Parish of Clackmannan

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: Clackmannan
1834-45: Clackmannan

Clackmannan, a town and a parish of Clackmannanshire. The town stands ½ mile SSE of a station of its own name on the Stirling and Dunfermline section of the North British, and 2 miles E by S of Alloa, being built on an eminence which rises gently out of the carse plain to a height of 100 feet above the Forth. On either side the ground has a gradual descent; but to the W, where the old Tower is placed, it is bold and rocky. The view from there is singularly fine. To the W are seen Alloa, Stirling, and St Ninians, and all the country as far as Ben Lomond; on the N the prospect is bounded by the Ochils; S and E are the fertile fields of Stirlingshire, and the towns of Kincardine, Falkirk, and Linlithgow; whilst the foreground is filled by the Forth, expanding into a broad sheet of water, like a large inland lake. In the town itself, with a wide main street, but many poor houses, there is little to admire beyond its ruined Tower and an old market cross, surmounted by the arms of Bruce. The Tower, said commonly to have been built by King Robert Bruce, dates rather from the 15th century. Oblong in plan, with a short projecting wing, it is 79 feet high, its modern slated roof being gained by a spiral stair; and it retains the cellars, kitchen, barrel-vaulted hall, upper chamber, machicoulis, corbie-stepped gables, and bartizan, with a 17th century belfry (Procs. Alloa Soc., 1875). Adjoining the Tower stood the old mansion, the seat of the lineal descendants of that Robert Bruce to whom King David, his cousin, granted the castle and barony of Clackmannan in 1359. Here were preserved the sword and helmet of the great King Robert; and here with the sword Mrs Bruce of Clackmannan (1701-96), the last laird's widow, and a zealous Jacobite, knighted Robert Burns, 26th August 1787. (See Broomhall and Kenet.) In name at least Clackmannan remains the county town, but it is quite eclipsed by Alloa, under which it has a post office; a fair is still held on 26 June. The parish church (1815; 1250 sittings) has a lofty tower, on which a town clock was placed in 1866. There are also a Free and a U.P. church; and a cemetery was opened in 1857. Pop. (1841) 1077, (1861) 1159, (1871) 1309, (1881) 1503.

The parish contains also the villages of Sauchie, Fish Cross, Kennet, Westfield, and Forrestmill. It is bounded N by Tillicoultry and Dollar, NE by Muckart in Perthshire, E by Fossoway in Perthshire and Saline in Fife, SE by Culross and Tulliallan in Perthshire (detached), SW by the Forth, and W by Alloa. Its utmost length from NE to SW is 5¼ miles; its width varies between 1½ and 5 miles; and its area is 98692/3 acres, of which 86¾ are foreshore and 355¾ water, whilst 1020 belong to the outlying Sauchie section. The Forth, here from 3 to 7 furlongs broad, flows 1 mile along the SW border; and its affluent, the Black Devon. after tracing 1¾ mile of the Saline boundary, winds 4½ miles W and SW through the interior, sweeping round the NW base of the eminence on which the town is built, and lastly for 2½ miles dividing Alloa from Clackmannan. On the NW border lies Gartmorn Dam (6 x 2½ furl.). The surface, for 1½ mile from the Forth, is almost a dead level, part of the Carse of Clackmannan; thence it rises, with a general north-eastward ascent, to 117 feet near Kennet, 200 near Woodyett, 207 at Gartlove, 300 near Parklands, 265 at Meadowhill, and 365 at Weston. The rocks, to a great extent, are carboniferous. Sandstone, of various qualities, is worked in several quarries; coal has been largely mined for upwards of two centuries; and ironstone is likewise plentiful. The soil exhibits a considerable diversity of character, but almost everywhere rests on a hard cold till. Nearly all the parish, with the exception of about one-fifth under wood, is either regularly or occasionally in tillage. There are in the parish two woollen factories, a vat-building establishment, two saw-mills, and fire-brick works; and on the Forth are two harbours, Clackmannan Pow and Kennet Pans. Schaw Park, Kennet House, Kennet Pans, Kilbagie, Aberdona, Garlet, and Brucefield are the principal mansions; and 5 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 4 of between £100 and £500,4 of from £50 to £100, and 23 of from £20 to £50. Clackmannan is in the presbytery of Stirling and synod of Perth and Stirling; the living is worth £360. It gives off a portion to the quoad sacra parish of Blairingone; and Sauchie was formed in 1877 into a separate quoad sacra parish. Clackmannan girls' school, and Clackmannan, Forrestmill, and Kennet public schools, with respective accommodation for 100,350,94, and 144 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 88,207, 41, and 98, and grants of £51,19s. 6d., £180,4s., £45,15s., and £83,19s. Valuation (1882) £18,613, 12s. 3d. Pop. of quoad sacra parish (1881) 1681; of civil parish (1801) 2961, (1831) 4266, (1861) 4425, (1871) 4653, (1881) 4541.—Ord. Sur., sh. 39,1869.

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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