very thriving state.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Cantyre, of which Campbelltown is the seat, and the synod of Argyll; there are two ministers, of whom one officiates in the Gaelic, and the other in the English language. The minister of the first charge, which is the Gaelic, has a stipend of £146. 15. 10., whereof about one-third is paid from the exchequer, with a manse, and three glebes, valued at £92 per annum; and the minister of the second charge has a stipend of the same amount, with a glebe valued at £26. 10. per annum; patron, the Duke of Argyll. The Gaelic church, which had been, for some time, in a dilapidated condition, was rebuilt in 1803, and contains 2000 sittings; the English church, which occupies the site of the ancient castle of the lords of the Isles, was built in 1780, and contains 1200 sittings. A chapel of ease has been proposed for the village of Coalhill, near the town; and in the burgh are places of worship for members of the Free Church, the Relief and Secession Synods, Independents, and Roman Catholics. The parochial school is consolidated with that of the burgh; the master, who is appointed by the town-council, subject to the approval of the presbytery, has a salary of £34. 4. 4., paid by the heritors and the burgh, together with a house adapted for the reception of boarders, and an excellent garden; his fees average about £150 per annum, out of which he has to pay an assistant. Miss Campbell, of Govan Bank, built two schools at Dalintober, at an expense of £1150; and for their endowment, she bequeathed to the Kirk Session, the sum of £4600. The same lady left £600 to the female school of industry, £300 towards the support of a parochial missionary, £300 to the Sabbath schools, £600 to the Female Benevolent Society, and £500 to the poor of the parish.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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