Kirkintilloch Town and Parish Kirkintilloch Parish
The ancient ruin or
belfry which now stands at the Old Aisle cemetery, is evidently built of
the stones from the church of St. Ninian, erected by the Roman Catholics
Some persons are of
opinion that the belfry was built as a guard-house to watch against
resurrectionists in the early part of the present century, but after a
good deal ot investigation we have come to the conclusion that it was
built as it now stands about the beginning of last century, of materials
got from the old church, and its purpose was to serve both as an
entrance to the old burying-ground and a watch tower against
resurrectionists, who existed at that time as well as since.
In the beginning of the
thirteenth century William “Comying,” Earl of Buchan, who then held the
manor, granted the church with an oxgate of land—or as much land as an
ox could plough in the year—to the monks of Cambuskenneth, who held it
till the Reformation, when it was worth £80 a-year to them.
“Grant by William Comying,
Earl of Buchan, of the church of Kirkintilloch (Lenzie), with an oxgate
of land adjoining the churchyard thereof, to the Abbey of Cambuskenneth.
It is not dated, but it was probably granted in the beginning of the
thirteenth century, as the donor became Earl of Buchan in the year
To all the sons of Holy
Mother Church who shall see or hear this writing, William Comyng, Earl
of Buchan, eternal salvation in the Lord : Let all persons of present or
future times know that I,
MAP OF KIRKINTILLOCH PARISH
William Comyng, Earl of
Buchan, for the salvation of my soul, and the souls of my spouse, and of
my heirs, and for the welfare of all my ancestors and successors, have
for ever quit claimed all right which I and my heirs have believed that
we have, or can in any way have, in the church of Kirkintilloch, and in
its chapels, and in all other things belonging to the same church, for
me and my heirs, to God and the church of St. Mary of Cambuskenneth, and
the canons now serving, and who#will hereafter serve God and the blessed
Mary, imposing, on the part of myself and my heirs, the malison of
Almighty God, and my own on every one who shall presume to frustrate
this renunciation : Wherefore I will that the foresaid canons may hold
and have the foresaid church in free and pure and perpetual alms, with
the chapels and lands and offerings and teinds, and revenues of every
kind, and with an oxgate of land adjoining the church and on the east
side, which I, of my own proper gift, have bestowed on the said canons,
for the welfare of my soul, in pure and perpetual alms, to be held as
freely as any other church land, in all things, namely, in common
pasture, etc. The witnesses to this charter are—Mr. Hugh, rector of the
church of Kirkintilloch ; Mr. P. of the Castle; Theodorit Kelyas, my
presbyter; William, chaplain to the countess; A. of Rule, clerk; R. of
Mwhantis; and R. of Wiltun, knights; R. of Hibestoter; Robert of
Lamerderob, my clients, etc.”
John Comyn also gave at
the end of the thirteenth century to the church an additional gift of
land and other perquisites —
“To all faithful
(followers) of Christ who shall see or hear this writing, John Cuming,
son of the deceased John Cuming, eternal salvation in the Lord : Know ye
that we have granted and confirmed, for us and our heirs, that perpetual
gift which William Cuming, the deceased Earl of Buchan, of happy memory,
made to God, and the blessed Mary, and to the canons of Cambuskenneth,
of one oxgate ot land in the territory ot Kirkintilloch to be held and
possessed by the said canons and their successors as freely and quietly
as the charter of the same William made thereupon to the said canons
more fully purports and bears : and we grant and give, and by the
present writing confirm, for us and our heirs, to the said canons and
their successors for ever, for the soul of Eva our mother, in
augmentation of the said oxgate of land, the whole land adjoining that
oxgate between Luggy and Buthlane, cultivated and uncultivated as far as
the said oxgate of land extends, with one acre of land on the east side
of the said oxgate. . . . with thirty cart loads of peats, to be
received each year at the sight of the bailie of the burgh of
Kirkintilloch, in our peat moss of Kirkintilloch, which at our instance
our men of Kirkintilloch unanimously granted for ever to these canons,
and their tenants whomsoever dwelling on the said lands, in our open
court of Lenzi£, we there confirming for ever, for us and our heirs, the
foresaid lands, with the peats foresaid, to these canons: To be held and
possessed in free, pure, and perpetual alms with free and peaceable
entry and exit, as well to the said peat moss as to the said oxgate,
with its augmentations above mentioned, as often as they please and have
need, as freely quietly and honourably as the aforesaid oxgate is
granted and confirmed to these canons by the charter of the foresaid
William Cumjm : Moreover we and our heirs will warrant maintain and for
ever defend against all men the said oxgate of land, with its
augmentations foresaid, and with the use of the foresaid peat moss in
all the before-mentioned liberties, to the fore§aid canons and their
successors, and that that gift, grant and confirmation may obtain the
strength of perpetual firmness, we have strengthened the present writing
by the impression of our seal. The witnesses are—William Ruffo and
Robert of Cultoune, Knight; Fergus Kennedy, our steward ; John, his
brother ; Adam Scot; Malcolm Constable ; David de Garte-nocht; Cristina,
daughter of the parson of Kyppen, with many others.”
In 1451 Sir Robert
Fleming founded a chaplaincy, endowing it with ten merklands of
Auchenrewach, lying in the tenandries or lordship of Auchtyrmone, and
shire of Stirling; an annual rent of five m^ks from the lands of Panmure
in Forfarshire; two merks of annual rent from his lands of Kyrkyntulach,
together with a tenement in the town thereof, with the garden and
pertinents; and seven years afterwards he added to the revenues of the
chaplaincy, the residue of the lands of Over Auchinreoch, and forty
pence of annual rent from the lands of Kyrkyntulach. There was a small
chapel at St. Flannan, no doubt served by this chaplain.
The chapel of the Virgin
Mary was built where the present parish church of Kirkintilloch now
stands, and, as we have previously seen, it was also endowed in 1379 by
Sir David Fleming with the lands of Drumteblay and part of the mill, the
chaplain having a house and glebe in Kirkintilloch. The church and
chapel were under the Dean of Lennox, who in turn was subject to the
Archbishop of Glasgow.
The boundaries of
parishes in most cases coincided with the boundaries of estates, and
there is no doubt that the parish of Lenzie consisted of the three
ancient baronies of Cumbernauld, Lenzie, and Kirkintilloch.
In 1621 the Earl of
Wigton and the parishioners of Lenzie petitioned Parliament “ for
transporting the kirk presently standing at the west end of the parish,
to another part near the middle thereof,” but the prayer of the petition
was not granted.
In 1649 a decree of the
commissioners for the plantation of churches was obtained for dividing
the parish of Lenzie into two parishes, and a few years afterwards this
was carried into effect. The church of the old parish was deserted, and
the chapel of the Virgin Mary at Kirkintilloch, built in 1644, became
the church of the western parish, and a new church was built in 1656 for
the eastern parish, at Cumbernauld. For some time the two parishes were
called “ Easter Lenzie ” and “ Wester Lenzie;” but in course of time
they were termed Cumbernauld and Kirkintilloch, after the towns of these
names in which the churches are situated.
The parish of
Kirkintilloch is bounded: on the north by Campsie and Kilsyth parishes
in Stirlingshire; on the east by Cumbernauld parish; on the south by New
Monkland and Cadder parishes in Lanarkshire; and on the west by Cadder
parish; and is about 6^ miles long by 2 to 3^ miles broad.
From a point between
Gallowhill and Boghead on the west, to Dulshannon on the east, it is six
miles and six furlongs in length. The widest place from Mollinbum in the
south to Auchinvole in the north, is three miles and three furlongs. It
contains 8,527 Scotch, or 10,651 imperial acres, of which about 140
acres are moss, and 81 acres water.
The river Kelvin forms
the whole north boundary except about three-quarters of a mile. It is
rather a sluggish stream, and in winter often overflows its banks.
The ancient course of the
river Kelvin was extremely tortuous, and much valuable ground was
thereby lost; while floods caused great destruction. In 1792 an
arrangement was made among all, or nearly all, the riparian proprietors
in the parish that the river ^should be straightened, each proprietor
giving and taking from his neighbour on the opposite side of the river
as much land as would leave them both with the same areas after the
river was altered as they had before. This operation, while natural
enough in the circumstances, has awkward results, as the ancient channel
of the river was, and is still, the boundary between Stirlingshire and
Dumbartonshire; while the boundary is, of course, in many places now
obliterated. Mr. James Duncan of Twechar has ten acres in Dumbartonshire
north of the present Kelvin; and the two bridges over the Kelvin at
Kirkintilloch, on the roads leading to Milton and Campsie respectively,
are both in Stirlingshire, the old track of the Kelvin being south of
them. The Kelvin, in consequence of these extensive alterations, is now
more a canal than a natural stream. But the proprietors took a still
more important step in raising the high and solid embankments which now
confine the river, so that floods do not now cause the same devastation
as in former times. It is well that all this was done when produce was
high in price, ground valuable, and wages low; had it been left to the
present day, the Kelvin might have wandered at its own sweet will.
The river Luggie runs
along the south boundary for about 1miles, and then strikes through the
middle of the parish, flowing into the Kelvin near the town. Between
Duntiblae and Oxgang it is very beautiful, moving between high, wooded,
and interesting banks. Mosswater flows along the easter boundary for
about i ^ mile, and the Park burn forms the western boundary. The
Bothlin burn enters the parish about Gamgabber, and flows through it for
about a mile, falling into the Luggie above Oxgang. Another small
streamlet called the Board burn, rises near Croy mill, crosses the Forth
and Clyde Canal at Shirva, and is soon after swallowed up in the Kelvin.
Kirkintilloch parish as a
whole may be said to be an undulating plain, imperceptibly declining to
the north, on which it is sheltered by the Campsie hills, which form
also a noble prospect. At the north-west corner it is 105 feet above sea
level, rising gently to 234 feet near Oxgang, 338 near Gartshore House,
and 500 at Barhill.
The soil along the Kelvin
is of a deep marshy nature, and liable to be overflowed; on a small
tract on the north-east corner of the parish it is a light reddish
earth, on a whinstone and gravelly bottom; around the town of
Kirkintilloch it is light black loam, about 16 in. deep, on a reddish
tilly bottom; in the southern and eastern districts it is a strong clay;
and in detached little patches in various localities, amounting to about
140 acres, it is black peat moss. Hardly one half of the area is in
regular tillage; about 300 acres are under wood, about 300 are waste,
and a very large area is occupied by canals, railways, public works,
collieries, and the town itself.
Coal and other minerals
have long been worked on the eastern part of the parish, and are now
being developed around the town.
There are over twenty
miles of good roads in the parish, which may be stated thus—Parkburn to
Inchbelly on Edinburgh and Glasgow Road, about two miles; Inchbelly to
Shirva, Twechar and Auchinvole, about four miles; Townhead to Roads
Junction, Drumgrew, three and a half; Drumgrew to east boundary, about
one; Drumgrew to Twechar, one and a half; Drumgrew to Deerdyke and
Badenheath, one and a half; Deerdyke to Dalshannon, one; Glasgow and
Cumbernauld Road to Dalshannon, one; Hillhead to Solsgirth and St
Flannan, about three; Townhead to Lenzie, one; Townhead to Flora Bank,
one; Reservoir to Boghead, one.
In ancient times the
parish would partake with the rest of Scotland in her troubled and
bloody history. She had to defend herself for hundreds of years against
a much more populous and powerful nation; and she suffered in the
intervals between the wars, about as much from the quarrels and
sanguinary feuds of her nobility as from the enemy. Little wonder that
the Scotch became rude and savage. There was no peace nor security for
agriculture or any settled industry, and the business of the country
being almost exclusively that of war, the houses or huts were rude in
the extreme, the inhabitants being in the habit of deserting them on an
invasion, and flying to places of refuge. Even long after the Union with
England the intrigues of the Jacobites kept the country in a turmoil,
and it may be said that it was not till their hopes were crushed in
1746, that agriculture and trade found security to advance.
John Harding, a rhyming
Englishman, made a map of Scotland with the south to the top, placing
Cantyre to the north-west of Caithness, and supplied the unknown
territory of the “wilde Scotry” with names and descriptions from the
infernal regions as drawn by Virgil. His poetical inscription on the
“Palace of Pluto, King of Hell, neighbour to Scotts,” ends
Bitwene the see of the
West occyon And the hilles of Scotland Occident The wilde Scotry have
their propir mansion,
Whiche dispose thaym noon
with another (to) assent And the wilder they ben without regiment The
souner must thay meked be and*tamed,
Wilde hawkes to hand than
hennys rather be reclaimed.
The following extracts
from Roger’s “Social Life in Scotland” will, we feel assured, prove
interesting to our readers:—
“In the earlier times of
Scottish husbandry were chiefly cultivated com or oats, and bear or
coarse barley. To secure a variety of crop, Parliament in 1426 enacted
that ‘ ilk man telaild (tilling) with a pleuch of eight oxen, sal saw at
the lest ilk year ane firlot of quhete, half a firlot of peis and forty
benis, under the payn of ten shillings.
“The cleansing of the
land from ‘guld,* that is, marigold, was enjoined by statute. In the Act
it is set forth, not without humour, that any one who planted ‘guld’
deserved punishment as amply as if he had led an army against the king
and barons. The penalty under the statute was the forfeiture of a sheep
for every plant found on a farm.
“The burning of moss and
roots led to the general use of manure. In 1462 the monks of Cupar
prescribed stable dung as useful in raising barley, as also the ashes of
peats, and the refuse of the brewhouse and bakery.
“In earlier times the
four husbandmen who together rented a plough-gate, worked in common,
assisted by their cottars or hinds. This community of labour was a
necessity, on account of the ruggedness of the soil, and the cumbrous
nature of the implements. The plough, a timber appliance, was most
unwieldy. Drawn by eight oxen, not less than four, even five and six
persons were employed in conducting it. Two or more led the oxen, one or
more held the stilts, and one cleared the mould-board. And by one of the
husbandmen, specially skilful, was regulated the breadth of the furrow
by means of a long pole attached to the plough by an iron hook.
“Through the joint mode
of culture originated the system of runfield or runrig. An ordinary
plough-gate, which in length extended to 40 rods or 220 yards, was
separated into strips or ridges, each 4 rods or 22 yards in breadth. In
1695, when different strips in the same field were frequently possessed
by different owners, the runrig system was abrogated by statute.
“The arable land of a
farm was divided into infield and outfield. The former surrounded the
homestead, and roughly enclosed, received the farm manure and was kept
constantly in tillage. On such portions of the outfield as were suited
for cultivation were raised crops of oats, generally for three
consecutive years, when the soil becoming exhausted it was for a period,
varying from three to seven years, allowed to remain waste. Then it was
re-subjected to a three years’ cropping.
“Subsequent to the
political union of 1707, arose with England a trade in cattle attended
with great advantage to husbandmen; at the close of the century about
100,000 head of cattle were, from all parts of Scotland, sent annually
“Rye-grass and red-clover
seeds were in 1720 first sown on Scottish fields, being previously
brought into England from Flanders. About 1730, turnips were brought to
Scotland from Norfolk. For several years they were raised in gardens,
and when, in 1739, they were introduced on the farm they were sown
“About the year 1690,
potatoes were cultivated by one or two Scottish gardeners, and in 1701,
they were raised largely in gardens at Dalkeith. When, in 1750 they were
planted in the fields of Stirlingshire, a notion was entertained by the
peasantry that the farmers were seeking to substitute them for meal, and
they were generally rejected. Before the close of the eighteenth
century, potatoes were used in every house. About 1800, the system of
planting broad-cast was abandoned and the drill method substituted.
Potatoes were sold in Forfarshire in 1794 at 5s. per boll.
“The swing-plough now in
use, was invented in 1763 by James Small of Dalkeith. Small’s plough was
fashioned of iron and could be drawn by two horses, but its
possibilities were not readily recognised, for long after it had
superseded the elder implement, farmers insisted on yoking it to oxen.
“The harrows used a
century ago, made of wood, including the tines, were described by Lord
Kames as better adapted to raise laughter than to raise soil/ From straw
the grain was separated by a flail. Threshing machines were tried in
1735, but it was many years after before they came into general use.
“Till 1710 the only
winnowing appliance was the wind as it blew between the open bam doors;
but in that year fanners were brought to this country from Holland, and
the mechanism was in 1737 improved and perfected.
“The corn was ground in
very ancient times by means of the quern, which consisted of two
circular flat stones, the upper pierced in the centre with a narrow
funnel, so as to revolve on a wooden pin. In using the quern, the
grinder dropped the grain into the funnel with one hand, and with the
other made the upper stone revolve by means of a rude handle. Though
usually formed of stone, the quern was also made of wood.
“In the thirteenth
century water mills were introduced, and when a corn mill was erected on
an estate* the tenants were required to send their grain to that mill
only. This was variously called thirlage, or doing debt to a mill, or
the service of the sucken. The tenants of the barony usually became
bound both to repair the mill-stank or pond, and drag the mill stones.
Each mill-stone was wheeled from the quarry upon its edge, so that the
surface might be uninjured. Grain before being carried to the mill, was
by every farmer dried in his own kiln.
“The reaping machine was
invented in 1826, by Dr. Patrick Bell, latterly minister of Carmyllie.
In 1867 he received the testimonial of ^1,000—he died in April 1869.
“Till the middle of the
eighteenth century, goods were transported from place to place by pack
horses, in gangs of 30 or 40. As the roads were narrow, the leading
horse carried a bell to warn those approaching from an opposite
direction. Both the landlord and his tenants rode to church on
horseback. The farmer’s wife sat behind her husband resting on a pad. In
1760 twelve pack horses carried goods weekly between Edinburgh and
Glasgow. Horses were poorly fed, their provender consisting of bog-hay,
pease-straw, and boiled chaff; also thistles which were purchased at 3d.
per burden. A horse worth in 1283 about £1 Scots, would in 1580 bring
^10, and in 1680 about ^25.
“Saddles and bridles were
unknown, and farmers rode to kirk and market upon pilions made of hair.
Only the forefeet of the horses were shod. The bridles, reins, and farm
ropes of last century were ordinarily made of rushes, or twisted roots
of the fir tree.
“Agricultural carts had
no wheels till about the year 1770, when, owing to a general improvement
of the roads, these became common. Manure was drawn to the fields on
cars or sledges, or on what was called tumbler-wheeis, since they turned
with the axle-tree. These latter were anciently made of oak, rudely
fashioned, of three feet in diameter and wholly unprotected by iron.
“During the seventeenth
century the country was, forgrazing purposes, intersected with green
roads, on which sheep and cattle might feed and rest Between the
principal towns the roads were uneven; in winter they were nearly
impassable. Bridges were narrow and insecure. Rivers were crossed at
fords, where the ordinary assistants were women. By an easy adjustment
of their garments they waded across the streams, bearing the men upon
their shoulders. James VI. facetiously told his English courtiers that
he had a town of 500 bridges, alluding to Auchterarder, of which all the
women were ford women.”
Naval Reserve in
Lewis.—From “United Service Magazine March, 1S93.—The following story,
related on indubitable authority, will giv; a better insight into the
manners and customs of the islanders than pages of description. Soon
after the battery officer took up his abode here, a resident told him
one day that if he went down to the brink of a small river, which many
of the Reserve men had to cross on their way home of a Saturday
afternoon, he would see something that would surprise him. Accordingly
he wended his way thither, took up a post of observation well out of
sight, and waited. He had not been there long ere a party of buxom
lasses sauntered down from the village near by, waded the river, and sat
down on the opposite bank. Soon after a batch of Reserve men was
descried coming along the road, in all the glory of uniform and boots. A
queer spectacle then presented itself, for on reaching the riverside
each defender of his country mounted pick-a-back on the shoulders of his
“best girl,” or better half, as the case might be, was carried bravely
through the stream, and deposited gently on the other shore.
“By an Act of Parliament
passed in 1719, the able-bodied males of every district were enjoined to
render a week’s labour for the improvement of the district roads, hence
the name of statute-labour roads. Subsequently personal labour was
commuted into annual cess. In 1720 road surveyors were appointed, and
bridge-erecting became general. The Turnpike Act of 1750 induced the
vigorous completion of operations efficiently initiated. Scottish roads
were at length made firm and compact through the genius of Macadam.
“The breakfast of a
farmer’s family was porridge and milk, the spoons used being made of
horn. For dinner broth was served in timber cogs, and had as a
constituent a kind of pot-barley, neither milled nor scaled. Another
constituent of farm-broth was the great nettle, urtica dioica, which
grew luxuriously in ditches and waste nooks. During the eighteenth
century, and even earlier, the great nettle was in many districts as a
broth-vegetable displaced by kale or colewort. Subsequently were added
the carrot, onion, and turnip, cut into small portions. When on Sundays
the gudeman preferred a hot, instead of the usual cold ‘ Sabbath dennfer,’
he was privileged with a dish of sheep’s head and trotters. The
preparation of this dish is thus humorously described in the
vernacular:—4 It needs little watchin’, and disna gang wrang wi* owre
lang boilin’. Cleek it on an’ get it fair through the boil, then cleek
it up so as it’ll no boil ower an’ pit oot the fire, an* ye may lock the
door an’ gang to the kirk, an’ come oot when you like. It disna matter
for an hour or twa, either; deed it’s a’ the better o’ plenty o’ the
fire, especially if ye hae a handfu’ o’ the blue pat-pea in’t, an’
plenty barley. Then what’s like the broth on a cauld day.’
“In the farmers kitchen
supper was served at seven o’clock. There were ordinarily two courses,
first kale-brose tjien oat-cakes and milk. Kale-brose consisted of
colewort cut into portions and boiled in a saucepan along with oatmeal
and salt; or a handful of oatmeal was thrown into a large vessel, and
the boiling liquor of the colewort cast over it and mixed. When potatoes
became common these were substituted as the evening meal. Potatoes
boiled in their skins were toppled from the saucepan on the tafil or
dinner boards, when all, some standing and others seated, extended their
fingers to the heap.
“Prior to the eighteenth
century persons employed on a farm were clothed by its produce. The
products required were flax, wool, and leather. Flax seeds, procured
from Holland, or Riga, or Philadelphia, were sown on light soil, the
richest crops being yielded on haughs or river banks. On every farm flax
was sown, and in addition to that required by the family, each
maidservant was allowed a portion for her personal attire. When the raw
material was by village artisans sufficiently prepared then commenced
the work of spinning. At the spinning wheel females of all ranks
occupied themselves busily. In the farm-house the gudewife and her
daughters span with their domestics. The sheets used in every farm-house
were fabricated by the women of the family.
“From the sheep pastured
on his ‘shepherd-land’ or grazing acres, did the husbandman derive
woollen clothing lor himself, his children, and his hinds. The wool was
originally spun in the farm-house, but in the seventeenth century it was
entrusted to the litster, whose vocation was to cleanse and prepare it
for household use. When the web of woollen stuffs was returned by the
litster, the tailor was summoned, who continued to work upon the
premises till the entire fabric had been converted into garments. A
century ago the tailor’s daily pay was tenpence, but he was allowed to
supply thread, on which he derived a small profit1
“Animals’ skins were
converted into leather, by tanning either on the premises, or at the
village tannery. A century ago, the district shoemaker or souter was
accommodated in the farm-house for a period of weeks until he converted
the leather reared upon it into boots, shoes and leggings.
“The rental of the entire
lands in Scotland in 1644 was £319,000 Scots; it had in 1748 increased
to ^822,857 sterling, and in 1813 to £6,285,389. Now the rental is
slightly under twenty millions. At the accession of Robert II. in 1371
the population of Scotland was about 470,000, while in 1560 it had
increased to 700,000; and at the union of the crowns to 100,000 more. At
the political union in 1707, it was reckoned at 1,100,000; in 1755, at
1,255,663; and in 1791 at 1,514,999. During the following ninety years
the numbers more than doubled, the census of 1881 representing a
population of 3,735,573.”
The Rev. Mr. Dun, in
1792, has given a report on the parish of which the following is an
“The inhabitants of this
parish are, in general, a virtuous and industrious people. That pride of
mind and impatience of contradiction, which the possession of landed
property frequently inspires, perhaps may occasion too many lawsuits. .
The small number of the
poor, dependent upon alms, and the liberal provision made for them, by
voluntary contributions, are facts implying, in so populous a parish, no
common praise; they bespeak industry, sobriety, frugality, and charity,
to be the leading features in the moral character of the people.
As to their external
appearance, they are of a middle stature; and being free from hereditary
diseases, while they enjoy the advantages of an open situation, and a
pure, although rather moist air; they are, in general, vigorous and
healthy. Some, indeed, particularly the females, are not a little
subject to hysterics; a disease, the prevalence of which in this place,
has, with some show of probability, been attributed, partly to the
dampness of our earthen floors, and partly to the effects of spinning,
for which the women in this neighbourhood are deservedly famous.
The women, when engaged
in spinning, sit by the fireside, and keeping, as their custom is,
always the same station; the one side is exposed to the chilling cold of
the season, and the other is relaxed by the warm influence of the fire.
Besides, in turning her lint—the person who spins, commonly employs but
one foot, and uses chiefly the hand of the same side, in making the
thread. Thus the labour is very unequally divided, by which the health
of the body must naturally be affected. Lastly, the waste of the saliva
in wetting the thread, must deprive the stomach of a substance essential
to its operations, whence all the fatal consequence of crudities, and
indigestion may be expected.
We see from this report
that the number of landed proprietors was much greater then than now.
The spinning in these times must be curious to the young people of the
present day, although the operation was going on in Kirkintilloch till
about 1840. Mr. Dun has evidently not been a smoker, or the waste of
saliva would not have struck him so forcibly.
He also mentions that a
chaldron of lime consisting of 16 bolls, each of which contains 3
firlots wheat measure, could be bought at any of the lime works at
Campsie at 6s. 8d. This accounts, we presume, for the large amount of
lime used on the land in these days.
The expenses of a common
labourer with a wife and four children may be nearly as follows—1792 :—
This estimate, although
made in Dumfriesshire, is no doubt applicable to Scotland generally at
the time. It is an admirable exemplification of the thrift of the people
at that period; and although the poverty of the Scots was much sneered
at, their thrift shines as a virtue, and it is recorded that even the
poorest living under the conditions which the above statement reveals,
had always a little money saved.
In 1730 the common
half-yearly wages of an agricultural male servant were 22s. 6d.; in
1739, 23s.; in 1744, 30s. and a pair of new shoes; women servants, 10s.;
a wright’s wages, 6d. per day; labourer’s, 3d.; tailor’s, 4d.; mason’s,
Prices of hens, 4d.;
eggs, ijd. per dozen; butter, 4d. per lb. of 24 oz.; pork, 4d. per lb.
of 16 oz.; a cow for beef, jQ2 2s.; a good leg of lamb, 7d.; a leg of
mutton, is. 2d. “The best horse in the parish was sold in 1749 for ^7
7s.” The Revs. Andrew Whyte and Duncan Macfarlarie, D.D., made a report
to the Board of Agriculture in 1811 on the Agriculture of the County of
Dumbarton, an extract of which on “Farm Houses and Offices” is as
“That variety which
naturally takes place, where a material change in the occupation of the
land has begun, but is not yet completed, is to be observed in the
farm-houses and offices of this county. On many of the small farms (and
the remark is applicable to those in the possession of proprietors as
well as tenants), the houses are distinguished from those of the poorest
cottagers, only by being a little longer, and surrounded by a confused
heap of ruinous outhouses. Such dwellings consist, for the most part, of
a wall about seven feet high, and twenty inches, or two feet thick,
built either dry, or with the addition of a little clay or mud for
cement. The roof is supported by massy couples of wood, resting on large
perpendicular posts built into the wall, and covered, first by
longitudinal beams of a larger size, then by others of smaller
dimensions, in a perpendicular position, and then by a layer of thin
broad turf, thatched over with straw or heath, and surmounted by a ridge
of heavy turf; the whole, after a few successive thatchings, forming a
mass sufficiently weighty to crush the walls outwards, and if not
timeously abandoned, to bury the family under its ruins. The inside
consists of two apartments, each from twelve to fourteen feet square,
with sometimes a small closet between them. Two beds are generally
crowded into the spence, or better apartment, while one occupies the
kitchen. In both, for the most part, but always in the latter, the
inside of the roof crusted over with soot, forms the only ceiling, while
the fire on the floor serves the double purpose of concealing every
disgusting object in wreaths of smoke, and affording a constant supply
of varnish for the wood-work. The kitchen generally communicates by an
inner door with the cow-house, in a comer of which the horses, too, find
shelter. Two windows, each containing four panes, only one, or at most
two of which, unless in cases of unusual opulence, are provided with
glass, serve to render the internal darkness visible. The dunghill is
placed immediately in front of the entrance door, and those who do not
choose to wade through it, must find access by picking their way on
loose tumbling stepping-stones, placed along the front of the house. The
remaining offices are often placed at a considerable distance,
experience having early shown that the baiyiy kiln, and stackyard, do
not require quite so much moisture as is retained around the dwelling.
Such were, in general, the accommodations of the peasantry of Lenox
forty years ago, and many are still to be found, corresponding in every
respect to this description. In a larger proportion a veiy great
improvement has taken place.” . . .
This report is rather sad
reading, but we have already adverted to the causes of such a condition
of matters—the last sentence is the pleasant part of it.
Light is thrown by it,
moreover, on some of our old Scotch poems and songs:—
There lay a duuk-dub
before the door,
Before the door, before the door;
There lay a deuk dub before the door,
And in fell he, I trow !
Then Johnnie cam', a lad o’ sense,
Although he had na mony pence;
And took young Jenny to the spciuc,
Wi* her to crack a wee.
But Merran sat behint their backs,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;
She lea’es them gashin’ at their cracks,
And slips out by hersel’:
She through the yard the nearest taks,
And to the kiln she goes then,
And darklins graipit for the banks,
And in the blue-clue throws then
Richt fear*t that nicht.
Meg fain wad to the bam ha’e gaen,
To win three weChts o’ naething;
But for to meet the deil her lane,
She pat but little faith in:
She gies the herd a pickle nits,
And twa red-cheekit apples,
To watch, while for the bam she sets
In hopes to see Tam Kipples That very nicht.
But now the supper crowns their simple board,
The halesome parritch, chief of Scotia’s food :
The soupe their only hawkie does afford,
That \yont the hallan snugly chows fur cood:
The dame brings forth, in complimental mood,
To grace the lad, her weel-hain’d kebbuck fell,
And aft he’s prest, and aft he ca’s it guid:
The frugal wife, garrulous, will tell,
How ’twas a towmond auld, sin’ lint was i* the bell.
The following account of
the seasons in old times may be interesting to agriculturalists; it is
given with the other particulars from the admirable report of the Rev.
Mr. Forman on the parish in 1845 :—
1697 to 1704. “Seven ill
1709. Three months severe frost with heavy snow.
1712. Wet season, great flood in harvest 1714. Very dry.
1716. Great frost.
1723. Remarkably dry ; no rain till 26th October.
1725. Veiy wet.
1731. Snow remarkably deep.
1733* Great hail when corn was in ear; much devastation to crops.
One farmer of this parish
out of all his crops had only three bearheads left, which had been
sheltered by a bush.
1736. Great fall of snow.
1739. “Windy Saturday” in this year.
1740. Severe frost, commenced Dec.
1739, and lasted nine weeks.
1742. Early and good crop.
1744. Wet harvest, crop much injured.
1745. Great hail in May, bad harvest, with heated stooks.
1746-49. Crops all good, meal cheap.
1750. A dry summer, a wet August, but a good harvest.
1751-53. Medium seasons—meal io^d. and lid. per peck.
1753. Light crop, early and dry.
1754. A good crop, preceded by a long and severe frost in winter.
1755. Wet seed time, bad crop, late harvest, with frost.
1756. Wet late harvest, light crop, much shaking—meal, 1s. 6d. per peck.
1757. Dry and early, but com yielded little meal—sold at is. per peck.
1758. Very fine season, good crop—meal 7jd. per peck.
1759-60. Medium seasons—meal rose to is. per peck.
1762. Snowed eleven days together, late seed-time, dry summer, much
corn, fodder scanty.
1763. Frost lasted 94 days, season favourable, crop tolerable.
1764. Backward season, crop below average.
1765. Early season, but frosty, and much rain in harvest.
1766. Good seed time, wet summer, good harvest.
1767. Medium season and crop, first half of harvest good, latter, wet.
1768. Early crop, but light.
1769. Tolerably good crop.
1770. Crop on good land excellent, high lands deficient.
1771. Very bad crop, ill secured, and heated.
1772. Rather late harvest, crop ill secured, medium ; hailstones fell in
June as large as nutmegs.
1773. Terrible storm in March, season favourable, crop tolerable.
1774- Dreadful storms in September and December, much damage on sea and
land, late season, crop under average.
1775. Great storms in October and November, season good, prices low.
1776. Medium season and crop.
*777-78. Late seasons, crop indifferent
1779. Great frost of 84. days, season good, early harvest, good crop.
1780. Good season, but not equal to last.
1781. Good season and crop, much shaking.
1782. Severe bad season in May and June, hailltones of immense size
fell, frost in harvest, crops a failure.
1799. Bad season, poor late crops—meal 2s., hay is. 4d. per stone,
potatoes 8d. per small peck.
1800. At the end of the year—meal 3s., peasemeal 2s., potatoes 10d., hay
1s. 9d.; dry summer, poor crops.
1801. Best seed time in the memory of man, season good, early harvest,
1802. First eight months worst in remembrance, four last were good late
but plentiful crop, all well got in—beef 1s. per lb., mutton 9d., butter
1s. 5d., cheese 9d., eggs 1s. 3d. per doz., peck loaf 3s. 2d., oatmeal
is. 3d., potatoes 1s.
1803. Good crop, dry harvest, oatmeal 1s. 4d.
1804. Last seven months good weather, very fine crops—oatmeal 1s. 5d.
1805. Plentiful crops—meal 1s. 5d.
1806. Great drought in harvest, wet November and December.
1807. Poor crop—oatmeal 2s., hay 2s.
1808. Fine crop, well got in, crops above average.
1809. Good harvest, grain plentiful, but high prices—meal 1s. 10d. to
2s., great fall of snow till it was nearly a foot deep, many trees
broken down by its weight.
1810. Best harvest and wheat seed - time remembered, no rain September
and October—meal 1s. 6d., potatoes 9d.
1811. Great comet near Ursa Major 9th September, extraordinary rains,
frost and winds in spring and early summer, medium crop.
1812. Crop not housed till September, plentiful but dear—meal 2s. 4d.,
1813. Good harvest, crops excellent—meal is. 6d., potatoes 1s.
1814. Fine harvest, grain good, but little straw—meal 1s. 5d., potatoes
9½d per 42 lbs.
1815. Plentiful harvest, safely housed—oatmeal is. 3d., potatoes
9d.,beef and mutton 10s. 6d. per stone, skim cheese 5d., sweet milk
1816. Wet cold year, no sunshine, poor crop—wheat £3 10s. per boll, oats
£2, barley £2 10s. oatmeal 2s., quartern loaf, is. 5d.
1817. Worst crop ever known, August very bad.
1818. Plentiful crop, harvest begun 10th August—meal is. 5d., potatoes
1819. Trees early in leaf, but destroyed by frost in June, crop finished
end of September plentiful and good—meal 1s. 2d. Radicals in great
commotion end of this year.
1820. Crop good and early—beef 10s. 6d. per stonef meal 17s. 6d. per
boll, butter 1s. per lb.
The average rent of 36
farms, containing 2,252 acres, is £1 9s. 6½d. per acre. Oats, barley,
hay from sown grasses, flax, pease, beans, and a small proportion of
wheat, are the principal crops sown. The usual rotation of crops in dry
lands is for the first year a white crop; for the second year a green
crop; on the third year the land is sown down partly with wheat, barley
or oats; and in the fifth and sixth years, it is allowed to lie in
pasture. In wet lands generally two white crops are taken, or one of
them in flax, which is chiefly sown towards the east end of the parish.
The other crops are as above. In the third year some farmers sow down
with barley and ryegrass: and where that does not answer, they plant
potatoes: in the fourth year there is a hay crop, and the fifth and
sixth are pasture. Flax is not so much sown now as formerly. Flax, after
paying expenses, may be worth from £$ to £6 per acre: oats at 5 bolls
per acre, £3 10s.: wheat from £9 to £10: hay from £5 to £6 on clean
land: barley, £$ : potatoes, £16 per acre. The price of manure for an
acre of land, if well done, is £8 2s. The price of labouring it, £1.
Dung is sold at 4s. and 4s. 2d, per square yard. There is cubic yards in
a ton. Horse and cow dung is sold in Kirkintilloch at 6s. per ton. About
forty carts of dung are required for an acre of potatoes, which will
cost in all about £10. An acre of potatoes, when laboured by the spade,
costs about £1 10s.; for labour by the plough, £1 1s. Calculating the
expense of labour as above, by the plough, per day, there will be for 3
men, 6s.; 3 women, 3s.; a plough and 2 horses, 22s.to £1 1s. The best
men servants for agricultural labour may be had at from £16 to £20 per
annum, with board and washing; boys at from £4. to £10. The best women
servants are hired at from £9 to £10 per annum; inferior, £6; labourers
in winter earn 9s. per week; in summer, 12s.; masons, £1 1s.;
In every 100 acres of
arable land there may be 20 acres in oats, 8 acres in potatoes or green
crops, 20 acres in hay, 6 acres in wheat or barley, and fully one-half
in pasture. There may be in the whole parish annually about 615 acres
oats, 246 acres potatoes, 615 acres hay, and 184 acres in wheat or
barley, which out of 3,076 arable acres, leaves 1,660 for white and
green crops, and 1,416 for pasture, which latter amount is probably a
little below the mark.
the above data, the average gross amount of produce raised in the
parish, as nearly as can be ascertained, will be as follows:—
Produce of grain of all
kinds, whether cultivated for the food of man or the domestic animals,
Potatoes, turnips, &c., Hay. Pasture, Flax, Thinning woods, -Minerals,
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