Sunday, 30 December 2007
Friday, 28 December 2007
Scottish Winter Sunset. Tour Scotland, on an Ancestry Tour of Scotland. Best Scottish Tours, Best Scottish Food, Best Scottish Hotels, Small Group Tours of Scotland. Rent a Cottage in Scotland.
Thursday, 27 December 2007
Uig, in the stunning Trotternish Peninsula, Isle Of Skye, Scotland. Ancient looking tower overlooking bay is nineteenth century folly, built by a Captain Fraser. Uig is also the terminal for ferries to Lochmaddy and Tarbert. Tour Uig, Scotland, on an Ancestry Tour of Scotland. Best Scottish Tours, Best Scottish Food, Best Scottish Hotels, Small Group Tours of Scotland. Rent a Cottage in Scotland. Uig in 1846. Uig, a parish, in the Island of Lewis, county of Ross and Cromarty; containing, with the islands of Great and Little Bernera, Pabbay, and Vuiavore, 3316 inhabitants. This place seems to have derived its name, signifying in the Gaelic language "a solitary spot," from its situation on the western coast of the island of Lewis, at a remote distance from the parishes of Stornoway and Lochs, from which it is separated by a tract of swampy moorland extending nearly twelve miles in length. With the exception of occasional incursions of the Danes, and hostilities between the rival clans of the Macaulays and the Morrisons, who were continually at war, the place does not appear to have been distinguished by any events of historical importance. The parish is bounded on the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean, and, including the frith of Loch Roag, which penetrates for several miles into the interior, is about twenty-four miles in length and ten miles in average breadth; comprising not much less than 124,000 acres. Scarcely 300 acres are arable and in cultivation; about 1800 are meadow and pasture, and the large remainder moorland, moss, and waste. The surface is diversified with hills of moderate elevation, which prevail throughout nearly the whole of the interior; but towards the shore the ground is nearly level. The hills are intersected by extensive tracts of moorland, and numerous fresh-water lakes; and the lowlands are watered by several rivulets, whereof the principal are, the Grimsta and Cean loch, which flow into Loch Roag; the Resort, which falls into the bay of that name; and the Red River, which joins the bay of Uig. Of the fresh-water lakes, the only one of any considerable extent is Loch Langavat, on the south-western boundary of the parish, which is more than nine miles in length and nearly two miles in extreme breadth: of the others, the largest does not exceed two miles in length and one mile in breadth. They all abound with trout of small size, and salmon are found in moderate quantity in the rivers. There are several perennial springs of excellent water; but they are generally small, and afford only a scanty supply.
The coast, including its windings, is about forty miles in extent, and is indented with many friths and bays. The principal is Loch Roag, on the north-west, intersecting the parish for twelve miles to the southeast; its entrance is about eight miles in breadth, and is divided by islands, which also abound throughout its whole length, the most considerable being the greater island of Bernera. This frith, in which an extensive herring-fishery was formerly carried on, contains several roadsteads, of sufficient capacity for the safe anchorage of the whole of the British navy. Loch Resort, on the western coast, penetrates for nearly eight miles into the land, forming a boundary between the islands of Lewis and Harris; it is a little more than two miles in breadth at the entrance, from which it gradually diminishes to a point. The bay of Uig, also on the western coast, is likewise about two miles in breadth at the entrance, which is exposed to all the fury of the Atlantic Ocean. It is protected on the north by the promontory of Gallan Head, and on the south by a headland of inferior height, constituting the western extremity of the island of Lewis; it penetrates into the land for three miles and a half, preserving a mean breadth of about one mile, and branches out into several well sheltered creeks. Since the failure of the herring-fishery at Loch Roag, the inhabitants have been engaged in fisheries of cod and ling, which are found in abundance off the coast, and in taking which about eighty open boats and one decked vessel are employed; the fish are cured in dryinghouses on the shore, and about thirty tons are annually prepared for the London market. Shell-fish of every kind are also abundant on the shores of Loch Roag, and the oysters and lobsters taken here are of very superior quality: indeed vessels from England frequently stay here for several months to fish for lobsters, of which not less than 100,000 are on an average sent to London annually. Of the numerous islands within the parish, the Flannan islands, seven in number, are about thirty miles distant from the main land; they are supposed to have been the residence of the Druids, and contain many interesting relics. Of the others, four are inhabited, and the remainder afford good pasturage for cattle and sheep; the larger islands, Bernera and others, are described under their respective heads.
The soil along the coast is generally light and sandy; in the interior, partly clay, but chiefly mossy; and, with the help of sea-weed as manure, every where capable of being rendered tolerably fertile. The crops are oats and barley, with a few potatoes, which have been gradually growing more into use as an article of food; but the quantity of land under cultivation is far from being sufficient to supply the wants of the inhabitants, and the system of husbandry is still in a very unimproved state. The moorlands afford tolerably good pasture for black-cattle and sheep, upon the rearing of which the people place their chief reliance, and to the improvement of which, within the last few years, they have paid a considerable degree of attention. The cattle, sheep, and horses, are mostly of the small Highland breeds, which from time immemorial have been reared in the parish; and large numbers are sent to Stornoway, for the supply of the southern markets. Recently, however, sheep of the Cheviot and blackfaced breeds have been introduced, and they appear to thrive well. There are no villages of any importance; but in various parts are rural hamlets, or clusters of houses, containing each from forty to fifty families, who are employed in agricultural and pastoral pursuits. The manufacture of kelp is carried on to a considerable extent, and about 225 tons are annually sent to market; the people also weave woollen and other cloths for their own use. There is a post-office at Stornoway, the only market-town in the island of Lewis; but there is little facility of communication, from the want of roads, which circumstance tends greatly to impede the improvement of the district. The rateable annual value of the parish is £2542.
The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Lewis and synod of Glenelg. The minister's stipend is £158. 6. 7., of which one-third is paid from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe valued at £7 per annum: the patronage of the incumbency is exercised by the Crown. The church, situated nearly in the centre of the parish, is a neat plain structure, erected in the year 1829, and containing 1000 sittings. A catechist is appointed and supported by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, and the members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school is attended by about fifty children; the master has a salary of £28, with a house, and half an acre of land, and the fees average £5 per annum. Two schools are maintained by the society just named, three by the Edinburgh Gaelic School Society, and one by the education committee of the General Assembly: commodious schoolrooms, with dwelling-houses for the teachers, were built at Valtos and Calanish by Mr. and Mrs. Stewart Mc Kenzie. At Calanish, on the eastern shore of Loch Roag, are the remains of a Druidical temple in nearly entire preservation, consisting of a circle of thirteen upright stones, each six feet in height, in an undressed state as taken from the quarry, placed at a distance of six yards from each other, and inclosing an area almost thirty yards in diameter, in the centre of which is an upright stone of very large dimensions, thirteen feet in height. Leading towards the entrance of the circle is an avenue of two parallel ranges of six upright stones, each six feet high; and on the east and west of the circle are single ranges of three similar stones, and on the south a range of two. At Carloway are the remains of a Danish fort, one of the most entire in the country; the circular inclosure is surrounded by two concentric walls of stone, about thirty feet in height, of great thickness at the base, but gradually tapering towards the summit. At Melista are the remains of a nunnery, near which were found by a peasant, while digging in the sand, in 1840, a great number of pieces of bone or ivory, beautifully carved in various devices, and evidently intended as figures for the game of chess.
Stirling is a historic town on the River Forth, Scotland, in a strategic position to the northeast of Glasgow and to the northwest of Edinburgh, controlling access by land from the Lowlands to the Highlands, not least because it was the lowest bridging point on the Forth until comparatively recent times. The old town is on a steep volcanic rock crowned by Stirling Castle. The 15th and 16th century Church of the Holy Rude, was where James VI was crowned. Tour Stirling, Scotland, on an Ancestry Tour of Scotland. Best Scottish Tours, Best Scottish Food, Best Scottish Hotels, Small Group Tours of Scotland. Rent a Cottage in Scotland. Stirling in 1846. Stirling, a royal burgh, sea-port, and parish, mostly in the county Stirling; containing, with the villages of Cambuskenneth, Raploch, and part of Causeway-head, 9095 inhabitants, of whom 8307 are in the burgh, 35 miles (W. N. W.) from Edinburgh. This place, in the more ancient documents called Striviling and Styrlyng, and in the present seal of the burgh designated Oppidum Sterlini, is of remote antiquity, and is supposed to have been a Roman station connected with that of Camelon, whence a road to the north of Scotland passed close to the Castle hill here, on which was one of the numerous fortifications raised by Agricola in this part of the country. On the face of the rock overlooking the road, and commanding the river Forth, which is here of comparatively inconsiderable width, has been found a Roman inscription ascribing to the second legion the erection of this fortress, which is thought to have occupied the site of the present castle, whose precise date has not been distinctly ascertained. Towards the latter part of the 9th century, Ella and Ostricht, princes of Northumbria, having defeated Donald V., King of Scotland, and taken him prisoner, advanced to Stirling, rebuilt the castle, and placed in it a strong garrison, which retained possession till it was restored by treaty to Kenneth III., who, about the year 975, not only recovered his territories in this part of the country, but made himself master of the whole district of Strathcluyd. The castle appears to have attained a considerable degree of importance in the course of the 12th century. It was one of the four principal fortresses of the kingdom delivered to the English in 1174, by William the Lion, as part of his ransom from captivity, and in fulfilment of the treaty by which Henry II. of England was acknowledged superior of the whole of Scotland. This claim of superiority, however, being subsequently renounced by Richard I., the castle of Stirling and the other fortresses were restored to the Scottish monarchs, and remained in their possession till the revival of that claim by Edward I., when, on the defeat of the Scottish army at Dunbar in 1296, the English, in order to secure the conquest of the country during the disputed succession to the throne, made themselves masters of all the chief fortresses of the kingdom. William Wallace, however, the intrepid champion of his country's freedom, recovered Stirling from the English, and afterwards laid siege to the castle of Dundee. While he was engaged in reducing that fortress, the English again assaulted the castle of Stirling; but, the Scottish army taking their position on the north side of the Forth, to dispute the passage of the river by the troops of Edward, which had encamped on the south, Wallace hastened from Dundee to the relief of Stirling, and obtained a signal victory over the English while attempting to cross the river. The result of this battle, in which many of the English were slain, with only a very inconsiderable number of the Scottish forces, was, the temporary delivery of the country from the English invasion.
In the following year, however, Edward entered the kingdom with an army of 80,000 men, and having defeated the Scots at Falkirk, again took possession of Stirling, and repaired the castle, which, in his retreat, Wallace had burnt. The castle was in 1298 besieged by the Scots, to whom, after a series of reverses in the fortunes of Edward, it was surrendered by capitulation; but in 1300 it was again taken by the English after a siege of three months, during which it was bravely defended by the garrison under its governor, Sir William Oliphant. In 1304, Edward, in his progress towards the south, approached to Stirling, and, after a feeble attempt on the part of Cumyn, guardian of the kingdom, to intercept his passage, crossed the river Forth, and laid siege to the castle, which, however, held out so resolutely against his assaults that, when he ultimately obtained possession of it, he refused all terms of capitulation, and sent Sir William Oliphant prisoner to London. In 1314 the castle, which till then had been garrisoned by the English, was invested by Edward Bruce, brother of the King of Scotland, who, after a siege of some months, obtained from the governor a promise of surrender if not relieved within a stipulated period. On the day previous to the appointed time, a detachment of 800 cavalry from the army sent by Edward for the relief of the several garrisons, and of which the main body had been interrupted by Bruce, having advanced by a circuitous route to dislodge the besiegers of Stirling, were pursued by Randolph, Earl of Moray, who, with a body of 500 horse, put them completely to the route. The spot where this conflict took place is still called Randolph Field. After the battle of Bannockburn, which finally established the independence of the Scottish monarchy, the town and castle were evacuated by the English; and the garrison, according to the terms of capitulation, returned unmolested into England. In the reign of James I., Murdoch, Duke of Albany, who had acted as regent of the kingdom during the captivity of that monarch in England, was, with his father-in-law, the Earl of Lennox, and his two sons, beheaded on the Mote hill, a small mount near the castle, pursuant to a verdict pronounced by a jury of twenty-one members of a parliament held for the purpose. In 1437, Sir Robert Graham and several of his associates were executed on the same spot, for the assassination of the king in the convent of the Black Friars at Perth.
The castle about this time had become a royal residence; James II. was born within its walls, and James III. repaired and embellished several portions of the structure that had fallen into dilapidation, and erected many additional buildings. Among these were, the house of parliament, containing a fine hall 120 feet in length, now occupied as a barrack by the garrison; and also the chapel royal, converted into an armoury by the government during the late war, but now in part restored to its original purpose as a chapel, though only for the garrison. A palace was erected within the precincts of the castle by James V., which was completed by Queen Mary; it was a quadrangular edifice surrounding an area in which the king's lions are said to have been kept. The building was profusely embellished with statuary, among which were well-sculptured figures of King James and his daughter, and numerous grotesque figures; it contained several magnificent apartments, and a spacious hall with a roof of oak exquisitely carved. James V. was crowned in the castle; as was also Mary, when scarcely nine months old; and James VI., soon after his birth, was baptized here with great pomp, on which occasion Queen Elizabeth presented a massive font of gold, to be used at the ceremony. Stirling soon followed the example of Perth and St. Andrew's in adopting the reformed doctrines. In 1559, the lords of the congregation took possession of the town, in order to prevent the introduction of a French force which had been sent to the assistance of the Earl of Murray; and in their zeal for the abolition of popery, the inhabitants demolished the abbey of Cambuskenneth and the convents of the Black and Grey Friars. In 1571 Hamilton, formerly archbishop of St. Andrew's, who had assisted at the baptism of James VI., was executed here for his participation in the death of the Regent Murray; and in the same year a parliament was held in the castle by the Earl of Lennox, who was then regent. On the 4th of September, in that year, the town was surprised by the Earl of Huntly and about 400 of his adherents, who, surrounding the houses of the principal inhabitants, carried off the Regent Lennox and ten other noblemen as prisoners. Huntly's party was eventually defeated by the Earl of Mar, and the noblemen were rescued from their power; but the Regent, who had been severely wounded in the conflict, died of his wounds on the following evening, and was interred in the chapel royal. Twenty-six of Huntly's party were brought into the town as prisoners, and two of them publicly executed on the following day. After the resignation of Mary, Queen of Scots, James VI. was crowned in the church of Stirling, after a sermon preached by the reformer, John Knox; and during his minority the castle was the constant residence of the prince, under the tutelage of his preceptor, the celebrated George Buchanan. That monarch held his first parliament in the castle in the year 1578, and, after his marriage to Anne, princess of Denmark, frequently resided here with his queen, who gave birth to the infant prince, Henry, at Stirling. In 1584 the Earls of Angus and Mar, the master of Glammis, and others who had been concerned in the Ruthven conspiracy, took forcible possession of the town. Being expelled by the garrison, they fled into England; but they returned in the following year, and having raised a powerful force, were preparing to besiege the castle, at that time but ill prepared to hold out, when the king sent commissioners to treat with them, and a compromise was effected by the pardon of their rebellion, the reversal of their forfeitures, and the restoration of their eligibility to offices in the state.
On the proclamation, in 1637, of the mandate for the adoption of the Liturgy of the Church of England, the privy council and the courts of session were by royal command removed from Edinburgh to this town, where they continued for many months to hold their meetings. The Liturgy was proclaimed at the market-cross; upon which, the Earl of Home, with other nobles and a number of the ministers, entering a public protestation against its reception, a body of about 2000 Presbyterians assembled in the town in the course of the evening, and on the following morning marched to Edinburgh. After the battle of Dunbar, in 1650, the remains of the Scottish army retreated to this town, in which the magistrates of Edinburgh, and the Committees of Church and State, held their meetings; and the last Scottish parliament in which the sovereign personally presided was assembled in the castle, and afterwards adjourned to Perth. Pursuant to the resolutions at this parliament, an army was collected at Aberdeen, which, after marching to Stirling, and being joined by the troops at this place, encamped at Torwood under Charles II., who commanded in person; but the prince was ultimately compelled to retreat before the troops of Cromwell, and, retiring to Stirling, encamped in the King's Park. Upon Cromwell's retreat soon afterwards into England, he was followed by Charles at the head of this army, which was subsequently defeated at the battle of Worcester. Soon after Cromwell's departure, General Monk advanced to Stirling with a powerful force, and taking possession of the town, erected batteries on the tower of the church, and in the adjoining burying-ground, in order to reduce the castle, which, after a protracted siege, he ultimately obtained by capitulation. During the siege, the registers and national records, which had been for greater security deposited in the castle, were removed to the Tower of London, where they remained till the Restoration; but they were unfortunately lost in a storm that overtook the ship in which they were being brought home. The Duke of Argyll, previously to the battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715, encamped his forces in the King's Park, adjoining the town; and in 1745, during the progress of the Young Pretender's career, the walls were repaired by government, and the castle put into a state of defence. On his return, however, in the following year, the town was occupied for some time by his adherents, who, violating the terms upon which they had obtained admission, pillaged the houses of the inhabitants, and invested the castle, which must ultimately have surrendered for want of provisions, had not the approach of the army under the Duke of Cumberland compelled the Pretender to withdraw his forces from the neighbourhood. On the 13th of September, 1842, this place was visited by Her Majesty, in the course of her tour in Scotland; the royal cortége arrived at the barrier at half past eleven o'clock, and the provost attended by the town-clerk and magistrates, presented the keys of the burgh to Her Majesty, who then proceeded through the town.
Few other events of historical importance have occurred in connexion with this town, of which the history is mostly identified with that of its ancient castle, to whose foundation it is indebted for its origin. In the reign of Queen Anne, the fortifications of the castle, which, according to the articles of the Union, was one of the four principal fortresses guaranteed to be kept in repair, were considerably extended, and the internal arrangements rendered more commodious for the garrison. The garrison now consists of a lieutenant-governor, deputy-governor, fort-major, and other officers, a chaplain, barrack-master, barrack-serjeant, and master-gunner, with a force of infantry generally averaging from 250 to 300 men. The demesnes attached to the castle include the royal park and gardens; the Ladies' Hill; the Valley, a level inclosure in which tournaments and other feats of chivalry were formerly celebrated for the entertainment of the court; the Ballingeich road; the Gowling Hills; and a few houses in that part of the town called the Castle Hill. These, with the exception of the Valley, constitute what is styled the constabulary, under the management of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests. The castle, which for some centuries consisted only of a single tower, has, from frequent additions and improvements, been greatly improved, and is now one of the most splendid buildings of the kind in the kingdom. The principal entrance was once defended by four massive circular towers, of which, however, two only, and those now much reduced in height, are remaining. From its elevated situation on a precipitous rock rising abruptly from the surrounding plain, the view obtained from this entrance is singularly interesting, embracing a vast expanse of Highland scenery including the lofty summits of the mountains of Benvoirlich, Benledi, Benvenue, and Ben-Lomond. The intermediate tracts of country are embellished with stately mansions, villages, and hamlets; enriched with woods and thriving plantations, and enlivened with the meandering courses of the rivers Allan, Teith, and Forth, flowing through a fertile plain bounded on the one side by the Campsie hills, and on the other by the Ochils. This entrance leads into a spacious quadrangle, where are the remains of the stately palace of James V., the parliament house, now converted into barracks, and the chapel royal: in the centre of the quadrangle is a court still retaining the name of the Lion's Den. From this a low gateway leads into the Nether Bailiery, in which are the magazines and offices belonging to the castle, and from which an old gateway, anciently the principal entrance, opens into a narrow path conducting to the town. Between the town and the fortress is the esplanade, on the south and west of which is the King's Park; here the Stirling races are regularly held, the course having been preserved from being ploughed, by a clause inserted in the lease of the tenant. Immediately under the castle walls, on the south side, are the royal gardens, in which is a circular mound of moderate elevation, called the "King's Knot," surrounded by a concentric bank at the distance of a few feet, of nearly equal height: this mound and bank served as seats for the king and the nobility, in the celebration of the sports of the Knights of the Round Table, in honour of King Arthur. Beyond, for some distance, is a plain inclosed by the traces of what was formerly a canal. The banks of the Castle Hill are here richly-wooded, and have been laid out with great taste as a promenade, which, at almost every step, both in its ascent and descent, commands an interesting prospect of picturesque and romantic scenery. The castle itself, also, from the stately magnificence of its remains, and the rich style of its architecture, abounding with beautiful details, as well as from its situation on the acclivities and summit of a rock, forms a striking feature in the landscape.
The town is finely situated on the south bank of the river Forth, and consists of numerous well-formed streets, several of them of modern date and handsome appearance. King-street is a wide and spacious thoroughfare, in which are the market-places, numerous substantial houses, and some of the public buildings; and a new street opened in 1840 forms a communication with Bridge-street, leading to a bridge of five arches over the Forth, to the north of the town, on a line with the great north road. Beyond this, at a little distance, is an ancient bridge of four arches over the same river, which, preserving much of its original character, has a very picturesque aspect. Spittal-street, conducting to St. John's-street, in which are the church and an old hospital; and Baker-street, in a parallel direction; are both good streets, though the latter is in some parts steep and narrow, and contains several houses of very ancient date. Broad-street is spacious, and has at one extremity the unfinished palace of the Earl of Mar, hereditary governor of the castle, commenced in 1570, and built with the ruins of Cambuskenneth Abbey. In the Castle Wynd is the mansion called Argyll House, now occupied as an hospital for the garrison, a spacious quadrangular building erected in 1632 by Sir William Alexander, afterwards Earl of Stirling, and which subsequently became the property of the Duke of Argyll, who entertained James II. of England for some time in it when Duke of York, and whose descendant held his council of war here during the rebellion of 1715. The streets are well paved, and lighted with gas; and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water from public wells, under the superintendence of the corporation.
The Stirling Subscription Library, founded in 1805, and supported by a proprietary of shareholders, has a collection of more than 4000 volumes on general literature, and is annually augmented: this library is kept in the Athenæum, a handsome building with a lofty spire, in King-street, erected in 1817, and of which a part is occupied as a public reading-room. There are also some circulating libraries. The School of Arts was instituted in 1826, for the promotion of mechanical study and improvement in the arts and sciences: it has a library of 1000 well-chosen books, a museum, some philosophical apparatus, and a theatre for the delivery of lectures during the winter; it is well supported by subscription, and has about 200 proprietary members. Two weekly newspapers are published, the Stirling Observer on Thursday, and the Stirling Journal on Friday; and both maintain an extensive circulation in the surrounding district. A medical society has been recently established by the practitioners in the town and vicinity, for the promotion of literature, and the general pursuits of science, connected with the profession. A horticultural society was founded here in 1812, and an agricultural association in 1834; and in 1840, an appropriate building was erected by Messrs. Drummond as an agricultural museum, which contains an extensive collection of specimens of seeds, roots, grains, minerals, implements of every variety, improvements in draining-tiles, and every thing else connected with the study and promotion of husbandry. The approach to the town from St. Ninian's is through a pleasing tract of country, embellished with handsome mansions and picturesque villas, adorned by thriving plantations; and the public promenade called the Back Walk, on the south of the Castle Hill, tastefully laid out in 1723 by Mr. Edmondstone, of Cambus-Wallace, and subsequently much improved, is a favourite place of public resort.
The woollen-manufacture, which since 1830 has very greatly increased, is now the principal branch of trade; while the cotton-manufacture, which was previously extensive, has become inconsiderable. There are three large steam-mills for the spinning of woollen yarn, in which about 170 persons are employed, and nearly 700 are occupied in weaving at their own dwellings; the articles manufactured at present are, tartans, shawl-pieces, and other similar goods. The weaving of carpets is carried on to a moderate extent. There are several dyeing establishments, and rope-making is also conducted on a tolerable scale; coach-building is pursued to a considerable extent, affording employment to more than a hundred persons; there are tanneries and some large malting establishments, and the manufacture of soap and candles is conducted with success. Many of the inhabitants are employed in the various other trades necessary for the supply of the neighbourhood; and there are numerous handsome shops, well stocked with all the articles of merchandise required for the use and convenience of the inhabitants; and also some hotels for the reception of the families and visiters who, during the summer and autumn, make Stirling their temporary residence. Of these, the Royal Hotel, a spacious and elegant building erected in 1840, in front of the Friars' Wynd, and containing very superior accommodations, forms an ornament to the town. The market, on Friday, is abundantly supplied with grain, and with provisions of every kind. Fairs for cattle and horses are held on the Friday before Old Hansel Monday; the first Fridays in February, March, April, May, August, and November; the second Friday in December, the third in September, and the last in May: there are also hiring-markets on the last Friday in March, and the third in October. The Corn Exchange, where the grain market is held, is a spacious edifice of recent erection, containing above the area a stately apartment for public meetings; and the branch establishments of the Commercial Bank, in Spittal-street, the Bank of Scotland, in King-street, and the National Bank, in Baker-street, are all substantial buildings. Facility of communication is afforded by good roads which pass through the town and parish, and by steamers plying constantly between the town and Newhaven, of which never less than two, and often three, are continually in attendance. The port of Stirling, a member of that of Alloa, carries on an extensive trade in grain, of which considerable quantities are shipped from this place; and there is a mode-rate extent of foreign trade, consisting chiefly in the importation of timber from Norway, and bark from Holland. The number of vessels registered as belonging to the port is twenty-two, varying from fifty to 350 tons in burthen; of these, two are employed in the foreign trade, and the others in the coasting-trade, and to ports within the United Kingdom. The harbour is formed by a bend in the Forth, and has a good quay for the loading and unloading of vessels; but the navigation of the river is much impeded by shallows, which retard the approach of vessels of great burthen, and a plan is now being carried out for deepening the river, and consequently improving the trade of the port, and promoting the prosperity of the adjacent district. The salmon-fishery has been long carried on with success, and is still a lucrative pursuit; the rents of the several fisheries in the parish amount to about £770 per annum. Salmon are found also in the river Teith, beyond the limits of the parish; the salmon taken in the Forth are sent chiefly to the Edinburgh and London markets. Several railways have been projected, to pass through or near the town.
The inhabitants received a charter of incorporation from Alexander I., constituting the town a royal burgh, to which he afterwards added the privileges of a merchant-guild; and by another charter he exempted them from tolls and customs throughout the kingdom. These charters were confirmed, with additional grants, by David II.; the fisheries of the Forth, and the right of levying small customs, were added by Robert II.; and subsequently, by charter of James IV., the inhabitants were invested with the customs on salt and leather, and the right of appointing a sheriff within the burgh. By charter of Mary, Queen of Scots, they obtained a grant of lands, tenements, and buildings, and of the churches, chapels, and colleges founded within the liberties, and various other immunities and privileges, all which were ratified by charter of Charles I. in 1641. This charter continued in force till the year 1773, when the burgh was disfranchised by a decree of the Court of Session. It was, however, soon afterwards restored by the king in council, who also made several alterations in the constitution, and vested the government in a provost, four bailies, a dean of guild, a convener, and fourteen other councillors, in all twenty-one, of whom fourteen were chosen from the merchant-guild, and seven from the incorporated trades. By act of the 3rd and 4th of William IV., the government is now vested in a provost, four bailies, a treasurer, and fifteen town-councillors; the provost in all public proceedings is, under charter of James IV., styled the high-sheriff, and the bailies are called sheriffs. They exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction within the burgh, and hold courts twice in the week, for the trial of offences, and the determination of pleas, in which they are assisted by the town-clerk, who acts as assessor; and one of the magistrates attends daily for the hearing of cases under the police. The revenue of the corporation arises from the tolls and customs of the bridge and port, the markets, and the fisheries; and they have the patronage of the church, the burgh schools, and charitable institutions. There are seven incorporated trades, viz., the hammermen, weavers, tailors, shoemakers, skinners, bakers, and fleshers, the admission fees to which vary from £1. 10. to £3. 10. for sons of freemen, from £5 to £15 for apprentices, and from £20 to £50 for strangers. The police is under the superintendence of the magistrates of the burgh, which is divided for this purpose into four wards, over each of which one of the bailies presides; the force consists of four serjeants and thirty-six constables. The chief officer of the county police has also his principal station in the town.
The sessions for the county are held in the town-hall, a spacious and handsome building in Broad-street, with a lofty steeple in which are a clock and a chime of musical bells. It contains the council-chamber, with the various apartments for transacting the public business of the burgh, and the several court-rooms; and the standard pint measure, called the Stirling Jug, an ancient vessel of brass, in the form of a truncated cone, and weighing 15lb. troy, is preserved here. The old gaol, situated in St. John's-street, though secure, was ill adapted for the classification of the prisoners, and a new gaol has consequently been erected, on a very extensive scale, and in a more eligible situation than the former building. The elective franchise, under the provisions of the Reform act, is vested in the £10 householders resident within the parliamentary boundaries, which include certain parts of the adjoining parish of St. Ninian's. The number of householders of £10 and upwards is about 550, of whom 221 are burgesses; and the number of householders of the value of £5 and upwards, but under £10, is 401, of whom ninety-seven are burgesses. The burgh is associated with Dunfermline, Culross, Inverkeithing, and Queensferry, in returning a member to the imperial parliament.
The parish is two miles in length from west to east, and about one mile and a half from north to south, and comprises an area of 1030 acres; it is of very irregular form, determined by the winding of the river Forth on the north, and on the east deeply indented by the parish of St. Ninian's. The surface is beautifully varied, rising gradually from the south-east to an elevation of more than 200 feet towards the north-west, and terminating in the precipitous rock crowned by the castle, which, especially when viewed from the south and west, presents an object of venerable grandeur. The soil of the rural district of the parish is generally a carse land, but in the King's Park, which has an undulating surface, is warm and dry, and well adapted for oats, barley, and turnips; the whole is in a high state of cultivation, and, with the exception of that portion which forms the constabulary of the castle, is divided into farms of about 100 acres. The farm-buildings are suited to the size of the farms, are comfortable, and in good repair; and under the encouragement of the Agricultural Society, every improvement in draining, manuring, and managing the lands, and in the breeds of sheep and cattle, has been brought to the highest perfection. The prevailing timber is oak, ash, elm, beech, alder, and plane, of which, in various parts of the parish, there are many fine specimens; and the plantations, which are extensive and flourishing, add greatly to the beauty of the scenery. The river Forth, receiving in its approach to this place the waters of the Teith and Allan, attains a tolerable breadth, and, flowing in beautiful windings along the shores, forms a feature of great interest in the landscape; it abounds with salmon, grilse, smelts, pike, perch, trout, eels, and other fish, and is navigable for vessels of seventy tons to the bridge of Stirling. The rocks are of basaltic formation, and coal is abundant, though no mines are in operation within a less distance than two miles; greenstone and sandstone are also found. In the coal formation are thin strata of ironstone, and in the greenstone, veins of calcareous spar. Clay is also abundant, occurring in beds of great thickness, of which one has been ascertained to be more than seventy feet in depth: in this seam were lately found imbedded, at the depth of fourteen feet, the antlers of a deer, and at a depth of twenty feet, the scull of a dog, both in perfect preservation. The rateable annual value of the parish is £15,285.
The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Stirling and synod of Perth and Stirling, the former of which has its seat here, and the latter alternately at this place and at Perth. From the time of the Reformation till 1607 the parish was under the care of only one minister; but in that year a second was appointed, to whom a fixed stipend was granted by the corporation in 1643; and subsequently to 1731, upon petition from the inhabitants, a third minister was for some years maintained, who officiated in the western portion of the church, while the first and second ministers did duty alternately in the eastern. Upon the deposition of this third minister, however, in 1740, for secession, the Western church was used only on sacramental occasions, for the accommodation of such as could not find room in the Eastern church, till 1817, when the third charge was revived, and the Western church re-opened. Under the present arrangement, the minister of the first charge officiates in the Eastern church, and the minister of the second charge in the Western: the minister of the third charge till lately officiated alternately in both, as colleague to the first and second ministers; but a new church has been just erected for the third minister, and each has now his own separate congregation and parochial district. The stipend of the first minister is £348. 17. 10., with an allowance of £40 in lieu of manse, and a glebe of about five acres; the stipend of the second minister is £250, and that of the third £200, both paid by the Corporation, who are the patrons. The church of the Franciscan monastery founded by James IV. in 1494, is now appropriated as the parish church; it is an ample and handsome structure in the decorated English style of architecture, with a massive tower rising from the west end to the height of ninety feet. The nave is divided from the aisles by ranges of light clustered columns supporting the lofty roof. The eastern portion, of circular form, and said to have been added to the original structure by Cardinal Beaton, is embellished with a spacious window of elegant design; and the west window of the nave, which is also of large dimensions, is enriched with delicate tracery, and ornamented with stained glass. The building forms one of the finest specimens of its style in this part of the country. The interior was divided in 1656 into two distinct places of worship, called respectively the East and West church, and the whole was put into a complete state of repair in 1817; the East church contains 1187, and the West 1177, sittings. The Spittal-square church, originally belonging to a congregation of the Old-Light Burgher synod, was lately in connexion with the Established Church; the minister was supported by the seatrents and collections. There are also places of worship for members of the Free Church, the United Secession, Cameronians, Independents, Wesleyan Methodists, and Baptists, and an Episcopalian and a Roman Catholic chapel. Stirling has no parochial schools strictly so called, but there are four schools under the patronage of the corporation, in which nearly 500 children receive instruction. Of these, the High or Grammar school is under the direction of a rector, who receives a salary of £50 per annum, and an allowance of £20 for an assistant; the writing-school, in which, also, are taught arithmetic, book-keeping, the mathematics, navigation, and various other branches, is under the care of a master who has a salary of £50 a year; and the masters of the first and second English schools have each a similar sum. These salaries are all paid by the corporation, who appoint the masters. There are numerous other schools in the parish, of which some are partly supported by the corporation, and others exclusively by the fees.
Spittal's Hospital was founded in 1530 by Robert Spittal, who endowed it with funds that were vested in land now producing an income of about £400 per annum, for the relief of decayed members of the several incorporated trades. The objects of the charity formerly lived in the house called the Trades' House in Spittal-square: about seventy-four individuals now receive a weekly allowance each varying from one shilling and sixpence to two shillings and sixpence. Cowane's Hospital was founded in 1639, by John Cowane, merchant, who endowed it with £2222, which sum was vested in the purchase of land now producing £2000 per annum, for the support of twelve decayed members of the merchants' guild, for whose reception a building was soon afterwards erected. As few, however, could be prevailed upon to reside in the house, the income is distributed by the corporation among 140 out-pensioners in weekly payments varying from one shilling and sixpence to eight shillings, and among eleven who receive quarterly payments varying from £1 to £2. 10. The hospital, which is situated close by the church, is a handsome building with a statue of the founder in front, and is crowned with battlements and pinnacles; the lower apartment is used as the guildhall, and the upper as a schoolroom. Allan's Hospital was founded in 1724 by John Allan, who endowed it with £1666. 13., which were vested in lands yielding £300 per annum, for the maintenance, clothing, education, and apprenticeship of sons of indigent tradesmen. A house was built in Spittal-street, in which the boys were formerly boarded, and taught by the master; but this arrangement was afterwards altered, and the lower part of the building is now occupied as schoolrooms, and the upper let out in tenements. About twenty-three boys are educated on this foundation. Alexander Cunningham, merchant of the town of Stirling, in the year 1809, bequeathed the residue of his estate, amounting to £5724. 11. 2., for the maintenance, clothing, education, and apprenticeship of sons of guild-merchants and mechanics, of whom about twenty receive the benefits of the endowment. The dispensary was established in 1830, and is supported by subscription, under the direction of a committee; the medical department is under the management of a surgeon and three consulting physicians, and it is open three days in the week, such of the patients as are unable to attend being visited at their own homes. Among the eminent persons once connected with this place, in addition to those previously noticed, are, Dr. Robert Pollock, the first principal of Edinburgh College; Dr. Henry, the historian; and Dr. John Moore, author of Views of Society and Manners in France, Italy, and the Continent, and father of the gallant General Sir John Moore, who fell at the battle of Corunna.—See the article on Cambuskenneth.
Wednesday, 26 December 2007
Best Scottish Tours of The Inner Hebrides. Tour The Inner Hebrides of Scotland, on an Ancestry Tour of Scotland. Best Scottish Tours, Best Scottish Food, Best Scottish Hotels, Small Group Tours of Scotland. Rent a Cottage in Scotland.
Rosslyn Chapel, originally named the Collegiate Chapel of St. Matthew, is a 15th century Episcopal church in the village of Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland. Tour Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland, on an Ancestry Tour of Scotland. Best Scottish Tours, Best Scottish Food, Best Scottish Hotels, Small Group Tours of Scotland. Rent a Cottage in Scotland. Rosslyn or Roslin in 1846. Roslin, a burgh of barony, and lately a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Lasswade, county of Edinburgh; containing 1807 inhabitants, of whom 430 are in the village, 2 miles (S. W.) from Lasswade, and 7 (S.) from Edinburgh. This place at a very early period became the property of the St. Clairs, whose ancestor, William de St. Clair, second son of Margaret, daughter of Richard, Duke of Normandy, settling in this part in the reign of Malcolm Canmore, obtained large grants of land in the county of Mid Lothian, to which considerable additions were made by succeeding sovereigns. In the reign of David I. the barony of Roslin, to which that of Pentland and others were afterwards joined, was the chief residence of the St. Clairs, who were earls of Orkney, and of whose baronial castle there are still considerable remains, though the time of its original foundation is not precisely known. In 1302, the English army under the command of John de Segrave, regent of Scotland for Edward II. of England, was encountered near the village by the Scottish troops led by the Regent Cumming and Sir Simon Fraser, on the 24th of February, when the three divisions into which it had been formed were successively defeated. The lands attached to the castle were erected into a burgh of barony by James II.; and the place continued to flourish under the auspices of the St. Clair family, of whom William in 1446 founded the chapel of Roslin, which he dedicated to St. Matthew the Apostle, and endowed for a provost, six prebendaries, and two choristers. The castle was partly burnt by an accidental fire in 1447. It was also, with that of Craigmillar and others, burnt by the English in 1554; and in 1650 it was besieged and taken by General Monk.
The chapel, which had been defaced and stripped of its ornaments at the time of the Reformation, was greatly injured in 1688 by a lawless mob who, in their zeal for the destruction of idolatrous monuments, reduced it almost to ruins, and afterwards attacked the castle, which they plundered of all its valuable furniture. The sacred edifice was, however, restored by General St. Clair, and has since been carefully preserved by the earls of Rosslyn. The remains of this beautiful structure, which was one of the richest specimens of the decorated English style of architecture in the kingdom, and contained also details of the early Norman and the various intermediate styles in their gradual transition, consist chiefly of the choir and part of the transept of the original church. The choir, which is sixty-eight feet in length and thirty-four in breadth, is divided into a nave and two aisles by ranges of clustered columns. These columns have richly-flowered capitals, are ornamented with numerous devices of exquisite sculpture, and sustain series of gracefully pointed arches deeply moulded, and embellished with foliage, heads of human figures and various animals, with other ornaments of elegant design and elaborate execution. The roof, forty feet high, is delicately groined; and the edifice is lighted by ranges of windows of beautiful design and symmetry, enriched with flowing tracery. Beneath the pavement of the chapel is the vault of the Rosslyn family, the soil of which is so perfectly free from damp that the bodies of many of its tenants have been found in a perfect state, eighty years after their interment: here are many of the ancient barons of Roslin buried in their armour without coffins, several of the earls of Caithness, and other distinguished descendants of the St. Clair family.
The village of Roslin is beautifully situated on the banks of the North Esk, and in a district abounding with scenery of the most striking and romantic character. In the immediate vicinity is the ancient castle, now a majestic pile of ruins, situated on a rocky promontory overhanging a deep ravine said to have been formerly the bed of the Esk, and over which is a lofty narrow bridge, forming an approach from the village. The castle appears to have been about 200 feet in length and ninety feet in breadth; and the walls, of which some portions are still remaining, are nine feet in thickness: the only part now inhabited is a comparatively modern house, with the initials S. W. S. and the date 1622 over the entrance. The houses in the village are neatly built; and there is a small subscription library, containing about 300 volumes. The manufacture of gunpowder is carried on to a very considerable extent, affording employment to more than seventy persons; there is also an extensive bleachfield. The manufacture of writing and printing paper has been established with success, and gives employment to a large number of persons both male and female. The market formerly held here has long been discontinued; but the pedestal of the ancient market-cross is still remaining in the centre of the village. A pleasure fair, at which gymnastic sports take place, is held annually. The adjacent village of Rosewell contains 130 inhabitants who are chiefly employed in the neighbouring collieries, of which that on the lands of Dryden, though it has been in constant operation for many years, has been ascertained to have more than thirty millions of tons yet unwrought. Facility of communication is afforded by roads kept in due order; there are about five miles of turnpike road in the parish, and the great road to Dumfries intersects it for more than a mile. There is a post-office which has two pretty good deliveries daily.
The late quoad sacra parish was formed from Lasswade by the presbytery of Dalkeith in 1835. It was bounded on the north by the rest of the parish of Lasswade, on the east by the parishes of Cockpen and Carrington, and on the south and west by those of Penicuick and Glencross; it was about five and a half miles in length and three and three-quarters in extreme breadth, comprising an area of nearly ten square miles, or 6400 acres. The soil of the district is fertile, and by far the greater portion of the lands in high cultivation; there are some extensive tracts of woodland and rich meadow and pasture. The system of agriculture is advanced; draining has been much practised, and there is little waste. The principal mansions are, Rosebank, a lovely residence; Dryden, beautifully situated on the right bank of the North Esk, in grounds tastefully laid out; and Firth, the seat of Robert Brown, Esq. The church was erected in 1827, at an expense, including the manse and school-house, of £1600, raised by subscription; it is a neat structure in good repair, and contains 444 sittings, to which number 250 might be added by the erection of galleries, for which the building is adapted. The minister, who is chosen by the male communicants, has a stipend of £150, derived from the seats, and secured by bond of the trustees. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and United Secession; also several schools under the superintendence of the minister of Roslin, one of which is endowed with a small permanent salary.
Tour Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland, on an Ancestry Tour of Scotland. Best Scottish Tours, Best Scottish Food, Best Scottish Hotels, Small Group Tours of Scotland. Rent a Cottage in Scotland. Portree in 1846. Portree, a parish, mostly in the Isle of Skye, and wholly in the county of Inverness; including the islands of Fladda, Raasay, and Rona; and containing 3574 inhabitants, of whom 510 are in the village of Portree, 25 miles (N. W.) from Broadford, 21 (E.) from Dunvegan, 80 (N. by E.) from Tobermory, 110 (N. by W.) from Obau, and 109 (W. by S.) from Inverness. This place was formerly called Ceilltarraglan, a compound Gaelic term which signifies "a burying-ground at the bottom of a glen," and which was particularly appropriate; but after the visit of King James V. to the northern portion of his dominions, and his putting into the bay here, where he remained for some time, the name was changed to Portree, or Port-roi or righ, "the King's harbour." The parish consists of the portion properly called Portree, and the islands of Rasay, Rona, and others of small extent, separated from the main body by a branch of the Atlantic Ocean, called Rasay sound. It measures seventeen miles in length and twelve in breadth, and is principally a pastoral district, the quantity of land under tillage being but very small in comparison with the part uncultivated. On the east is an arm of the sea dividing Rasay from the parishes of Gairloch and Applecross. The long line of coast exhibits great diversity of appearance: its lofty and almost perpendicular rocks are succeeded in some places, especially at the heads of the lochs, by sudden depressions sinking almost to the level of the beach; and the shores are intersected by numerous breaks and fissures. Among the bays are those of Loch Inord, Loch Sligichan, Camistinavaig, and several small bays in the island of Rasay; but that of Portree is by far the most considerable, and is capable of containing several hundred sail, shelter on all sides being afforded by very high lands, and its tenacious clayey bottom supplying excellent anchorage. The Rasay branch of the Atlantic, which washes the parish throughout its whole length, is sufficiently deep for the passage of a first-rate ship of war. It receives a large influx of fresh water from the hills on each side, bringing down earthy deposits which, from the rapidity of the currents in its friths, render it turbid and dark in wintry or stormy weather; but in the tranquillity of summer it is beautifully clear.
The surface in the interior is varied with hills, valleys, and plains, interspersed with innumerable springs of the purest water, several lakes and rivulets, and some highly ornamented cascades, which together render the scenery deeply interesting. The district is circumscribed by a most circuitous and irregular outline, approaching in its general form to an oblong, and is traversed from south to north by a glen, skirted on each side by a range of hills greatly differing in height and dimensions. The most striking elevation is that called Aite Suidhe Fhin, "the sitting-place of Fingal," where that celebrated hero is traditionally reported to have sat to direct his followers in the chase, and which, rising gradually from the head of Loch Portree, reaches 2000 feet above the level of the sea. Near this, on the east side of the harbour, and of almost equal height with the former, rises the hill of Peindinavaig, or "the hill of protection;" while much to the south are the hill of Beinligh, and that of Glamaig, with the loch of Sligichan between them. The latter is crowned with a verdant tract, and has a spring sending forth an immense quantity of clear water: indeed all the elevations, with slight exceptions, are covered to their summits with excellent pasture for sheep and cattle, and are well watered with springs and rivulets. There are six fresh-water lochs, most of which abound in good trout; and though of no great extent, the largest not being above a mile long, they exhibit much picturesque and beautiful scenery, enriched, in Rasay, with clumps of natural wood, or grotesque rocks. From their vicinity may be seen the celebrated hills of Cullins, in the parish of Bracadale, and of Store, in the parish of Snizort; and from a loch in Rasay, in favourable weather, a very fine prospect may be had of all the hills in the district, to the point of Hunish. with the expanse of sea to the island of Lewis. The climate is one of the most variable to be found, many descriptions of weather being frequently experienced within the space of a day and night; and diseases arising from the sudden changes of temperature, are often prevalent.
The soil between the hills is to a great extent peatmoss, whence the inhabitants are amply supplied with their ordinary fuel; but that most general is a gravelly earth, abounding in springs. These render the land raw and unproductive; and in addition to the natural sterility of the soil, the poverty of the inhabitants, and their necessarily imperfect system of husbandry, the vicissitude of the weather, either in seed-time or in harvest, and sometimes in both, often destroys at once the hopes of the year. The whole of the main land part of the parish belongs to Lord Macdonald; and the island of Rasay, with its subordinate isles, to Macleod, of Rasay. The former proprietor, about the year 1811, for the accommodation of the rapidly increasing population, caused all the farms held by small tenants to be subdivided into allotments or crofts. This has tended still further to increase the number of persons here located; and the inhabitants now so far exceed the productive capabilities of the soil, as to place the tenants upon the lowest possible scale with respect to the comforts of life, as well as to keep the land far below the average state of that in neighbouring districts. The crooked spade is used, and is well suited to the peculiar character of the surface, the arable portion frequently hanging on steeps and precipices, and being set with rocks or large stones; and after the seed is sown the hollows and inequalities are neatly raked over, and smoothed with a hand-harrow. Even were the tenants competent to the undertaking, the land is incapable of successful draining, as its fixed watery nature, arising from springs, would soon cause it to revert to its original spongy character. The crofters live in huts of the meanest condition, and are often without proper food and clothing; this however is in no way attributable to any want of disposition to promote improvements, but to poverty and destitution which they are unable to controul. Their sobriety and general character are spoken of in the highest terms; and this circumstance has induced the proprietor, for these few last years, to expend considerable sums of money in sending part of the population to the British colonies in North America.
A large tract in the parish is undivided common, consisting of hill pasture which is covered in the summer months with cattle, which are small but hardy, and mostly out of shelter for the whole year. They are supported in the winter on straw; but after feeding at the return of spring on the pasture, which is chiefly mossgrass, they acquire strength and flesh, and are carried off by the south-country dealers in large numbers, to fatten for the markets of England, where they are much esteemed, and fetch a high price. The sheep are a cross between the native stock and the black-faced of the south; the horses, though very small, are hardy. The breeds of cattle and sheep are much attended to; and great improvements have recently taken place in consequence of the stimulus given by the premiums of the Highland and local agricultural societies, and especially by the facilities of conveyance to the leading markets by steam navigation. Coal was wrought about the beginning of the present century by Lord Macdonald; but the expense, after a regular system of operations had been for some time carried on by experienced colliers from the south, proved so great that the quantity raised was not sufficient to remunerate the proprietor, and the work was abandoned. Excellent granite is found in several places, particularly in Rasay, and, being of very hard texture, is formed into millstones for grinding oats and barley, which are sold at from £9 to £12 per pair, and supply all the mills in Skye and the neighbouring parishes. Limestone is abundant; and at Portree, on both sides of the harbour, freestone is found in very large quantities in the lofty rocks, which are nearly perpendicular. Stone of the same species, but of far superior quality, is obtained in great plenty in Rasay; and some of it was used in building, a few years since, the elegant mansion of the proprietor of the island, the only gentleman's seat in the parish. Near this residence are some fine old trees; but the other wood in the parish is only plantation of Scotch fir, larch, birch, ash, and oak, of recent formation, and situated principally in the island of Rasay and the village of Portree.
The village, in which the population amounts to above 500, is ornamented by some pretty plantations, and contains several good houses and shops, and a branch establishment of the National Bank of Scotland. The sheriff-substitute of the district of Skye holds his courts in the court-room of the gaol here, as the superintendent of the judicial affairs of the place; and there is a post-office having a regular delivery of letters three times a week. A road has been formed through the whole length of the parish, under the direction of the parliamentary commissioners for building bridges and making roads in the Highlands and islands; and Glasgow steam-boats, weekly in the summer, and monthly in the winter, come into the harbour, by which means the cattle and other produce are sent to the southern markets. Salmon, also, the fishing of which belongs to a small company from the south, is cured in the village, and forwarded by the same conveyance to Glasgow and London. Three fairs are held, respectively in May, July, and November, the two former for the sale of black-cattle, and the latter for the hiring of servants and for other business. The rateable annual value of the parish is £3195. It is in the presbytery of Skye and synod of Glenelg, and in the patronage of the Crown: the minister's stipend is £150, of which about one-half is received from the exchequer; with a manse, and a glebe, consisting principally of moss and hill pasture, and valued at £11 per annum. The church, built about the year 1820, for the accommodation of 800 persons with sittings, is situated in the village, but on account of its distance from the southern boundary, which is fifteen miles off, is inconvenient for a considerable portion of the population. A missionary is stationed in the parish, on the establishment of the committee of the General Assembly, and receives a salary from the bounty allowed by the crown for the benefit of the Highlands. The parochial school, also situated in the village, affords instruction in Latin, Greek, geography, book-keeping, and English, in addition to the elementary branches; the master has a salary of £34. 4., with a house, an allowance for a garden, and £5 fees. There is a branch parochial school in Rasay, in which the elementary branches only are taught; also two schools where the instruction is in Gaelic, this being the vernacular tongue.
Visited this small Scottish Parish Church today. Forgandenny Church lies about two miles from Forteviot, the ancient residence of the Pictish Kings. Thus it is not surprising to learn that there has been a church here since early times. Only a fragment of the ancient work is left as the building has been greatly altered at various times. On the inside it measures 70ft 7ins long by 21 ft 7 ins wide and accommodates 150 seats. The east wall is in the main Norman masonry. It has a splayed base which returns at each corner but most of this is hidden by rising ground toward the west. The doorway to the church which is now built up was in the south side near the west end. It appears to have been Norman work and a small piece with double notch enrichment remains. This dog-tooth pattern is frequently found in the outer members of Norman door arches. At some later date a porch has been added when probably the Norman door was dismembered and the fragment now shown was built into the wall. Sometime after the Reformation, a laird’s seat (belonging to the Oliphants of Condie) was projected into the church. This seat was done away with by giving the Oliphants of Condie the porch, which they converted into a burial vault, enlarging it at the same time and making their seat over it with an opening into the church. The Ruthven vault, situated father east is probably a structure of the 16th century, some closed up windows having features of that period. The foundation of a building was discovered in Victorian times on the north side of the church, exactly opposite the Ruthven vault, suggesting that the simple Norman building had for a time been converted to a cross church. The bowl of the font still remains. It is octagonal but not equal sided. It measures 2ft 1in overall by about 15 inches high.
Tuesday, 25 December 2007
Sunday, 23 December 2007
Dr. Nicolas Reveles sets the stage for Donizetti’s classic bel canto opera, which recounts the historical struggle between Scotland’s rebellious Queen Mary and her cousin, England’s Queen Elizabeth.
The roots of this young Scottish lass, have been soundly embedded from her upbringing in the highlands of Scotland, where Iona’s inspiration has been evoked by the wild winds and tumbling waves. Ocean, written and Performed by Iona Leigh.
Best Scottish Tours of Paisley. Tour Paisley, Scotland, on an Ancestry Tour of Scotland. Best Scottish Tours, Best Scottish Food, Best Scottish Hotels, Small Group Tours of Scotland. Rent a Cottage in Scotland.
Paisley, Scotland's largest town, has a rich and colourful history. A powerhouse of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it was home to some of Scotland's great industries, particularly weaving and textiles. The renowned Paisley pattern has spread the town's name around the globe. This new book explores Paisley's mighty industrial history but also looks at its people at work and play, and explores the town's great buildings and significant events over more than a century of change. Paisley People and Places.
Pictorial History of Paisley. A wide variety of interesting, beautiful and atmospheric drawings and photographs of Paisley down the ages. Pictorial History of Paisley (Pictorial History).
Paisley in 1846. Paisley, a burgh, market-town, and ancient parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Renfrew, of which it is the principal place, and the seat of a wide manufacturing district, 7½ miles (W. by S.) from Glasgow, and 50 (W. by S.) from Edinburgh; containing 60,487 inhabitants, of whom 48,426 are in the burgh and suburbs; 5626 in the village of Johnstone; 1086 in that of Elderslie; 1504 in the villages of Nitshill, Hurlet, Crossmill, and Dovecothall; 775 in those of Thorn, Overton, and Quarrelton; and 3070 in the rural districts of the parish. This place, of which the name is of very uncertain derivation, is by most antiquaries identified with the Vanduaria of Ptolemy; and of its having been a Roman station of considerable importance, there is positive evidence in the traces of a spacious and strongly-fortified camp, which, from the vestiges yet remaining, appears to have comprehended the site of the present town, and, in connexion with its several out-posts, to have extended to the river Cart. It occupied a commanding situation, comprising within its intrenchments the hill called Oakshaw Head, on the acclivity of which the prætorium was seated, overlooking the surrounding country. Of the triple intrenchments by which it was defended, there are still left portions of the ramparts, of lofty elevation and of great breadth; and parts of the ancient Roman road from Carlisle to Paisley are also distinctly to be traced in the immediate vicinity. The original town seems to have been indebted for its rise to the foundation, by Walter, progenitor of the royal race of the Stuarts, of a monastery for a prior and thirteen brethren of the Cluniac order, brought from the abbey of Wenlock, in the county of Salop, in 1163, by the founder, who was a native of that place. This monastery was built upon the eastern bank of the Cart, on the opposite side of which soon afterwards arose a village, consisting chiefly of conventual buildings, and dwelling-houses for various persons connected with the religious community, or attracted to the spot by the vicinity of a rich and prosperous establishment. The monastery, which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, St. James, and St. Mirin, continued to flourish as originally founded till the year 1220, when it was raised to the rank of a mitred abbey by Pope Honorius III. In addition to its ample endowment by the founder and his descendants, it received numerous munificent donations from different families of distinction; and thus became one of the wealthiest institutions in the country. Its lands were erected into a royalty, under the jurisdiction of the abbots, who obtained from succeeding sovereigns many valuable privileges; and it continued to increase in importance until 1307, when it was burnt by the English army under Aymer de Valence.
The Abbey was, however, soon afterwards rebuilt, on a more extensive scale, and in a style of great magnificence. The church, a stately cruciform structure, was completed by Abbot Tarvas in 1459, and, with the conventual buildings, and immediately adjacent lands forming the Abbey park, was inclosed by a lofty wall of hewn stone, more than a mile in circumference, by Abbot Schaw, in 1485. Thus, constantly augmenting in wealth, the monastery flourished till the Dissolution, when its revenues were estimated at £2468 in money, exclusively of 155 chalders of grain; and not less than twenty-nine parish churches were dependent upon it at the time. After the Reformation, the site of the Abbey and conventual buildings, with all its lands and possessions, was erected into a temporal seigniory by the king and parliament, in favour of Claude Hamilton, third son of the Duke of Chatelherault, who was created Lord Paisley in 1587. The lordship remained in his family till the year 1652, when it was purchased from his descendant, the Earl of Abercorn, by the Earl of Angus, who sold the greater portion of the lands to William Cochrane, first earl of Dundonald, and the remainder to various other proprietors, with whom they continued till the year 1764, when the lordship was repurchased by James, Earl of Abercorn. It is now the property of his descendant, the Marquess of Abercorn. The Abbey was successively the residence of the lords Paisley and the earls of Abercorn and Dundonald; but after the demolition of part of the buildings by the Earl of Dundonald, and the appropriation of the adjacent lands to the different purchasers, it ceased to be any longer a baronial residence, and was let in separate tenements. The fine massive wall by which the whole demesne was surrounded, was, with the exception of a very small portion still remaining, entirely removed; and the Abbey park is now the site of the New Town of Paisley, a considerable part of which was erected with materials obtained from the ruins of the venerable and truly magnificent Abbey. In the year 1597, the consort of James VI. paid a visit to the Earl of Abercorn in his baronial residence called the Place of Paisley, while the ancient Abbey was still the seat of that nobleman; and in 1617 the monarch himself, on revisiting his native country, was received in the great hall, when an address in the name of the community of the town and neighbourhood was delivered in his presence by a youth of nine years of age, the son of Sir James Semple, at that time sheriff of the county. In the rebellions of 1715 and 1745, the inhabitants of Paisley and the vicinity maintained a firm and loyal adherence to their lawful sovereign, and on the former occasion, anticipating an attempt of the Pretender to land upon their coast, appointed a nightly guard of twenty men to patrol the town, and themselves remained under arms, ready at a moment's notice to repel any assault that might be made. In 1745, the troops of the Pretender having entered Glasgow to levy contributions from the citizens, the inhabitants of this town prepared themselves for a similar visit, and concluded arrangements for treating with the assailants, whom they were not sufficiently strong to withstand by force; and the magistrates, having been summoned to appear before the secretary of the Pretender, procured exemption from molestation by submitting to an imposition of £500. In 1822, when George IV. visited Scotland, the authorities of the burgh waited upon His Majesty with an address of congratulation, and an invitation to Paisley, in the Abbey of which many of his royal predecessors had been interred.
The town is pleasantly situated on the White Cart, by which it is divided into two portions called respectively the Old and the New Town, the former on the west, and the latter on the eastern, bank of that river. It consists principally of two streets intersecting each other at right angles; the one, nearly two miles in length, forms part of the road from Glasgow to Beith and the Ayrshire coast, and the other is a continuation of the road from Inchinnan to Neilston. These two lines are crossed in various directions by numerous spacious and well-built streets, of which George-street and Forbes-street contain many very handsome houses. The appearance of the town has been much improved by the removal of numbers of the older houses, and the erection of others of more modern style; and among the most recent additions, Garthland Place, at the eastern entrance to Paisley, is distinguished as one of the most elegant ranges of building in this part of the country. The environs are pleasing, and several of the adjacent villages are seen with peculiar effect in the general landscape of the place. The streets are lighted with gas by a company incorporated in 1823, who embarked a capital of £16,000, and erected very extensive works for the supply of the neighbourhood. In 1844, an act for a second company was passed; but a compromise has been since effected. The inhabitants were till lately but indifferently furnished with water from the river, and from public and private wells. A company therefore was formed in 1825, and an act of parliament obtained for the supply of the town. After a sufficient capital had been subscribed, this project was abandoned, from the objections of some proprietors of land; but a new company, for bringing water from the Gleniffer hills, was formed in 1835, and a capital of £40,000 subscribed. An act was procured for carrying this plan into operation; and two very capacious reservoirs, covering nearly one hundred acres, and having an average depth of almost forty feet, have been constructed, furnishing an abundant supply of pure water for the use of the inhabitants, and of the different public works carried on in the vicinity. There is a public library, supported by subscription of about 200 proprietary shareholders; it comprises more than 4500 volumes in the various departments of literature. In the town is also a very extensive library containing several thousand volumes, maintained by subscription of the operative classes; a library annexed to the Faculty of Procurators has a large collection of the most approved law books; and a medical library is attached to the House of Recovery, under the management of the Medical Society. One newspaper is published weekly. The Philosophical Institution was established in 1808, for promoting the study of natural philosophy, general literature, and science, by the delivery of single lectures by the members gratuitously, and occasionally courses of lectures by eminent professors. Connected with it are a library of above 500 volumes, and a museum containing a very valuable collection of minerals and natural curiosities. There are also some curiosities in the pleasant gardens in the immediate vicinity of the town called Hope-Temple, comprising several acres of ground tastefully laid out, and forming an interesting place of resort to the inhabitants. An agricultural society was founded here in 1819, for the advance of improvements in husbandry by the distribution of prizes; the meetings are held annually, when a show of cattle and some ploughing-matches take place. There are likewise two horticultural societies, one established in 1782, and the other in 1832; both are well supported, and have tended greatly to improvement in the management of gardens, and the raising of flowers and vegetables. To the east of the town, in the suburb of Williamsburgh, some very commodious barracks have been erected within the last thirty years; they are pleasantly situated, and adapted to the reception of half a regiment of infantry.
The almost unequalled increase in the extent and population of Paisley, which formerly consisted only of one street, and contained scarcely 2000 inhabitants, is to be attributed to the introduction of the various manufactures of which it is the seat, and for which its situation near the river Clyde, affording great facility of communication, renders it peculiarly favourable. Not long after the union of the two kingdoms, when a free trade was opened, the few articles manufactured here, principally coarse checked linens and Bengals, were purchased by pedlars from England, who, selling them among their friends at home to advantage, regularly frequented this town as the principal mart, and, after acquiring some little property as itinerant merchants, took up their abode in Paisley, and became factors for supplying their correspondents in the south. The impetus thus given to the manufactures soon excited the attention of the Glasgow merchants, who bought large quantities, which they sent to London and to foreign markets. The manufacture of checked linen handkerchiefs, of different colours tastefully blended, was soon added to the articles previously made; and to these succeeded various fabrics of lighter texture, consisting chiefly of plain and figured lawns, and a new sort of sewing-thread, known by the appellation of ounce or nuns' thread, to distinguish it from other kinds manufactured at Aberdeen and Dundee. The manufacture of silk gauze, in imitation of that of Spitalfields, London, was introduced here about the year 1760, and was carried on with such success, and in such a variety of elegant patterns, as totally to supersede the making of that article by the London weavers. It soon became the staple manufacture of the place, and several companies from London settled in the town for the purpose of conducting it on a more extensive scale; it furnished employment to numbers of persons in the surrounding district for almost twenty miles, and the different manufactures here had agents for the sale of it in London, Dublin, Paris, and other parts of the continent. This manufacture, however, after a period of unexampled success for nearly thirty years, declined with the change of fashion, and was almost immediately succeeded by that of muslin, which was carried on by the same parties with much spirit and perseverance, and soon rose to a great degree of prosperity. The working of muslins with embroidery shortly followed; it was pursued with only moderate success for some time, but has been rapidly increasing within the last twenty years, and now gives employment to thousands of females in this widely extended manufacturing district. The value of the silk and linen gauze, and white sewing-thread, manufactured here in 1784, has been estimated at £579,185; and about 1790, the aggregate amount of all the goods of every kind manufactured annually was computed at £660,385. The number of persons employed in 1784 in the gauze and thread works was 27,484. From the reports of the Board of Trustees for the encouragement of manufactures, it appears that the linen trade had in 1784 reached its greatest height; the number of looms that year was 2000, and nearly 2,000,000 of yards were stamped. About 5000 looms were then, according to the same authority, employed in the silk gauze manufacture, and the quantity produced was estimated at £350,000.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the manufacture of shawls in imitation of those of India was attempted, at first only with comparatively moderate success; but by the perseverance and ingenuity of the persons embarked in it, the manufacture at length succeeded even beyond expectation, and shawls of soft and spun silk, and of cotton, were produced of admirable quality. Imitations, also, of the scarfs and turbans worn by the eastern nations were made, and exported in great quantities to the islands in the Archipelago and to Turkey; and the same style of work was introduced in several varieties for ladies' dresses. This trade flourished for a long time, affording employment to great numbers of persons; and is still carried on to a considerable extent. A more perfect imitation of the Indian shawl was eventually obtained, by mixing fine wool and silk in the production of what was called Persian yarn; and a still nearer approximation was made by the introduction of the fabric called Thibet, originally manufactured in Yorkshire, but afterwards adopted with improvements by the weavers of this place. The manufacture was at length brought to its present state of perfection by the use of cashmere wool from the east; this had been imported for some time by the French; and by obtaining yarn from France, the Paisley manufacturer produced an article of most beautiful quality. The manufacture of crape for dresses, and of embroidered crape and damask shawls resembling those of China, was introduced here about the year 1823, and carried on to a very considerable extent, affording lucrative employment to numbers of females, whose ingenuity and skill have produced specimens in many instances equal to those imported from Canton: this manufacture is still pursued, though less extensively than formerly. The shawls at present chiefly made are of three kinds; either entirely of silk, a mixture of silk and cotton, or wholly of cotton. The trade in them has been rapidly increasing, and the value of the quantities produced in a late year was estimated at nearly £1,000,000. The cheneille shawl was introduced into the town by Mr. Buchanan, afterwards of Glasgow, and is made on a very extensive scale: these shawls, of velvet on silk, from their extreme softness and the variety of their colours are in great estimation. The thread manufacture, in which cotton has been recently used in the place of linen, affords employment to many persons, and the quantity annually made is estimated at £100,000. The total number of looms in the town is more than 6000; there are 2000 in the villages; and in the surrounding districts, great numbers of persons are employed by the Glasgow houses. Machinery of every kind, and on the most improved principles, is used in all the factories; and for facilitating the operations, and bringing to greater perfection the articles made, numerous ingenious contrivances have been suggested, and successfully applied, both by the masters and the workmen.
The printing of silks and muslins is carried on to a limited extent, and the weaving of tartan employs numerous persons. The cotton manufacture, which was first attempted at Dovecothall, is also pursued, and on a considerable scale: there are at present three factories in the town, two of which are very extensive; and sixteen likewise in the village of Elderslie and the rising town of Johnstone. An iron-foundry on a large scale has been established for more than fifty years; and connected with it are works for the manufacture of steamengines and all kinds of machinery. There are also a manufactory for gasometers, and iron boats for canal navigation; three large brass-foundries in the town; two iron-foundries, and one brass, in the village of Johnstone; and five manufactories for machinery connected with the factories of the district. A very extensive tannery is conducted with great success. There are three public breweries, two of which are extensive; three distilleries; a large soap manufactory; and seven bleachfields, to most of which capacious reservoirs have been attached by the company for supplying Paisley with water. Two banks have been established in the town, in which are also three branch banks connected with Edinburgh and Glasgow, and numerous offices for fire and life insurance: the post-office has several deliveries daily; and the revenue, before the adoption of the system of the penny-postage, amounted to £3194. The market, which is amply supplied, is weekly, on Thursday; and there are four annual fairs, for three days each, respectively commencing on the third Thursday in February, the third Thursday in May, the third Thursday in August, and the second Thursday in November. At the August fair, the Paisley races, which have been long established, attract a numerous assemblage of visiters. A fair is also held at Johnstone, in July, for cattle; and a horse fair is held in December.
The town has great facility of intercourse with Glasgow, and with all other parts of the country, by excellent roads and bridges, of which latter, one of ancient structure, across the Cart, connects the Old and New Towns; while two others, over the same river, afford communication between the Abbey and town parishes. One of these, called, from its situation near the Seedhill craigs, the Seedhill bridge, was built with materials taken from the ruins of the Abbey. The Glasgow, Paisley, and Johnstone Canal, for which an act of parliament was obtained in 1805, was commenced in 1807; and that part of it forming a communication between Paisley and Johnstone was finished in 1810. In the following year, the portion between this town and Glasgow was opened. The whole line of navigation is eleven miles in length, about twenty-eight feet in width, and four feet and a half in average depth; and was completed at an expense of £130,000. In its progress it passes along two tunnels, one of which, under the Causeway-side-street of the town, is 240 feet long, and the other, near the western extremity of the town, 210 feet: it is carried across the Cart by a handsome aqueduct 240 feet in length, twenty-seven feet in breadth, and thirty feet in height, and the span of the arch over the river is eighty-four feet. It was not found necessary to construct a single lock. In addition to the boats for goods and merchandise, three boats were at first handsomely fitted up for passengers, each capable of conveying one hundred persons; and the facilities were afterwards greatly extended by the addition of lighter craft, called gig-boats, which were drawn by horses, and left the basin at Paisley every hour, from nine o'clock in the morning till eight at night, for Glasgow. The passage was performed in less than an hour; the number of passengers annually conveyed was 423,186, and the amount of fares received by the proprietors more than £9000. Not less than sixty-four horses were employed for these boats. By a recent arrangement, however, with railway companies, the conveyance of passengers is to be discontinued for twenty-one years, and the traffic confined to heavy goods, of which 68,063 tons were carried in the year ending 30th September 1844. The Railway from the New Town of Paisley to the river Clyde at Renfrew, for the conveyance of passengers and goods, was constructed by a company under an act obtained in 1835; and the line was opened in May 1837. It is three miles and a quarter in length, with a rise of about sixteen feet upon the whole distance; the earth-works are light, and there is only one stone bridge (having a semi-elliptical arch) over the railway, and four level road-crossings. The amount of capital is £23,000. The Glasgow, Paisley, and Greenock railway was commenced under an act passed in 1837; it begins at the south end of Glasgow bridge, proceeds to Paisley, and, running nearly parallel to the Clyde, terminates at Greenock, near the harbour, the whole line being twenty-two and a half miles. The portion between Glasgow and Paisley, common with the Ayr railway, noticed below, was opened on the 14th July, 1840: the capital of the company is now £866,666. The Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock, and Ayr railway proceeds through Paisley on a viaduct resting on several arches of different spans, according to the width of the streets and roads passed over, of which there are seven. Here, also, the railway is carried over the river Cart on a bold and splendid bridge of one arch, eighty-five feet in span; after which it curves, and passes over the Glasgow, Paisley, and Johnstone canal in its course to the south-west. Paisley is one of the principal intermediate stations. The works of this railway were commenced in May 1838; and the whole line, forty miles, between Glasgow and Ayr was opened in August 1840. The easy means of communication with so many important places now afforded to this town by these various lines of road, tends materially to increase its trade.
Paisley was in 1488 formed into a free burgh of barony by James IV., in favour of the abbot of Paisley and his successors, to whom he gave the power of appointing a provost, bailies, and other officers. The privileges which the inhabitants had previously obtained from the superior of the regality, were confirmed and greatly extended by a charter granted in 1490 by the abbot to the provost, bailies, burgesses, and community of the recently-created burgh; and in 1576, James VI. bestowed a charter confirming to them all altarages, chapelries, and lands within the burgh. This charter is regarded as the foundation of the claims of patronage exercised by the earls of Abercorn and Dundonald after the dissolution of the monastery, and acquired from the latter family by the magistrates and council of the burgh in 1733. In 1658 the corporation, in consideration of certain sums of money, obtained from Lord Cochrane, at that time proprietor of the lordship, the right of superiority of the burgh, with all its privileges and immunities, to be held of the crown; which liberties, rights, and possessions, with the power of electing magistrates, were confirmed to the inhabitants by charter granted by Charles II., in the year 1666. The government is at present vested in a provost, four bailies, a treasurer, and a council of ten burgesses, assisted by a town-clerk, chamberlain, and other officers. The provost, who is also a deputy-lieutenant of the county; the bailies, who are also ex officio justices of the peace; and the council, are all annually elected on the first Monday in November, under the authority, and subject to the regulations, of the Municipal Reform act; and the town-clerk, chamberlain, and other officers are appointed by the provost and council. The magistrates have jurisdiction over the whole of the ancient royalty, and hold courts twice in the week for the determination of civil actions, the town-clerk being assessor; also a court of requests, called the Conveners' court, in which parties appear on summons, and state mutually their cases, before taking ulterior proceedings in the civil court, which are frequently obviated by the advice given by the magistrates. The sheriff's court, for the recovery of small debts, removed from Renfrew to this place, is held weekly, and has tended to diminish the number of cases brought before the civil court, which previously averaged about 200, but subsequently not more than seventy, annually. A police court, also, is held daily by the magistrates, assisted by the town-clerk as assessor, for the decision of petty offences and breaches of the peace: the police establishment consists of a superintendant, two serjeants, four corporals, and twelve constables, appointed by the commissioners for the wards into which the town and suburbs are divided. Prior to the adoption of the Police act, an organization of special constables had been established, which, from its efficiency in preserving order, is still kept up, at the trifling expense of furnishing batons to the constables as ensigns of their authority.
Before the passing of the act for amending the parliamentary representation, the burgh merely shared in returning a member for the county; but since that time it has sent one of its own, and the limits of the ancient burgh have been extended over a wide agricultural district on the opposite side of the river Cart, which is now included within the parliamentary boundary. The number of persons occupying houses within the municipal bounds of Paisley to the amount of £10 per annum and upwards is 906, of whom 496 are burgesses; and of those occupying houses under £10 per annum, but above £5, 900, of whom 267 are burgesses. The number of £10 householders beyond the municipal, but within the parliamentary, boundary of the burgh, is 234, of whom eighty-six are burgesses; and of those occupying houses under £10 per annum, but above £5, 215, of whom sixteen are burgesses.
The County and Town Hall is a spacious quadrangular edifice in the castellated style, erected in 1820, at an expense of £28,000, raised by assessment on the county. The front, or western, range of the quadrangle contains a large court-house, county-hall, council-chambers, and offices for the different departments of the public business of the town and county. The eastern range comprises the house of correction, the common gaol, and a chapel between them for their joint accommodation, in which divine service is regularly performed every Sunday evening by the ministers of the Establishment and dissenting Presbyterians. The gaol has nineteen apartments for criminals, and fifteen for debtors; of the former there were 319, and of the latter 195, committed during a recent year: here is likewise a large airing yard. The house of correction consists of forty-two cells, an hospital for the sick, and two convenient airing yards. The average number of inmates is thirty-two; they are employed in winding yarn, weaving, needlework, picking wool, and other useful works; and such as need instruction are attended by a teacher daily for one hour. Classification and moral discipline are strictly observed, and attached to the prison is a library of religious books. The steeple of the former court-house and prison is still remaining, near the market-cross; and opposite to it are the coffee-room buildings, of handsome style, ornamented with pilasters of the Ionic order, and containing a spacious reading and news room.
The whole of the Paisley portion of the county, at present so populously inhabited, and forming so extensive a manufacturing district, was previously to the year 1736 one parish, now divided into the Abbey parish and the town parishes. The district is situated in the upper part of the shire, within two miles of the river Clyde; and is nearly nine miles in length, and of very irregular form, varying from half a mile to about five miles and a half in breadth. It is bounded on the north by the parish of Renfrew, on the north-east by that of Govan, on the east by the parish of Eastwood, on the south-east by Neilston, on the west by the parish of Kilbarchan, and on the south and south-west by the parishes of Neilston and Lochwinnoch. The surface is beautifully diversified, consisting around the town of numerous gentle eminences, either in rich cultivation or clothed with wood. To the north of the town the lands are generally level, being chiefly reclaimed moss; but towards the south they rise into hills, called the Braes of Gleniffer, the highest points of which have an elevation of about 700 feet above the river Cart, but which afford excellent pasturage for sheep, and in some of the lower heights are in a state of cultivation. The chief river is the Cart, or White Cart, which has its source in the high grounds between Eaglesham and the parish of Kilbride, and after forming its boundary for some few miles, enters the Abbey parish on the eastern side, and flows with a gentle course towards the town, whence it runs into the Clyde, after having united with the Black Cart near Inchinnan bridge. Above the town its banks exhibit much rich scenery, being in some parts very elevated, and crowned with wood. It formerly abounded with perch, trout, flounders, and other fish; but they have not been found in such numbers since the establishment of so many works upon its stream. The river has been rendered navigable to the town for vessels of sixty or eighty tons, by the construction of a short canal to avoid the shallows near Inchinnan bridge, and by various additional improvements of recent date, for which an act of parliament was obtained. The Levern, a smaller stream, on the banks of which are numerous cotton-mills, bleachfields, and other works, after forming part of the eastern boundary of the Abbey parish, joins the Cart, nearly at its entrance into the parish. The Black Cart has its source in Castle-Semple loch, borders the parish on the north-west, and falls into the Cart, as already remarked, near Inchinnan bridge. Various rivulets, also, descend from the higher grounds; the Espedair and Alt-Patrick burns may be considered the principal.
The soil in the upper lands is dry and light; in the lower parts, a stiffish clay, retentive of moisture. The whole number of acres is estimated at 16,160, of which about 12,700 are arable, 1000 in woods and plantations, 1700 moss, and about 700 waste; the chief crops are, oats, wheat, barley, beans, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture has been greatly improved, and the rotation plan of husbandry is prevalent; the farm-buildings are substantial and well arranged; the lands generally inclosed; and all the more recent improvements in the construction of implements have been adopted. Tile-draining has been carried on to a considerable extent; much waste land and moss, also, has been reclaimed and brought into cultivation. Due attention is paid to the rearing of live-stock, under the encouragement of the Agricultural Society; the dairy-farms are well managed, and the proximity of populous towns and villages affords a ready market for their produce. The cattle are of the Ayrshire breed, the sheep generally of the Leicestershire; the horses are the Clydesdales, and are considered of superior character. A number of racers and hunters are bred in the district. The woods consist of oak, elm, ash, plane, and horsechesnut; and the plantations, of birch, larch, and silver, spruce, and Scotch firs: the trees are all well attended to; and the plantations, occupying chiefly elevated situations, add greatly to the beauty of the scenery.
The substrata in the higher lands are mainly composed of trap-rock of the secondary character; and in the lower lands, of rocks belonging to the coal formation. Greenstone, hornblende with quartz and felspar, and porphyry of a greyish colour, are found in the hills: the greenstone is traversed with veins of jasper and chalcedony. The substrata in the lower division include ironstone, limestone, sandstone, fire-clay, and aluminous and bituminous shale. The sandstone is of a yellowish-white colour, tinged more or less with iron; it is extensively quarried at Nitshill, and the works afford constant employment to about 100 persons throughout the whole of the year. The limestone occurs in beds under the sandstone, and alternating with coal and ironstone; it is of a grey colour, and is quarried at Hurlet and Blackhall, where it is thickly imbedded with shells, crystal of calcareous spar, and small masses of mineral pitch. Coal is of course abundant in the lower portion of the Abbey parish; it has been found within the town, near Meikleriggs, and at Quarrelton, Hurlet, and other places. The coal at Quarrelton is in ten successive seams, varying from three to nine yards in thickness: a considerable quantity is of light inflammable kind, and the remainder closely resembling the Newcastle coal. It abounds with inflammable gas, and is liable to spontaneous ignition. The coal found at Hurlet occurs in a stratum about five feet and a half thick, extending over an area of nearly 500 acres, and contains a large quantity of sulphur; while at Nitshill are strata from one foot to almost three feet in thickness. Coal is also found near the road from Paisley to Beith, on the high grounds of Auchenlodmont, at Elderslie, and at Craigenfeoch; in the last place it occurs in four under-seams varying in thickness from three to five feet, and is wrought in separate lofts. The ironstone occurs in many places, and was formerly wrought to a great extent, and sent to the smelting-works on the river Clyde: ironore is still found in considerable quantities at Hawkeshead, Hurlet, and other places, occurring generally in round or lenticular masses of moderate size. Aluminous schist is abundant at Hurlet, the strata varying from six inches to three feet and a half in thickness. It is wrought by a company for the purpose of making alum, of which, in a late year, not less than 1200 tons were manufactured here; and about 300 tons of copperas were produced by the same company at their works at Nitshill. Large quantities of muriate of potash and sulphate of ammonia are manufactured at Glasgow, and sent to the alum-works by the Glasgow canal and the Hurlet railway. At this company's several works and collieries near Paisley nearly 400 persons are constantly employed; and about 200 more are engaged in the mineral productions at other places in the Abbey parish. From the abundance of ironstone and coal diffused through the district, it is not improbable that iron-works on a very extensive scale may be ultimately established here, and give a fresh impetus to the enterprising genius of the inhabitants. The rateable annual value of Paisley is £132,829, of which £66,941 are for the Abbey parish, which completely encircles, and includes part of the town.
The principal gentlemen's seats in the Abbey parish are, Johnstone Castle, the residence of Ludovic Houston, Esq., a spacious and elegant mansion, in a richly-wooded demesne forming one of the chief ornaments of the county; Househill, a handsome residence, pleasantly situated on the banks of the Levern, near its confluence with the river Cart; and Ralston House, built by the late William Orr, Esq. There are numerous other houses scattered over the parish, inhabited by opulent families, and surrounded with grounds tastefully embellished; and in the immediate vicinity of the town are many pleasing villas, erected by persons retired from business.
Paisley is the seat of a presbytery established in 1590, and having jurisdiction over all the parishes in the county, except those of Eaglesham and Cathcart, which, being only partly in Renfrew, were transferred to the presbytery of Greenock. Its ecclesiastical affairs, therefore, are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Paisley and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The stipend of the incumbent of the Old or Abbey parish, of which the population is 28,246, is £376, with a manse, a comfortable residence, erected in 1824, and a glebe valued at £67 per annum. A second minister was in 1641 appointed as a colleague to the incumbent, who at that time gave five chalders out of his own income for his support; and this allowance, having been subsequently augmented, produces to the minister of the second charge a stipend of £363, but without either manse or glebe. The church of this parish is part of the Abbey church, which was fitted up for the purpose, and will be more minutely described hereafter. The increase of the population early rendered the erection of an additional church indispensable; and in 1736, a church now called the Low Church having been completed, the burgh was erected into a separate parish by the Lords Commissioners, and a charter was obtained from Lord Dundonald, granting to the magistrates permission to build other churches within its limits, of which he conceded to them the patronage. In 1756, a church was erected on the eminence called Oakshaw Head, and, from its situation, was called the High Church. About twenty-five years afterwards, a third church was built in the burgh parish, to accommodate the rapidlyaugmenting population, and, from its relative position between the other two, obtained the appellation of the Middle Church; and after its erection, the parish was by an act of the Court of Teinds in 1781, divided into three parishes, called the Low Church, the High Church, and the Middle Church parishes. The population of these parishes respectively is, 7080, 14,798, and 10,363; and the stipends of the incumbents are £300 per annum each, paid out of the common property of the corporation, who are patrons of the livings. A new church was built by the corporation in the Low Church parish, and dedicated to St. George, in 1819, by which an increase of 600 sittings was obtained, being the difference between the number of seats in the Low church and in this, to which the incumbent of that parish was transferred; and after its erection the Low church was no longer appropriated as a place of public worship.
The still increasing population requiring further accommodation, a Gaelic church and six chapels of ease were erected. The Gaelic church was built in 1793, for the use of the Highlanders generally in the town of Paisley and the vicinity; and to each of the chapels of ease was till lately annexed a quoad sacra district, by which they were raised to the rank of parish churches. Of the six chapels or churches, that of Johnstone was erected in 1792, the church at Levern in 1835, and that of Elderslie in 1840; and in the burgh, the North church, the Martyrs, and the South church, have been completed, and a minister ordained to each. The South late quoad sacra parish was disjoined partly from the Abbey parish and partly from the parish of Low Church, and was about half a mile in length and a quarter in breadth, having a population of 3135, all resident in the town: the church, built in 1835–6, at a cost of £2129, contains 972 sittings. The North late quoad sacra parish was separated from the Middle parish in 1834, and was in extent about one square mile, and wholly a town parish, having a population of 2876. The church was built in 1833–4, at a cost of £1700, raised by means of collections and subscriptions, aided by a grant of £300 from the General Assembly; it contains nearly 1000 sittings. The late quoad sacra parish of Martyrs was separated from High Church parish in 1836, and extended over about twenty acres, its greatest length being about 400 yards, and its greatest breadth 220; this was also quite a town district, having a population of 3471. The church was built in 1835, at an expense of £2120, raised chiefly by subscription, and contains 1200 sittings. The whole number of sittings in the churches and chapels of the Establishment is 13,000. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, the Reformed Presbytery, Old Burghers, the Relief, and the United Secession; also an episcopal chapel; places of worship for Wesleyan Methodists, Scottish and Berean Baptists, Independents, Glassites, Unitarians, and Universalists; and in the New Town a Roman Catholic chapel. A home mission has been established, and is supported by subscription. Under its direction, three licentiates of the church are appointed to preach in the most populous parts of the town and neighbourhood; and there are two Sabbath-school Societies, one of which is maintained by members of the Established Church, and the other by the different denominations of Evangelical dissenters. There were also till lately two halls connected with dissenting congregations, for the study of theology.
The grammar school, of which the corporation are the trustees, had an endowment in land, with certain altarages, and revenues of chaplainships in the church of the monastery, given to the magistrates of the burgh for its foundation; but most of these endowments have been lost, and the rector receives only £17 per annum, with a school and dwelling-house from the corporation, by whom he is appointed, in addition to the fees. A school for commercial instruction is also partly maintained by the corporation, who pay the master a salary of £8. 6. 8., with a house. There are in the Abbey and burgh parishes about seventy schools, the masters of which, with some few exceptions, are supported exclusively by the fees: the master of a school at Seedhill has a schoolroom and dwelling-house, and £5 per annum bequeathed by Mr. Park about fifty years since for the instruction of children. Schools were lately established in the Abbey parish by the heritors, who assessed themselves for the maintenance of three teachers; and a school has been erected in the New Town with funds bequeathed for that purpose by the family of Corse, of Greenlaw. The parishes within the burgh recently obtained a grant of £700 from government for the erection of schools, with which, together with additions by the inhabitants, three new schools have been built, and a salary of £15 per annum guaranteed to each of the masters: in these schools are about 700 pupils. A charity-school founded in the town by Mrs. Margaret Hutchinson, has been additionally endowed with £500 bequeathed by the late Walter Carswell, Esq.; and a commodious schoolroom has been built, in which are about 250 scholars. An infant school has been erected in the New town, by subscription, on a site given by James Kibble, Esq., of Greenlaw; it is attended by eighty children. The whole number of scholars in the Abbey and town parishes was returned in 1834 as amounting to 4876; and since that period it has considerably increased. The poor have the interest of various bequests amounting together to £700. The Town's hospital was built in 1752, and an addition has been recently made to it for the reception of lunatics; it is under the control of fifteen directors chosen annually, and is visited daily by an experienced surgeon. The inmates who are capable of work are employed in some useful pursuit; and the children are duly instructed by the master, who takes them all with him to church twice every Sunday. The number of inmates in a recent year was 220, and the expense of their maintenance, £1347. There are six incorporated societies of trades, and numerous friendly and benefit societies, that distribute largely among their members when in need of help, by which the claims upon the poor's funds are greatly diminished. A dispensary was erected by subscription in 1786, and a house of recovery subsequently added; they are under the direction of a committee of subscribers, and a house-surgeon and apothecary, and are visited by six medical practitioners in the town. The building is capable of receiving at once forty-five inpatients; and in the course of a late year not less than 463 were admitted, exclusively of patients who merely received medicines and advice: the total expenditure of the establishment for the year was £466. 11. A savings' bank, called the Paisley Provident Bank, was established in 1815, in which the amount of deposits for the year is about £5090.
Of the ancient monastery of this place, a venerable and splendid cruciform structure, in the decorated style of English architecture, the chief remains are, the nave of the church, which is now the Abbey parish church, and a portion of the north transept, and of the cloisters, with St. Mirin's chapel. The western entrance is divided into three compartments by panelled and niched buttresses, terminating in conical pinnacles of recent addition and incongruous character: the centre has a richly-moulded and deeply-recessed archway of Norman character, supported on each side by a series of fifteen slender clustered columns. Above the doorway are two handsome windows of three lights, headed with geometrical tracery; and these are surmounted by one large window of five lights, headed with trefoil, and having the crown of the arch filled with flowing tracery of elaborate and beautiful design. The nave, ninety-three feet in length and thirty-three feet in breadth, is separated from the aisles by a range of ten massive clustered columns with plainly-moulded capitals, sustaining the arches of the triforium, which are of circular form, richly moulded, and subdivided by a central mullion into two pointed arches headed in cinquefoil. The nave is lighted by a series of twelve clerestory windows on either side, each of two lights, headed with elegant tracery. The original groined roof, embellished with sculptured bosses at the intersection of the arches, has been concealed by the insertion of a coved ceiling, which detracts greatly from the grandeur of effect produced by the arrangement and style of the interior. The aisles are lighted by handsome windows of the decorated style, divided into two, three, and in some instances four, lights, and enriched with tracery of various kinds; and in some parts the groined roof, in the same style as that of the nave, is still preserved. That portion of the transept which is remaining has a spacious and elegant window of two lights, with flowing tracery of beautiful design. Of the choir, a few feet of the walls remain above the foundation; and the bases of the massive clustered columns that supported the tower are to be seen. The cloisters appear to have inclosed a quadrangular area of about sixty feet, from which is an entrance to the chapel of St. Mirin on the east side. The chapel is about forty-eight feet in length and twenty-four feet in breadth, with a lofty and finely-groined roof: at the east end is a large window of four lights headed with trefoil, but now blocked up; beneath which is a cluster of sculptured figures in bold relief. In the south wall is a niche in which a piscina is placed; in the north wall are two spacious arches, built up; and at the east end is a vault under the elevated portion of the pavement, forming the place of sepulture of the Abercorn family. Nearly in the centre of the floor of the chapel is the altar-tomb of Queen Bleary, which was found in the area of the cloisters in a mutilated state, and, being re-constructed, was placed here under the direction of the late Dr. Boog. The sides and ends of this monument are divided into compartments, ornamented with sculptured figures of ecclesiastics, armorial shields, and other devices in bold relief; and on the slab is the figure of a female in a recumbent posture, with the head resting on a cushion, under a rich canopy, and the hands folded as in the attitude of prayer. Various conjectures have been made respecting the person to whose memory the monument was raised; but nothing satisfactory has been established. The chapel, from its extraordinary reverberation of sound, has obtained the appellation of the "sounding aisle." Within what was formerly the choir of the monastery, and in the adjoining cemetery, are numerous gravestones, and monumental inscriptions: the queens of Robert II. and III., and Walter, the great steward, and his lady, were interred in the Abbey church.
There are some remains of the ancient residence of the Abercorn and Dundonald families, let out in different tenements. Three miles to the south of the town are the shattered ruins of Cruickston Castle, the favourite resort of Mary, Queen of Scots; and about two miles also to the south of it, are the remains of the tower of Stewarts-Raiss, seated on the bank of the river Levern. Near the Braes of Gleniffer, by which it is overlooked, is the tower of Stanley Castle, rising to the height of forty feet, and crowned with a boldly-projecting battlement supported by corbels; it is still in good preservation, and forms an interesting feature in the landscape. Hawkhead House, the old residence of the Kelburn family, and now of the Earl of Glasgow, is an irregular quadrangular edifice, with a strong tower, round which additional buildings were erected; the grounds are finely laid out with stately avenues of trees forming an approach to the castle, and are deeply embosomed in woods. Blackwall House, situated on the banks of the river Cart, was a mansion of great strength, but is now a ruin; and Cardonald, a spacious castellated mansion, formerly the seat of Lord Blantyre, is now let out in tenements. Near the village of Elderslie is a house in which it is said the renowned Sir William Wallace was born; and near it is a tree called "Wallace's Oak," from its having afforded shelter and concealment to that hero and his friends, when pursued by a hostile force of superior strength. About two miles and a half to the east of the town is a saline spring called Candren Well, on the properties of which a treatise was written by the late Dr. Lyall, a native of Paisley. Among other distinguished natives may be enumerated, Andrew Knox, a relative of the Reformer, who was ordained as minister of this parish, and was afterwards bishop of Raphoe; Patrick Adamson, archbishop of St. Andrew's; Thomas Smeton, principal of the college of Glasgow; Robert Boyd, successively principal of the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow; Alexander Dunlop, father of the principal of that name; Robert Millar, author of the Propagation of Christianity and other treatises of merit; John Witherspoon, president of the college of New Jersey, and an eminent divine; Robert Findlay, professor of theology in the college of Glasgow; Robert Tannahill, author of some lyric poetry; Alexander Wilson, the American ornithologist; Dr. Robert Watt, author of the Bibliotheca Britannica; John Henning, a distinguished modeller; the gifted Professor Wilson, of Edinburgh; and William Motherwell, a poet of much merit.