Parish of Kilmacolm

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: Kilmalcolm
1834-45: Kilmalcolm

Kilmalcolm, a village and a parish in the Lower Ward of Renfrewshire. The village stands, 350 feet above sea-level, near the E border of the parish; and has a station on the Greenock and Ayrshire branch of the Glasgow and South-Western railway, 4 miles SE of Port Glasgow, 7½ ESE of Greenock, and 15 WNW of Glasgow. It took its name from the dedication of its ancient church to St Columba; and till lately it mainly consisted of old thatched houses, presenting a singularly antique and sequestered aspect. Its sheltered situation and the salubrity of its climate have led to a great extension during the last decade; and now it has a post office under Paisley, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, a branch of the Royal Bank, 5 insurance agencies, a good hotel, a large hydropathic establishment (1880), gasworks, and water-works, formed in 1878 at a cost of nearly £5000, with a reservoir holding 1, 500,000 gallons, and fed from Blacketty Burn. The parish church is a handsome edifice of 1833, with a tower and 700 sittings; it adjoins the aisle of a previous church, containing the tomb of the Earls of Glencairn. A Free church was opened in 1881, and a U.P. church in 1861. Pop. (1871) 395, (1881) 1170.

The parish is bounded N by Port Glasgow and the Firth of Clyde, E by Erskine and Houston, SE by Kilbarchan, S by Lochwinnoch, S W by Largs in Ayrshire, and W by Innerkip and Greenock. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 6½ miles; its breadth, from E to W, varies between 2 and 7¾ miles; and its area is 20, 405¾ acres, of which 263½ are foreshore and 477¼ water. The coast-line, 2½ miles in extent, is fringed by the low platform of the Firth's ancient sea-margin, and backed by pleasant braes 300 to 648 feet high. Gryfe Water, issuing from Gryfe Reservoir on the Greenock border, flows south-eastward right across the parish; and by it, Green Water, and its other affluents, the interior has been so channelled as to offer a charming variety of gentle hill and vale, with loftier moss and moorland to the W and S. Sinking along the Gryfe in the extreme E to 180 feet above sea-level, the surface thence rises to 570 feet at Craiglunscheoch, 853 at Hardridge Hill, and 1446 at Creuch Hill. The predominant rocks are eruptive; and the soil on the low grounds is mostly light and gravelly, on the higher is moorish or mossy. Nearly four-ninths of the entire area are in tillage; plantations cover some 125 acres; and the rest of the land is either pastoral or waste. Mansions, noticed separately, are Duchall, Finlaystone, Carrnuth, and Broadfield; and 10 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 34 of between £100 and £500, 65 of from £50 to £100, and 40 of from £20 to £50. Kilmalcolm is in the presbytery of Greenock and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £465. Kilmalcolm public and West Syde public schools, with respective accommodation for 350 and 80 children, had (1882) an average attendance of 202 and 33, and grants of £173 and £35, 7s. Valuation )1860) £11, 331, (1883) £35, 246. Pop. (1801) 1100, (1831) 1613, (1861) 1455, (1871) 1716, (1881) 2708.—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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