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Parish of Campsie

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Campsie
1834-45: Campsie

Campsie, a hamlet and a parish of S Stirlingshire. The old Clachan or hamlet lies in the mouth of Campsie or Kirkton Glen, 5 furlongs N by W of Campsie Glen station, and 1½ mile NW of Lennoxtown; commands a strikingly picturesque view around and up Campsie or Kirkton Glen; consists chiefly of straggling cottages, interspersed with gardens, trees, and hedgerows; and contains an inn, the manse, and the belfry and burying-ground of the old parish church, with ancient font and sepulchral slab- Here lie buried the martyr William Boick, who suffered at Glasgow in 1683; the Campsie minister John Collins, murdered by the Laird of Belglass on his way from a presbytery meeting in 1648; John Bell of Antermony; that quaint original, the geographer James Bell (1769 -1833); the Campsie poet William Muir, over whose grave a handsome monument was erected in 1857; and, last but not least, Norman Macleod, D- D. (1812-72) The ancient parish was larger than the present, being curtailed in 1649 by the annexation of one portion to Kilsyth, and of another to Baldernock- Till then it extended about 11 miles from E to W, from Garrel Glen to Craigmaddie Muir. Fringed to the S by a morass which flanked the course of the river Kelvin and was impassable in winter, it was bounded on the W by a line extending from the lofty eminence of Earls Seat to Cadder House; and it formed a very sequestered district, the eastern division of the ancient thanedom of Lennox. It escaped the turmoil and disasters from war and public commotions which afflicted most parts of the kingdom; and it retained old customs longer than most other districts, being marked not a little by its old-world manners. The powers of a feudal baron were exercised in it so late as 1639, when Lord Kilsyth hanged one of his servants on Gallow Hill in the barony of Bencloich; and down to 1744 black mail was paid by its farmers to Macgregor of Glengyle for protection against the Highland caterans. The present parish, besides Campsie hamlet, contains the town of Lennoxtown, and the villages of Milton of Campsie, Birdstone, Torrance, and Balgrochan, the three last lying respectively 1¼ mile N, 2¾ miles W, and 3 miles W by N, of Kirkintilloch; and it is traversed, past Birdstone and Milton, to Lennoxtown, by the Campsie branch of the North British railway, and from Lennoxtown, west-north-westward, by the Blane Valley railway. The parish is bounded N by Killearn and Fintry, E by Fintry and Kilsyth, S by Kirkintilloch i n Dumbartonshire and Cadder in Lanarkshire, SW by Baldernock, and W by Strathblane. Its length, from N to S, varies between 3½ and 6½ miles; its greatest breadth, from E to W, is 53/8 miles; and its area is 17,976¾ acres, of which 105¼ are water. The watershed of the Campsie Fells forms almost all the northern, and the river Kelvin-here a small sluggish stream-traces most of the southern, boundary. Part of the Campsie Fells, cut into sections by deep romantic ravines and glens, constitutes the northern district, summits here from E to W being Brown Hill (1297 feet), Lairs (1652), * Holehead (1801), Inner Black Hill (1572), *Hart Hill (1697), *Earls Seat (1894), and *Dumbreck (1664), of which those marked with asterisks culminate on the northern or western border. The South Brae, an eastern prolongation of the Kilpatrick Hills, with a culminating altitude of 758 feet above sea-level, constitutes the western part of the southern district; and the Strath of Campsie, not more than ½ mile broad in the extreme W, but gradually expanding till it becomes lost in the great strath of the Forth and Clyde Canal toward the E and the SE, constitutes all the remaining district. Three principal burns, and upwards of a dozen smaller ones, coming down from the Fells, form Glazert Water, which runs across the low country to the Kelvin, at a point nearly opposite to Kirkintilloch. The chief glens are famous for their picturesqueness, presenting at points a striking miniature resemblance to the Trossachs, their bottoms strewn with fallen blocks, their precipitous sides shaggy with wood or shelved with artificial terrace-paths. They are, too, one of the best haunts for naturalists within easy reach of Glasgow; so that, altogether, they form a powerful attraction to every class from the great metropolis of the West. Kirkton Glen, striking northward and north-eastward from Campsie hamlet, is the one most commonly frequented; but Fin Glen, north-westward from the same, is little inferior in most attractions, and for at least its length of way, its volume of water, and its cascades, is superior. The Strath of Campsie, for about 1½ mile from the western boundary, is a dark dingle or little else than a glen, traversed by the Pow Burn, between the Campsie Fells and the South Brae; and, along the southern border adjacent to the Kelvin, is flat alluvial ground, continuous with the Balmore Haughs; but elsewhere is so undulating that scarcely a stretch of 200 yards of level road can be found upon it. The rocks are chiefly trap and carboniferous; and they have junctions, superpositions, and contents highly interesting to geologists. The trap rocks, in some parts, are quasi-columnar; in others, include a profusion of hornblende and felspar crystals; in others, are a soft friable greenstone, of marly appearance, with large quantity of mealy zeolite and calc-spar; in others, contain foliated zeolite, prehnite, and compact gypsum; in others, overlie the carboniferous strata or form dykes intersecting these strata, and frequently tilting them out of their original position. The carboniferous rocks comprise sandstone, limestone, coal, argillaceous ironstone, aluminous clay slate, and some other members. The nature and collocation of the rocks, together with the contour of their surface, the fall of streams, and the relative position of their territory, prepared the parish for mining and manufacturing operations. Coal and a very excellent limestone are extensively worked- Alum, copperas, Prussian blue, prussiate of potash, and some kindred substances are manufactured in large chemical works in the southern vicinity of Lennoxtown. Bleach- s fields are at Haugh-Head and Glenmill; a bleachfield and calico-printing works are at Kincaid; a printfield, for linen and calico-printing, is at Lillyburn; an extensive printfield, for almost every description of cloth and calico-printing, is at Lennoxtown; and a distillery was formerly at Milton. Soils are remarkably various in constitution and quality. A deep but arable moss forms small patches near the Kelvin, and a rich alluvium most of the low flat ground along its course; beds of gravel and sand, sometimes of great thickness, lie on the undulations and hillocks of the strath; a light gravelly loam occupies small tracts in the middle of the strath, and a larger tract in the SE; whilst the Fells are skirted by a light clay on a tilly subsoil, with many boulders in both itself and the subsoil. Nearly all the strath and most of the South Brae are under the plough; and most of the Fells are finely pastoral. Norman Macleod was sent for a twelvemonth to the parish school, his father being minister from 1825 to 1835, and in his Memoir (1876) is a striking description of this ` half-agricultural, half-manufacturing Lowland district, in which the extremes of political feeling between stiffest Toryism and hottest Radicalism were running high- The parish was large and thickly peopled, and its natural features were in a manner symbolical of its social characteristics. The long line of the Fell, its green sides dotted with old thorns, rises into mountain solitude, from a valley whose wooded haughs are blurred with the smoke of manufacturing villages. The contrast is sharply presented. Sheep-walks, lonely as the Cheviots, look down on unsightly mounds of chemical refuse, and on clusters of smoking chimneys; and streams, which a mile away are clear as morning, are dyed black as ink before they have escaped from print-work and bleaching-green- The Manse was on the borderland of mountain and plain, for it was placed at the opening of Campsie Glen, famous for its picturesque series of thundering waterfalls and rocky pools. Behind the Manse lay the clachan and the old parish church, now in ruins. ' Lennox Castle is the principal mansion, others being Antermony, Auchinreoch, Balquharrage, Carlston, Craigbarnet, Glorat, Hayston, and Kincaid; and 7 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 18 of between £100 and £500,24 of from £50 to £100, and 61 of from £20 to £50- Campsie is in the presbytery of Glasgow and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £497. Its parish, Free, U.P., and Roman Catholic churches, are noticed under Lennoxtown, as likewise are three of its schools, besides which Craighead, Rowantreefauld, and Torrance public schools, with respective accommodation for 138,183, and 160 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 118,180, and 82, and grants of £93,11s. 6d., £132,10s. 6d., and £69,8s. Valuation (1881) £30,820, of which £2986 was for railways. Pop. (1801) 2906, (1831) 5109, (1851) 6918, (1861) 6483, (1871) 6739, (1881) 5873.—Ord. Sur., shs. 30,31,1866-67.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer


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