Agriculture.- The agricultural population of the parish are a most
industrious, frugal, sober class of people. By far the largest produce of the
parish is that of the dairy, to which the rest is subsidiary; and, consequently,
the husbandry is what is called the mixed; indeed, no other would suit the soil
and the climate. Besides, the large manufacturing village affords abundant
consumpt for the produce of the dairy. Butter and butter-milk are the chief
produce sold from the dairy. Very little cheese is made beyond what is necessary
for the farmer's family use. The dairy cows are all of the Ayrshire breed, and
are, through the whole year, very highly kept by turnips, and other produce of
the land; sometimes with distillery refuse, draff, &c all the year round,
but chiefly in the winter months. The produce from each cow may average L. 8 per
The stock reared is principally for the purpose of maintaining the stock in the byre, the oldest and least valuable being yearly replaced from the young stock, while those turned out are either already fat, or are sold to be put on grass for that purpose.
At the time of the last Statistical Account, scarcely a single boll of wheat had ever been raised in the parish; but the extraordinary agricultural. improvements which, soon after took place, introduced very extensively the cultivation of wheat. It was found, however, that wheat was not the crop most productive and profitable; and oats, barley and green crop are adhered to, as far more profitable in the long run.
Line-Stock.- The following is a state of the stock, and annual
value thereof, in the parish of Kilsyth,* at October l838.
|550||milk cows, at L.8 each||L.4400 0 0|
|583||young cattle reared at L.1, 10s. each||774 10 0|
|1618||sheep, at 12s a head||964 6 0|
|200||fat cattle , at L. 3 per head†||600 0 0|
|30||horses, reared at L. 5||150 0 0|
|80||swine, at L.1 per head||80 0 0|
|30||acres wheat, at L.8 per acre||240 0 0|
|156½||acres barley, at L.8 per do.||1252 0 0|
|1059||acres oats, at L.6 per do.||6354 0 0|
|248||acres potatoes at L.20 per do.||4960 0 0|
|130¾||acres turnips, at L.16 per do||2092 0 0|
|256¼||acres ryegrass and clover hay at L.6||1537 0 0|
|256||acres meadow and other hay at L.3||738 0 0|
|Total||24,127 10 0|
* Furnished by Mr John Rennie at Currymire.
† In the last Statistical Account, 750 is given as the probable number of fat cattle. The above is calculated rather under the real value. This, however, must have been a mistake, is at no period could this parish have furnished the means of feeding to that extent; especially at a time when turnip was scarcely known.
Much has been done by the proprietors of the chief estate, in the way of improvement, since the time of last Account. The parish was then comparatively a desert. There were no trees, with the exception of a few about Colzium and Townhead. Now, there are many beautiful belts of planting. The fields are all neatly subdivided into commodious parks, surrounded with hawthorn hedges
In the year 1803, the proprietor of the Kilsyth estate laid out a very large sum in improvements, farm houses, &c. The buildings were, in several instances, by far too large and expensive, for the size and value of the farm, so that a great part of the enormous outlay never has, and never will be, returned. The farm of Gaval alone, in the West Barony, had dwelling-house and steadings erected at an expense of L. 4,500. It was then designated Kilsyth Farm, now Gaval House, where the factor resides. Many of the houses now stand in need of considerable repairs
Liberal encouragement is given to the tenants, in the way of improvements. A tile and brick-work, upon the estate at Curry-mire, in the East Barony, furnishes the means of drain-making. The tiles are allowed, at a small cost, to the tenants,-besides allowance for liming, when the soil requires it.
1. Topography and natural history
II Civil history
V Kilsyth Economy