Kirkintilloch Town and Parish Municipal Government
Under the ancient charter
of William the Lion, the burgh of Kirkintilloch no doubt continued to be
governed by bailies elected under its provisions. It would have been of
interest could we have furnished a list of such important personages for
the period since then; but owing to the carelessness or malice of a
defaulting town clerk of former days, the records have been lost or
destroyed. Mr. James Hutcheson, the present town clerk, has fortunately
jotted down the names of a number as they occurred in deeds, and has
courteously supplied us with these; also, a list of schoolmasters. The
names of councillors and police commissioners we have collected from
other sources as we best could, and we here thank Mr. David Patrick for
much of it.
There are no records to
show the methods of procedure of these ancient bailies as judges; but,
doubtless, in primitive times, justice was administered in primitive
fashion. If the magistrate farmed his own land, he sometimes sentenced a
prisoner to half-a-day or a whole day's work on his farm as a
punishment, thus satisfying justice in a double sense. If the bailie
were a weaver, the culprit might be brought to him while he was engaged
at his occupation; and, without rising from his loom, he might sentence
the captive to imprisonment for a day or two. The same thing is done
daily in our colonies at present, where the magistrate may be felling
timber when the rural policeman comes with a prisoner, who receives his
sentence on the spot
A laughable incident is
recorded of Bailie Hay, who had a culprit before him, and told him,
You must swear meaning that he must take the usual oath. The man was
ignorant of this, and only knew one kind of swearing, and when the
bailie again insisted, the worthy magistrate was rather surprised when
the fellow treated him to a volley of oaths.
1518. Thomas Gelis.
1526. Andrew Dolour, and Thomas Gylys.
1527. Andrew Dolour, and Thomas Chalder.
1528. Robert Morson, and Robert Gylys.
1599. Malcolm Fleming of Woodilee, and George Plaine.
1617. James Gudine.
1620. John Dollor.
1627. Malcolm Plane, and James Bull.
1642. John Dollor, and William Morrison.
1652. Robert Dollor, and William Cunynburth.
1657. Robert Dollor, and John Coniebrugh.
1659. James Dirrimple, and Robert Dollor.
1661. James Findlay, and John Gudding.
1663. Robert Dollre, and John Conyburghe.
1667. Robert Dollre Elder, and Johne Gudding.
1669. John Kinybruche, and James Finlay.
1671. John Gudding, and James Findlay.
1673 James Findlay, and John Goodin.
1675. John Dollar, and Andrew Stirling.
1676. John Dollar, and John Guiding.
1678. John Guiding, and James Findlay.
1679. William Baillie, and William Scott.
1680. James Findlay, and Andrew Stirling.
1681. John Guidine, and Robert Dollor.
1682. George Stirling, and Thomas Calder.
1683. George Stirling, and Robert Dollor.
1685. James Findlay, and John Guiding.
1690. John Smith, and Robert Dollour.
1691. James Findlay, and John Guiding.
1993. John Gooding, and Robert Dollour, Elder.
1695. David Findlay, and Robert Dollor.
1696. David Smith, and Robert Dollar, jun.
1700. David Findlay, and James Mure.
1703. David Findlay, and Robert Dollar.
1704. Robert Dollor, and John Gudden.
1706. James Muir, and John Guiden.
1707. James Muir, and Hew Wilsone.
1710. Robert Dollor.
1711. Robert Dollor, and James Morsone.
1712. Hugh Wilson, and John Book.
1718. James M'Nair, and James Muir.
1719. James Balloch, and Andrew Fergus.
1720. Robert Dollor, and James Morson.
1721. James MNair, and James Muir.
1722. James Muir, and John Smiih.
1726. James Muir, and Andrew Geills.
1728. Hugh Wilson, and Robert Dollour.
1730. David Findlay, younger of Bogside, and Andrew Fergus.
1731. Andrew Fergus, and David Findlay.
1734. James Muir, and Hugh Wilson.
1735. Hugh Wilson, and Andrew Dollar.
1737. Andrew Dollar.
1738. David Findlay, younger of Bogside
1742. William Muir, and Malcolm Brown
1743. Malcolm Brown.
1744. Malcolm Brown, and John Boak.
1746. Malcolm Brown, and Andrew Finlay.
1757. Malcolm Brown, and Andrew Fergus.
1760. Alexander Dalrymple.
1762. Alexander Dalrymple, and William Boak.
1764. William Oswald, and Robert Boak.
1765. William Fergus, and Alexander Dalrymple.
1766. William Boak, and Gilbert Lang.
1767. William Fergus, and John Cuniburgh.
1772. William Fergus.
1773. Gilbert Lang, and William Fergus.
1776. William Fergus, and Alexander Dalrymple.
1785. James Morson, and William Fergus, sen.
1786. Alexander Dalrymple, and John Dollar.
1789. Alexander Dalrymple jun., and William Wilson.
1795. William Fergus, and James Morson.
1798. John Kinniburgh.
1800. James Morson, and William Fergus.
1801. Alexander Dalrymple, and George Ronald.
1805. Alexander Dalrymple, and William Fergus.
1806. John Freeland, and William Fergus.
1812-15. John Freeland, and William Hay.
1817-20. John Freeland, and John Dickson.
1820 22. James Wallace, and John Dickson.
1823-25. James Wallace, and William Hay.
1826-30. David Gemmill, and William Hay.
1831-32. David Gemmill, and Robert Galloway.
1833-39. David Gemmill, and John Dickson.
1839-40. David Gemmill, and James Moffat.
1840-42. David Gemmill, and William Macfarlan.
1842-44. William Colledge, and William Macfarlane.
1844-46. James Dalrymple, and William Macfarlane.
1846-59. James Dalrymple, and Robert Moffat.
1859-64. James Dalrymple, and Alexander Brown Armour.
1866-67. James Dalrymple, and George Duncan.
1871-84. James Dalrymple, and Matthew Wallace.
1884-91. James Dalrymple, and James Gardner.
By Statute 3rd and 4th
William IV., 1833, entitled An Act to enable burghs in Scotland to
establish a general system of police, with extended jurisdiction of
1000 yards beyond the burgh, and powers of assessment for lighting and
cleansing; Commissioners of Police were appointed to manage these
affairselected by householders of £10 and upwards within the area. The
following Commissioners have served:
Charles Stewart, banker.
S. R. Taylor.
Dr. D. P. Stewart.
William W. Mackay.
George B. Gilchrist.
A petition to the Sheriff
of Dumbartonshire was presented in 1871 by a number of the inhabitants,
praying that Kirkintilloch might be erected into a district under The
General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act, 1862, or, An Act to
make more effectual provision for regulating the police of towns and
populous places in Scotland; and for lighting, cleansing, paving,
draining, supplying water to and improving the same; and also for
promoting the public health thereof, 7th August, 1862; 25 and 26 Vic.,
cap. 101. It stated that the ancient burgh of Barony contained 1,389
acres; the jurisdiction for police purposes under statute William IV.
was about 3,500 acres, and they now petitioned for a proposed area of
2,856 acres. After having surveys made, visiting the ground, and
considering the whole matter, the sheriff fixed the boundaries of the
area at 690 acres, the population of which was 6,830, and the annual
A meeting of about 200
householders was held in the Black Bull hall on 18th November, 1871;
William Cunningham Steel, Sheriff of Dumbartonshire, presided, when a
plan of the boundary proposed to be adopted, was produced. James Downie,
Northbank, moved that the whole Act be adopted; seconded by Robert'
Martin, merchant. Andrew Stirling moved that twelve commissioners be
elected to carry the Act into operation; seconded by James Cooper.
Robert Goodwin, clothier, moved that the limits be divided into four
wards; seconded by John Johnston Miller, draper. James Downie moved
boundaries of wards; seconded by Andrew Stirling.
Under this Act the
following provosts, magistrates, and commissioners have served :
1871. James Downie.
1874, James Wright.
1877. David Sandeman.
1880. John Cameron.
1883. Dr. D. P. Stewart.
1886. James Downie.
1889. James Calder.
1892. A. C. Rutherford.
1871. William Stephen.
1871. James Cooper.
1874. James Cooper.
1878. Charles Stuart.
1881. John Roberton.
1882. John Aitken
1885. John Cochrane.
1888. Robert Graham.
1890. James Stewart.
1892. Robert Cowan.
Commissioners of Police.
1871. James Slimmon.
1871. Robert Goodwin.
1871. Alexander Stewart.
1871. Robert Martin.
1871. John J. Miller.
1871. George B. Gilchrist.
1871. John Farquhar.
1874. Andrew Stirling.
1875. A. F. MGregor.
1875 John Filshill.
1878. William Stewart.
1886. William Sharp.
1886. Edward Howell.
1887. John Fletcher.
1879. Patrick Ogilvie.
1882. T. D. Sproat
1884. R. A. Boyd.
1890. Robert Sommerville, jun.
1890. William Alexander.
1892. A. G. Service.
The commissioners soon
began to take active measures for the sanitary improvement of the town.
The water from the public wells was analysed, and found to be largely
charged with impurities detrimental to health, and the supply was quite
inadequate for the wants of the burgh. A scheme was therefore
inaugurated to erect a reservoir on the Campsie hills, and bring the
water from it in pipes by gravitation, all which was accomplished in due
time, greatly to the benefit of the health of the community, as well as
to their comfort and convenience.
A slaughter-house was
erected at the east-end of the town, and all animals designed for public
food were by law killed in the public abattoirs, and nowhere else.
The gas works, which
belonged to a private company, were taken over by the commissioners
under their powers, with advantage to the inhabitants.
The greatest problem to
be solved was the one that has puzzled all communities for these last
forty years, viz., the sewerage. This proved an intricate and
complicated matter for the commissioners, for not only was the river
Luggie polluted by Kirkintilloch, but by the Bothlin burn which flowed
into it, contaminated by the sewage of Lenzie, and particularly from the
Woodilee Lunatic asylum; while the whole reached the Kelvin, the
riparian proprietors of which were up in arms, and thundering forth
interdicts. After much disputing and litigation, the commissioners
resolved to grapple with the difficulty by leading the whole sewage to
the farm of Dryfield on the banks of the Kelvin, having acquired
twenty-four acres for the purpose.
Here a system of tanks
and outlets is established by which the sewage is led over the ground in
alternate plots, each being so treated once in three years. The ground
is in ridges and furrows, the ridges being eighteen inches to two feet
high, and the sewage passing along the furrows is not delivered on the
top of the vegetables growing on the ridges, which thus draw their
sustenance from the sewage without contact with it.
There is a large tank for
the low-level sewage, which holds 107,000 gallons, and the liquid is
pumped from it by a centrifugal pump, capable of raising 900 gallons per
minute, driven by a nine horse-power Otto gas-engine.
All these improvements,
as will at once be understood, cost much money, and the inhabitants
have, in consequence, to pay pretty heavy assessments. It is the
privilege of every tax-payer to grumble, and there is a good deal of
grumbling, especially at the so-called mistakes of the Commissioners. It
is easy to see a mistake after it is committed; easy judging after the
fact; but it must be remembered that these gentlemen give their time and
attention gratuitously, solely with a view to the good of the community,
whose interest they have at heart. There is no man nor body of men,
infallible. Even our imperial parliament makes huge blunders at times.
When a fellow is driving
a troublesome horse, and makes a spill, how apt are people to blame his
driving, but let any one of these just take the reins himself, and ten
to one he will do no better, perhaps worse; he will drop the character
of a critic, however, after that.
We append a statement of
the debt and expenditure of the burgh as at Whitsunday, 1892*
I. Under The General
Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act, 1862, for Slaughter-house and
General Police purposes, .... £1,227 12 8
II. Under The General
Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act, 1862, and The Public Health
(Scotland) Act, 1867,** for Sewerage purposes,.......24,488 0 0
III. Under The Roads and
Bridges (Scotland) Act 1878, for Extinction of Debt, - - - 400 0 0
IV. Under The Public
Health (Scotland) Act, 1867, for Water Works,......20,822 6 9
V. Under The Burghs Gas
Supply (Scotland) Act 1876, for Gas Works,.....£3.500 0 0
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