Name, Boundaries, &c The name Drymen, or, as formerly written, Drymen, is obviously derived from the Celtic word Druim, a ridge or knoll. The name is peculiarly descriptive of a consider able part of the parish, the face of the country being much di versified by such knolls. This parish is bounded on the north, by Aberfoil and Port; on the east, by Kippen, Balfron, and Killearn; on the south, by Killearn, Kilmaronock, and Dumbarton; on the west, by Buchanan and Kilmaronock. Its extreme length is 15 miles, and its breadth 10. It contains about 50 square miles, and 32,200 imperial acres.
Topographical Appearances.- The outlines of the parish are very irregular, its figure approaching to that of an isosceles triangle, the base of which runs east and west, while the apex points towards the south. A mountainous, moorland track pervades it from east to north-west, and divides the parish into two parts,- the northern part is contained within the general basin of the Forth; the southern is included within that of the Clyde. The bog of Ballat, situated between these two portions, is the lowest summit level between the east and west coasts of Scotland, with the exception of the Dullater Bog, on the Forth and Clyde Canal. According to Smeaton's report, the former is 222 feet, the latter 156 above the level of the sea. Towards the western verge the moor rises into a lofty ridge, which separates this parish from that of Buchanan. The most conspicuous points of this ridge are, Benvraick (the spotted hill,) and Guallan (the shoulder,) - the former of which may be 1600 feet above the sea level,- the latter 1300 or 1400. But, from the circumstance of their standing on a broad and elevated base, the appearance they present is not striking. *
* The haughs on the bank, of the Endrick, in the western extremity of the parish, are about 40 feet above the level of the sea, twelve miles distant. The land on the Forth though still further from the coast, is rather lower The greater part of the arable land in the parish may be at an elevation of from 100 to 250 feet. The highest cultivated land is about 450.
A second muirish track, of considerable extent, and forming part of the Stockiemuir, occupies a great proportion of the south angle of the parish. The largest portion of arable land is situated between these two elevated muirs, within the picturesque and well sheltered vale of the Endrick. The rest lies to the east of the Bog of Ballat, before mentioned, and has a northern exposure towards the Forth. There is also some cultivated land along the banks of the Duchray and Keltie waters: but the breadth of this is inconsiderable.
The scenery of some parts of Strath Endrick is very beautiful; and it
is rendered not the less interesting from its being in contrast with the
wide and desolate muirland, from which you descend on either side. From
an eminence not far from the manse, there is a prospect that is much admired.
In the fore-ground, you look down upon the rich and extensive lawn of Buchanan,
studded with innumerable trees; beyond which, is the wide expanse of Lochlomond,
with the mountains of Ben-Leven * and Argyle-shire in the back ground.
* Ben-Leven is the peninsula which stretches from Dumbarton
to Arrochar, bounded on the one side by the Leven and Lochlomond, on the
other by the Frith of Clyde, the Gareloch, and Loch- Long, --- called the
Isle of Ben-Leven.
In the north-east of the parish, there is the commencement of the low,
flat, moss lands which extend all the way to Stirling -- sixteen miles.
This is called the Flanders Moss. It is generally supposed to have
had its origin from the overthrow of a vast forest, (part of the horrida
sylva Caledoniae,) which was cut down by the Roman soldiers in the
time of Severtis, to prevent the molestations of the natives, who had their
fastnesses within it. Trees of an immense size are frequently dug out,
having the marks of the axe upon them; and they are found lying in every
direction, indicating that they were not overturned by a tempest, but by
the hand of man.
Climate and Disease, &c - The climate is moist and variable, as might be expected, in consequence of much of the country being --elevated, marshy, and uncultivated. The prevailing wind is south- west In spring we have cold easterly. The writer of this sketch kept a register of the quantity of rain that fell in the years 1834, 1835, 1836, 1837. The instrument employed was constructed by Mr Thom of Rothsay, and is similar to many which are now in use in the west country. The following are the monthly regis trations, by which it will be seen that this parish has fully its own share of rain :-
The diseases most prevalent in the parish are, rheumatism, co tinued fever, and inflammatory complaints. Typhus fever has in creased greatly, of late years. Cholera did not visit us in its destructive course in 1834; but scarcely a family escaped the influenza of 1837, though there were comparatively few deaths.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total 1834 10.40 3.20 3.60 0.25 2.25 3.55 2.05 3.65 4.25 5.25 6.25 1.00 45.70 1835 4.20 5.60 5.30 1.75 5.90 1.55 3.30 4.00 7.40 3.20 6.60 3.90 52.70 1836 6.80 3.20 4.00 3.20 0.30 4.10 6.40 4.70 6.70 3.90 5.90 3.40 52.60 1837 5.10 5.60 1.00 1.20 2.55 2.50 3.30 3.25 2.55 6.90 6.25 2.30 42.50
Hydrography. - There are no lakes in the parish. The principal rivers are the Duchray, the Forth, and the Endrick. The Duchray, which is the southern and most considerable branch of the Forth, rises near the summit of Benlomond, and forms the northern boundary of the parish for some miles, It then leaves it to the south, and after joining the branch from Loch Ard, and acquiring the name of Forth, it approaches and again skirts the parish as far as its eastern extremity. The Forth, in this part of its course, is an uninteresting stream, its dark waters winding with a sluggish current between deep banks of moss, without any object that contributes to picturesque beauty. The Endrick intersects the parish for nearly two miles, and bounds it for about two more It has its source among the Gargunnock Hills, to the north-east of Fintry, and, after a course of eighteen miles in nearly a direct line, empties itself into Lochlomond, being the largest river which that lake receives. It is a clear rapid stream, and (as its Celtic name * is said to imply) very subject to sudden floods, which often do considerable damage. In September 1886, it rose fearfully in the course of one night, and swept twenty score of lambs from the lawn of Buchanan into Lochlomond On this river, at Gartness, about two miles east or the village of Drymen, there are conside rable falls. For a quarter of a mile, the channel is scooped out of the solid rock, and the vexed water forces its way over a series of precipices.
* Anon-eiric, " river that rises." The old , spelling is Anericke.
There are many fine springs of water to be found in this parish. St Vudrin's * well, on the farm of Finnich-Drummond, may be mentioned as remarkable for the large quantity of water ~hich it discharges. In Roman Catholic times, and even within a hundred years, many a pilgrim drank of or bathed in its streams. An image of the patron saint, carved in stobe, still presides over it. The world has either grown wiser, or these waters have lost their virtues, since not a knee bows now before the stony saint.
* The writer cannot find this saint in the Calendar. The above is the name current in the country.
Botany.- In the higher parts of the parish, there are not found any of the rare Scottish plants. The Erica vulgaris and cinerea prevail; and where the heath does not grow, the Aira flexuosa, Festuca ovina and vivipara are the principal grasses. In many parts of the muirland, are found the Empetrurn nigrum, and the Vaccinium Vitis Idae and Oxycoccos. In the low marshy parts, the Myrica gale abounds; also Tofieldia palustris, Carex Juncus, and Parnassia palustris. It is worthy of remark, that, where these last- mentioned plants prevail, the soil is most congenial to the growth of oak coppice, producing bark of the best quality. Upon such ground, however, hard-wood will not grow to a large size; nor does the Pinus there outlive forty or fifty years. Pinus larix, e.g. begins to fail or rot in the heart.
Wood.-There is no lack of wood in the parish, more especially in the vale of Endrick. But, with the exception of the plantations belonging to His Grace the Duke of Montrose, there is no great quantity in any one place. At the Park of Drumquhassle, Dalnair, and near the manse, there are some magnificent oaks and beeches; and at the churchyard-gate, there is a noble ash, once the bell-tree which has weathered at least 200 years.*
* This tree is mentioned in the Agricultural Report of Stirlingshire, published in 1812, and it may be interesting to compare its measurement at that date and the present. Its girth is there stated at 15 feet at one foot from the ground, and 13 feet 8 inches at the middle of the trunk. It now measures 16 feet 7 inches in circumference at one foot from the ground, and 16 feet 1 inch at the middle of the stem, about five feet from the ground.
At the Castle of Dtichray, and clustering round its walls, is some remarkably
fine ivy, next, in age and strength, to that at Kenilworth. In the old
orchard at Duchray, there are some aged filbert trees, which produce a
nut of a larger size and higher flavour than the common nut of the wood.
They were brought originally from the Monastery of Inchmahome, in the Isle
of Menteith, to which they had been conveyed from foreign parts.
The only accounts of the history and statistics of the parish which the author of this sketch knows of are, " Description of Drymmen paroch, by Alexander Graham 'of Duchray, 1724," to be found in M'Farlan of M'Farlan's Geographical Collections, in the Advocates' Library, Vol. ii. p.439, * and the old Statistical Account.IL-CIVIL HISTORY.
* This description is rather curious as to its computation of distances, and gives us a pretty good idea of" the lang Scotch miles" of our forefathers. " The church of Drymmen," e.g. is said to be "fifleen miles west of Stirling;" whereas it is now twenty-two, and these miles long enough. " A large half mile from the church, on the south side of the Enrick is the house of Edward Buchanan of Spittat" We would now reckon it distant a tolerahlv large whole mile.
Family ofDrummond.-The parish gives name to the Drum. mond or
Perth family. According to tradition, the founder of that ancient and noble
house was a Hun'garian, named Maurice, who came over from Hungary in the
train of Margaret, Queen of Mal colm Canmore, and obtained, in reward of
his services, a grant of certajn lands, and, among others, of Drymen in
Stirlingshire. It is iiot certainly known in what part of the parish the
Drdmmonds had their residence. Mr Nimmo, in his History of Stirlingshire,
says, that it was probably somewhere near the Endrick. The northern part
of the parish, however, still goes by the name of the barony of Drummond;
and we are inclined to think, from this circum stance, that it was there
they had their original seat, though neither history nor tradition now
indicates the spot.
It is uncertain h6w or at what time, the Drummonds ceased to be connected with Stirlingshire. In the year 1360, in consequence of a feud which had long subsisted between them and the Earls of Menteith, a compact was entered into at a meeting on the banks of the Forth, in presence of the justiciaries of Scotland, by which Sir John Drummond resigned certain lands in the Lennox, and obtained in lieti of them others of greater value in Perthshire. Shortly after this, and probably in consequence of it, their resi dence seems to, have been transferred to Stobhall in Pertlishire, yyhich, along with other extensive estates in that county, had some years before come into possession of the family by marriage. Pre viously to this change of residence, however, Anabella, daughter