Name.- The name or this parish may, from its etymology, mean the Town on the Burns, or the Town of Mourning. In the former case, the name is descriptive of its locality ;-the original clachan or town being situate at the confluence or two inconsiderable streams. In the latter case, the parish may be supposed to take its name from an event of rather an interesting character, and which forms a part of its traditionary history. On one occasion, it is said, when the aborigines had gone to a little distance to attend on their religious rites, they left their children in their tents. On their return, they discovered, to their horror, that they had been all destroyed by the wolves which infested that part of the country, in common with other districts in Scotland at this period; and hence, ever after, the place was called the town of " weeping or mourning." Which of the two derivations is the more correct one, we leave to the curious to determine ;-non nostrum est tantas componere lites.
Extent, Boundaries, &c.- The parish runs very nearly east and west; is about 11 miles in length; and 3 in breadth; bounded on the east and south-east, by Gargunnock and Fintray; on the south and north-west, by Killearn and Drymen; and on the north and north-east, by Drymen and Kippen. The clachan, once the chief point in the parish, is about fifteen miles due west of Stirling, the county town, though by the circuitous road it is considerably farther distant. It is almost equally distant from Dumbarton, the seat of the presbytery, and Glasgow, the access to which towns is by well-made and well-kept roads, though the original lines are far from being those which engineers of the present school would adopt. The clachan, at one time, was, as has been already said, the chief, if not the only point of attraction. It still deserves pre-eminence; for here, the parish church still stands, surrounded by the burial-yard, always an object of deep interest to the population. Here, also, is the smithy, -and the old oak tree, or fourteen feet in circumference, in the very heart of the clachan, in which were fixed the jougs of the parish, But, alas! the glory of the clachan has past away. It is now shorn of its importance by its immediate neighbour, the new village of Balfron, which sprung into existence with the introduction of manufactures, about sixty years ago. This is now the principal village in the western district of Stirlingshire, is built on a gentle declivity, with a southern exposure, sloping gradually to the river Endrick. The situation is commanding, and extremely beautiful, In the immediate foreground, you have the rich valley of the Endrick, with the river meandering through the well-grown and richly diversified plantations of Ballikinrain and others; bounded by a well-defined ridge of hills, known by the name of the Lennox Fells, and which here rise to an elevation of 1500 feet above the level of the sea. In the greater distance are the Grampians bounding the view; amongst which, Benledi, Benvoirlich, Benvenue, Benmore, and Benlomond, with the more distant mountains of Cowal, in Argyleshire, form grand and conspicuous objects. The village is neatly built, and being kept clean and white, is at all times an object of interest to the traveller or visitor.
Hydrography.-- Our only river is the water of Endrick, which rises in the parish of St Ninians, and after fertilizing and beautifying the parishes of Fintray, Balfron, Killearn, Drymen, and Kilmaronock, at length is lost in the waters of Lochlomond, the Queen of British lakes. It is a clear running and beautifully winding stream, and, though well-wooded on its margin in general, there is nothing to prevent the angler from following his sport; and richly is he rewarded by full creels of those deliciously flavoured trout in which it abounds.
Geology.-. Abundance of limestone there is in the parish, but from want of coal it has never been turned to any profitable account. It is said, however, that coal formations do exist in the parish, and, perhaps, the appearance of newest floetz-trap and basalt may render the statement not improbable; but certain it is, that any experiments upon what have been supposed to be the likeliest situation for coal deposits, have proved hitherto unsuccessful.