Mar Hall

(Erskine House)

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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Erskine (13th century Irschen), a parish on the northern border of Renfrewshire, containing the post office, village, and railway station of Bishopton, 5 miles NNW of Paisley. It is bounded N and NE by the river Clyde, E by Inchinnan, S by Houston, and SW and W by Kilmalcolm. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 7 miles; its breadth, from N to S, varies between 13/8. and 3½ miles; and its area is 9092 acres, of which 1189 are foreshore and 368 water. The Clyde, a stately sea river, sweeping 67/8. miles west-north-westward, here widens from 1 furlong to 1¾ mile, and here is crossed by Erskine and West Ferries, the former just above Old Kilpatrick village, with quays so as to serve for horses and carriages as well as for foot passengers; the latter opposite Dumbarton Castle. The Renfrewshire shore is much of it low and flat, and throughout all the eastern interior the surface nowhere exceeds 150 feet above sea-level. The western division is hillier, attaining 317 feet near Netherston, 600 at Barscube, 583 at Gallahill, 626 near Bogside, and 611 near Langside-heights that command magnificent views along the Clyde, up Gare Loch and Loch Long, and away to the Grampians. Dargavel Burn traces most of the southern boundary, and several short burns rise in the interior, and run to the Clyde; whilst springs of excellent water are everywhere plentiful. The rocks of the E are chiefly carboniferous, and those of the W eruptive. Minerals of the zeolitic family abound in the latter; and fine specimens have been found of mesotype and amethystine quartz. Sandstone, for building purposes, has been worked in three quarries; and trap rock, for road metal, in several places. The soil is mainly either a light friable retentive earth, with tilly subsoil, or a sharp dry earth, incumbent upon trap. Nearly a twelfth of the entire area is under wood; about a fifth is pastoral, mossy, or waste; and all the rest is arable. In 1226 the barony of Erskine was held by one Henry de Erskine, of whose descendants the fifth had a grant of Alloa, the twelfth was created Earl of Mar, and by the fourteenth this property was sold in 1638 to Sir John Hamilton of Orbiston. From the Hamiltons it was purchased in 1703 by the noble family of Blantyre, and it now belongs to Charles Stuart, twelfth Baron Blantyre (b. 1818; suc. 1830), who owns 4449 acres in the shire, valued at £9016 per annum. The present mansion stands on a rising-ground above the Clyde, ¾ mile WNW of Erskine ferry, and 2 miles NNE of Bishopton. Built in 1828 after designs by Sir Robert Smirke, it is a splendid Tudor edifice, and commands a view as varied as it is beautiful. One feature in the finely-wooded park is an obelisk, 80 feet high, erected to the memory of Robert, eleventh Lord Blantyre (1777-1830), who, after serving through the Peninsular campaign, was killed by a stray bullet during the Brussels insurrection. Dargavel has been separately noticed, as also has Bargarran of witchcraft fame. The Rev. Walter Young, D.D., F.R.S., and the Rev. Andrew Stewart, M.D., the former famous as a musician, the latter distinguished for great skill in pulmonary complaints, were ministers of Erskine, the ono till 1814, the other till 1839. Seven proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 5 of between £100 and £500, 9 of from £50 to £100, and 22 of from £20 to £50. Erskine is in the presbytery of Greenock and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £387. The parish church, 1½ mile NNE of Bishopton, was built in 1813, and is a handsome Gothic edifice, containing 500 sittings. At I.angbank there is a quoad sacra church, at Bishopton a Free church; and two public schools, Erskine and Undercraig, with respective accommodation for 245 and 113 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 137 and 54, and grants of £108, 9s. 6d. and £53s. 6s. Valuation (1860) £12, 048, (1882) £20,098, 19s. 6d. Pop. (1801) 847, (1831) 973, (1861) 1457, (1871) 1565, (1881) 1653.—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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