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Kirkintilloch Town and Parish
Flax Manufacture


The poet Robert Henryson in 1430-50 thus writes:—

The lint ryped, the churle pulled the lyne,
Ripled the bolles, and in beating it set ;
It steeped in the bume, and dried syne,
And with ane beittel knocked it and bet.
Syne swyingled it weill, and heckled in the flet,
His wyfe it span and twinde it into thread.

Although the regular market of Kirkintilloch was undoubtedly held at the cross for ages on the ground specified and set apart for the purpose in the charter of the burgh, there is evidence to show that the lint market was held at the Eastside every Saturday. As every farmer grew lint at one period, the market was a large one, for it was the centre of a very wide area. Lint was brought on the backs of horses led one after another, from such distant places as Fintry and the district around it. The street at the east side called “Ledgate,” got its name from the gangs of led horses coming regularly along it. The abnormal width of the Eastside is no doubt due to the circumstance of the lint market being held there, and the bailies’ taking care that sufficient width was left unbuilt upon for the purpose.

The Blue Tower, which stood near the steeple—and on the site of which a house was built for the late Mr. Adams, schoolmaster—was supposed, with some reason, to be part of the Castle of Kirkintilloch.

Opposite the church-gate, at the top of the Back-causeway, stood a large house, called “The Rood House.” Above the doorway and windows were Latin inscriptions, one being, “Gloria Dei.” Attached to the house was an orchard, which became the burying-ground of Dr. Marshall’s church, and is called the “Orchard graveyard ” at this day. No doubt this was the house and glebe of the chaplains of the church of the Virgin Mary, which, as we have seen, was endowed by Sir David Fleming, in 1379, with part of the lands of Duntiblae and the mill.

At the end of last century John Gillies, who was bellman of Kirkintilloch, began certain of his proclamations thus: “Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes; in the name of the Lady Clementina Fleming of Biggar and Cumbernauld,” etc.


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