PARISH OF KILSYTH.II-CIVIL HISTORY.

PRESBYTERY OF GLASGOW, AND SYNOD OF GLASGOW AND AYR.
THE REV. WILLIAM BURNS, MINISTER.

Historical Events.-The most memorable event in the civil history or this parish, doubtless, is the battle of Kilsyth, fought in 1645, betwixt General Baillie and Montrose, and which proved so disastrous to the Covenanters. The site of the battle is not very visible to the eye. It is in the valley, rough and stony, below Riskend farm-house, the greater part covered with the water of the reservoir already described. Every little hill adjacent records something connected with the events of that day, e.g. the Bullet-knowe, the Baggage-knowe, the Drum-burn, the Slaughter-howe, &c On the land of Wester Auchincloach, north-east of Kelvinhead, human bones have been frequently dug up. About twelve years ago, a quantity of human bones, mostly of a small size, were found in a corner of a field, north of Wester Auchincloach. The tradition that the drummers and fifers were buried there, was thus confirmed. In the Dullatur bog, many skeletons and bones have been discovered. The hilt of a sword and part of a saddle, and various coins, have been found in different places.

Livingston, Viscount of Kilsyth, a branch of the Linlithgow family was at that time, and till the year 1715, the chief proprietor of this parish. There are the ruins of three mansion-houses which were occupied by the chief, or by branches of the family at Colzium (copper hill) where, in a modern house, near the ruins of the old castle, the present proprietor, Sir Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath, Bart, resides; at Dovecotwood, where there is a fragment of a very strong castle in a commanding situation, over-looking the town of Kilsyth; and in the town of Kilsyth, where there is the latest inhabited of the castles, of date 1655, which is still pretty entire: it was formerly surrounded with gardens and lofty trees, but is now inhabited by many poor families. William Livingstone, Lord Kilsyth, joined the rebels in 1715, and lost at once his property and home. The room and bed-closet are still, shown, in which Charles Edward spent a night. The unfortunate laird, after the failure of the Chevalier's enterprize, fled into Flanders, whence he never returned, unless, as is said, in disguise.*

* Jean, daughter of William, Lord Cochran, son and heir of William Earl or Dundonald, married first to John Viscount of Dundee, then to the Viscount of Kilsyth, was, with her infant son, smothered or killed in Holland, (1717), by the falling of a roof, either by accident or design,-only two of the whole company escaping, by being seated in a window. (See Dalrymple's Memoirs) The wound which Lady Kilsyth received was on the right temple. The child seems to have been smothered in the arms of its mother. The bodies were sent over to Scotland, after being embalmed, and were committed to the family vault, in this parish. The space betwixt the leaden and the wooden coffin was filled with a white matter, of the consistency of putty, but of a rich aromatic odour. A few weeks previous to the drawing up of last Statistical Account, some visitors of the vault, students from Glasgow, (the writer of this has a lively remembrance of the scene,) upon lifting the leaden covering, after removing a board of fir, to their great surprise, found the bodies of Lady Kilsyth and her child as entire as at the hour they were entombed. "Every feature," writes Dr Rennie, "and every limb is as full- nay, the very shroud is as clean and fresh, and the ribbons as bright as the day they were lodged in the tomb. The body of her son and only child, the natural heir of the title and estate of Kilsyth, lies at her knee. His features are as composed as if he was only asleep, his colour as fresh, and his flesh as full as if in the perfect glow of health. He seems to have been an infant of three months old. The body of Lady Kilsyth is equally well preserved, and it would not be easy for a stranger to distinguish with his eye, whether she is dead or alive. &c." (Statistical Account.) The coffin was soon closed, and the access to the tomb shut The bodies soon mouldered away,- showing the vanity of all attempts to arrest the tendency of dust to dust.

In Dr Rennie's account the wound is said to be quite visible in the right temple. A sketch in the writer's possession marks it as on the right cheek. Of this discrepancy, he can give no explanation. A parishioner, who, has a distinct recollection of seeing the body, says the wound was quite visible on the right temple, and does not recollect any mark on the cheek.

William third and last Viscount Kilsyth was attainted after the Rebellion in 1715. The Lady Kilsyth. whose body was found in the church was his first wife, He was afterwards married to Miss M'Dougal of Mackerston, and, died at Rome 1733.- See Douglas's Peerage.

Revivals.- The most interesting event in the religious history of this parish is the Revival of Religion, which took place in the years 1742 and 1743, under the ministry of the Rev. James Robe, A.M. and of which he gives a full and authentic account in his "Narrative." The notice of this event in the former Statistical Account is very full, and, upon the whole, judicious. The writer of this has examined the subject as impartially and fully as he could, and must agree in the views expressed in that article, and also in the observations made regarding it by the late celebrated Sir H. Moncreiff, in his Life of Dr John Erskine.†

†At the end of the record, ending March 19, 1751, we find the following notice:

The minister read unto them the names of above an hundred persons who were most of them brought under spiritual concern in the years 1742 and 1743, and concerning whom he had ground to entertain good hopes. The under subscribing members of the session, elders, and deacons, hereby testify and declare, that all of them who are now alive have been, from year to year, admitted by the kirk-session to the Lord's table since their first admission, either in these fore-mentioned years or since; and in as far as is known to them, they have had their conversation such as becometh the Gospel; as also, that four or five of the said list, who are now removed by death, behaved, until their said removal, as became good Christians. The above testimony, written by Ebenezer Paterson, session-clerk, is subscribed, day and date foresaid, by (signed) Elders, Joseph Lapsly, Alex. Patrick, Henry Ewen, James Millar, Deacon, J. Rankine,"

March 24, 1751. Sederunt1 &c. "The which day the session being met, the list read and subscribed on the 19th current was read before the members present, and the said members then absent did now subscribe the foresaid testimony; viz. Elders, Rob. Graham, Aw. Provan, Henry Marshall, Jas. Zuill; Deacons, D. Auchenvoll, Walter Kirkwood, Wm. and Dav. Shaws, James Ranken, Mark Scot."

In Mr Robe's Narrative, p.110, there is an important attestation by heritors, elders, and the Bailie of Kilsyth to the very remarkable reformation which had taken place in the lives of the people of this parish in the year 1742. The venerated Maclaurin, Willison, Hamilton, Honar, &c were witnesses of, and sharers in this work; and they gave their solemn approval of the account which was drawn up soon after.

Since this Account was first written, another work of the Spirit of God has occurred among the people of this parish, similar in its nature and results to that which took place in 1742. For some time previous to the period when this work began, there had been a growing solemnity in the minds of the people, and cases of deep concern about salvation occurred from time to time. It was not, however, until Tuesday the 23d July 1839, that that remarkable anxiety showed itself, which soon came to attract universal notice. The sacrament had been dispensed on the 21st of July; and on Tuesday morning, Mr William C. Burns addressed an immense crowd of the people in their working clothes, in the parish church. The text was Psalm ex. 3, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." The audience were unusually solemnised from the beginning of the service. As it proceeded, many wept silently; and at last, when the preacher, in the view of parting with the people, was exhorting them with unusual solemnity and earnestness to an immediate acceptance of Christ as a saviour, their feelings became so intense, that almost the whole multitude burnt simultaneously into a flood of tears, and many began to cry aloud so God for mercy. In consequence of the deep spiritual concern which settled down upon the people from this time, the word of God continued to he preached to crowded audiences, by various ministers, almost every night. for about three months; and, as on occasion of the former revival of religion here, the sacrament was a second time observed in September, when a great many ministers were present, and probably not fewer than 10,000 people assembled, some of them from a great distance, to hear the word of God, which was preached in the church, and in a field near the town. A remarkable degree of the Divine presence was enjoyed by many on this occasion; and, vast as was the multitude congregated, hardly a person could be seen the worse of liquor. This remarkable anxiety gradually subsided, and has not since returned in the same wonderful degree. When I now look back, after the lapse of nearly two years upon these marvellous scenes and solemnly consider what has taken place in the light of God's word, 1 cannot entertain the least doubt that the Lord has been indeed among us, and has left many precious tokens of his presence. It is true that some who once promised well, have sadly disappointed our hopes; and that many who shared for a time in the general anxiety about salvation, have sunk hack into their former deadness and impenitence. Still, however, there are, we have reason to hope, not a few who have been savingly turned from sin unto God, while, in other respects, the religious and moral state of the people at large is much improved. The places of worship are better attended, and there is more general seriousness during divine service, than formerly; many family altars have been erected; there is a greater degree of zeal among us for missionary objects; and there are about thirty weekly prayer meetings of a private kind among the people, not including those which are connected with the Dissenting bodies.

I should add. that the new pariah at Banton shared largely in this gracious visitation, and that the fruits of it there are not less abundant, in proportion, than among us. Nor has this awakening been at all confined to those who attend the Established church, in which it first occurred 'The work of God has been, I believe, going on in various degrees, from time to time, among all the other denominations,- Relief, Methodists, and Independents.

Eminent Men.----Sir William Livingston of Kilsyth was, for his eminence in the knowledge of law, appointed one or the Senators of the College of Justice in 1609, and afterwards chosen one of his Majesty's Privy-Council and Vice-Chancellor of Scotland. He died about 1627.

The Rev. Mr John Livingston, justly celebrated for his remarkable success in a sermon preached at Shotts, on Monday after the communion there, about the year 1628, and which gave rise to the practice in the Church of Scotland of observing a day of thanksgiving after the dispensation of the Lord's Supper, was a native of this parish. He was born in 1603, and nearly related to the Viscount of Kilsyth. Livingston was among the most learned and laborious of the brethren, who are justly described as the band of faithful ministers, who, about the year 1643 were encouraged to take their lot in Ulster in Ireland, and whose labours were remarkably blessed to the converting of many." (Reid's History of Presbyterianism in Ireland, Vol i. p.98.) They were the founders or the Presbyterian Church in that province, which is now recognized as in communion with the Church of Scotland. Livingston was one of the five eminent men who went to Ireland to aid "the seven brethren, constituting the first band of ministers who laboured with apostolic earnestness to remove the ignorance, formality, and profaneness which characterized the greater part of the early colonists." He was settled at Killinchin, within the diocese of Down, ordained by Rev. William Cunninghame or Tullaghfernan, (now Tully), and two or three other ministers,- Mr Andrew Knox, Bishop of Rapho, being present, He was afterwards minister successively of Stranraer, and of Ancrum, in Scotland, and was obliged to flee, in persecuting times, to Holland, where he died. He suffered more than any of the other brethren of that period for his unshaken attachment and adherence to the Presbyterian cause. His Life was originally printed in 4to, in 1727; reprinted in 18mo, 1754.

Sir Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath, Bart., the chief proprietor here, is the author of a well-written and interesting account of his travels in Egypt.

W A. Cadell, Esq. of Banton, second proprietor, is the author of two very accurate volumes of travels in Italy.

The present venerable and eminent Professor of Anatomy in the University of Glasgow, Dr James Jeffray, is a native of this parish, and has published a valuable medical work.

Henry Marshall, Esq., Inspector of Hospitals, a native of this parish, is the author of several interesting publications.

The Rev. James Robe, A. M., a native of Cumbernauld, and minister here from 1613 to 1755, is the author of the interesting narrative already referred to, and several volumes of sermons.

The Rev. Dr R Rennie, the author or several essays on Peat-Moss, and possessed of much general information, was a native of this parish, and its minister from 1789 to 1820.

Robert Graham, or Tomrawer has already been mentioned as an eminent agriculturist.

Hugh Baird, Esq., an eminent civil-engineer, resided at Kelvinhead, till his death in 1827. He projected and finished the Union Canal.

Antiquities.-There are remains in this parish, or two Pictish forts, corresponding to the two more conspicuous Roman forts at Westerwood and Bar-hill, viz. Conneypark and Balcastle; the latter very distinct and interesting, being one of the most regular of such forts in Scotland, and rising regularly on all sides at an angle of 45 degrees. The Bar-hill or Castle-hill opposite to it, seems to have been one of the most important forts on the line of the Roman wall, having a commanding view of nearly half its whole length, and overlooking the whole of Strath-Kelvin. It is, besides, at the narrowest part of the valley, so as to prevent the forcing of a passage.

The ruined walls of Colzium Castle remain on a fine elevation above the glen of Colzium. A smaller remnant of another mansion of the Livingstone family, was burnt by Cromwell's soldiers, as they passed to Stirling. There is an old house in the hamlet of Arnbrae, a mile to the westward of Kilsyth on the north side of the turnpike to Glasgow, in which a room is still shown, where Cromwell slept a night; and part of the table he used, is preserved in the adjoining farm-house.

Lady Kilsyth's vault is now in the open church-yard, covered with three flat stones. On a late occasion of opening the vault, there was found a ring, with the initials, J. C. supposed to signify Jean Cochran, Lady Kilsyth, and a smoking-pipe of earthen-ware.

On the east side of the romantic glen (Garrel), before noticed, there is the Covenanters' Cave, having the date 1669 inscribed on the stone, or arch over it. Nearly adjoining, tradition says the Covenanters had their encampment. The tent of the Marquis of Montrose, on a rising ground above Colzium, mentioned in the former Account as quite visible, is now scarcely discernible.

Landholders.-Sir Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath, Bart is by far the largest proprietor. His grandfather, Sir Archibald, purchased the Kilsyth estate in 1784 from the York Building Company,----Campbell of Shawfield being the tacksman since the forfeiture. He found it in a most neglected state. Few parishes in Scotland have been more remarkably changed to the better, by judicious and spirited improvement. Everywhere, it is now divided with hedge-rows, and provided with excellent farm-steadings. There is still apparent, after all that has been done in the way of plantation, a want of clothing; but, in fact the bills are too valuable, as sweet pasturage for sheep, to be generally planted.

The valuation of Kilsyth as at present.

 
1 Sir Archibald Edmonstone, Bart L2548 6 7 Scots
2. William A. Cadell, Banton and Ruchill,* 311 15 10
8. James Marshall, Esq. of Cunnypark, 210 0 0
4. Alexander and John Wilsons, Auchinrivoch, 170 0 0
S. Carron Company of Tomrawer 120 15 10
6. Thomas Walters of Inchterff, 117 13 5
7. Dundaff lands, His Grace Duke or Montrose, &c.† 80 10 7
S. John Marshall, Esq. Townhead, 75 0 0
9. Old Town or Kilsyth, 75 0 0
10. Walter Duncan, Esq. Gateside, 70 0 0
11. J. Corbet, Esq. Auchincloch (Wester), 40 5 8
12, John Miller; Esq. of Orchard of Auchincloch, 39 5 3
13. William Rankine, Esq. of Bogside, 24 3 3
14. John Bow, Esq. of Auchinrivoch (Wester), 20 0 0
15. Archibald Graham, Esq. of Auchincloch Mill, 14 1 4
3916 17 9

 

*Under Mr Cadell's of Ruchill is included a small part belonging to R. Wilson, being about a fourth of Ruchill, the whole of which is valued at L.3O Scots, so that there are in all, twenty heritors,-the Kilsyth feuars being as one.

†A. Walker of Bentend; J. Smart, Waterside; Robert Goodwin, Slafarquhar; D. Motherwell of Spittle, (his heirs;) rank as heritors; their valuation being included in Dundaff.

Real rental and present value.

 
Sir A. Edmonstone's land, L 6130 0 0
Mr Cadell, - 800 0 0
Duke of Montrose, - 500 0 0
Mr James Marshall, 450 0 0
Mr Walters, - 220 0 0
Mr John Marshall, 200 0 0
Mr Duncan, - 150 0 0
Mr Corbet, - 100 0 0
Mr Millar, - 100 0 0
Mr Wilson, 347 0 0
Mr A. Graham, 50 0 0
Mr John Bow, 40 0 0
Mr R Goodwin, 50 0 0
Mr A. Walker, 80 0 0
Mr Smart, 30 0 0
Motherwell's Heirs, 20 0 0
Kilsyth Feuars, 200 0 0
Carron Co.'s farms, 200 0 0

 

State of the valued rent of the estate of Kilsyth, subtracting the valued rent of the lands sold, with entry to the purchasers of numbers 1 and 2, at Martinmas 1834, and of numbers 3 and 4 at Martinmas 1835:

 
East and West Baronies, as before the sales,   L.3116 0 0
Deduct,    
     
1. Inchsterf, sold to Mr Walters L.117 13 5  
2. Gateside sold to Mr Duncan, 70 0 0  
3. Cunnypark and Tomphin, Mr Marshall 210 0 0  
4. Auchinrivoch, &c. Messrs Wilson 170 0 0  
    567 13 5
    L.2548 6 7

Kilsyth Estate.
Scotch acres of arable land from L.1 to L.3 Sterling 4140
Do. pasture and hill ground about 4s. 6d. per acre 1850
Do. In plantation 170
Real rental L.6130
Acres of moss cultivated lately about 20

The second heritor in extent is William Archibald Cadell, Esq. of Banton. The total extent of the estate of Banton is 655 Scots acres.
Arable land, the rent of which varies from 15s. to .2, 10s. per acre, 445 Scots acres
Pasture and hill land, 198
rent of which is from 5s. to L.l, 12
665
The real land rent is L.665
Also feu-duties of ground feued 27
Rent of Sickle-mill and water-power 28
Minerals and ironstone 30
Yearly rental about L.800

It is impossible to state the quantity of moss ground brought into cultivation, as the system of draining has been going on for a great number of years, and the moss ground so drained has been inclosed along with other ground, without any particular notice.

The ironstone has been, and is still wrought by the Carron Company.

There is also coal on the estate, which is wrought to a very trifling extent, for the purpose of making sickles at the sickle-mill.

The above rents are on an average of two or three years, (date 1837.)

The third heritor is James Marshall of Cunnypark and Tomphin, (who is also tacksman of all the coal and limestone on the Kilsyth estate.) These lands contain about 400 acres. Cunnypark, the most easterly farm, and adjoining to Holland's bush, Denny parish, is a good farm of arable, light land, suitable for barley and green crop. Tomphin rises above it pretty steep, and is more adapted for grazing than for the plough. The best land lets at about L.2 per acre; the inferior from 5s. to L1. Mr Marshall pays L.313 for all the coal and lime on the estate of Sir A. Edmonstone, including the colliery on Cunnypark, called the Steel colliery. Cunnypark and Tomphin are worth about L.450 per annum; and at present are rather highly rented.

The fourth heritor is Alexander Wilson, Esq. residing at Bannockburn, who lately purchased Auchinrivoch, Auchinvalley, and Berryhill, lying north-west of the village of Banton, which contain
Arable
Wood
Houses &

Yards
Roads
Total
a. r. f. a. r. f. a. r. f. a. r. f. a. r. f.
Auchinvalley 69 1 4 0 0 0 0 2 16 0 1 30 70 1 10
Auchinrivoch 81 0 33 1 0 0 0 2 22 0 2 10 83 1 25
Berryhill 135 2 36 3 3 0 1 0 10 0 0 0 140 2 6
294 1 1

 

The rental of the existing tacks, as stated by Sir Archibald Edmonstone, in the advertisement of sale is, deducting proportion of public burdens,
Auchinvalley, L. 78 10 0
Auchinrivoch and Berryhill 278 10 0
L.347 0 0

 

The fifth heritor is the Carron Company, which holds the estate of Tamrawer, anciently Graham's, two farms of good arable land, lying east of Lower Banton, to the north of Kelvinhead and the great canaL

The sixth is Mr Watters, who lately bought Inchterff, the most westerly land in the parish, upon the banks of the Kelvin, bounded by that river on the south, and by Auchinreoch, in Campsie, on the north. This beautiful small property amounts to about 150 acres, all of good ground, with the exception of a portion of the red moss formerly referred to, which is quite worthless, lying in a dead level, and upon a bad kind of clay. Inchterff is almost insulated, as regards the other lands of Kilsyth parish, being within a mile and a half of Kirkintilloch town. Annual rent, L.220.

The seventh heritor is His Grace the Duke of Montrose, who has two excellent grazing farms on the south side of the Carron, being the chief part of Dundaff lands, Burnhouse, and Claharry and Slachristock. Value 460 per annum. The first, let to David Ure at L. 150, may keep 15 score of ewes, and 60 black-cattle. The second, let to James Ewing at L 310, may keep 15 score ewes, and 150 black-cattle.

The eighth heritor is Mr John Marshall, possessor of Townhead, which was bought by the grandfather of the present proprietor from the Viscount Kilsyth, in 1715. It is finely wooded, and forms a good grass and arable farm. Value L. 200 per annum.

The ninth is the Kilsyth feuars. Value nearly L.200 per annum.

The tenth is Mr Walter Duncan, possessing Gateside, a farm of 70 acres, lying west of Kelvinhead, and rising gently to the north of the great canal; good dry ground, yielding good and early crops of barley, &c. Rent L.120; worth more, say L.150.

The eleventh heritor is Mr Corbet of Wester Auchincloch; a fine farm, with a southern exposure, west of Kelvinhead, and south of the great road from Falkirk to Glasgow. Value L.100 per annum.

The next is Mr John Miller of Orchard; lying west of, and adjoining to Wester Auchincloch, and of a similar description. Value L. 100.

Besides these, there are the following smaller properties Auchincloch mill, Mr Archibald Graham; Auchinrivoch, (Wester), Mr J. Bow; and Bogside, Mr William Ranken, lying near the town of Kilsyth, north of the old church, and the present manse. Mr Robert Wilson, tacksman of the Bannock colliery, is proprietor of north Ruchill, being the fourth part of Ruchill, formerly valued at L.30 per annum; the other three parts being now added to Banton estate. There are also three very small heritors, Smart and Motherwell, Waterside of Carron, and R Goodwin Slafarquhar, in the same locality. Value L. 95 per annum.

The residing heritors, are, Sir A. Edmonstone, Bart. of Duntreath, who resides at Colzium; Messrs Miller, Bow, Rankin, Corbet, A. Graham, and John Marshall. James Marshall lives at Auchinsterrie, which ecclesiastically, or by use and wont, is considered as in the parish of Kilsyth.

1.       Topography and natural history

III    Population

IV      Kilsyth Industry

V        Kilsyth Economy