Fintry

   FINTRY, a parish, in the county of Stirling, 17 miles (N.) from Glasgow; containing, with the villages of Gonochan and Newtown, and the Clachan, 884 inhabitants. This parish is said to have derived its name from Gaelic terms signifying "Fair land," and applied in consequence of the picturesque appearance of parts of the district, in contrast with the dreary moors and barren mountains by which they are surrounded. It is of an irregular form, extending about six miles in length, from east to west, and five in breadth; and comprises 13,000 acres, of which 1000 are arable, 100 under wood and plantations, and the remainder hill and moor pasture, chiefly laid out in large sheep-farms. The surface, which embraces some of the highest ground between the Friths of Clyde and Forth, is considerably diversified, and marked principally by three ranges of hills, and two intermediate, and beautifully rural and fertile valleys. The ranges of hills are, the Fintry hills, on the north; a continuation of the Killearn line, traversing the middle of the parish, and uniting with the Dundaff range, on the west, in St. Ninian's parish; and a southern chain, continued from the Campsie Fells and the Meikle Binn. These elevations are rich in fern, moss, and lichen, and in the various valuable botanical specimens peculiar to such localities; the moors abound with grouse and a variety of wild-fowl. The chief rivers are the Carron and the Endrick, both of which rise in the parish, and, watering the two valleys already referred to, contribute materially to enliven their delightful scenery. The Carron, celebrated in song, running by the margin of the Campsie hills, forms the boundary line, for the distance of about two miles, between Fintry and the parish of Campsie, after which, leaving the valley, it enters a new district, and eventually empties itself into the Forth. The Endrick, which receives a considerable accession to its waters by the junction of the Gonochan burn, is a bold and precipitous stream, passing with great noise, in some places, along its rocky and rugged channel, and exhibiting a magnificent cascade in its progress over a lofty rock, commonly called the "Loup of Fintry," ninety feet in height; it loses itself at last in Loch Lomond. Both these rivers are well stocked with trout; and in the latter, below the waterfall, a species called par is exceedingly numerous, and affords fine sport to the lovers of angling.
   The soil is in general productive; and oats and barley, which are the staple crops, are raised of very excellent quality, together with hay, a great quantity of which is obtained from an extensive tract called the Carron bog, situated near the river of the same name. The fine sheep-walks, however, formed of many small farms broken up several years ago, and upon which large numbers of live stock range, confer on the parish its chief character, and are the principal source of wealth to the landowner. About 4000 sheep are usually kept, and nearly 1000 head of cattle, besides a good supply of Ayrshire cows for the dairy, the produce of which is of superior quality, and is disposed of in the neighbouring towns and villages. Open drains are frequently cut along the margin of the hills, to the great advantage of the pastures; and several excellent farm-houses, with offices, have been built in different parts of the parish within these few years. The rateable annual value of Fintry is £4610. The rocks are of several kinds, and become so prominent in the northern chain of hills as to invest the scenery with a character of singular variety and grandeur; they chiefly comprise granite, whinstone, freestone, and redstone, here called firestone, and in the north-western portion of the parish is a hill called Doun, formed partly of a perpendicular rock about fifty feet in height, distributed into numerous beautiful basaltic columns. Small quantities of coal are also found in different places. The plantations, some of which are recent, consist of various sorts of fir, oak, beech, &c.; and encompassing Culcreuch House, an ancient mansion with modern additions, situated in the north-west, is an extensive sweep of fine old timber.
   The chief village, designated Newtown, was built to accommodate the population that sprang up in consequence of the erection of a cotton-factory by the late Mr. Speirs, nearly fifty years since; it is situated in the western part of the parish. The establishment contains 20,000 spindles, and employs about 260 hands, the machinery being partly driven by the water of the river Endrick, collected for that purpose in a reservoir covering about thirty acres. The intercourse kept up with Glasgow by the conveyance of the raw material and the manufactured goods, is said to have been the occasion of a material improvement in the state of the roads, and to have opened a larger market for the sale of the farm produce. The village, the population of which exceeds 500, also contains a distillery, erected in 1816, and producing annually 70,000 gallons of malt whisky. There are likewise two hamlets, one called Clachan, and the other Gonachan, in the former of which are the church and manse, and in the latter the parochial school, and near it a small wool-factory. The numerous lambs bred here are generally sent for sale to Glasgow, with a part of the dairy produce, the other part being disposed of at Campsie and Kirkintilloch; the black-cattle are sold at Falkirk. 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 £155, with a manse, lately rebuilt, and a glebe valued at £22 per annum. The church is a neat structure with a tower at the west end, built in 1823, and contains 500 sittings. The master of the parochial school has a salary of £34, with about £20 fees, and a house and garden. Another school has lately been opened in the village, chiefly for the benefit of the children of those employed in the factory; about 100 attend in the day-time, and fifty or sixty in the evening. The premises, which are spacious, and comprise a house for the master, were erected in consequence of a legacy of £3000 for that purpose by Mr. John Stewart, a merchant of Fintry, who died in 1836, and who also left £500 to form a fund for a savings' bank in the parish. There is a small subscription library, which has been established several years. The only relic of antiquity is the ruin of an ancient castle, with a fosse and mound, the former residence of the Grahams, of Fintry; it stood on the south side of Fintry hill, opposite Sir John de Graham's castle in the parish of St. Ninian's, which was burnt down by Edward I. after the battle of Falkirk. The parish confers the title of Baron on the Duke of Montrose.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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