Historical description of Clackmannanshire, Scotland

CLACKMANNANSHIRE, a small county in the interior of Scotland, bounded on the north and north-west by Perthshire, from which it is separated by the Ochil Hills; on the east, by the county of Fife; and on the south and south-west, by the river Forth. It lies between 56° 5' and 56° 14' (N. Lat.), and 3° 33' and 3° 56' (W. Long.), and is about ten miles in length, and eight miles in extreme breadth; comprising an area of fifty-two square miles, or 33,280 acres; 3517 dwelling-houses, of which 3406 are inhabited; and a population of 19,155, of whom 9386 are males, and 9769 females. This county is in the synod of Perth and Stirling, and comprises four entire parishes, with part of another. For civil purposes it is associated with the county of Kinross, under one sheriff, who appoints a sheriff-substitute for each county. It contains the towns of Clackmannan and Alloa, in the latter of which the sheriff-substitute resides, and holds his courts, though the quarter-sessions are occasionally held at Clackmannan. Under the act of the 2nd of William IV., the county, jointly with that of Kinross, returns a member to parliament.

For a considerable breadth from the shore of the Forth the surface is level, but towards the north rises rapidly, forming part of the Ochil range of hills, of which Bencleugh, the highest, has an elevation of 2000 feet above the sea. The principal rivers are, the Forth; the Devon, which, after a western course through a beautifully romantic district, falls into the Forth to the west of Alloa; and the Black Devon, which, after traversing the county in a direction nearly parallel with the Devon, flows into the Forth not far from Clackmannan. There are some small lakes, and an artificial sheet of water called Gartmorn Dam, which is 160 acres in extent. About two-thirds of the land are arable, and the remainder hill pasture; the soil in the lower districts is exceedingly rich and fertile, producing crops of grain of every kind, and the higher lands afford good pasturage for sheep and cattle. The system of agriculture is in a highly improved state. The annual value of real property in the county is £52,923, of which £35,249 are returned for lands, £7608 for houses, £9699 for mines, and the remainder for other kinds of real property. The chief minerals are ironstone and coal, both of which are extensively wrought; of the former, more than 200,000 tons are annually raised: silver-ore has been also found in some places. Among the manufactures are those of flint and crown glass, steam-engines and all kinds of machinery, the woollen manufacture, which has been latterly much extended; large potteries, and brick and tile works, various distilleries, breweries, and tanneries. Ship-building, and the making of ropes and sails, are likewise carried on. The Stirling and Dunfermline railway intersects the county. There are several remains of antiquity, among which are the Towers of Alloa and Clackmannan, the latter of which was the residence of Robert Bruce; Roman coins have been found, and some sepulchral urns, and various other relics.

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