Page images
PDF

houses, which were occupied as soon as they were covered in, and plastered. The soil is various. In some places it is light and sandy, but, for the most part, wet and tilly. Agriculture is here in a state of infancy. The principal corn crop is oats. Barley is raised but in few places; and green crops are seldom attempted. Among the disadvantages that have hitherto retarded agricultural improvements, may be reckoned the badness of the roads, the distance from foreign manure, and especially the poverty of the greater part of the farmers to whom the land is at present let, in very small portions. Their rents are from 5 l. to 35 l.; two or three of them about 70 l. ; and one only up to 1 ool. Sterling. But the disadvantages under which the parish has hitherto laboured, are now in the way of being removed, or sufficiently compensated, by the extraordinary advantages arising from some new manufacturing establishments; and, in as far as their influence has hitherto extended, to improvements in agriculture, as soil has appeared very susceptible of melioration. There is abundant reason, indeed, for supposing, that a spirit for such improvements will not be difficult to excite; for, of late, many substantial inclosures have been made in different parts of the parish, and particularly on the estate of Ballindalloch, where, in addition to these, there have been several plantations of wood formed, with an equal

regard to beauty and utility.

Manufaāurer, &c.—About the beginning of the year 1789, Robert Dunmore, Esq; of Ballindalloch, introduced a colony of cotton weavers into the parish. For these, he, at first, built a few houses, at his own expence, in the neighbourhood of the church, and let them out at a small yearly rent. This branch of manufacture was immediately carried On

on to such an extent, that the value of goods manufactured, during the currency of the year 1792, amounted to the sum of 76761. Sterling. In the spring of the year 1790, the public spirited exertions of Mr Dunmore having been already direéted to this corner, he applied himself, with success, to procure the erection of a cotton mill in the neighbourhood of his new village; and a happy fituation having been chosen on the banks of the water of Endrick, the work was carried on, through his means, with such astonishing dispatch, that, in the month of June of the same year, yarn was spun in it. This branch of manufacture, in December 1792, gave employment to 390 people. Of these, 120 were men; 90 women; 180 children, from 6 to 16 years of age. The cotton mill, thus eretted, fully answered the purpose of extending and improving the village. Mr Dunmore readily feued out ground, to the new settlers, for the fite of a house and garden, most commonly to the extent of a quarter of an acre, and, at first, upon such easy terms as to afford them ample encouragement ; but here, as in many other cases, well direéted liberality proved good policy; for the consequent prosperity of his village, and its manufactures, soon enabled him to raise the rate of his feu-duty from 2 l. to 4!. per acre, without retarding the progress of building, or at all diffrefling the people. The houses, in general, are substantial. Most of them are covered with slate; and some of them are three stories high. The village now confists of 165 new houses, in which there are upwards of 430 rooms with fire places. For the rapid rise, and increase of the population of this new village, we are partiy indebted to a printfield and bleachfield, which Mr Dunmore, with the same patriotic views, procured to be established upon the opposite banks of the

Water

water of Endrick, and in the adjoining parish of Killearn ; for, although the necessary works connected with these establishments, be separated from this parish by the river, yet almost all the people belonging to them have their dwellinghouses in the village of Balfron, and a confiderable part of the grounds originally intended for carrying on the bleaching and printing operations, are on the Balfron fide of the river. Road;.-Till within these few years, the roads of this parish, during the winter months, were almost impassible ; but in this respect also, we have derived much advantage from the introdućtion of our manufactures, and the spirited exertions of the gentlemen who has so laudably patronized them. In this particular line of improvement, indeed, the other landed proprietors, not immediately connected with the mercantile or manufacturing interests, readily afforded him the most liberal and manly support, and thereby materially promoted both the particular interests of the manufacturing establishments, and the general good of the country; in which view Peter Spiers, Esq; of Culcreuch, a confiderable heritor in this

parish, ought to be particularly mentioned with honour. In

consequence of these exertions, a bridge of two arches, at Bailindalloch, has been thrown over the Endrick, which, when swelled, is a rapid and dangerous river. A turnpike road has been made from Glasgow to the village of Balfron, and leading from it into the military road between Stirling and Dumbarton. Another turnpike road has also been made, which, passing through the east end of this parish, leads from Kippen to Glasgow. Good cross roads are begun to be formed, and considerable progress has been made in them. Arches have been thrown over all the streams of water, and hollow places; so that there is now the certain prospect of having good roads through every part of the parish.

- Population,

[ocr errors][merged small]

Church and Stipend. Poor. School.—The manse and offices were built new from the foundation in 1789, and the church, which is neat, and even elegant, in 1793. The value of the stipend is from 70 l, to 8o 1. Sterling, according to the rise or fall of grain, part of it being paid in mcal and barley. The glebe consists of about 18 acres. The Earl of Kinnoui is patron.

The poor have hitherto been well provided for, out of the colle&tions made at the church, dues of mortcloths, and the interest of about 1ool. Sterling of poor's money; but that they will continue to be much longer so, out of these funds, confidering the great influx of inhabitants, is very doubtful. There are no vagrant poor in the parish.

The schoolmaster's salary is lool. Scotch, out of which he pays, annually, 2 l. Sterling for a person to teach a school in a distant part of the purish. Besides the parish dues, which are now pretty confiderable, the schoolmaster has somewhat more than an acre of land, originally fued by the session for his behoof. This piece of ground was lately exchanged for an equal quantity, with much advantage to the schoolmaster, by Mr Dunmore, as it stood in the way of some of his improvements. Upon the ground Mr Dunmore gave in exchange, he built, at his own expence, a meat and commodious school room, with a lodging for the master, of 4 rooms, all under one roof.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »