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Annals of Garelochside
Chapter I - The County of Dunbarton Two Centuries Ago


Garelochside

THE County of Dunbarton, though not one of the largest in Scotland, is certainly one of the most romantic and varied in the beauty of its aspect. It embraces within its limits the most picturesque and striking scenery, sometimes all the wild and savage grandeur of the Alpine fastnesses of the Highlands, mingled with the sweet loveliness and flowery meads of a pastoral landscape. The majestic Ben Voirlich, and the "cloud capt" Ben Lomond, afford to those in search of the sublime in nature, precipices and gorges worthy of the pencil of a Salvator Rosa, while the beautiful Duncroyne completely clad with trees, and the sylvan banks of Loch Lomond, have a charm unequalled in their way. In many a secluded glen, overhung with beetling precipices, in the northern portion of the county, the traveller might well imagine himself to be where it

"Seems that primeval earthquake's sway
Hath rent a strange and shattered way
Through the rude bosom of the hill,
And that each naked precipice
Sable ravine and dark abyss
Tells of the outrage still."

Nowhere in Great Britain is there a scene of more exquisite character on a still summer day, in the leafy month of June, than can be beheld from one of the little islands which repose amidst the dark purple waters of Loch Lomond near Luss. On all sides save one, where the gleaming water spreads itself away in silvery reaches to the southern end of the Loch, there arise verdant slopes, decked with umbrageous oak or sombre pine, the purple heather mantling over all, until the crest of the mountain ranges is reached, so clearly defined against the mellow sky. Point and promontory, grey with lichen-covered rocks of sparkling mica or glittering granite, shoot athwart the gazer's eye as it turns upon one after another of the pictures over which the fancy of the artist and the poet loves to dilate. While from the summit of any of the lofty peaks whose shadows slumber in the dark unfathomed depths of the Loch below, there can be gained a panorama of glorious pictures of mountain, crag, leafy dell, and rippling stream, that imprint their features indelibly on the stranger's mind.

The lands of Duribarton shire were a portion of the ancient territory of Strathclyde, whose capital figured conspicuously in the story of Roman occupation, and throughout the fierce conflicts of the ancient Britons, Picts, and Scots. The name of this capital appears in the old writs and documents under various spellings, sometimes Dunbretane, oftener Dunbertane, and Dunbartan, but latterly chiefly ,Dumbarton, or Danbarton, and the town and port, which have given their name to the county, bear the impress of the language spoken by the early inhabitants. By many the derivation of the name is supposed to be Dun-briton, the "fort of the Britons," and it was known at a still earlier period as Alcluid, the capital of the kingdom of the Attacotti. This district of the county, bounded on the west by Loch Long, on the north by Perthshire, on the east by Stirling-shire, and on the south by the broad estuary of the Clyde,—was in former days also known as the Levenach, the "field of the Leven." This word, written in the plural, came to be the designation of the powerful lords of the soil, Levenachs, and gradually was corrupted into Lennox. In the thirteenth century the sheriffdom of Dunbarton and the Lennox were co-extensive, but gradually, owing to the jurisdiction of the former being considerably curtailed, their identity ceased. It would appear from the chartulary of Lennox, and other records, that there had been a judge or justice of Levenax during the reigns of William the Lion and AIexander II. In the year 1271, as is stated in HoIe's Sutherland, Walter Stewart, Earl Menteith, the betrayer of Wallace, was sheriff of this county, and constable of the castle of Dunbarton. In the various Acts of Parliament, published by authority of Government, the county is not once named during the reign of King James I. During that of his successor, James II., it seems to have come more into notice, and in August 1410, "the castell of Dumbertane, with the lands of Cardross, Rosneathe, the pensione of Cadzowe, with the pensione of the FermeMill of Kilpatrick," appear to have been annexed to the Crown. In the reign of James IV. many of the western counties of Scotland were much disturbed, and the 'power of the Crown had to be put forth to stop "thift, ref,, and uther ennormities," and for this purpose the Lord of Montgomery is appointed for "Dumbertane, the Leuenax, Bute, and Arran." Attention was also devoted to the trade of Dunbarton, and, during the reigns of James IV. and V., it was the chief naval station in the west, some of the royal fleet being also anchored in the secluded and picturesque bay of Campsail at Rosneath.

The Danes, who were such sore scourges to both England and Scotland, in the course of their many predatory expeditions, ravaged the shores of the Frith of Clyde, and Dunbarton often saw their hostile ships pass her ramparts. Readers of History know that Haco, King of Norway, also, in the year 1263, set forth to punish the excesses of those whom he considered his unruly subjects in the Western Isles of Scotland. That expedition, which was under Magnus, King of the Isle of Man, proceeded up the waters of Loch Long, which are separated from the Gareloch by the beautiful peninsula of Rosneath. Sailing along its heath-clad mountainous shores to the head of Loch Long, the invaders dragged their boats across the narrow neck of land over to the gravelly strand of the peaceful Loch Lomond. Here they indulged their savage propensities in ravaging the country around the Loch, almost reducing it to a solitude, and carried fire and sword far into the confines of Dunbarton and Stirling shires. Vengeance, however, in the wrath of the elements, overtook the marauders, for, in retiring with their plunder from Loch Long, a great storm arose and scattered the fleet. Gathering together his forces to the rescue, as well as he could, the Norwegian King subsequently saw his expedition utterly vanquished at the celebrated battle of Largs.

Generally speaking, the county of Dumbarton was comparatively little traversed by the broad stream of Scottish warlike history, although, from time to time, it was the scene of striking episodes. Part of the adventurous career of Wallace, the hero of Scotland, was associated with 'the territory round Dunbarton and the Gareloch, and, as is well known, the patriot King Robert the Bruce passed many of his latter days in the parish of Cardross, where he ended his troubled days in peace. From his castle, not far from the confluence of the Leven with the waters of the Clyde, he could survey the placid estuary along whose shores he enjoyed sailing his pleasure boats, and exploring the many lovely inlets and romantic lochs which allure the voyager by their singular beauty. He died on 7th June, 1329, lamented by the Scottish nation, whose liberties he had secured, and his pathetic charge, on his death-bed, to Sir James Douglas, the "brave and gentle knight," is well known, when the latter was enjoined to take the hero's embalmed heart to Palestine and deposit it in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. The unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots is associated with the history of the county, for, shortly after the battle of Pinkie, when but a child, she took up her residence in the county of Dunbarton, and on leaving Scotland two years afterwards, she embarked from this ancient fortress. A small French fleet, consisting of four galleys, had been sent to transport the youthful Scottish Queen to the shores of her beloved France, and received their charge on board from the hands of her mother, the Queen Regent. Accompanied by her governors, her half brother the Lord James, then in his seventeenth year, and by her " four Marys," who were children of the same name and age, chosen as her playmates, from the families of Fleming, Beaton, Seaton, and Livingstone, the beautiful child Queen, whose story has been the theme of so many effusions of poetry, set sail for sunny France. After but a few stormy, unhappy years of her life had passed, the Queen lay immured in an English Castle, there to await the last scene of her strangely chequered career.

"I was the Queen o' bonny France,
Where happy I hae been;
Fu' lightly rase I in the morn,
As blithe lay down at e'en."

In the troubled times of the Civil War, the county and castle of Dunbarton were the arena of various sanguinary conflicts, and the latter was, over and over again, besieged and captured, first by the Royalist forces, and again by those of the Scottish Estates. At onetime an order was issued for the destruction of its fortifications, but eventually it was placed amongst the number of those strongholds which, at the time of the union of the kingdoms, were decreed always to be kept in a state of readiness for defence. Thus we have seen that the county has had its stirring epochs of history, and in tracing the changes which have come over that portion of the ancient kingdom of the Lennox, it will be found that many soul-inspiring traditions and poetic legends linger around its heathery braes and frowning mountain heights.

Within the limits of the territory which extends from the corner of Cardross parish, opposite to the Castle of Dunbarton, along the shores of the Frith of Clyde, and embracing all the lands on either side of the Gareloch, there is much to interest the students of secular and ecclesiastical Scottish history. It is therefore proposed to examine into the records which exist in tolerable fulness of the three parishes of low, Rosneath, and a portion of Cardross, as the latter was at one time part of the ancient territory of Rosneath. With the exception of the southern division of the latter peninsula, nearly the whole of the three parishes, at one time formed part of the great possessions of the noble family of Lennox, and it will therefore he of interest to trace the history of that distinguished house. Including the historic valley of Glenfruin, with its sorrowful associatioris of strife and massacre, the district named has been the scene of many stirring events, and has been the chosen home of a number of men who have adorned the annals of their time and shed a lustre upon the scenes amidst which they moved. It is always of importance to trace the gradual environment of a once bare and uncultivated stretch of heath-covered soil within the region of well tilled and productive farm lands, in which the natural capability of the surface ground is being fully developed. And the transition from grassy slopes of natural pasture or luxuriant bracken to the populous watering places, all adorned with gay gardens and handsome summer villas, is certainly sufficiently striking to merit careful investigation. While to unravel the curious details of the family history of those territorial magnates, who once held sway on the banks of the Gareloch and the classic shores of Cardross, cannot be said to be an unprofitable task. It will therefore be useful, before actually describing the districts more immediately coming within the scope of this local history, to give a glance at the general condition of agriculture, building, archaeological remains, and rural economy throughout the county of Dunbarton, as a whole. To do this properly, it may be also necessary, here and there, slightly to diverge and take a more extended survey of the actual state of the whole West of Scotland, at the period when the great baronial families who owned the broad domains of the Lennox were in the zenith of their power.

The condition of agriculture and farming throughout the country in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was poor and unproductive. Lands and property of all descriptions were subject to raids and spoliation at the hands of rival chiefs, and marauders of various kinds. The country was in a disturbed state, and the arm of the civil power was scarcely sufficient to ensure protection for the lieges, who were fain to place themselves under the guardianship of some warlike baron. A great deal of the land was covered with dense and dark forests, or overspread with heather and moss, and little had been done in the way of tilling and improving the natural capabilities of the soil. Oats, wheat, barley, pease, and beans, were grown in the Lowlands, and in some of the more fruitful straths in the Highlands. The clergy, who had long enjoyed, especially through the liberality of David I. and his successors, great revenues and privileges, were the chief agricultural improvers of the country. They granted leases to their tenants and vassals, and the latter were encouraged in their efforts to clear the forests, and bring the moors and mossy lands under cultivation. All over the southern and western portions of Scotland, there were mills for the grinding of oats into meal, and in the hamlets and villages were numerous malt-kilns and small breweries, where the grain was rendered into malt and ale.

Besides these crops, there were large tracts of rich natural meadow, and the green sward, in the glades of the thick forests, which provided grass that was turned into hay for the use of horses and cattle. The grazings on the mountain braes and glens, and the more open parts of the woods were stocked with ample herds of sheep, cattle, and quantities of swine, whose chief food was the beech mast. Swine, indeed, formed the principal animal food of the humbler denizens of the soil, for certain rights were always reserved to the cottager or village bondman, which ensured him pasturage for his pigs. But the rearing of sheep and cattle was an important element in the farming operations of the period, and these formed not only part of the baron's estate, but were largely consumed as food at his table. It was more in the Lowlands that sheep abounded, for it was not until well on in the eighteenth century, that sheep breeding was introduced as a regular business into the highland counties. In 1747 it was commenced and carried on in Dunbartonshire, by Mr. Campbell of Lagwyne, who then resided in the parish of Luss, before which time Dunbartonshire, generally, was stocked with black cattle, which brought in a poor return. The wool of the sheep formed an important article of export, or was often manufactured into cloth of a coarse description for the farm servants, the skins being tanned and exported to England or Flanders. Cattle were used as food, their carcasses being sometimes sold in the market of tine burgh, while the skins that were not exported were made into shoes, coats, saddles and bridles, or other articles in use, by the rough retainers of the baron or laird of the soil.

The rearing of horses was also an important department in the farming economy, and they were a good deal used in rural work, and great care, as appeared from the various chartularies, was bestowed in ensuring a superior breed of animals. Many of the nobles had breeding studs on their estates, and young brood mares, and their foals, were allowed to run wild through the extensive forests producing hardy and excellent light horses. These domestic horses, however, were quite different from the ponderous war horse, which was itself decked with armour, and had to bear the weight of the knight, armed cap-a-pie with steel mail. In the lighter farming operations such as driving of wood and peats, or taking in corn during harvest, and even in ploughing and harrowing, oxen were used, but carriage of farm produce for distances was performed by horses.

Professor Cosmo Innes, in his Early Scottish History, gives some interesting details as to the state of cultivation of the lands in the more Lowland districts of Scotland, which would apply to parts of Dunbartonshire. Strict rules were laid down for the protection of growing corn and hay meadows, and a right of way through a neighbouring territory was sometimes purchased at a considerable price, or made the subject of formal donation. Wheat was cultivated, and even wheaten bread was used on special occasions. Mills driven by water, and even by wind power, were used for grinding corn, although the rude and laborious hand mill or quern, still was extensively employed in the preparation of meal. Mention is made of the care exercised in rearing and improving the breed of horses; Roger Avenel, the lord of Eskdale, having a large stud in that pastoral valley, while the Earl of Dunbar, before his departure to the Holy Land in 1247, sold his stud to Melrose Abbey for a large sum. High value was set upon pasturage, whether for cattle or sheep, though this was sometimes found to clash with the rights of game and the forest, for it was necessary to preserve the quiet and solitude which the red deer especially demanded. Penalties were exacted for the trespassing of cattle or sheep upon neighbouring pastures, and the royal sanction was given to prevent this, while travellers also were secured, in their rights of pasturage, for one night in passing through the country. The word forest, as applied to large tracts of land suitable for game, is early encountered in Scottish history. Cosmo Innes says that the right of cutting wood was carefully reserved when pasturage or arable land was granted ; and if it was for the special purpose of fuel for a salt work, or for building, its use was mentioned in explicit terms. The great lords were jealous of their privileges of game and forestry, and occasionally resented, or endeavoured to counteract, the interference with their rights on the part of some of the religious houses, upon whom their ancestors had bestowed benefactions of land. Game, such as harts and hinds, boars and roe-deer, even the eyries of hawks and falcons, were all expressly reserved, when a gift of land was made to some of the abbeys or monasteries, the very trees in which the hawks built being carefully noted. The knights and ladies delighted in the pastime of the chase, and an acquaintance with the mysteries of woodcraft and hunting, was considered essential to the education of those who disdained the more prosaic occupations of trade, commerce, or the learned professions. Scottish stag-hounds and wolf-dogs were much prized in foreign lands, and even in the reign of David II. were an actual article of export. On the other hand, the hawks of Norway were considered the finest for strength and fleetness of flight, and, at one time, were imported into Scotland in Norwegian merchant vessels. It will be remembered that King Robert the Bruce, one of the most accoinplished knights of the age, was also an adept in the mysteries of the chase, and, in particular, could wind his hunting horn in such a fashion that his devoted follower Sir James Douglas, on one occasion, pronounced that the blast could be none other than that of the King.

Dunbartonshire being one of the counties bordering both with the Highlands and Lowlands, the customs of the lords of the soil partook of the characteristics of each. Their more peaceful avocations of farming and hunting were carried on, often for long periods, without interruption from the savage forays of plundering or vindictive neighbours. It was soon after the period of Robert the Bruce and his successors that, in addition to the baronial hall, the guilds of free burghers were beginning to be a great civilising power in the land. The Church also now was asserting itself as a potent factor in the affairs of Scotland, and no doubt, in times of invasion and internecine strife, the protection afforded by the monastery and its rulers was felt of great moment to the afflicted peasantry. Provided that not too great enquiry was made into the private lives of the monks, and the wily schemes of the higher dignitaries of the Church, the ecclesiastical authorities were easy task masters, who were happy to exercise a paternal sway over their humble dependents. The upper classes of the people held their own against the encroachments of the sovereign, and the attempted exactions of the priests, and the great middle body of the people, who now constitute the back-bone of our country, were, as yet, unendowed with the elements of political power.

Civilisation had not introduced hitherto much of the refinements or elegancies of modern life. The dress, no doubt, of the barons and nobles in the Lowlands at any rate, was, upon certain occasions, characterised by considerable splendour. All kind of robes of velvet, richly adorned with ermine, and a tunic of silk, or brocade, or other precious material, sometimes fitting close to the figure, or hanging in loose folds around the person, trunk hose, laced sandals, or shoes, with a rich head dress, completed the attire of a nobleman of the period. Sumptuary laws were enacted by our ancestors, which rather startle the free and independent Britons of the present day. In a parliament held in 1455, the following rule was passed. "All Earls shall use mantles of brown granit open before, lined with white fur, and trimmed in front with the same furring, of a handbreadth down to the belt, with little hoods of the same cloth pendant on the shoulders. The other lords of parliament shall have a mantle of red, open in like manner before, lined with silk or furred with cristic gray, griece or purray, and a hood of the same, furred as the lining. All commissioners of burghs shall each have a pair of cloakes of blue cloth, furred to the feet, open on the right shoulder; the fur of proportiotiable value, and a hood of the same. Whatever Earl, Lord, or Commissioner shall enter parliament except dressed as above, shall pay a fine of ten pounds. All men hired as advocates shall wear green habits in the form of a short tunic, the sleeves to be open like those of a tabard." Ordinary burgesses were limited to gowns of silk, trimmed with fur, and, except on holidays, their wives were forbidden to wear long gowns and trains ; short kerchiefs and hoods being deemed sufficient as a rule. The clergy were prohibited from wearing scarlet gowns or "mertrick fur," unless they were dignitaries of some cathedral or collegiate church, or had an income of over 200 merks. In 1471, considering the great poverty which prevaile-1, and the cost of importing silk, this article was to be worn only by those whose revenue was over one hundred pounds Scots, in landed rent, with the exception of knights, heralds, and minstrels. As for the common order of the people, it was ordained that, at his ordinary work, the labourer or husbandman should wear garments of white or grey colour, although, on holidays, he was graciously permitted to indulge his fancy in the matter of light blue, green, or red attire and provided the price was not over forty shillings the elne, his wife might adorn her person with home made kerchiefs of the same prevailing tint.

In the households of the great lords, it was the fashion to keep accurate accounts of the expenditure incurred, and the following details regarding a member of the Argyll family are interesting. "1636. Given to my Lord Lorne's sone, the 2S of March, quhen he went to Rosnetb, ane gold ring, set with ane Turkiss steno, pryce xx lib. Spent by my Lordes sone and his company quhen be went to Rosneth the said tyme, iiii' xi lib. Item the 18 of Junii to be coat and brekis to him x quarteris of fvne skarlet xviii lib. the ell, xlv lib. Item ane pair of silk stockings xxi lib. Item ane black French bever-hat lxxiii lib. 6s. 8d., and ii dusson orange ribband points v lib. xiis. 1st Jany., 1637. To the bairne himself the said day ane Spanish pistolet iiii lib. Gs. Sd. For ane brusche for my Lord of Lorne's sone to brunch his head with xs. Given to my Lord of Lorne's sone to play him with quhen he went to Edinburgh to sic his father x lib. 1638. Mair spent he my Lord of Lorne's sone and his company going out of Balloch to Rosneth, being thrie or four dayes be the way xvi. lib. xiiis."

The residences of the barons and lairds, as may be seen from the ruins of many of these buildings in the county, were of sufficient strength and size to combine the requirements of defence, and accommodation for the family and retainers. Clustering around them were the humble habitations of the armed vassals, who followed their lord to the field, and of the inferior workmen and cultivators, who ministered to his wants and wrought on the soil. At the tables of the nobles a profusion of viands was exhibited, and they groaned under massive joints, cut from "marts," "sticks," and "fed oxen," along with abundance of salmon, all sorts of sea fish, trouts, herrings, fresh and salted, game of all sorts, from great haunches of red deer venison, to the smaller varieties of woodcock and snipe; cheeses and curds, and many sorts of dainty sweetmeats flavoured with all manner of spicerics, ginger, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and saffron. Huge loaves, bannocks, and cakes of oaten and wheaten flour, flanked the more substantial dishes, and the whole was washed down with draughts of Flemish and Spanish wines, along with copious libations of home made spirits, choice Nantz brandy, and the less potent beverages of mead, and home brewed ale. The decorations of the table were by no means splendid, for, although the dresses of the lords and ladies were adorned with costly jewels, diamonds, rubies, topazes, jacinths and emeralds, the dishes of silver plate on the "buffet" were goblets, "chargers," "basins," and "lavers" of silver, sometimes plain, gilt or parcel gilt, and (but rarely) plates for the guests of the same costly material. In place of the tea or coffee of a later period, the breakfast meal consisted of solid and substantial viands, the mighty baron of beef, the tempting venison pasty, the tender sirloin or the spiced ham, along with foaming ale, the milder mead, or generous foreign wines, in flagons of silver, furnished the guests with ample entertainment.

While the foregoing was the style in which the wealthier lords of the soil lived, it must be admitted that the labourers on the estate dwelt often in miserable hovels of clay and stone, thatched with straw or bracken, which succeeded to the wooden structures of the thirteenth century. When stones were so plentiful, and the price of labour so cheap, it is a wonder that wood continued so long to be in use for the humbler classes, both in the burghs and round the mansions of the great. The food of this class consisted greatly of the many varieties of fish which were found in an inexhaustible supply in the seas round the coasts, and in the inland lakes and rivers. Herring and salmon, cod and ling, haddocks, whitings, trouts, eels, perch, pike, and numerous others, along with mussels and oysters, in many localities, were to hand in vast numbers, and proved a staple article of diet, with an occasional surfeit of pork, on holidays and festivals. The waters of the Frith of Clyde, and the innumerable salt water lochs of the western coast of Scotland, were often thronged with fishing boats, some of which had come from a great distance to ply their craft and furnish supplies for the tables of the wealthy and great.

In the work of Cosmo Innes, before mentioned, will be found further interesting particulars, as regards the proceedings of the Barons Courts, which were collected in the year 1621, and gave a picture of the rural economy of the period. There are regulations for "muirburn, summer pasture, peat cutting, mills, smithies, and ale houses," also against poaching on land and water, and even against cutting briars, "but in the waxing of the moon." Curiously enough swine were prescribed, and rooks, hooded crows, magpies, with other birds of evil reputation, are to be-destroyed. Regulations are strict for preserving the trees round the cottars' and farmers' houses, and tenants are bound to afford their cottars the comforts of fuel and kailyards, "with corns conform." Encouragement to agriculture is afforded by rules for sowing "uncouth" oats, a species of seed superior to the common black Highland grain, for gathering together manure, and for irrigating, "drawing water through the land," long antecedent to a system of drainage. The greensward on the banks of burns and rivers are not to be dug up or broken, as a precaution against sudden "speats" of water. And tenants are taken bound to make four rude implements of iron, called "crosscuts of iron," annually, to be used against wolves, which were not finally extirpated from the country till the end of the seventeenth century.

Such, roughly speaking, was something like the condition of affairs which prevailed over a considerable portion of the more Lowland districts of Scotland, and it may be taken to apply, as a whole, to the county of Dunbarton. Although much of the northern portion of the county bordered on the Highlands, and though the Gaelic language was largely spoken throughout the whole territory, still it could hardly be affirmed that Celtic customs and organisation prevailed to any extent. Upon the whole, the influence of the monasteries inclined to the side of law and order, and their inmates, at all events, showed commendable zeal in spreading a knowledge of agriculture and the improvement of the soil, while they undoubtedly contributed a good deal to the advancement of mere secular learning. The rude and warlike barons of an earlier age, cared nothing for scholastic acquirements, and often gave way to gross superstition in matters of religion, yet they gladly bestowed money and lands for pious purposes, and their successors emulated their example to a far greater extent.. Commendable zeal was displayed by the proprietors of the land in seeing that the parish churches were maintained in proper order, and that additional chapels were provided in outlying districts. When the Reformation took place, and the shackles of Romish superstition were removed, the grand system of education, established through the influence of John Knox, diffused the boon of secular knowledge and the priceless benefits of spiritual instruction throughout the length and breadth of the land.

The three parishes of Row, Rosneath and Cardross, which are the subject of the present volume, form a very interesting portion of the county of Dunbarton, and have many features of beauty which will repay investigation. They all border the Firth of Clyde, and, from various coigns of vantage in each, a splendid prospect is gained of these historic waters which once were freighted with the royal navies of Scotland and France and, in later years, have often seen a portion of the magnificent squadrons of Great Britain,

"The armaments that thunder strike the walls of mighty cities,"

slowly steaming up to their allotted station. Any day, from the wooded heights of Cardross, or the heather knowes of the Rosneath peninsula, may be seen those grand specimens of naval architecture, the mighty Atlantic liners, steaming up and down the waters of that Firth, on which once the miniature pleasure vessels of King Robert the Bruce sped along in their panoply of swelling sails and picturesque oarsmen. Vessels of every description of rig and construction are incessantly gliding over the surface of the broad estuary, and transport the produce of the thousand mills and factories of the West of Scotland to distant quarters of the globe. And the rushing locomotive, with their long waving trail of white steam, convey merchandise and passengers over the face of the land with magical celerity,—very unlike the tortoise-like pace of the lumbering vehicles in the olden time.

What a mighty change too has come over the landscape itself, since those early days in the remote period centuries before the Britons of Strathclyde roamed beside the shores of the Clyde. At that time the sea rolled around Dunbarton Rock, its dark blue waves reaching perhaps half-way up the Vale of Leven. The cliffs at the eastern side of the railway between Cardross and the tunnel at Dalreoch clearly show that the sea once laved those fissured rocks. Similarly, at the Gareloch, near Rosneath Castle, the conglomerate cliffs show every indication of there having once been an old 'sea beach at their base. Dr. Hately Waddell in his work Ossian and the Clyde, points out that marine deposits have been discovered all about Cardross and Ardmore Point, and that the acquired lands, near the former place, yearly increasing by the recession of the tide, are full of purest sea channel of all modern tints, and with similar varieties of shells. The Clyde estuary would, in some places, seem to be diminishing in breadth, although as may be witnessed along the shores of the Gareloch, the soil near the beach has been gradually washed away by the tide. Long years ago, says the learned author, there would be great changes in the Clyde estuary, "Erskine submerged, Dunbarton Rock a double-headed islet, and Cardross a tongue-land from Dunbartonshire. Ardmore and Rosneath Points, now rich with verdure and waving with trees, would then be invisible; Rosneath itself, a mere circular peninsula, tacked like an emerald by a link of rock to the solid land; Ardenslate and Hafton all but separated from Dunoon; Bute divided by Kilchattan Bay at Kingarth; Portincross cut off from the shore, and Arran intersected by deep and rocky inlets, or scooped into wider bays. Loch-Winnocb and Loch Lomond, at the date in question, would be inland seas—the Cart, the Gryffe, and the Leven, as rivers, gone."

The author goes on to speculate upon the changes: "If so, and we have no reason to doubt it, then there was corresponding breadth and depth of water in the Gareloch, in the Holy Loch, and Loch Fyne. Certain it is that, in the glacial period, icebergs with their load of boulders, like crystal decanters with a cargo of pebbles, were afloat in the Gareloch. I have myself counted not fewer than 90 of these huge blocks in a mass together, the burden doubtless of some iceberg which had swung in from the south-east and grounded above Fernicarie. In those days the ridges between the Gareloch and Loch Long would be a mere strip, and the moor at Poltalloch, through which the Crinan Canal now runs, between Lochgilphead and the Western Ocean would be quiet and deep water. Loch Long, for example, at no very remote period, must have been deep water a mile and more beyond the highway at Arrochar; where an alluvial deposit of vegetable matter of which the strata can still be counted, lies plainly extended as a beautiful valley, from 15 to 36 inches deep of soil on the old bed of the sea."

The geological formation of this part of the county presents specimens of rock from the oldest strata, mica slate, to the limestone. The mica slate, resting upon the gneiss, is of a uniform character, composed chiefly of parts adhering together without any intermediate cement. Mica is everywhere seen, quartz also abounds, but felspar is scarcely perceptible. Towards the south of Row parish there are beds of red sandstone and coarse conglomerate. Gypsum and thin beds of limestone are associated with the sandstone, which is covered with a whitish constratified clay, full of water. There is a blue limestone on the top of the slate in Ardenconnal, and in Glenfruin, in which masses of pyrites are found. In the lower part of the parish there are alluvial beds of gravel, sand, and clay, containing marine shells, shewing that the sea had once covered a great deal of the shore lands. On the opposite side of the Gareloch similar geological features are observed. On the high ground above Clynder there are good examples of chloride slate in the quarries which have been opened up, the direction being from north-west to south-east. Not very far from Knockderry, on the Loch Long side, there appears a large mass of greenstone lying interposed between the strata. The greenstone is like a dyke, from twenty to thirty feet thick, and close to it is more of the chlorite slate rock. The south-western extremity of the parish is pervaded by conglomerate and coarse sandstone rock, which occurs in beds of considerable thickness. This rock is of similar description to the great sandstone formation which extends along the coasts of Renfrew and Ayr, embracing the Cumbraes, and a portion of the southern half of Bute. The line of formation, between the sandstone and primitive rock of the parish, runs along the valley stretching from Campsail Bay to Kilcreggan. In the slate formation on the Loch Long shore, as well as in the quartz, iron pyrites is found in considerable abundance. On the rocks in the neck of land between Loch Long and the Gareloch we see finely bedded strata of mica schist, tilted up at a high angle, and their edges ground and smoothed in a curious way, with long parallel lines, clearly indicating the work of ice. The valley of Loch Long, at one time, must have been completely filled by an immense glacier, part of which extended over this neck of land and down the Gareloch.

Some of the interesting boulder stones which are to be found throughout the West Highlands, still exist on the shores and braes of the Gareloch, and, fifty years ago, more than one hundred fine boulders of grey granite were found in position on the ridges between that Loch and Loch Long. Probably the boulders had their origin in the great granite mountains, such as Ben Cruachan, more than thirty miles distant, as the crow flies; being transported by the ice across valleys and hills, floating on a sea which may have been over fifteen hundred feet above the present sea level. The conclusion which Mr. Charles M'Laren, the eminent Scotch geologist, came to in 1846 regarding these boulders, was that they have come on the sea at a far higher level than now, brought by currents from the north-west. The most remarkable one in the parish is at Peatoun, on Loch Long, resting in the channel of a burn which runs down to the loch at a height of 226 feet above the sea. It is of gneiss, its dimensions 24 by 18 feet, and probably it was transported across Loch Long to its present site. All along the shore between Kilcreggan and Peatoun numerous large boulders are to be seen, while they also exist in many places on the Gareloch shores. At Shandon there is a large boulder on the shore at the gate of the Hydropathic establishment, about 10 feet by 14. All evidences tend to prove that, at one period, there were extensive glaciers in the valleys of the West Highlands. There is also a huge boulder of mica slate on the farm of Callendown, on the Helensburgh and Luss road, 150 feet above the sea, which may have come from the north, down the valley now occupied by Loch Lomond, and been carried up Glenfruin. The glaciation, however, of this district is, on the whole, from the northwest, so that it is more likely its line of transport was from the west.

The prevailing soils of the county are clay, on a subsoil of till, and gravelly loam. On the banks of the Clyde there is a considerable extent of deep black loam, but this bears only a small proportion to the rest of the surface land. The climate is mild and favourable to health, but not quite so advantageous for the growth of pasture. The prevailing winds are the west and south-west, but the east wind blows a good deal in March, April, and May. In 1777 the Duke of Argyll made great efforts to introduce a better system of husbandry, and Wright, who visited the county in that year, found the Duke and other proprietors trying to beautify their estates. The progress which he saw was continued gradually; enclosing and planting were carried on, drainage advanced, and the land enhanced in value. On the Duke of Argyll's farm at Rosneath, cultivated by himself, the following rotation of crops prevailed. 1, Oats; 2, pease; 3, barley; 4, potatoes and turnips; 5, wheat and grass seeds; 6, hay; 7 and 8, pasture. The principal changes were substituting potatoes for fallow land, which was done when the season and soil permitted the ground to be pastured in time, and if enough manure could be got. Wheat was greatly increased in cultivation, and turnip husbandry generally introduced, and the potato was grown with great success. Much of the potato crop went for feeding horses, cattle and pigs, and for seed, but a great deal was consumed by the people, as well as exported to Greenock and Glasgow. The growth of artificial grasses was generally introduced, but rather little attention was given to the management of grass lands and natural pastures. No fruit orchards were grown for profit, but there was a large amount of natural copse woods, and they yielded a handsome return. The introduction of sheep farming over the waste ground had greatly improved the pastures and increased their value. The sheep were mostly black faced, from breeds which were said to have been introduced from the high lands of Dumfriesshire and Lanarkshire about 1750. The cattle were chiefly of Highland breed, and were purchased in the various West Highland markets. Horses used to be bred in the county, but they were of inferior quality, and the Clydesdale breed was recognised as by far the most useful.

Red deer used to be common in certain parts of the county, but now are only found in two of the large islands in Loch Lomond, though roe deer are more numerous. The introduction of sheep has greatly tended to displace deer, and the gradual restriction of the ground under heather has much diminished the supply of game, although there are some fine grouse moors in various places. In the Lochs, salmon and sea trout are common, and herring, cod, whiting, haddocks, saithe, and other varieties, abound in Loch Long and the Gareloch. The king fish had been taken early in the century on the shore near Helensburgh, and about 1830 an enormous tunny, 9 feet long, was captured in the Gareloch. In this loch, at one time, oysters used to be got, but they were both more numerous and larger in Loch Long. Mussels are found in great quantities near the Row and Rosneath Points, but no care has been taken for their preservation, and sometimes several boats at a time may be seen gathering tons each of fine mussels, to the irreparable injury of the breeding places. In the year 1811 an exhaustive "General view of the Agriculture of the County of I)unbarton " was drawn up at the instance of the Board of Agriculture, from which much valuable information will be gained as to the state of matters at that date. Careful descriptions are given of the farms, the soil, mode of husbandry, cottars houses, implements, pastures, and the entire operations pertaining to agriculture and forestry. The farm houses and offices generally, though of small dimensions, were substantial and commodious, and the proprietors were beginning to recognise that it was their duty and interest to see to the comfort of their tenants. As a rule the cottages of the labourers were very poor, but an improvement was observable, windows were being glazed, chimneys constructed in the gables, and roofed with tiles and slates. The sheep farms had much increased in size since 1794, when Mr. Ure estimated them on an average at 600 acres. Farms of 20 and 30 rent were to be met with in various parts, but they were miserably cultivated and excessively overcropped. In the highland districts the small pendicles were occupied by tenants, who were sometimes artificers, or engaged in wood cutting, herring fishing, or other occupations; to which, too often, might be added smuggling. The farmers were generally of the old school, of limited education, following implicitly the practices of their fathers, and had no capital. In fact the feudal state of society had scarcely disappeared from the county, and there were still on some of the estates farms let to three, four, and even more tenants as conjunct lessees, to be cultivated in common. The average rent of arable land in the clay district was about 18s. per Scotch acre, in gravelly soil 20s., and in rich loam 35s. In some very favourable situations fields, and even whole farms, were let at 3 10s. per acre for a lease. The rise of rent, particularly in the pasture district, had been great and, since the introduction of sheep farms, land formerly let at 20 and 30 had risen to 300 and 400. The conclusion which the authors of the report came to was that, in this county, when judiciously employed, the capital of the arable farmer yielded about 11 2/3 per cent., and that of the sheep grazier 10 3/4 per cent.; a moderate return, when the skill, perseverance, and outlay necessary are taken into account.

The usual enclosures throughout the county were dry stone dykes, but hedges and ditches were common. Ploughing was well executed, a great improvement having taken place in the last few years. The ploughing was done by a pair of horses driven by a man, but it was only a short time ago that four horses were used to drive the plough. In Arrochar, and other Highland parts, the old "Highland spade" was still used, chiefly for digging very steep ground on the sides of mountains, and also on boggy ground which would not carry horses. The wheat grown in the county was, generally, of good quality, and sold high; the average price per boll in 1808 having been 2 4s. The quantity of barley raised in 1809 was very small, owing to the high duties on malt, and the increasing demand for wheat. Oats had been the grain chiefly cultivated in Dunbartonshire, a second, and even a third crop often followed the first. The inferior oats were generally given to the cattle on the farm, or sold to the innkeepers. The price of oats in 1808 was 1 8s. per boll. Turnips were grown on nearly every farm in the county, but not to a great extent, and they were found to thrive best on the gravelly and loam lands. Justice was not done to the cultivation of turnips in this county, and the tillage was imperfect, and a strong prejudice existed for potatoes. They were planted on every variety of soil, and were found to thrive even on the stiffest clays, where there was sufficient declivity for carrying off the water. Large quantities of potatoes were sold in Glasgow and Greenock, and those unsold formed, for eight months in the year, the chief sustenance of the labouring classes. A little flax was sown on almost every farm for the use of the family, and spun by the female servants in the winter evenings.

The greater part of both cows and oxen in the county were purchased from the West Highlands, the few reared in Dunbartonshire being of the same breed. The bulk of the cattle wintered were disposed of in April to dealers from the south of Scotland or the north of England, or else sold in the public markets in May and June. The number of cattle fattened in the county was much smaller than that of those wintered. Oxen were sometimes used in harness, and were formerly employed at Levenside by Lord Stonefield, and at Rosneath by the Duke of Argyll, for both ploughing and carting, but found inferior to horses in every respect. They were still used at Ardmore, the seat of General Geils, and were worked both in the cart and thrashing mill, being managed in the Indian method, by chains passing over the top of their heads. The total stock of sheep, which were all black-faced, in the county was about 28,000. The pasture which the hills afforded was their only food, either in winter or summer. On the smaller sheep farms, which were far the most numerous, a breeding stock was generally kept. Farm servants were engaged generally for six months, and their wages ran from 18 to 22 per annum, in addition to their board; the women receiving 8 to 12. Day labourers earned from 2s. to 2s. 6d. each, and the day's work was about ten hours. Provisions were high in price, the average price of beef being eightpence a pound of 23 oz; mutton ninepence, veal and pork and vegetables still dearer in proportion. Salmon, which used to be sold at threepence, was seldom below eighteen pence, and salted herrings were double the price they were a few years ago. But the high price of food chiefly affected the manufacturing population, as the farm servants consumed chiefly potatoes, oatmeal and cheese. Coal was the fuel mostly used by all classes of the people, the price near the pits being upwards of eight shillings a ton, but double that figure in the more remote parts of the county.

At the present day, according to an enquiry into the condition of farm servants held in Dunbarton in December, 1892, there is a considerable change for the better. It was found that, generally speaking, they worked in summer from 5 a.m. till 6 at night, with an hour and a half for meals. They were engaged by the year, and the married men had from 20s. to 22s. per week, a free house, sometimes a small garden, and coals driven. There was no allowance for extra work, except perhaps some refreshment. Some of the cottages were very poor and damp, and the drainage was bad. Ordinary labourers ranged from 18s. to 20s. per week, and drainers wages were about 3s. 6d. per day. Shepherds wages were.24 a year, with free cottage and garden, ten bolls of meal, a cow and its keep, but he had to feed the lambs out of that. Benefit Societies were not much taken advantage of by the labourers, but some of them were in Assurance Societies. There was no trades unions among them, and the relations between master and servant were very agreeable. The general condition of the farm labourers in this county was better than it was a few years ago. They got few holidays, the only ones being about the term days, or at the new year.

Altogether the writers of the general view of the agriculture of the county in 1811 considered that a great change for the better had occurred in the food and mode of living of the farm labourers. The wretched, damp, and smoky hovels that offended the eye of a stranger were much diminished in number, and the peasants' cottages wore a greater appearance of comfort arid cleanliness. The food of the labourers in summer was generally oatmeal porridge and milk for breakfast, bread and cheese with milk for dinner, and porridge for supper. In winter, their dinner for the most part was barley broth, with salt beef or salted herrings. Amongst the peasantry the fondness for ardent spirits, though still too prevalent, had considerably abated, and they were in a healthy condition,—small pox and fever being little known. As regarded the farmers, their general deficiency of capital was one of the most serious obstacles to improvement. The feudal system of land occupation, by which the land was parcelled out amongst a number of occupiers, and cultivated solely by their labour without any expenditure of money in improvements, was totally incompatible with the prosperity of the country. There were still some proprietors who adhered to obsolete notions, such as that their interests were in opposition to those of their tenants, but there were others who encouraged intelligent and enterprising farmers, well knowing that the interests of both were inseparably connected. It was a wrong system to burden tenants with vexatious services, to cripple them with short leases, to compel them to waste their capital in building houses, enclosing fields, and executing these improvements which, being permanent, ought in all equity to be done by the landlord. The connection between the landlord and tenant must be formed on fair and equal terms, and kept up in the spirit of confidence and liberality.


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