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Annals of Garelochside
By W. C. Maughan (1897)



THE success which attended his book Rosneath: Past and Present, has encouraged the author to attempt a larger work treated in a similar style. There is so much of interest in the whole neighbourhood of the Gareloch, and it is such a favourite resort in summer, that it is hoped` that a careful topographical study of the parishes of Row and Cardross, as they existed in the latter part of last century, and coming down to the present day, will secure approval. It is thought desirable to incorporate Rosneath with the other parishes, because the author has gained much additional information upon the subject. Many noble families have owned the lands near the Gareloch, and played their part in the affairs of the nation, although in some instances, they no longer are connected with Dunbartonshire.

The first part of the book treats of the County of Dunbarton as a whole, and gives some details as to the life and pursuits of the inhabitants of that part of Scotland. Particulars regarding the old industries and occupations, as well as about the social habits of the landowners and peasantry, and the many changes in the ownership of the estates, form an interesting and instructive picture.

In discoursing upon the separate parishes of Row, Cardross, and Rosneath, the author wished to point out the ancient holdings of the various families, and to specify what they did to bring out the resources of the soil. The old ecclesiastical divisions are noted, and details given which will be acceptable to the student of Church history.

In various instances the author was fortunate in being able to draw upon the recollections of very aged persons, whose memories happily retained a wonderful vigour, and who could give graphic pictures of scenes and customs of over eighty years ago. The favourite town of Helensburgh demanded a full and careful account, and its gradual rise, from a single row of thatched houses on the shore to its present extensive boundaries, cannot but be of interest to many.

Though some of the family matters given may seem rather minute, still, as a picture of men and manners, they have a value of their own. The ecclesiastical details, taken from authentic sources, characterise a state of matters now passing away.

The notes and anecdotes as to the agriculture, ornithology, and natural history of the Gareloch, indicate that much may be gleaned in this department. Until within a few years, the district of the Gareloch was rich in specimens of game, aquatic, and sea-birds, and some account is given of their various haunts and habits.

The author has to acknowledge his obligation to different works treating of the West of Scotland, and the County of Dunbarton in particular. For many of the details of the ancient families of Row and Cardross he is indebted to the elaborate and accurate family and local histories contained in the Dennistoun MS. in the Advocates' Library. Irving's laborious History of Dumbartonshire has supplied much valuable information, as has also Dr. David Murray's monograph an Old Cardross, and the Rev. Dr. Story's admired life of his father, from which is condensed the account of the Story family. Tytler's History of Scotland was examined as to the domestic details and manners of a byegone age, while Sir William Fraser's Colquhouns of Luss, Hew Scott's Fasti, Origines Parochiales, and the two Statistical Accounts of Scotland, all contributed many facts of interest. Amongst other works consulted were Eminent Scotsmen, Whyte and M'Farlane's Agriculture of Dunbartonshire, Sketches of Clergy of the Gareloch, The Scottish Nation, Beauties of Scotland, Memorials of John Macleod Campbell, Macleod's Lennox Families, and other works ; Birds of [Vest of Scotland, Morris' Life of Henry Pell, Chalmers' Caledonia, Glen's History of Dunbarton, The Story of Helensburgh, Days at the Coast, etc.

Especial thanks are due to Dr. Murray for extracts from Old Cardross, also to Rev. J. A Webster of Row, Rev. W. Maxwell of Cardross, and Rev. Alfred Warr of Rosneath, for useful information afforded and permission to examine church records of their respective parishes. Interesting particulars were kindly given by Mr. James Spy, of Row, upon the topography of that district, by Mr. Duncan M'Kinlay, a venerable native of Shandon, and ferryman there for many long years; and by Mr. Andrew Jardine of Balimenoch, Glenfruin.

For his account of Rosneath the author has to acknowledge his indebtedness to the Marquis of Lorne, K.T., Mr. Peter M`Neilage, Mill of Campsail; Mr. Archibald Stewart, Portkill; Mr. John M'Lean, Clachan of Rosneath; and Mr. Robert Chalmers, Rahanethe two latter natives of the parish having since passed away. Thanks are also due to Sir James Colquhoun, Bart., of Colquhoun; Sir Joseph D. Hooker, K.C.S.I.; Mr. John M'Farlane, Faslane; Mr. John William Burns of Kilmahew ; Mr. Adam Miller, Helens-burgh; Mr. C. T. Couper, Row; Mr. Michael Honeyman; Mr. John Bell, Dunbarton; Mr. Robert Craig, Sheriff Clerk; Mr. R. Bennett Browne of Bendarroch; Mr. Barrett, Secretary of Mitchell Library; Mr. Donald Maclean, Postmaster, Helensburgh. Also to Mrs. M'Donald, of Belmore; Mrs. Nisbet, Row; Mrs. Bain, Kilcreggan; Mrs. Campbell, Barbour; Mrs. Archd. Marquis, Coulport; Mrs. Macfarlane, Old Ferry House, Kilcreggan. Major John M'Intyre, V.D., Cardross, also obligingly supplied many particulars of special interest.

Mr. Alexander M`Gibbon has furnished the illustrations, with the exception of the Gareloch view, taken by Miss Elma Story from a painting by G. F. Buchanan, of the loch as it appeared in 1846.

16th July, 1896.



  • Chapter I
    The County of Dunbarton Two Centuries Ago
  • Chapter II
    The Lennox and Colquhoun Families. Henry Bell and Robert Napier
  • Chapter III
    Parochial Records; Church Minutes; John M'Leod Campbell
  • Chapter IV
    Row Estates; Battle of Glenfruin; Ornithology of Row; Topography of Garelochside
  • Chapter V
    Helensburgh; Its History, Institutions, and Inhabitants


  • Chapter I
    History of The Clan Campbell, and its Connection with Rosneath
  • Chapter II
    Topography of Parish; Sir William Wallace; "The Heart of Midlothian," and Sir Walter Scott
  • Chapter III
    Rosneath Estates; Ancient Families; Agriculture; Folk Lore; Eminent Men; Birds
  • Chapter IV
    Parochial Records; Succession of Ministers; The Story Family; Ecclesiastical Conditions


  • Chapter I
    Topography; Succession of Ministers; Ecclesiastical State
  • Chapter II
    Agriculture; Eminent Men; Smollett Family; Dennistouns of Colgrain
  • Chapter III
    Description of Parish; Kilmahew and Killiter; Ardmore Promontory
  • Chapter IV
    Historical; Archaeological; and Miscellaneous

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