UK Genealogy Archives logo

Drymen, Stirlingshire

Historical Description

DRYMEN, a parish, in the county of Stirling including part of the late quoad sacra district of Bucklyvie, and containing 1515 inhabitants, of whom 344 are in the village of Drymen, 55 miles (W. by N.) from Edinburgh. The name of this place was originally written Drumen, which is derived from the Celtic word Druim, signifying a knoll or rise in the ground, and is strikingly descriptive of the locality, the surface being marked in many places by such eminences. The parish is situated in the western part of the county, and is very irregular in its outline, but approaching to a triangular form, and measuring in extreme length fifteen miles, and ten in breadth. It comprises 32,200 acres, of which about 7000 are cultivated, 556 in wood, a considerable portion moss, and the remainder moorland, traversed by large numbers of native sheep and blackcattle. The moorland consists principally of two tracts, one of which, stretching from the east to the north-west, divides the parish into two parts, and the other, situated in the southern portion of the parish, is part of Stockiemuir. The former of these tracts, near its western extremity, has a lofty ridge separating the parish from that of Buchanan, and distinguished by the elevated points of Benvraick, 1600 feet, and Guallan, about 1300 feet, above the level of the sea: a little to the north of the ridge the river Duchray, a tributary of the Forth, forms the boundary of Drymen for several miles. The lands north of this extensive mountainous moor are contained within the general basin of the Forth, and the southern lands within that of the Clyde. Between the two moors is the picturesque vale of the Endrick, which comprehends most of the arable land in the parish, and is remarkable for its beautiful scenery, heightened by the eccentric windings of the stream: after running for a short distance through the parish, the river forms about two miles of its boundary on the south, and then loses itself in Loch Lomond. On the north-eastern limit of the parish flows the river Forth, winding slowly along, and exhibiting, in the colour of its water, the effect of the mossy land through which it passes, and which is a continuous tract called Flanders Moss. This moss, commencing here, and extending to Stirling, a distance of sixteen miles, is supposed to have been the site of an extensive forest, forming part of the horrida sylva Caledoni├Ž cut down by the Romans to facilitate the conquest of the natives, who had their strong places in it: the remains of gigantic trees still bear the mark of the axe by which they were felled.

The prevailing SOIL is poor and shallow, with a cold impervious subsoil; but in some favoured spots, such as the vale of the Endrick, there is a fine hazel mould, inclining to loam. Towards the north the land is light and sandy, and about the Forth a deep rich clay is found under the moss. The husbandry practised here is of a very mixed character, the old system being still retained in some parts, to the neglect of the rotation of crops and many great improvements, which have been introduced into others. Of late years, a great change for the better has taken place. The sheep pastured on the moorlands are chiefly the black-faced, and the cattle are the native black. For the improvement of the former, Linton and Lammermoor rams are sometimes purchased; and on the farms in the southern and western parts some fine Leicesters may be seen, and many good specimens of Ayrshire cattle. The live stock have been much improved by the encouragement given by the Strath-Endrick Club, instituted in 1816, which meets here annually in August, and of which the Duke of Montrose is patron. The annual value of real property in the parish is £10,032. The natural wood is mostly coppice; it covers about 180 acres, and among it may be noticed some lofty oaks and beeches. There is a very fine ash-tree at the gate of the churchyard, which is upwards of 200 years old, and measures sixteen feet seven inches in girth at the height of one foot from the ground. The vale of Endrick is well wooded, and the plantations consist of 376 acres, belonging principally to the duke. The mansions are those of Park, Finnich, and Endrick-Bank. The village is situated a little north of the Endrick, and its inhabitants are chiefly engaged in agriculture. There is a manufactory at Gartness for weaving woollen goods, where, also, the preparation of the raw material and the dyeing are carried on. The turnpike-road from Glasgow and Dumbarton to Stirling passes through the parish, and to the first place the produce of the lands is generally sent.

Drymen is ecclesiastically in the presbytery of Dumbarton, synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the patronage of the Crown; the minister's stipend is £272, with a manse, and a glebe of seven acres, valued at £19 per annum. The church, built in 1771, and reseated in 1810, is a substantial edifice in good repair, and contains about 400 sittings. The United Presbyterian Synod have a place of worship. The parochial school is about half a mile from the village; the master receives a salary of £31, with £25 fees. A parish library, now containing 400 volumes, was instituted in 1829, and a savings' bank in the same year. The northern portion of the parish, called the barony of Drummond, gives name to the Drummond family, the founder of which was a Hungarian named Maurice, who came over with Margaret, queen of Malcolm Canmore, and obtained lands here. One of his descendants, Anabella, daughter of Sir John Drummond, was united in marriage to Robert, Earl of Carrick, who succeeded to the throne as Robert III. In this barony, on the farm of Garfarran, are the remains of a fort said to have been erected by the Romans. Napier, the inventor of logarithms, resided at Gartness for a considerable period, during which he prosecuted his mathematical speculations.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis