PRESBYTERY OF DUNBLANE, SYNOD OF
PERTH AND STIRLING.
PARISH OF KIPPEN.
I.-TOPOGRAPHY AND NATURAL HISTORY.
Name and Boundaries.-The name Kippen is said to be derived from a Gaelic word signifying a promontory; and is supposed to be descriptive of the situation of the village.
The figure of the parish is irregular. its greatest length is about 8 miles, and its breadth is from 2 to nearly 4 miles. It is bounded on the north by the river Forth, which separates it from the parish of Port and the newly erected parish of Norriestown; on the east, by Gargunnock; on the south, by Balfron and, on the west, by the parish of Drymen. It lies chiefly in the county of Stirling; but, in different places, it is intersected by portions of Perthshire, which run across it from north to south, and form nearly a third part of the parish.
Meteorology.- The temperature of the air is rather cold, owing to the generally northern aspect of the parish, and the open and extensive plain below, which stretches chiefly toward the north and east. The climate is somewhat damp, from the vicinity of the parish to high mountains, and its consequent exposure to frequent showers; but it is by no means considered unhealthy. The showers, though frequent, are seldom very heavy, or of long continuance. Snow seldom falls to any considerable depth, nor does it in general lie long. Consumption has, perhaps, been the most common and fatal disease for a considerable time past.
Hydrography.- Forth, the only river connected with this parish, and which divides it from the parishes of Port and Norries town, is here confined within narrow and deep batiks; and its cur- rent so slow as hardly to be perceptible. Its waters are generally dark and muddy, from the quantity of moss which is floated into it.
There is, in the moor of Kippen, a small lake of water called Lochleggan, about a mile in circumference, and mostly surrounded with wood. A considerable stream issues from it, which, increasing as it proceeds, forms the burn of Broich, the waters of which, after passing through a beautiful glen close by the House of Broich, are chiefly employed in floating away the patch of moss in the plain below.
The burn of Boquhan, which forms the boundary between the parishes of Kippen and Gargunnock, "descending from the rock of Ballochleam, meets with the red sandstone," (says the late General Campbell in notes quoted in the last Statistical Account), "through which it has opened a passage, and wrought its soft materials into a number of curious shapes, such as the wells and caldrons of the Devon" After running through a beautiful and well-wooded glen, along which the proprietor of Boquhan has formed extensive and delightful walks, it empties itself into the Forth at the Bridge of Frew.
An several places the parish is intersected with glens and rivulets, in which there are some beautiful cascades.
Geology and Mineralogy.-The moor of Kippen abounds with red sandstone, which is much used in building, and is occasionally conveyed to a considerable distance for that purpose. It is soft and easily wrought, and becomes hard and durable, on being exposed to the weather. On the southern boundary of the parish, limestone is found ; but, owing to the distance from coal, it has seldom been wrought. It is supposed that coal may be obtained in the immediate neighbourhood ; but any attempts which have been made to obtain it, have as yet been unsuccessful.
In respect of soil, this parish is divided into what is commonly called carse and dry-field. The former consists of the low ground which lies on the south side of the Forth, between that river and the rising ground. It is of unequal breadth,-from half a mile to a mile, and in some places more, and forms a part of that extensive plain which reaches from the neighbourhood of Gartmore, on both sides of the river, to Stirling. In three different places in this parish, there are patches of moss still covering not less than 300 acres of rich carse ground; and, there is reason to believe, that the whole plain was at one time under moss. Indeed, from substances found in the soil, and from the aspect of the higher grounds by which it is bounded, it seems probable that, at some former period, it was covered by the sea. And after the waters had receded, the plain appears to have been occupied with trees and shrubs, by the fall and putrefaction of which the moss was in due time formed. Accordingly, oaks of a great size are still found in the soil from which the moss is removed. On some of these oaks, the marks of an axe or hatchet are seen, which serve to show that they were cut down by the hand of man. And it is highly probable, that they were cut down chiefly by the Roman legions employed in clearing away the forests in which the Britons and Caledonians concealed themselves from their enemies, and from which, as they had opportunity, they sallied forth against them.
The carse ground is a rich clay, and is, in general, well cultivated; and, in favourable seasons, produces excellent crops of wheat, and beans, and oats. There is along the banks of the Forth, a narrow haugh or holm which is very fertile, and better adapted to the growth of potato and turnip than the strong clay soil. From the carse the land rises at first abruptly, and then very gradually for about a mile, and in some places considerably more. This elevated part of the parish is called the dryfield, and forms the largest portion of the cultivated ground. The soil is in some places loamy and sandy, and in others gravelly. It is generally well cultivated and enclosed, and in many places produces excellent crops. The land toward the summit of the rising ground, and on its southern declivity, is lighter and less fertile; and it has been considered more advantageous to lay a number of acres of it in pasture. Along the summit of the gently rising hill, on the northern declivity of which the largest portion of the cultivated land is situated, there is a heathy moor, which runs almost the whole length of the parish, and extends into the parish of Balfron. From those higher grounds, and, indeed, from many parts of the parish, an extensive and beautiful prospect is presented to the view of the spectator, of fertile fields, and ornamented seats of the proprietors, encompassed with a rugged range of the Grampian- mountains, reaching from Ben Lomond to the Ochil Hills, and forming the northern boundary of the widely extended plain.
Botany. -There are some extensive and thriving plantations in this parish, especially on the estates of Mr Campbell of Boquhan, Mr Stirling of Garden, and Mr Erskine of Cardross. The wood, on the higher grounds, is chiefly larch and Scotch fir. A considerable part of the eastern extremity of the moor has been planted with these, and similar sorts or trees, which are thriving well; and more of the moor is likely to be planted soon. Oaks, ash, and elm thrive well on the lower grounds, and are extensively planted. On the banks of the glens, there are considerable portions of thriving coppice wood.
There is close by the House of Broich, one of the finest yew trees in Scotland. It is about 50 feet in height, and the circumference of the trunk is above 10 feet. It is of a conical form, and the lower branches extend down to the ground, and overspread a space, the circumference of which is not less than 200 feet. It is supposed to be about 300 years old.
Historical Notices. -In the year 1676, the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was dispensed, in the night, to a very numerous assembly at Arnbeg, about a mile west from the village of Kippen. During the persecution that prevailed in the reign of Charles II. and James II., the inhabitants of this parish were subjected to severe hardships. Mr Ure of Shirgarton, a gentleman highly distinguished by his piety and zeal, suffered much for conscience sake, and made many narrow escapes from the hands of his persecutors. He signalized himself by his bravery at the battle of Bothwell Bridge. A memoir of him, chiefly drawn up by himself, has been published by the late celebrated Dr McCrie.
The late Mr James Miller, preacher of the Gospel, Edinburgh, who was a native of this parish, is deserving of notice, as a good man and a generous benefactor to the young men prosecuting their studies, with a view to the holy ministry. He mortified a sum of money, the interest of which is to be paid as a bursary to two students during their attendance, respectively, at the classes of Greek, logic, moral and natural philosophy, in the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. The amount of the bursary is, to the former, L.24, and to the latter, nearly the same sum. The kirk-session of Kippen are the patrons, and the election is directed to be made on his father's grave-stone in the church-yard of Kippen.
Land-owners-James Stirling, Esq. of Garden; William C. C. Graham, Esq. of Gartmore; Henry F. Campbell, Esq. of Boquhan; David Erskine, Esq. of Cardross; Buchanan Leckie, Esq. of Broich, and William Galbraith, Esq. of Blackhouse and Little Kerse, are the principal proprietors in this parish. There are a number of other respectable land-owners, some of whom reside upon their properties.
Parochial Registers.-There are no records extant previous to 1700. From that date to 1745, the parochial registers have been kept with considerable accuracy. From 1745 to 1757, the register of marriages has been neglected; and from that period also, many parents, connected with the Secession church, have omitted the registration of the names of their children. No proper register of deaths is kept in the parish.
Antiquities-The names and situation of several places in the parish plainly show, that, in former times, they had been places of strength. Thus there is the Castle of Arnfinlay; and also the tower of Garden, no vestiges of which, however, now remain. And there are several small heights in the parish to which the name Keir is applied, which bear the marks of some ancient military works, such as Keir-hill of Glentirran; Keir-hill of Dasher; Keir-brae of Drum; Keir-knowe of Ammore; and Keir-brae of Garden. Various opinions have been entertained concerning the origin and use of these works; but no satisfactory account can be given of them.
The population of this parish is nearly as great as it appears to have been at any former period; for although, by the enlargemerit of the farms, the number of people, in the country part of the pa rish, is diminished, the population of the villages has increased. The encouragment, for some time, given to weaving, and the de inand still for labourers, in the neighbourhood, have served con, siderably to increase the number of inhabitants in the villages.
|In 1798||the population was 1777|
|Proprietors of land of the yearly value of L. 50 mid upwards are 15 in number, of whom not more than five reside in the parish,||
|The number of unmarried men, bachelors, &c in the parish, above 50, and women, &c above 45,||
|The average number of||births yearly for last seven years,||
|marriages, yearly, do.||
|deaths, &c may be||
|of persons under 15 years of age||
|of persons above seventy||
There is a boy in the parish, and also a girl, who may be con sidered fatuous. They are connected with the labouring classes, and are supported by their; parents.
The people, on the whole, enjoy in a reasonable degree, the comforts of life, and are contented with their situation and circum stances; and they are in general intelligent, moral, and religious.
Agriculture and Rural Economy.-The number of imperial acres in the parish which have been cultivated, is 5238 ;-of these 1807 acres are carse land, and the remaining acres are drytield. The number or acres which never have been cultivated, and which remain constantly waste, or in pasture, is about 4256, about 2000 of which belong to the extensive moor in the higher part of the parish, and to the patches of moss which still remain to be cleared away from the lower grounds: they are of very little value. There are upwards of 300 acres in these patches of moss, which might be profitably brought under cultivation. The expense of clearing away the moss from each acre, is about L. 28; and the rent of the acre when cleared and cultivated, is nearly L. 2. There are 200 acres of undivided common connected with the above moor. The number of acres under natural wood is about 62; and under plantations 500.
Rent of Land.-Some of the carse land is let at about L. 2, 10s. per acre; and some of the dryfield is let at more. But the average rent of the arable land, including the carse and the dry field, or towards the summit of the rising grounds, may be about L. 1, 5s.; and the average rent of the remaining portion of the arable land may be about 7s. per acre.
Rate of Wages- The rate of wages to farm-servants is from L. 12 to L. 14 per annum, with victuals; and to female servants, L. 6. The wages of day-labourers are 1s. 6d. with victuals, per day, for men; for women 1s. The wages of wrights and masons are 2s. 6d. per day, with victuals.
Husbandry.- The farm-buildings are generally good, and the lands, especially in the lower parts of the dryfield, and in the carse, are well enclosed. The crops are chiefly wheat, oats, barley, and beans; but wheat and beans do not, in general, produce an abundant crop in the dryfield. Wedge-draining is now very common in the carse, and contributes greatly to its fertility. The expense is often defrayed, in favourable seasons, by the abundance of the first crop. Draining is in very general use in the dryfield, many parts or which are greatly improved by means of it.
The Ayrshire breed of cows prevail in this parish, and great attention is paid to improving them.
Produce.-The average gross amount and value of raw produce raised in the parish, as nearly as can be ascertained, is as follows:
|9188 13 0|
|grain of all kinds||1807 12 0|
|potatoes and turnips||1414 12 0|
|hay, meadow and cultivated||2439 0 0|
|miscellaneous produce||1219 10 0|
|Total yearly value of raw produce||L||16069 7 0|
A distillery in the parish pays of duty to government, L.1 7,000 yearly.
Market-Towns.-The nearest market-town is Stirling, which is about ten miles distant. There are two villages in the parish,- Kippen and Buchlyvie, the former of which contains 600, and the latter 400 inhabitants. They are five miles distant from each other.
Means of communication.-There is a daily post to Kippen, and one six days in the week to Buchlyvie. The road from Stirling to Dunbarton runs about seven miles through the parish, and now passes along the level plain immediately below the village. A good turnpike road from Kippen to Glasgow runs more than three miles through the parish in a south-west direction. There are two bridges over the Forth, on the boundary of this parish; one at Frew and another near Cardross, both in good repair; along the last of which, the road from Callander to Glasgow passes, and runs across the centre of this parish.
Ecclesiastical Estate.-The parish church is not inconveniently situated, in respect of the bulk of the population now connected with it. It was built in 1825, and is in a good state of repair. It affords accommodation for 800 sitters. There are only four or five free sittings in the church. The seats are divided among the heritors, according to their respective valuations, who, after reserving family seats for themselves, have appropriated the remainder to their tenants. The manse was built in 1706, and was completely repaired, and received a large addition in 1814; and it is now a commodious dwelling.
The glebe is four acres Scots in extent, and may be worth about L12.
The stipend consists of sixteen chalders,-half meal and half barley,-paid according to the rate of the highest fiar prices or the counties of Stirling and Perth, with L. 10 for communion elements.
In 1835, a new church was built at Buchlyvie, in connection with the Church of Scotland, which contains 350 sitters. It is intended to accommodate those of the parishioners of Kippen and Drymen, who are at a distance from the parish churches. And accordingly, a district of this parish, containing 700 inhabitants, and a district of Drymen parish, containing 400, have been assigned to it, and it is now ecclesiastically erected into the parish of Buchlyvie; the minister of which is paid from the seat rents and the collections at the church doors, and receives L. 70 yearly, besides a small sum for communion elements. There is also, at Buchlyvie, a meeting-house in connection with the United Secession church, which was built in 1751; and contains between 400 and 500 sitters. The minister is paid also from the seat-rents and collections; and his stipend probably amounts to about L.. 100 yearly. There are about six Episcopalians in the parish, and three Roman Catholics.
The average amount of church collections yearly, for religious purposes, is about L. 20.
Education.-There are seven schools in the parish ; two of them parochial-Kippen and Claymires; and four of them unendowed-one at Kippen, one at Arnprior, and two at Buchlyvie, the teachers of which are paid entirely from the school fees; and a female school, the mistress of which receives, from subscriptions by respectable individuals around, L. 20 yearly, besides half of the school fees. The schoolmaster of Kippen receives of salary 500 merks Scots; and the schoolmaster of Claymires 100-being to the one L. 27, 15s. 6d., and to the other, about L 5, 11s 1d. The ordinary branches are taught. Reading English is 2s. 6d. per quarter; writing 4s.; arithmetic and book-keeping are 5s.; and Latin, 7s. 6d. The parish schoolmaster has the legal accommodation.
The people are in general alive to the benefits of education, and desirous to have their children properly instructed.
Libraries.-There are two small libraries in the parish----a subscription library, and a gratis religious one; both of which have received considerable attention from the inhiabitants.
Poor and Parochial funds.-The average number of persons receiving parochial aid is about 32 , and the average sum paid to each of them monthly is about 5s. The annual expenditure for the support of the poor is at present about L. 120. The money arising from the collections at the church door, and from marriage-dues, and the proceeds of mortcloth, with interest of L. 450, was, till lately, sufficient for defraying the expense of supporting the poor. But the interest of the money having ceased to be paid, from its being lent on insufficient security, the heritors assessed themselves for the deficiency in the poor's funds; and some of them having had recourse on their tenants for the half of the assessment, they withheld their collections, which necessarily in creased the amount of the assessment; and from that source more than half uf the money required for the support of the poor is at present derived. All the hieritors have now ceased to demand any part of the assessment from their tenants; but it will be difficult to bring them to give their collections as formerly. A considerable part of the L 450 has lately been recovered, and an additional bequest of L. 1 50 been received for the poor; and were the people to return to their former habit of giving collections, the assessment might be soon discontinued; which would be very desirable, as assessments no doubt serve to overcome the disinclination of the poor to receive parochial relief.
Fairs.-There are several fairs held in the course of the year both in Kippen and Buchlyvie; but, excepting two or three of them, they are poorly attended. The large market, chiefly for black-cattle, which was formerly hehd at Balgair, in the parish of Balfron, is now held in the moor of Kippen, about three miles from the village, in the month of June; and two other considerable markets for a similar purpose are held in the same place, the one in March, and the other in May.
Inns.-There are no less than 11 inns or public-houses in the parish. They have, no doubt, to a certain extent, a demoralizing influence, and it would be desirable that their number should be diminished.
Fuel.-The fuel used in the parish is coal, driven from Bannockburn, a distance of twelve or thirteen miles; and peat procured from the neighbouring mosses. The peat, in general, is of excellent quality, and a considerable quantity of it is used for fuel; but coal is perhaps in fully more general use.
This parish has been much improved since the publication of the last Statistical Account, in respect of the extent of plantations, and the progress of draining, and the superior system of husbandry which is now pursued. Thrashing-machines are now in general use; and a reaping-machine has lately been introduced into the parish, which seems to give satisfaction; but it is specially suited to the carse grounds, which are level, and free from stones. The distance from coal and lime is a great inconvenience connected with this parish. Some communication by means of a canal or railroad along the plain, would be a great improvement to this district of country, and would be highly conducive to the comfort of its inhabitants.
Drawn up March 1839. Revised May 1841.