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Port of Menteith

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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Monteith, Port of, a hamlet and a parish of SW Perthshire. The hamlet lies on the NE shore of the Lake of Monteith, 6 miles SSW of Callander, 4½ E by N of Aberfoyle, and 4 NNW of Port of Monteith station, in Kippen parish, on the Forth and Clyde junction section of the North British railway, this being 13 miles W by N of Stirling, and 17¼ NE of Balloch. Erected into a burgh of barony by James III. in 1467, it long was called simply Port, as being the landing-place from Inch Talla and Inchmahome;* and has a little pier, a good hotel, and a post office under Stirling.

The parish, containing also the village and station of Gartmore, since 1615 has comprehended the ancient parish of Port and a portion of that of Lany. It is bounded N by Callander, NE by Callander and Kilmadock, E by Kincardine (detached), S by Kippen and Drymen in Stirlingshire, SW by Drymen, and W by Aberfoyle. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 71/8 miles; its utmost breadth, from N to S, is 5 miles; and its area is 367/8 miles or 23,599½ acres, of which 1361¼ are water. The Forth bas here a winding course of 13¾ miles-viz., 7 furlongs southward along the western border, 2¾ miles south-eastward across the south-western interior, and 101/8 miles eastward along all the southern border-though the point which it first touches and that where it quits the parish are but 75/8 miles distant as the crow flies. Kelty Water flows 2¼ miles east-bynorthward along part of the Drymen boundary to the Forth, another of whose affluents, Goodie Water, goes 4 miles eastward from the Lake of Monteith (1½ x 1 mile; 55 feet) till it passes off into Kincardine. Loch Drunkie (9 x 71/3 furl.; 450 feet) lies on the boundary with Aberfoyle, and Loch Vennachar (3¾ miles x 5 furl.; 270 feet) on that with Callander; whilst in the NE interior are Loch Ruskie (2 x 2¾ furl.; 400 feet) and Lochan Balloch (2¼ x 1 furl.; 1180 feet). The surface of the southern district is low and flat, sinking to 45, and rarely much exceeding 100, feet above sea-level; but N of the Lake of Monteith rise the Monteith Hills (1289 feet), Ben Dearg (1401), Ben Gullipen (1344), and Meall nan Gobhar (812). This upland district, comprising one-third of the whole area of the parish, consists of a congeries of rocky and mountainous elevations, chiefly covered with heath, and admitting cultivation only in some confined hollows and along some narrow skirts. The SE corner comprises part of Flanders Moss, in all respects similar in character to the famous one of Kincardine. The rest of the parish, including the district along the Forth, consists of rich carse land towards the river, of 'dryfield' towards the hills, and presents an appearance of much fertility and high culture. The transition from the uplands to the lowlands of the parish is sudden and perfect. In the mountains is limestone of the quality of marble, having a blue ground streaked with white, which, when calcined, affords a quicklime of the purest white. A bluish grey sandstone occurs in the champaign district, close in texture, and very suitable for pavements and staircases. The soil of the carse lands is rich argillaceous alluvium; on most other lands of the champaign district is either a very fertile shallow loam, a stiff, intractable, tilly clay, a ferruginous and comparatively barren gravel, or a more or less fertile reclaimed swamp or meadow; on Flanders Moss and on two other smaller tracts is moss; and on the cultivable part of the uplands is chiefly reclaimed moor. An island in Loch Ruskie is the traditional site of a castle belonging to Sir John Menteith, Wallace's gaoler at Dumbarton. Other antiquities are traces of a Roman road, deflecting from the great Roman road to Brechin; vestiges of a Roman castellum at the north-western extremity of Flanders Moss; traces of an ancient military post on Keirhead, 1 mile NE of the castellum; and the ecclesiastical and baronial ruins on the islands in the Lake of Monteith. Tullimoss, to the NW of the Lake of Monteith, was the scene of a skirmish in 1489 between James IV. and the Earl of Lennox; and a spot called Suir, near Gartmore House, was the place where Rob Roy is said to have taken from the factor of the Duke of Montrose his collection of rents. From 1 to 10 Sept. 1869, the Queen, with the Princesses Louise and Beatrice, stayed at Invertrossachs, 'the recollection of the ten days at which-quiet and cozy-and of the beautiful country and scenery I saw in the neighbourhood, will ever be a very pleasant one' (pp. 116-147 of More Leaves from the journal of a Life in the Highlands, 1884). Mansions are Blairhoyle, Cardross, Gartmore, Invertrossachs, Lochend (1715), and Rednock; and 6 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 8 of between £100 and £500, 1 of from £50 to £100, and 5 of from £20 to £50. Giving off portions to the quoad sacra parishes of Gartmore, Norriston, and Trossachs, this parish is in the presbytery of Dunblane and the synod of Perth and Stirling; the stipend and communion elements have a value of £330. The parish church, at Port of Monteith hamlet, was built in 1878 in the Gothic style of the 13th century, and has a stained E window. Three public schools-Dykehead, Port of Monteith, and Ruskie-with respective accommodation for 66, 47, and 66 children, had (l883) an average attendance of 20, 26, and 33, and grants of £25, 17s., £32, 4s., and £38, 2s. 6d. Valuation (1860) £10,906, (1884) £12,649, 3s. 6d. Pop. (1801) 1569, (1831) 1664, (1861) 1375, (1871) 1243, (1881) 1175, of whom 60 were Gaelic-speaking, and 654 were in the ecclesiastical parish.—Ord. Sur., shs. 38, 39, 187169.

* The present minister, however, inclines to refer Port to the Latin porta, 'gate, pass, or defile,' this parish being indeed a gate of the Highlands.

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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