Heritors were a parish body, usually made up of landowners, who
were responsible for the upkeep of the parish church and manse,
and the payment of the minister's stipend. They had
responsibility for maintaining the parish school and paying for
a schoolmaster. In addition to this, they were expected to make
provision for the poor.
Meetings of Kilsyth Heritors took place at
Kilsyth Church where parish matters were discussed and decisions
made concerning necessary expenditure. However, in addition to
this expenditure, it was not unusual for some of the heritors to
provide additional money to those in the parish most in need.
For example, Rev. William Burns, minister, in 1841 mentions the
"private beneficence" of the main landowner, Sir
Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath, and goes on to say, "The
principal heritor now generally resides in the parish, though he
has been two years absent in England: and the residence of such
a landlord is a mighty blessing to the poor." (1)
(1) From the New Statistical Account of
Scotland, vol. 8
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