CARDROSS, a parish, in the county of Dumbarton; including the villages of West Bridgend and Renton, and the hamlet of Geilstone-Bridge; and containing 4416 inhabitants, of whom 51 are in the hamlet of Cardross, 3¾ miles (W. N. W.) from Dumbarton, on the road to Helensburgh. The name of Cardross is derived from a compound word in the Celtic language, signifying "the moorish ridge point," used in reference to the peculiar situation and aspect of the parish. It appears to have escaped those bloody feuds which were formerly so common in the surrounding country, not from any security in its position, but from the peaceful disposition of its inhabitants, who, though sometimes visited by predatory bands, furnished no pretext, by a sanguinary resentment, for the renewal of hostilities. It was the seat of the retirement of Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, during the last years of his life, when he frequently indulged in the pleasures of the chase. On the first mile of the road leading from Dumbarton, some knolly ground, covered with wood, still bears the name of Castlehill; and though no remains are now to be seen of any building, it is probable that he was located in a castle once standing here, in which he ended his days, in 1329. The Parish, which is situated on the northern bank of the Clyde, is eight miles in extreme length, and varies in breadth from one and a half to three miles; it contains about 9600 acres, of which one-half are cultivated, and about 150 acres are under plantation. The surface rises from the Clyde, by a gentle ascent, till it reaches its highest elevation, at the summits of the Kiliter and Carman, in the northern extremity of the parish, about 900 feet above the sea. The shore is marked by the prominent headland of Ardmore, which rises in the Clyde to a height of forty feet, and is connected with the parish by an isthmus running from the flat piece of land by which the rock is surrounded.
   The soil, on the banks of the Clyde, which is between one and two miles wide, and in the interior, is generally a light thin mould; on the higher grounds, it has a greater depth, and rests chiefly on a tilly subsoil. In the vicinity of the vale of the river Leven, in the southeastern division, is a rich loam, with alluvial deposits. On the estates of Dalquhurn and Camis-Eskan, are plantations of larch, fir, and oak, in a flourishing state; and the lands of Mildovan, Kilmahew, Kipperminshock. and Ardoch, have infant plantations of promising appearance. The progress of agricultural improvement, during the present century, has been very considerable; much waste land has been reclaimed, and that under cultivation has been benefited by draining and manuring. The live stock consists principally of cattle and sheep, purchased in the Highlands, and which graze upon the extensive tracts of moorland. In the lower parts of the parish, tillage and dairy-farming, to a great extent, are united, the latter branch having been much encouraged by the introduction of the best Ayrshire cows, and by the cultivation of the most approved bulbous-rooted green crops. The rateable annual value of the parish is £14,375. The prevailing rock is freestone, which, in the eastern district, is reddish and crumbling, but, in other places, of a light grey cast, and better consistence, and mixed with breccia. The promontory of Ardmore is dark red breccia, with pebbles of quartz, and in the neighbourhood of the Kiliter range, are beds of jasper, lying between breccia and sandstone; in some of the glens, limestone is found, but the sand and magnesia with which it is mixed render it unfit for agricultural use, although it has been occasionally wrought to a small extent.
   The mansions in the parish include the ancient houses of Ardoch, Kilmahew, and Camis-Eskan; the more modern structures are, Keppoch, Ardmore, and Bloom-hill. At Dalquhurn works, in the vicinity of Renton, calico-printing, bleaching, and dyeing are carried on, affording employment to between 250 and 300 persons. There is an inconsiderable salmon-fishery on the river Leven, and trout and salmon are taken at Ardmore and Colgrain; but the Yair fisheries on the Clyde, once so celebrated, and confirmed by several royal charters, are now almost unproductive. A fair is held on the first Wednesday in June, for black-cattle, horses, and sheep. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Dumbarton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the minister's stipend is £155. 8. 9., with a manse, and a glebe of the annual value of £30; the patronage is in the Crown. The church, a very neat structure, was built in 1827, and accommodates above 800 persons. There is a missionary station at Renton, connected with the Established Church; also a meeting-house belonging to the Original Burgher Synod; and places of worship have been erected in the parish, in connexion with the Free Church and Relief Synod. A parochial school is supported, in which Latin is taught, with the usual branches of education; the master has a salary of £34, with about £20 fees, and £15 from a piece of ground, granted in the seventeenth century, by the family of Napier; also five and a half bolls of barley, and the interest of £100. There are two public subscription libraries, one in Renton, containing 1000 volumes, and the other at Geilstone, with 400 volumes; also a Sunday-school library, with 200 volumes. The poor have about £220 per annum, left by Mrs. Moore, and now under the management of the heritors and the Kirk Session. Near Renton, stands the ancient house of Dalquhurn, the birthplace of the celebrated Dr. Tobias Smollett, author of many popular works; and near the house, a Tuscan column has been erected, which contains an elegant Latin incription, in memory of the doctor, who died at Leghorn, in 1771.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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