Enlarged, and brought down to
the Present Time.
IN TWO VOLUMES
HAMILTON, ADAMS & CO.
GLASGOW: THOMAS D. MORRISON.
XVII. Killearn and Kilsyth
Kilsyth – Kilabhuinusith, "church of the river of peace," anciently Monysbrock, or Monasbrugh – was founded prior to 1217. So early as 1586, Alexander Livingstone, of the family of Callendar, was parson of the parish; and, in 1599, was succeeded by his son, William, then a considerable heritor here. The first Presbyterian minister admitted was James Hay, who came from Kilmalcolm in December, 1692. The present parish church, which adjoins the old house of Kilsyth, at the west end of the town, was erected in 1816. An excellent bell was, at the same time, placed in the building by the late Sir Charles Edmonstone, but it was unfortunately broken in 1823, from the bellman having lengthened its tongue, to outpeal the neighbouring one at Kirkintilloch. A new bell, however, was ultimately supplied, which has a fine silvery tone. A tombstone, which was placed here, in 1850, by Sir Archibald Edmonstone, Baronet, of Duntreath, commemorates Jean Cochrane, Viscountess of Dundee, wife of the Honourable William Livingstone, of Kilsyth, and their infant son, who were killed, in October, 1605, by the falling in of a turf roof of a house in Holland. In 1795, the vault, over which the church at that time stood, having been accidentally opened, the bodies of Lady Dundee and her son, which had been embalmed, were found in a remarkable state of preservation.
Half a century ago, hand-loom weaving, to the order of the Glasgow manufacturers, was the principal trade of Kilsyth. But now its interests commercially are solely connected with coal and ironstone. The population of the parish in 1811 was 3,250; at present it numbers 6,313, of which 4,895 are in the town.
The antiquities in the district are the ruined walls of
Colzium castle, which occupy a fine elevation immediately above the glen; an old
house, in the hamlet of Arnbrae, where a room is still shown, in which Cromwell
slept; and, on the east side of the romantic glen of Garrel, the Covenanter’s
Cave, having the date 1669 inscribed on its stone, or arch.