Cumbernauld

   CUMBERNAULD, a parish, in the county of Dumbarton; including the village of Condorat, and containing 3501 inhabitants, of whom many reside in the village of Cumbernauld, 10 miles (W. S. W.) from Falkirk. This place derives its name from a Celtic term signifying a confluence of streams, in reference to the junction of several small streams just below the village. It is of considerable antiquity, though the parish was not erected until 1649: the wall of Agricola, called Graham's Dyke, with other ancient relics, connects its history with that of the Roman invaders, but nothing is recorded to supply us with any particulars concerning their proceedings in these parts. There was formerly a castle here, and at the close of the 13th century, the castle and barony belonged to John Comyn, Earl of Buchan, but afterwards fell to the crown by the forfeiture of that nobleman: in the 14th century, they passed to the Flemings, of Biggar and Cumbernauld, who were subsequently created earls of Wigton, and rose to considerable importance in the transactions of Scottish history. The barony formerly belonged to Stirlingshire, but in the reign of David II., Malcolm Fleming, sheriff of Dumbarton, obtained its annexation to Dumbartonshire, and the disjunction of several parishes from Dumbarton, and their annexation to Stirling. This arrangement was afterwards disturbed by an act of parliament, in 1503; but the act was repealed, and the settlement effected by Malcolm Fleming permanently established.
   The parish, situated at the eastern extremity of the shire, is about eight miles long, and from three to four broad, and contains 9145 Scotch acres. The surface is diversified by a succession of ridges and slopes, and the whole sweep being very considerably above the level of the sea, the climate is rendered sharp and cold. The highest part is a deep moss covered with heath, and called Fannyside-muir, in which quantities of grouse and black-cock are found; the remainder of the surface is arable and wood, among which game of all kinds is abundant, and in spring the roebuck is frequently seen, and sometimes the squirrel. The streams of Luggie and Kelvin enliven the lands, but are of inconsiderable dimensions; they formerly abounded in good fish, but now a few trout only are to be found. The lakes, which were once numerous, have been drained, and converted into arable land, and the only remaining one is the fresh-water loch of Fannyside, which covers about seventy acres, and is but a few feet deep; pike and perch are taken in it, and it is visited by flocks of wild-duck and teal. The soil is chiefly a deep clayey loam, tolerably fertile; 6168 acres are arable, 2170 pasture and moss, 580 plantations and woods, and the rest roads and water. Within the last twenty years, many improvements have taken place in husbandary, by draining and levelling, and by the use of lime and good dung manure; and since the introduction of green crops, a considerable quantity of land has been brought into corn cultivation, though previously considered altogether unfit for the purpose. The breed of cows and horses has recently been much attended to; the dairy-farms are of a very superior kind, and their chief produce is butter, which is sold at Falkirk and Glasgow. The rateable annual value of the parish is £15,430.
   The subsoil is an impervious till, much of which has been advantageously drained; the rocks are whinstone and trap, which mainly compose those numerous ridges whereby the surface is marked. Freestone and limestone are found in large quantities, and a quarry of the former is wrought at Netherwood, near the Forth and Clyde canal, where also, as well as at Cumbernauld, limestone of excellent quality is obtained. The freestone, which is chiefly used in building, produces annually a large sum, and the limestone £6000. Coal is found in several places, especially near the freestone quarry at the Hirst; and on the farm of Westerwood is a mine of ironstone, let to the Carron Company. The mansion of Cumbernauld, the ancient seat of the Flemings, is surrounded by fine plantations, some of the trees of which are holly of a large size and imposing appearance. Here and in many other parts, oak, ash, lime, chesnut, elm, beech, and plane diversify the scenery, and are in a flourishing condition. The village of Cumbernauld, which contains nearly one-half of the population of the parish, was created a burgh of barony in 1649; it has a fair in May, at which there is a considerable traffic in cattle. About one-fifth of the population is employed in cotton-weaving, 560 looms being at work in the parish; but, during the fluctuations to which the trade is exposed, many of the hands obtain support by labouring in the coal and iron mines. There is a penny-post to Glasgow; and the mail by Crieff, and coaches to Perth, Edinburgh, Alloa, and Stirling formerly passed daily to and from Glasgow, but that to Perth is the only one now left on the road. The Edinburgh and Glasgow railway, also, which passes through the parish south of the canal, attains its summit level here.
   The Ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Glasgow and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. There is a manse, built in 1827, with a glebe of about eleven acres, valued at £17.10. per annum; the minister's stipend is £230, and John Elphinstone Fleming, Esq., is patron. The church is situated in the village, in the centre of the parish, and is an old, inconvenient, and uncomfortable building; it contains 650 sittings, but is much too small for the population. There are also places of worship for members of the Free Church and United Secession; and a parochial school is supported, the master of which has a salary of £25, with house and garden, and £26 fees. The village has a good subscription library, consisting of 1200 volumes; also a savings' bank, established in 1815; and a society of masons. The late Viscount Keith bequeathed £90, the interest to be divided among the poor on the 1st of January. The chief relic of antiquity is Graham's Dyke, a part of which runs through the parish. Traces of an old Roman road may be seen in the moss of Fannyside; and in the vicinity of Cumbernauld House is an elevation called the Towe Hill, where in ancient times the feudal baron held his court. In the formation of the Forth and Clyde canal, which runs through the bog of Dullatur, many warlike instruments were found, with the bodies of men, among which was a trooper, completely armed, and sitting upright on horseback, exactly in the position in which he had perished. He is supposed to have belonged to Baillie's army, when that general fought the Marquess of Montrose, 15th of August, 1745, and in his flight to have ridden accidentally into the bog.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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