Extent and Boundaries.- Previous to the year 1649, Campsie extended 11 miles from east to west, from the Garrel Glen to Craig Maddie Muir. The southern boundary was the River Kelvin, flowing westward through a morass impassable in winter; and the western limit was a line running across the country from that lofty hill in the north-western extremity of the parish, called the Earl's Seat, to Cadder House. The northern boundary extended, as it still does, from the Earl's Seat, nearly due east, about three miles; after which, it follows the course of the Carron Water. The greater part of the Campsie Fells is thus included within this parish, though the Mickle Bin, the highest of the range, is not. Campsie was thus, in former times, a district very much isolated, and the people in consequence are said to have been distinguished by many peculiarities. What these were, I have not been able to learn distinctly. They were probably old customs, which retained their hold longer here than in places less secluded from the world.
In 1649, the parish was reduced to its present dimensions by the annexation of its eastern extremity to Kilsyth, and of its southern extremity to Baldernock, then first erected into a separate parish. The length of Campsie is about 7 miles, and its breadth about 6. It is bounded by the parish of Fintrv on the north; by Baldernock and Strathblane on the west; by Cadder and Kirkintilloch on the south; and on the east by Kilsyth. Campsie consists of two hills, namely, the Fells on the North and the South Brae, and of the strath lying between them, and or which the general direction is east and west.
Topographical Appearances.-In the western extremity of the parish, where it joins Strathblane, this strath does not exceed half a mile in width, but it gradually unfolds itself in its course eastwards, till it expands into the open country on the south and south-east. The surface is so undulating, that, with the exception of that across the Haugh of the Kelvin, near Kirkintilloch, I do not think 200 yards together of level road can be found in the parish. The South Brae is about 700 feet,' and the tells are said to be, at the highest point of the range, 1500 feet above the level of the sea. These last mentioned hills, shooting boldly up from the valley, like a prodigious rampart, present at all times a striking and imposing appearance, especially when clad in snow, and during rains in summer, when their summits are enveloped in clouds, and the white streaks of foam, marking the track of those numerous water-courses that pour down their sides, contrast finely with the deep rich verdure with which the Fells are then clothed to their tops.
Glens.-The Campsie Glens are celebrated for their beauty, and attract great numbers of visitors during the summer months They are deep gorges cut down in the south face of the Fells, by the long continued action of water, aided, perhaps, by other causes, through the solid rock, fragments of which, some of them of enormous dimensions, are strewn along the bed of the torrent. The rocky and precipitous sides of the glens, along which terraces have been cut by the proprietors for the accommodation of visitors, are ornamented with an abundance of wood, as well as a considerable variety of ferns, lichens, and mosses, and with wild flowers innumerable. That which is most frequented, and which alone strangers commonly visit, is the Kirkton Glen, so called from its proximity to the situation of the Old Kirk. The Finglen, a mile to the westward, though in some respects less striking than the other, has a larger volume of water, and two very beautiful waterfalls, and is, in the opinion of many persons, on the whole, not inferior to its more popular neighbour. These glens, I am sorry to add, prove the occasion of a considerable evil; for, on Sundays, during the whole summer, great numbers of persons resort to the Clachan of Campsie, from all parts of the surrounding country, to visit the glens, so that the quiet and decency Of a country Sabbath are here destroyed during half the year.
Hydrography.--The Glanzert, which runs through a considerable part of this parish, and which, together with the abundance of coal found here, has converted this into a manufacturing district, empties itself into the Kelvin, opposite the town of Kirkintilloch, and is formed by the junction of three burns,-the Pu, a languid streamlet which skirts the base of the South Brae; the Finglen Burn, which crosses the valley at the west end of the village of Haughead; and the Kirkton Burn, which crosses it at the eastern extremity of the same village. These three unite their waters near the lodge, at the entrance to Lennox Castle. Besides those now mentioned, no less than sixteen burns are said to empty themselves into the Glazert.
Climate and Diseases.- It is to be regretted that no exact observations have yet been made, which might enable us to determine exactly the comparative meteorological character of this district. Compared with the surrounding country, however, the climate is evidently more moist, and so both colder in winter and hotter in summer. These differences are easily accounted for, by reference to the position of the locality, situated between the Frith of Clyde on the south-west, and the Frith of Forth on the north-east, and lying immediately under lofty hills, which attract the clouds ascending along both those arms of the sea. The comparative coldness of this parish in winter arises not only from its proximity to the depositories of snow on the summits of the hills, but also from the contraction towards the west of the strath, through which the winds from the eastern quarter rush as through a funnel. The temperature in summer is greatly heightened by reflection from the Fells, which lie nearly at right angles to the rays of the sun at noon, and present an almost unbroken surface, bending gradually towards the south at both extremities, so as to concentrate the rays upon the valley below.
The ill effects of a damp climate are in part counteracted by the general
dryness of the soil. Still, I do not think Campsie can be pronounced a
remarkably healthy locality, at least in the valley. Fevers and inflammations
prevail to a great extent, as well as pulmonary diseases. In the year 1836,
there were 153 funerals, the largest number I believe, which ever has taken
place in one year. Besides climate, other causes are to be adverted to,
as operating unfavourably on the sanatory condition of the population:
1. The cottages are almost, without exception, damp, being generally ill built, and generally without drainage.
2. Though in this respect there is a considerable improvement, still the people generally are too little impressed with the importance of cleanliness in their habitations, and of ventilation, as means of preserving health.
3. In the villages, especially in Lennox-town, where the inhabitants have increased in a far greater pfl)portion than the houses, the people are too much crowded in their dwellings. The Irish labourers have imported their custom of pigging,-as many persons occupying a room at night as can find space to lie in it,-a practice equally inimical to health and to decency.
4. Though none of the manufactures in this place appear decidedly injurious to health, as compared with many others, yet there are many circumstances necessarily involved in manufacturing employments, which cannot but prove, on the whole, unfavourable to health ; such as the practice of putting children to work at an early age; labouring in heated rooms; attending furnaces; working among cold water; breathing a hot atmosphere in which a great quantity of water vapour and other gases are suspended; mining, &c Though the masters of works in this parish manifest, almost universally, a very humane regard to the health and comfort of' their work. people, those causes must, on the whole, operate unfavourably on their health and longevity.
On the other hand, it is proper to remember that persons employed in
manufactures are generally not exposed to cold and wet, the great springs
of disease among the agricultural population
2. The inhabitants of Campsie are, for the most part, better employed and better paid than in most surrounding parishes.
3. The parochial allowances, though probably not so large as the sanatory and moral welfare of the population demand, are liberal, compared with those or many other parishes.
4. A large number of landed proprietors and manufacturing gentlemen are resident in the parish, most of whom are wealthy and liberal; so that it is almost impossible that much of that slow starvation should be found here, which is complained or in many other parts of the country.
5. Lastly, intemperance, the great mother of disease, as well as crime, is apparently diminished to a considerable extent, partly through the efforts of abstinence societies.
Zoology.-The advancement of civilization in this part of the country is marked very distinctly by the changes that have take it place in the animals inhabiting it. Extensive plantations have been formed, especially around Woodhead, and a vast variety of birds have in consequence taken up their habitation here, which, forty years ago, could find neither food nor shelter; while the larger predatory tribes have either disappeared, or are seen at long intervals; The huntsman and his hounds, that used formerly to be maintained by the tenantry for the defence of their live-stock against the attacks of " beasts of the field and fowls of the air," have disappeared with the creatures against which they waged war. So lately as the latter half of the last century, the golden eagle bred regularly in Campsie; so did the gentil falcon; two species of the badger, three of the fox were natives. Badgers are still found occasionally; foxes are very numerous; otters are still seen, also polecats ; hedgehogs are plenty. A martin cat was taken in the Finglen some years ago. The true wildcat is believed to be extirpated from this parish. There are a great many species of hawks, most of them natives, as also several falcons. The goshawk, buzzard, and kite, are common. Eagles are no longer observed ; neither is the red-legged crow; and the hen-harrier but seldom. The lapwing breeds in great numbers, as also the stonechat ; but both disappear during the winter. I know few things more pleasant than on a summer evening, in the solitude of the lofty moors, to hear the plover winding his mellow horn. The note is rich and beautiful, and is rendered doubly pleasant by the deep silence around, as if all nature were listening to the little trumpeter. Squirrels are now abundant. They were first observed in this district about fifteen years ago. Roe-deer are now permanent residents with us, aud red-deer are said to have been seen crossing our moors. The jackdaw first made its appearance here about 1808 or 1809. Pheasants, introduced some years later, are now spread over the country. The mistletoe thrush now breeds in Campsie, so does the beautiful kingfisher: a pair of water-ouzels built their nest under the lower fall in the Finglen in 1837. The dabchick and the baldcoot have also recently been added to the inhabitants. The little golden-crested wren, and the redstart, have also been observed of late, together with many new varieties of the duck; among others, the golden-eyed diver. Almost all the tribes of smaller birds common in Scotland are found here in abundance. *
* Mr Stirling, Craigbarnet, shot in December 1838, two cross-bills, the first seen in this quarter. They are very beautiful birds, and are preserved by this-gentleman in a very fine collection which he has made, and which contains not only all the birds inhabiting this district, but a great number of beautiful specimens of foreign ornithology.
Botany.-No district in the vicinity of Glasgow ranks very high in respect of botanical productions. Campsie glens furnish almost as many good plants as any locality within ten miles of the city and some are found here which have not been described elsewhere in the neighbourhood. The following list contains the names of those plants, which are more rarely found in Scotland.
Veronica , montana
Veronica , scutellata
Gymnadenia couopseae (in such abundance as sometimes to scent the air)
Vaccinium oxyococos (the cranberry.)
Pyrus aucuparia (in the greatest abundance.)
*This species, which was long supposed to grow exclusively in the glen of Campsie is now proved to be a curious variety, or rather state of Tortula tortuosa
Mineralogy.-The minerals of which this district is principally composed are, l.st, trap; and 2nd, those of the coal formation. That range of hills which runs along the north side of the Strath, called the Campsie Fells, consists chiefly of large tabular masses of trap, the divisions in which are frequently indicated by the springs of water which issue from them, and which trace their course in deep furrows on the brow of the hill. The geological position and character of these masses are found to vary considerably in different situations; in some approaching near to a columnar form, and then passing into other layers, having large amygdaloidal cavities filled with calc-spa; quartz, &c. The transition between these two masses is sometimes marked by a soft, friable green-stone, having a marly appearance, from the quantity of mealy zeolite and calc-spar which it contains. Other layers are characterized by having a greater abundance of hornblende and felspar crystals intermixed. These phenomena have been accounted for by the different modifying circumstances under which the trap has been cooled.
Foliated zeolite, prelinite, and compact gypsum are also frequently found in this secondary trap formation. Many sections are to be seen in the parish (such as in the Clachan Glen, the head of Shield's Burn, &c), of the immediate contact of the trap with the coal formation; the latter sometimes dipping under the former, and at other times being upheaved by it into a vertical position. Several trap dikes are found to intersect the coal measures of this district, by which the coal is frequently thrown out of its position, relatively to the horizon and sunk or elevated to the extent of several yards from its original situation. One dike of great extent thus intersecting the coal measures is to be seen in the bed of the Glazert, at Kincaid Printfield, in the eastern part of the parish and near to Kinkell, about a mile farther to the west. From traces of this dike having been discovered in a line to the east, in the neighbouring parish of Kilsyth, and to the west, in those of Kilpatrick and Renfrew, it is exceedingly probable that it may be found to traverse the whole coal basin lying between the Friths of Forth and Clyde, in a north-east and south-west direction, and, therefore, intersecting the coal, which dips from northwest to south-east, nearly at right angles. A very fine section of a dike of compact felspar, about twenty feet in height and five feet in breadth, is to be seen in the Kirkton Glen, in the west end of the parish, elevating the strata of limestone, slate clay, and ironstone, which bear upon the dike, and dip on either side of it at a considerable angle. The slate-clay, where in contact with the felspar, is consolidated into a hard splintery mass resembling jasper.
The coal formation consists of the usual alternating rocks of freestone, limestone, argillaceous ironstone, aluminous clay-slate, &c. with beds of fossil shells, such as usually occur in the upper members of this series.
From the unequal and undulating nature of the surface throughout the whole of this district, it may readily be supposed that the thickness of cover overlying the coal strata must vary considerably in different situations.
The limestone in this district is wrought for agricultural and building
purposes, and is of the very finest quality, being almost altogether a
pure carbonate of lime, as will be seen by the following analysis of a
portion of that stone, viz.-
|Carbonate of lime,||93.00|
|protoxide of iron,||2.90|
|Insoluble earthy matter,||2.21|
|Carbonate of lime,||83.20|
|protoxide of iron,||2.17|
|Insoluble earthy matter,||11.87|
|Carbonate of magnesia, moisture,||2.63|
In sinking a bore in search of coal in the strata of the Glazert, near the alum-works, in 1886, at a depth of about thirteen fathoms, a spring of water was struck, which discharged about 120 gallons per minute at the aperture of the bore, for several months. It afterwards abated nearly a third of this quantity, but continues still to discharge about 80 gallons per minute of pure water, at the temperature of 48° Fahrenheit. This artesian well now furnishes a plentiful supply to the alum-works afterwards described.
No. 1.-Section of coal Strata in a Pit put down on the summit level
of the Ridge, running along the south side of tile Strath of Campsie, at
the height of 450 feet above the bed of the River Glazert.
|1. Surface earth and clay,||1||2||0|
|3 Ironstone band,||0||0||7|
|5 Course black limestone,||1||0||0|
|6.Blaes with four separate bands of ironstone Imbedded together about 30 inches thick,||1||0||0|
|8.Limestone (blue), containing 98 per cent carbonate of lime,||0||4||0|
|9.Schist or alum slate,||0||2||0|
|10. Coal ,||0||3||8|
|Under this the following series is found cropping out today on the slope of the ridge down to the level of the river.|
|12.White limestone containing a larger proportion of silex than the blue of the upper series,||0||4||6|
|13.Kingle, a hard siliceous rock,||0||4||6|
|17.Schist or alum slate,||0||0||9|
|20.Fire-clay in two beds separated by a hard siliceous band of 6 inches thick,||1||2||0|
|* The ironstone band, No 6, which are considered of good quality have been wrought to some extent, but the distance at which they are situated from blast furnaces creates a heavy expense for carriage, and the coal of this district is not suitable for smelting the ores. The black-band ironstone has not been found in this district, to which the above section belongs; but it is found to exist, and has been partially wrought on the south aide of the ridge, and in the neighbouring parish of Baldernock. Its thickness varies from 12 to 18 inches, and is situated immediately above the coal, forming part of th9 usual thickness of the coal stratum.|
|Very Hard Band||0||1||0||Coal||0||0||11|
|Hard white rock||0||4||6||Hard band||0||0||7|
|Hard blue rock||1||5||8||Limestone||0||0||8|
|Fire-clay||0||0||11||Blaes, with stripes of fakes||1||4||11|
|Bastard Limestone||0||3||9||Hard Band||0||0||7|
|Blaes, with stripes of fakes||1||4||11||Blue fakes||0||1||0|
|Blaes||0||0||4||Blaes with stripes of white flakes||0||1||6|
|Fire-clay||0||2||11||Very hard band||0||1||7|
|Blaes||0||5||5||Blaes with stripes of fakes||0||0||9|
|Hard white rock||0||2||10|
|Very hard white rock||1||0||7||Very white rock||0||1||5|
|Grey Fakes||0||1||7||Light fakes||0||1||5|
|White rock||1||0||11||Hard band||0||0||4|
|Light flakes||0||2||0||Very hard band||0||1||5|
|Hard band||1||5||Hard rock||1||3||5|
|Hard white rock||0|
|White marble band||1||1||11||Light hard rock||0||3||9|
The terms employed in the above register are for the most part provincial, but we believe they are pretty generally understood by persons conversant in mining operations. it was hoped, as formerly stated, that by putting down a bore in the lower ground of the strath, the finer coal measures, lying to the south and east, might have been found underlying those of this district. But from the unfavourable appearance presented at the termination of the above bore, it was apprehended that these must lessen or crop out before reaching this distance This trial is so far satisfactory, that it resolves all conjectures as to the obtaining of coal at any depth, which would allow of its coming into competition in point of expense of working, with the more easily obtained coal of the higher levels of the district. Regarding the latter it may he stated in conclusion, that, though a great part of it has been wrought out, particularly within the last thirty years, very large fields of it still remain, especially in the south side of the valley, and ample supplies for many years to come are likely to be found, for even the increasing consumption of the parish. Hitherto, as a matter of economy, those portions of the coal field which lie in the higher elevations, have been wrought so as to obtain day levels for draining off the water at the least expense into the river ; and, in very few instances, has it bean found necessary to employ engines for this purpose. In following the dip of the coal, however, to the south-east it will, no doubt, be found necessary to adopt this mode of draining the water, where the bed of the coal falls below the level of the river, and day levels are rendered impracticable.