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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Kirkintilloch, a town and a parish in the detached district of Dumbartonshire. The town stands, 114 to 150 feet above sea-level, on the Forth and Clyde Canal, on the Lenzie and Aberfoyle branch of the North British railway, and on Luggie Water adjacent to its influx to the Kelvin, by rail being 3½ miles SSE of Lennoxtown, 1 ¾ N of Lenzie Junction,6¼ NNE of Glasgow, and 42½ W of Edinburgh. It sprang from a strong fort on Antoninus' Wall, and took thence the Celtic name Caerpentulach (` fort at the end of the ridge,) corrupted into Kirkintilloch. Crowning a rising ground at the W end of the town, and commanding the passage of Luggie Water, this fort was situated on the N side of the wall; enclosed an area of 90 by 80 yards; and has left remains in the form of a flat oblong mound, now called the Peel. Numerous Roman relics, including a legionary stone, now preserved in the Hunterian Museum of Glasgow University, another stone with bold sculptures of bulls' heads, coins of Domitian, Antoninus Pius, Commodus, and Constantine, an amphora, etc., have been found on and near the site of the fort; and foundations of ancient buildings, with marks or accompaniments indicative of Roman origin, have been discovered in the adjacent grounds. The town was probably a place of some importance, all onward from the Roman occupation; and in 1170 it was made a burgh of barony by a charter of William the Lyon in favour of William de Comyn, Baron of Lenzie and Lord of Cumbernauld. From his descendant it passed, about 1306, to the great Fleming family, Lords Fleming from 1460, and Earls of Wigtown from 1606 to 1v747; and from them it received renewals or extension of its burgh rights. In 1672 William, fifth Earl of Wigtown, built a three-arch bridge over Luggie Water, described as ` maist necessary and useful for the saife passage of all persons who travel from Edenbro' and Stirling to Glasgow and Dumbarton; ' in 1745 Kirkintilloch suffered severely from part of the rebel army of Prince Charles Edward; and in 1832 thirty-six of its townsfolk died of the Asiatic cholera, this being the first place where the pest appeared in the West of Scotland. From time immemorial it has possessed two tracts of public property-the ` burgh acres,' on which most of its streets are built; and the ` Newland mailings,' extending into the country. A castle, built by John Comyn about the beginning of the 14th century, appears to have been a structure of considerable strength, but has utterly disappeared. Dingy and irregularly built, the town exhibits nothing worthy of its ancient importance, and looks to have always been so absorbed in trade and manufacture as almost to preclude attention to grace of architectural order or beauty. The court house or town hall is an old building with a steeple, and included a small prison, closed in 1878. The parish church, erected in 1644, is a cruciform old-fashioned structure, with crow-stepped gables; and, as repaired in 1840, contains 822 sittings. St David's Established church, containing 1012 sittings, was built as a chapel of ease in 1837 at a cost of £2300, and in 1873 was raised to quoad sacra status. Other places of worship are St David's Free church (1843), St Andrew's Free church (1871), a U.P. church (1855), a United Original Secession church (1806), and the Roman Catholic church of the Holy Family (1874). Lairdsland public, Oswald public, Kerr Street, and a Roman Catholic school, with respective accommodation for 500, 369, 222, and 196 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 350, 243, 184, and 105, and grants of £283, 4s. 6d., £237, 13s. 8d., £156, 18s., and £84, 17s.

Kirkintilloch has a post office under Glasgow, with money order, savings' bank, insurance, and telegraph departments, branches of the National and Commercial Banks, a National Security Savings' Bank, 13 insurance agencies, 2 hotels, an agricultural association, a horticultural society, a public cemetery, a Young Men's Christian Association, a temperance hall, and fairs on the second Tuesday of May and 20 Oct. It has been lighted with gas since 1839; and in 1878 the gasworks were purchased from the gas company by the police commissioners for £14,000; whilst the Kirkintilloch and Lenzie Waterworks were constructed in 1874 at a cost of £14, 000. They comprise a storage-tank of 180, 000 gallons capacity; but, this supply proving insufficient, a new reservoir, holding 24, 500, 000 gallons, was formed in 1882 at a cost of £3636. In 1881 a cast-iron drinking-fountain, 12 feet high, was presented to the town by Bailie Wallace; and a new drainage system was carried out in 1883. Employment is afforded by 3 chemical works, 3 iron foundries, 2 steam sawmills, a power-loom factory, and the weaving of lappet muslin. The burgh became independent of its baronial superior prior to the abolition of hereditary jurisdictions (1747), and it possesses a jurisdiction similar to that of royal burghs, being governed by a senior and a junior magistrate, 8 councillors, a treasurer, and a town clerk, whilst under the General Police Act (1862) it has a body of police commissioners, comprising a senior and 2 junior magistrates, 3 representatives from each of four wards, a collector, a treasurer, and a clerk. A police court is held weekly; a sheriff small debt court on the first Thursday of March, June, September, and December; and a justice of peace court on the first Saturday of every month. Valuation (1883) £26,173, 1s. 6d. Pop. (1791) 1536, (1828) 4172, (1851) 6342, (1861) 6113, (1871) 6490, (1881) 8029, of whom 4205 were females, and 7352 were in the police burgh. Houses (1881) 1686 inhabited, 125 vacant, 14 building. The parish comprises the western part of the ancient barony of Lenzie, commensurate with the entire detached district of Dumbartonshire, and was parochially separated from the eastern part of that barony in 1649. It then assumed the name of Wester Lenzie, while the eastern part took that of Easter Lenzie; but shortly afterwards the two parts from the sites of the respective churches changed their names to Kirkintilloch and Cumbernauld. - The parish, containing the villages of Waterside, Tintock, and Twechar, with Lenzie Junction, is bounded N by Campsie and Kilsyth in Stirlingshire, E by Cumbernauld, SE by New Monkland in Lanarkshire, and S and W by Cadder, also in Lanarkshire. Its utmost length, from E by N to W by S, is 5 7/8 miles; its breadth varies between 1½ and 31/8 miles; and its area is 7226¾ acres, of which 81 are water. The river Kelvin flows 5 3/8 miles west-south-westward along or near to all the northern boundary; Luggie Water first runs 1¾ mile westward along the eastern part of the southern boundary, then 45/8 miles west-north-westward through the interior, till it falls into the Kelvin at the town; and the Forth and Clyde Canal, in a line not far from the Kelvin, traverses all the northern border. All lying within the strath or broad dingle of Antoninus' Wall and the Forth and Clyde Canal, the surface sinks at the NW corner of the parish to 105 feet above sea-level, and rises thence gently eastward and east-south-eastward to 234 feet near Oxgang, 338 near Gartshore House, and 400 at Bar Hill. To the N it is sheltered by the Kilsyth Hills, and it chiefly consists of northward sloping plain, diversified mostly with waving swells, but in Bar Hill presenting a steep and precipitous craig. The rocks belong to the Limestone Carboniferous series, but are situated on the northern verge of the great coal field of Lanarkshire, beyond the line of the most valuable seams; and, though including abundance of sandstone, limestone, and ironstone, they yield comparatively little coal. The soil, along the Kelvin, is deep and marshy, liable to inundation; on a small tract in the NE corner is a light reddish earth on a gravelly or trap rock bottom; in the W, around the town, is a light black loam, 16 or 18 inches deep, on a reddish tilly subsoil; in the southern and eastern districts is a strong clay; and in isolated small patches, together comprising some 140 acres, is black peat-moss. About 300 acres are under wood; and of the remaining area, though little is actually waste, one-half at most is in regular tillage. Antoninus' Wall, extending along the parish nearly in the line of the Forth and Clyde Canal, had a fort upon Bar Hill, which, enclosing an area of 150 square yards, and commanding a view of almost the entire course of the wall from the Forth to the Clyde, is still represented by some vestiges. Another fort, now hardly traceable, at Auchendowie hamlet, formed a rectangle of 150 yards by 70; and, as already stated, a third at the town is still represented by considerable remains. Gartshore House is the chief mansion; and 5 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 36 of between £100 and £500, 48 of from £50 to £100, and 92 of from £20 to £50. In the presbytery of Glasgow and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, this parish is divided ecclesiastically among Kirkintilloch proper and the quoad sacra parishes of Kirkintilloch-St David's and Lenzie; the first is a living worth £428, the second £357, and the third £450. Under the landward school board, two public schools, Condorrat and Gartconner, with respective accommodation for 229 and 250 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 88 and 120, and grants of £77, 19s. and £81, 6s. Valuation (1860) £21, 216, (1883) £29, 987, 11s. 1d. Pop. (1801) 3210, (1821) 4580, (1841) 8880, (1861) 8179, (1871) 8257, (1881) 10, 591, of whom 5364 were in Kirkintilloch proper, 3787 in St David's, and 1440 in Lenzie.—Ord. Sur., sh. 31, 1867.

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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