Greater facilities will now be furnished for promoting the general
industry and prosperity of the parish, by means of the railway
passing obliquely through the parish. This railway branch diverges
from the Ballochnie near Stanrigg, about three and a half miles
to the north of Airdrie, and extends to the Union Canal at Causeway
end, and nearly three miles to the west of Linlithgow, a distance
upwards of twelve miles. The railway enters the parish at the
junction of the counties of Lanark and Stirling, a little to the
west of the farm of Lodge, and, intersecting it about the centre,
proceeds eastward till near Bankhead, by crossing the Avon water,
the boundary of the parish, by an elegant new bridge, into that
of the parish of Muiravonside in that direction. The length of
railway in the parish of Slamanan is about three and two-third
miles, which, at an average costing L.10,000 per mile, gives about
L.37,000 as the expenditure in the parish. Since the commencement
of the railway, there have been different bores made on the lands
of Balquhatston, for ascertaining the nature of the metals, and
after a depth of 25 to 30 fathoms and upwards, there have been
found several seams of coal from 1 to 3 feet thick. A pit has
lately been opened, and a steam engine erected by Messrs J. Russell
of Leith, tacksmen of the coal; and at the depth of 12 fathoms
have found a seam of good coal, 3 feet thick, with a free-stone
roof. About twenty-five workmen are employed, and nearly fifty
tons daily of coal are conveyed to market by the railway, the
selling price being 4d. per cwt. on the hill. Other trials in
different districts of the parish have recently been made, and
smithy-coal and abundance of fine freestone have been found.
Over the whole of the parish as well as the Annexation, there
is abundance of coal and ironstone, which is accounted valuable,
yielding 33 per cent.; and the Strathavon yields ironstone of
36 per cent, and coal 17 per cent., according to the analysis
of Dr Hugh Colquhoun. The only going coal at present is on the
lands of Balquhatston and the Lodge, and rents at L25 annually.
In this parish there are no villages, only three places where
there a few houses, close by the church, Balcastle, and the other
to the east of the parish, where two roads intersect each other,
and gives to the village the name Cross Roads. The nearest market-towns
are Falkirk and Airdrie.
Ecclesiastical State. -The church was rebuilt in the year
1810, and its site is nearly central for the parish in general,
and for the accommodation of the annexation. It contains upwards
of 700 sitters. The manse is old, and bears the mark of being
at least 150 years old. It received an addition about forty-five
years ago. The glebe consists of upwards of 13 acres arable, and
2 grass. The stipend amounts to L.247, 18s. and L.8, 6s. 8d.
for communion elements. Mr Waddell of Balquhatston, and Mr Ralston
of Ellrig presented, three years ago, two very handsome communion
cups for the use of the parish, in addition to two which were
given by Messrs Mitchell of Balmitchell 130 years ago. There
are no other places of worship in the parish. The population
is a church-going people, with very few Dissenters.
Education.- There are two schools in the parish, the parochial
and a private school. The branches of education taught in the
parish school are, English, writing, arithmetic, book-keeping,
mensuration, Latin and Greek. The salary is the maximum, and there
is a glebe of one acre attached to the school. The fees are from
2s. 6d. to 5s. per quarter. In the private or Easterdykehead school
are taught the common branches, reading, writing, and arithmetic.
The school fees are 3d. a week. The number of scholars at an
average is about 45 in the winter season, but less in summer.
Poor.-The number of poor persons who receive monthly charity
are at an average from three to four, and the sum allotted varies
according to circumstances. The three at present on the roll receive
each 6s. 9d. per month. There are no public markets in the parish.
And the fuel is most abundant, both of coal and excellent peat.