Parish of Port Glasgow

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: Port Glasgow
1834-45: Port Glasgow

Port-Glasgow, a parish, with a parliamentary burgh of the same name, on the N coast of the Lower Ward of Renfrewshire. It is bounded N by the Clyde, E and S by Kilmalcolm, and W by Greenock. The boundary on the E and S is artificial, but on the N it is formed by the Clyde, and on the W by Devol Burn to a point about 1/6 mile above Wallace's Loup. The greatest length of the parish, from the corner of the West Harbour on the N to the extreme southern point, is fully 1½ mile; the greatest width, from Laigh Auchinleck on the E to Wallace's Loup on the W, is barely 1½ mile; and the area is 1031.772 acres, of which 39.381 are foreshore and 48.524 water. There is a flat strip along the Clyde on the N side from 13 to 20 feet above sea-level, and from this the ground slopes rapidly up to the 200-feet line which lies immediately to the S of the burgh, and still more rapidly to the 500-feet line farther to the S. From this the rise to 600 feet is more gradual, and the highest points are 700 feet on the SW and 656 near the extreme S. The soil of the flat tract along the Clyde is a very fertile loam, but that along the higher ground is cold and poor. The underlying rocks are mostly volcanic. The drainage of the parish is effected by Devol Burn on the W-along the course of which there are several small waterfalls-and some smaller burns all flowing to the Clyde. In the SW is Douglehill Dam or Reservoir (2 x 1 furl.). The only object of interest beyond the town is Newark Castle in the NE, which is separately noticed. A line across the Clyde from Newark Castle to Cardross is the lower limit of the jurisdiction of the Clyde Trustees; while below this the care of the channel and estuary is under the Clyde Lighthouse Trust. The parish is traversed from E to W by the main line of road from Glasgow along the edge of the river and Firth, and by the Glasgow, Paisley, and Greenock branches of both the Caledonian and Glasgow and South-Western railways. From the former the Wemyss Bay branch strikes off close to the western boundary of the parish.

Civilly, the parish was, prior to 1695, in the parish of Kilmalcolm, and ecclesiastically, it is divided into the parishes of Port-Glasgow and Newark, the latter originally established in 1774 as a chapel of ease, but constituted as a quoad sacra charge in 1855. Both are in the presbytery of Greenock in the synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and the living of Port-Glasgow is worth £250. The churches are noticed in the following article, and the landward school board is united with that of East Greenock. The industries are noticed under the town. The principal landowner is Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart, Bart. of Greenock and Blackhall, and 12 others hold each an annual value of £500 or upwards, 54 hold each between £500 and £100, 45 hold each between £100 and £50, and there are a number of smaller amount. Valuation, exclusive of burgh, (1884) £771, 13s. Pop. of entire parish (1801) 3865, (1831) 5192, (1861) 7204, (1871) 9912, (1881) 10,913, of whom 5568 were males and 5345 females. Of the whole population 10, 802 were at that time within the parliamentary boundary, and 7626 were in the ecclesiastical parish.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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