Parish of Luss

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Luss
1834-45: Luss

Luss, a village and a parish of Dumbartonshire. The village stands just S of the mouth of Glenluss, on the western shore of Loch Lomond, at the SE base of Bendhu (2108 feet), 8 miles SSE of Tarbet, 9 NNE of Helensburgh, and 12 ¼ NNW of Dumbarton. Occupying a charming site in front of three of the finest islands in Loch Lomond, it mainly consisted, thirty years since, of miserable huts, but then was mostly rebuilt with neat cottages on a regular plan. It communicates with the Loch Lomond steamers in their passages up and down the lake; is much frequented by anglers and by tourists; and has a post and telegraph office, an hotel, a small public library, and a fair on the third Tuesday of August. Coleridge, Wordsworth, and his sister Dorothy passed the night of 24 Aug. 1803 at the inn here; and here on 29 Sept. 1875 the Queen changed horses, as she drove from Inveraray to Balloch.

The parish had anciently other and much more extensive limits than now. The ` forty-pound lands ' of Buchanan, on the E side of Loch Lomond, were detached from it in 1621, and annexed to Inchcailloch (now Buchanan); the lands of four proprietors at the S end of the lake were detached from it in 1659, and annexed to Bonhill; all the extensive territory along the W side of the lake, to the N of Glendouglas and around the head of the lake, now constituting the parish of Arrochar, was detached from it in 1658; and, on the other hand, the lands of Caldannach, Prestelloch, and Conglens, which belonged to Inchcailloch parish, were united to it in modern times. It now is bounded N by Arrochar, E by a sinuous line among the islands of Loch Lomond, separating it from Stirlingshire and Kilmaronock, SE by Bonhill, S by Cardross and Row, and W by Row and (for 3 furlongs) Loch Long. Its utmost length, from NNW to SSE, is 12 ¼ miles; its breadth varies between 21/8 and 55/8 miles; and its area is 28, 844½ acres, of which 1½ are foreshore and 4637 water. Inchlonaig, Inchconnachan, Inchtavannach, Inchgai.braith, and two other islands of Loch Lomond, belong to Luss, and are separately noticed. To Loch Lomond flow Douglas Water, formed by two head-streams within ¼ mile of Loch Long, and running 4¾ miles east-by-southward to Inverbeg Inn, mainly along the Arrochar border; Luss Water, rising at an altitude of 1100 feet, and curving 7 ¼ miles east-by-southward to Luss village; Finlas Water, rising at an altitude of 1800 feet, and running 4¾ miles south-eastward, eastward, and north-by-eastward, to Rossdhu House; and Fruin Water, winding 5 ¼ miles eastward to the N of Arden House, along the Row boundary and through the southern interior. Nine-tenths of the parish are mountainous, and offer such saliences of feature, such diversities of contour, such labyrinths of glen, and such outlooks on Loch Lomond, as to abound in grand and romantic scenery- Chief elevations from S to N are *Benuchara Muir (1028 feet), *Balcnock (2092), *Ben Tharsuinn (2149), *Ben Ruisg (1939), Cruach Dubh (1154), *Ben Chaorach (2338), *Ben Mhanarch (2328), Ben Eich (2302), Bendhu (2108), and Doune Hill (2409), where asterisks mark those summits that culminate on the confines of the parish. The uplands, all the way between the mouth of Glendouglas and the mouth of Glenluss- a distance of 3 miles-press close on Loch Lomond; and thence to the southern boundary-a distance of 5½ miles -they recede somewhat gradually from the shore till they leave a lowland tract of about 2 ¼ miles from E to W along the course of Fruin Water. The low grounds, all southward from Luss village, lie contiguous to Loch Lomond; consist partly of dead levels, partly of gentle undulations, partly of braes or hill slopes; are interlocked on one side with bays of the lake, on the other side with spurs and recesses of the mountains; display vast profusion of wood and culture; include Sir James Colquhoun's mansion and park of Rossdhu; and combine, with their magnificent surroundings, to form a series of exquisite landscapes. The predominant rock of the mountains is clay slate, of the low grounds is Old Red sandstone; and both are quarried- The soil on the mountains is mostly heathy or moorish; in some hollows or low tracts is moss; on parts of the low grounds adjacent to Loch Lomond is either sand or gravel; and on other parts is fertile loam. The chief antiquities are a large cairn 1 ¼ mile S of the village, traces of an ancient fortification on Dumfin Hill, and sites of ancient chapels at Rossdhu and in Glenluss. Haco of Norway, during his invasion in 1263, worked great havoc in the parish. Sir John Colquhoun, who became Lord High Chamberlain of Scotland in 1474, was a native, as also was his descendant, the Rev. John Colquhoun, D.D. (1748-1827); and the Rev. John Stuart, D.D. (1743-1821), translator of the Scriptures into Gaelic, was minister. Rossdhu, noticed separately, is the only mansion; and Sir James Colquhoun of that Ilk and Luss, Bart., is the sole proprietor. Luss is in the presbytery of Dumbarton and the synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £318. The parish church, built in 1771, contains 500 sittings. There is also a Free church; and Luss public and Muirland Christian Knowledge Society's school, with respective accommodation for 87 and 75 children, had (1882) an average attendance of 47 and 26, and grants of £49, 12s. and £34, 13s. Valuation (1860) £4906, (1884) £6591, 11s. Pop. (1801) 953, (1831) 1181, (1861) 831, (1871) 730, (1881) 719, of whom 54 were Gaelic-speaking.—Ord. Sur., shs. 38, 30, 1871-76. See Dr William Fraser's Chiefs of Colquhoun and their Country (2 vols., Edinb. 1869); and pp. 64-77 of Dorothy Wordsworth's Tour in Scotland (Edinb. 1874).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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