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Duntocher, Dumbartonshire

Historical Description

DUNTOCHER, for a time a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Old-Kilpatrick, county of Dumbarton; containing 3809 inhabitants, of whom 2749 are in the village, 8 miles (N. W. by W.) from Glasgow. This very thriving place, which, less than forty or fifty years since, had only a few scattered houses, owes its prosperity to the enterprising spirit of a resident, Mr. William Dunn, who about that period purchased the Duntocher mill and extended the works for spinning cotton-yarn. In the neighbourhood are now several vast establishments for this branch of manufacture, and for weaving, all of them aided by powerful steam machinery. Many of the inhabitants also are employed in coal, lime, and iron works, in brick-making, and various other pursuits, chiefly on the property of Mr. Dunn here; and all around presents a scene of remarkable and successful industry: the iron-works are principally for making spades, shovels, and other implements, and those parts of iron used in building sailing-vessels. The village is situated about two miles distant northward from the river Clyde, on the road from Kirkintilloch to Dumbarton; and in the immediate vicinity are the villages of Faifley and Hardgate. A sub post-office has been established under Glasgow. At Duntocher is a bridge supposed by some to be a Roman structure, and near which is a modern engraved stone stating that it was erected in the reign of Adrian; but it is probable that the materials whereof it is built were obtained at a more recent date from a contiguous Roman fort, the lines of which can with difficulty be traced: the bridge was repaired in 1772 by the then Lord Blantyre. Ecclesiastically, Duntocher is in the presbytery of Dumbarton, synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the stipend of the minister is £114, produced by seat-rents and collections, and the patronage is vested in the male communicants. The church was erected in 1836, at the cost of about £1660, contributed by the General Assembly and by opulent individuals in the neighbourhood, and is a very chaste and handsome edifice, containing accommodation for 876 persons. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship, and there are two other meeting-houses and a Roman Catholic chapel; besides schools. A sepulchral stone of Roman origin, and of elegant design and workmanship, was discovered some time since. In the front of the house next the bridge is placed a square stone with figures carved upon each side of it, found in the vicinity some time ago: it is supposed to have been the principal part of an altar to Jupiter Olympus, and the owner has several times been offered a considerable sum for it. Not far from the other end of the bridge, a few years since, there was discovered the mouth of a vault that entered the hill in a south-east direction; and when examined by some of the inhabitants, a number of small rooms were found not far from the entrance, in some of which the ashes where fires had been kindled were still to be seen. The interior was wholly of brickwork, a part of which has since been removed for other purposes.

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