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Parish of Inchinnan

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: Inchinnan
1834-45: Inchinnan

Inchinnan (old forms Inchienun, Inchenane, Inchinan; Gael. inch, an island, and Inan, the patron saint; in the Ragman Roll the name is Kilinan), a small parish on the north-eastern border of Renfrewshire adjoining the river Clyde. It is bounded NE by the Clyde (which divides it from New Kilpatrick in Dumbartonshire), E and SE by Renfrew, SW by Kilbarchan and Erskine, and W and NW by Erskine. The boundary on the NE is formed by the Clyde for a distance of 2 3/8 miles, on the E and SE by the Cart and the Black Cart for a distance of 3 ¼ miles, and at the SW corner by the Gryfe for 3 ½ furlongs. Along the W it is purely artificial. Near the centre of the Clyde border is Newshot - corruptly Nushet - island, which is 1 ½ mile long by ¼ wide, while in the Cart before its confluence with the Clyde is a smaller one called Colin's Isle. At the latter point, according to tradition, a vessel once stranded, and long before the litigation due to this had ended, the mud and silt had so gathered around the wreck as to form a small island covered with thriving young firs. The extreme length of the parish from North Barr on the N to the junction of the Cart and Gryfe on the S is 2 7/8 miles, and the extreme breadth from the mouth of the Black Cart straight westward is 3 ¼ miles. The total area is 3527.993 acres, of which 60.892 are foreshore and 136.697 are water. The height rises gradually from the Clyde southwards and westwards. On the SE the height is from 12 to 20 feet, and it rises to 52 feet at the Free church, near the centre of the parish, and to 182 near Craigend. About eight-ninths of the parish is under cultivation, and the rest is woodland, roads, houses, etc., there being no waste. The soil is excellent, consisting chiefly of strong productive clay, and in the lower parts of rich loam. The underlying rocks are carboniferous, and consist of sandstone, limestone, coal, and volcanic rocks. Basalt has been extensively worked since 1760 for the construction of jetties, etc., and there are also quarries of sandstone and limestone both of good quality. The centre of the parish is about 9 miles distant from Glasgow, and 13 from Greenock. The parish is traversed by the roads from Paisley to Greenock, and from Renfrew to Greenock, but there is no railway within its bounds. The Renfrew section of the G. & S. -W. railway passes, however, close to the E side, and the Paisley and Greenock section of the Caledonian along the SW, and most parts are accessible from the Renfrew, Houston, or Bishopton stations. The Paisley and Greenock road crosses the Black Cart by Barnsford Bridge, and the Renfrew and Greenock road crosses both the Black and White Cart about 30 yards above their junction by Inchinnan Bridge. Here there was formerly a public ferry; and an adjoining property is still known as Ferrycroft. In 1759 a bridge of nine arches was built across the river below the junction of the two streams. It was also connected by a side arch with the point between the streams. It cost only £1450, and proved worth the money, for the foundations were bad and the whole structure gave way in 1809. The new bridge above the junction was completed in 1812 at an expense of £17,000. It is composed of two divisions, not in the same straight line, but forming nearly a right angle, each section crossing one of the streams almost at a right angle also. It was at the ford here that Argyll was captured in 1685 (see Renfrew). Although the parish takes its name from Inan, who was a confessor at Irvine in the 9th century, and was also patron saint of Beith, the church seems to have been dedicated to Saint Conval or Connal or Convallus, who taught Christianity here early in the 7th century. According to Fordun, who says he was the chief disciple of Saint Mungo, and was famous for his virtues and miracles, his bones were buried at Inchenane; and Bede says his remains in a stately monument at Inchennan were held in great veneration in his day. According to the Aberdeen Breviary, Conval sailed miraculously from Ireland to the Clyde on a stone which remained on the bank of the Cart, and was known as Currus Sancti Convalli, and wrought miraculous cures on man and beast. A stone called St Connalie's Stone stood near the ancient ford on the Renfrew side of the river, and is mentioned in the records of the burgh of Paisley in 1620. Mr Motherwell (in notes to Renfrewshire Characters and Scenes) identifies it with the Argyll stone (see Renfrew), and thinks it was the pediment of a cross dedicated to St Connal near his cell, and also marking the ford. The church was excepted from Walter FitzAllan's grant to the monastery of Paisley of all the churches of Strathgryfe, as he had already granted the church of Inchinnan with all its pertinents to the Knights Templars. On their suppression in 1312 it was transferred to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem. After the Reformation the tithes, temple-lands, etc. passed to Lord Torphichen, and the temple-lands subsequently to Semple of Beltrees. The old church was on the site of the present building at the W end of Inchinnan bridge, and was a plain structure measuring 50 feet by 18, with very thick walls. It was built about 1100, and was pulled down in 1828, when the floor was found to be literally paved with skulls. Four tombstones, apparently remains of old stone coffins, with ridged tops, are called 'the Templars' graves' The ground known as Ladyacre was the endowment of the Virgin's altar in the old church. The lands of Inchinnan were granted by King Malcolm IV. to Walter, the High Steward, in 1158, but on the death of Matthew, fourth Earl of Lennox, in 1571, they reverted to the Crown, James VI. being the heir. He conferred them first on his uncle Charles, then on his grand uncle Robert, afterwards Earl of March, and thereafter again on Esmé Stewart, Lord d'Aubigny, a cousin of his father. In 1672 Charles, sixth Duke of Lennox, dying without issue, the lands again reverted to the Crown, and were granted by Charles II. in 1680 to his natural son Charles Lennox, Duke of Lennox and Richmond, who sold them to the Duke of Montrose in the beginning of last century, and he again in 1737 sold them to Archibald Campbell of Blythswood, descended from the families of Ardkinlas and Douglas of Mains in Dumbartonshire, and in his line the property still remains. The manor-house stood about 2 furlongs N of North Barr House towards the Clyde, and seems to have been extensively altered and rebuilt about 1506 by Matthew, Lord Darnley, second Earl of Lennox, and to have received the name of 'the palace,' which the site still bears. According to Crawford's History of Renfrewshire, there were considerable remains of the building in 1710, but these had disappeared before the end of the century. The estate of North Barr was purchased originally in 1670 by Donald M 'Gilchrist, who claimed descent from the Lord of Tarbart of Robert the Bruce's time. Part of it passed to the family of Balfour, but the greater part of it was in 1741 acquired by Lord Sempill, and again in 1798 by Mr James Buchanan, who sold it to Lord Blantyre in 1812. An old baronial fortalice on it has since been demolished. South Barr was the property of the Boyds, and afterwards of the Alexanders, sprung from Claud Alexander of Ballochmyle. There is a good mansion-house, built in 1827, on the site of the old house, which was burned in 1826. Park House (A. Moffatt, Esq.) is a modern mansion. Robert Law, a Covenanting minister, whose curious Journal from 1638 to 1684 was edited in 1818 by C. K. Sharpe, was born in the parish. The post-town is Paisley. Sir Archibald Campbell of Blythswood is the principal proprietor; 6 others hold an annual value of £100 to £500; and there are a few others of smaller amount. Inchinnan is in the presbytery of Paisley and the synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £420. The parish church, near the left bank of the Black Cart, l ½ mile W by N of Renfrew, is a Gothic building with a square tower, and was opened in 1828. The Free church, built at the private cost of Mr Henderson of Park, is 1 3/8 mile NW of the parish church. The public school, with accommodation for 130 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 40, and a grant of £31, 19s. Valuation (1860) £5501, (1879) £8029, 6s., (1883) £7181, 3s. 3d. Pop. (1755) 397, (1801) 462, (1831) 642, (1861) 619, (1871) 584, (1881) 508. The decrease in population is due to the stoppage of Southbar Colliery and Rashielea Quarry.—Ord. Sur., sh. 30, 1866.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

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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