Arrochar Parish History >
Arrochar, Tarbet and Ardlui Heritage Group - The History of Arrochar Parish.
The following articles were taken from the Arrochar Parish Church web site.
This article is by Rev. Ian D. Reid - the original manuscript of which is part of the Arrochar Parish Church's papers. Although not dated, a copy of this article was reprinted in the Helensburgh and Gareloch Times in January, 1959 and was later reprinted as a pamphlet which was sold in aid of the Church Fabric Fund.
The Parish of Arrochar
A History of 300 Years
On the 25th. of January, 1659, two instruments of law were signed by which the Parish of Arroquhar came into being. Sir John Colquhoun, the then Chief of Colquhoun, subscribed to a bond whereby he agreed to denude himself of the sum of 400 merks yearly, payable by the Laird of Macfarlane for the tithes of his lands of Arroquhar, and 15 bolls teind meal, payable forth of the lands of Arroquhar belonging to Walter Macfarlane of Gartartan (Stuckgown) in favour of the Minister of Tarbet and his successors in all time coming, and to be uplifted by the first minister after his entry to the ministry of Tarbet. On the same date John Macfarlane, fiar of Arroquhar and Laird of Macfarlane, granted a bond, binding himself to "cause, begin, finish and perfect the building of a new kirk with a manse for the minister of Tarbet, and also give and mortify a competent glebe, under the pain of 3,000 merks Scots to be uplifted by the Presbytery of Dumbarton and employed by them for pious uses within the said lands of Arroquhar."
Though the 25th. of January, 1659, may be regarded as the Birthday of the Parish it was actually in the year 1648 that Walter, the 16th. Chief of Clan Macfarlane, first proposed to the Presbytery of Dumbarton that his lands of Arroquhar should be disjoined from the Parish of Luss because the church in Luss was inadequate for the population, and that it was extremely inconvenient for the parishioners living in the lands of Arroquhar to attend services at a church which was at least ten miles from their dwellings. The suggested new parish was perambulated by the Presbytery in the following year, 1649, and as a result a site was selected for a church at West Tarbet. The exact location of this site is not now known, but tradition has it that it was at or near the place called Tighvechtichan, a point on the old drovers' road where a watch tower was maintained by the MacFarlanes to give warning of the approach of enemies, or cattle droves from the Argyll country. That site is now occupied by the Village Hall. The selection of a site seems to have been the sole result of that perambulation, but in 1658, when Walter was still Chief and his son John had become fiar of the lands of Arroquhar, the Presbytery laid the case before the Council of Estate of Scotland. The Council of Estate appointed a Commission of Enquiry. No record of the proceedings of this Commission is available, but the Order of the Council of estate, dated "Holyrood House, 24th. December, 1658," appointed Robert Hamilton of Barnes, and others, to be their Commissioners, "to call before them all parties interested in the dismemberment of the lands of Arroquhar from the Parish of Luss, and in the erection of a new church at Tarbet, with a manse and the provision of a glebe for the minister, and if they found a general concurrence, that all parties concerned should forthwith proceed to the building of a church and manse and to the provisioning of a glebe, conformably to the Act of Parliament."
That Commission of the Parliament of Scotland must have undertaken its remit with a celerity which is indeed rare today, for one month after the Order of Council was issued the Parish of Arroquhar was disjoined from Luss by the two bonds signed on the 25th. January, 1659. In fact, in all the records consulted the first minister of the new parish, Mr. Archibald McLachlan, is given as having entered into office in the year 1658.
Though the legal instruments were signed, and the minister appointed, no other practical steps were taken at that time. It was not until 1678 that the Presbytery of Dumbarton again took cognisance of this northern extremity of its bounds, and another "perambulation" was made. The following is the Minute recording this: "Presbytery of Dumbarton at Tarbet. September 10, 1678. Sederunt - Moderator, Messrs William Andersone, Arthur Miller, Thomas Allan, James Buchanan, William McKechnie. The brethren foresaid, having met at Luss, and travelled al the way from thence to Tarbet, and seen the bounds to the end of Lochlomond, northward, sixteen miles distant from the kirk of Lusse on the one side, and from Tarbet to the side of Lochlong on the other side, and seen the bounds to the head of Lochlong, lying likewise at a great distance from the Kirk of Lusse, and having considered the vastenesse of the distance, as said is, and ruggedness of the way, finde it absolutely necessarie that there be a dismembratione, and a church built at the Tarbet, within the Laird of Macfarlane's land for the accommodatione of the people of these bounds, that the people from the foote of Glenowglasse, and upward upon the side of Lochlomond, and from Gorton in the Parech (parish) of Row, to the head of Lochlenge (informed to be about the number of 400 souls) may repair thither to attend the ordinances, who are now living in ignorance."
Even this severe instruction of the Presbytery had little effect on the Macfarlanes for though they appointed successive ministers it was not until the year 1733 that a church was erected. In 1709 the Presbytery had obtained a decree of the Court of Session for a church, manse and glebe for the parish of Arroquhar, but the implementing of that decree was delayed because of the minority of the then laird of Macfarlane (Walter, 20th Chief) and of his embarrassed financial circumstances. Mr. Alexander Graham of Duchray, writing in 1724, notes: "in this parish there is no church yet built," and he adds, "all the inhabitants use the Irish language." Some parts of the original church of Arroquhar remain, some fifteen feet to the south of the present building. The South Door is still intact and on the lintel is carved the date 1733. In 1951 the ruins were "sealed" by the County Council of Dunbarton Works Department when the Burial Ground was transferred to the Local Authority under an Act of Parliament of 1947. In 1958, when a new chancel was being made, the foundations of the original church were revealed as running in line with the ruins outside and the present pulpit is now over what was probably the northern end of the church built in 1733. This first church served as the place of worship until the year 1847, when the Heritors built the present magnificent building facing Loch Long and the west from its situation in "God's acre."
To revert to the Birthday of the Parish it appears that though the dismemberment from Luss and the erection of the new Parish of Arroquhar was done so quickly, the Macfarlanes were in no great hurry to implement the bond which they had had signed. Walter (16th Chief), who was father of the John who had signed the bond, had attached himself to Charles I, and besides having his cattle at Inveruglas destroyed by Cromwell's soldiers, was fined 3,000 merks. Walter had two sons, John and Andrew, who each succeeded to the chieftainship, and Andrew had a son, John, who sided with the Revolution Party in 1688. Having suffered so severely in these troublous times, and having to build a new castle at Invereoch (now occupied by Arrochar House - part of which is the original Invereoch House), it is little wonder that the Chiefs of Macfarlane failed to make good the promise to erect a church, manse and glebe for the Minister. It appears, too, that the regard which the whole clan had for the church of their forefathers in Luss could not be easily diverted.
In 1742, the Honourable Helen Arburthnot, daughter of Robert, Second Viscount Arburthnot, and second wife of John the 19th Chief of Macfarlane, made a present of two Communion Cups for the Church of Arroquhar. On the Cups is engraved the family crest of the Arburthnots being a peacock's head on a wreath, couped proper, with the following inscription: "The gift of the Honble Helen Arburthnot to the Parish of Arroquhar." These Cups were in use at the November Communion, 1958. This lady also bequeathed the sum of 200 merks Scots to purchase a bell for the kirk of Arroquhar, and also 500 merks Scots for behoof of the poor of the parish. Neither of these legacies was paid to the Kirk Session for many years after for the estate of The Macfarlane of that Ilk passed through troubled waters, chiefly due to heavy investment in the Darien Scheme, and in 1785 the estate was sold on behalf of creditors and it was not until 1802 that the Kirk Session received complete payment of the 200 merks bequeathed by Helen, Lady Arburthnot. The Session resolved to apply this money to the purpose for which it was bequeathed but delays again occurred. Thirteen years elapsed before the bell was actually acquired and on 3rd. January, 1815, Mr Gillespie, minister of the Parish, reported to the Session that he bought a Bell for the Church from a Mr. Brownlee of Greenock, at a total cost including freight, chain, rope, the smith's and wright's accounts, of £24 3s 10d. The Bell was hung on the Bell-Tree for there was no place for a bell in the plain structure of the old kirk; and when the new church was built in 1847, the bell was placed where it now hands in the church tower. An amusing and somewhat apocryphal tale is told by the late Rev. Hugh Winchester in his "Traditions of Arrochar and Tarbet and the Clan Macfarlane." "Malcolm Macfarlane, an erring parishioner, had been summoned to a Kirk Session meeting in the Manse in a case of discipline. He had been severely reprimanded and left in an angry mood. He had to pass the Bell-Tree on his way home and he thought he'd relieve his feelings by pulling the bell. But a neighbour's goat wandered past and Malcolm seized him and tied him to the rope. The goat tugged and struggled to escape, and the bell rang with ragged and broken sounds, and out came minister and session to seek cause. Seeing an uncanny looking thing with horns rushing to and fro in the twilight, some of the Session thought it was Auld Nick himsel, and it was only when the minister mustered up courage enough to approach the tree that he found it was old Mary Campbell's goat." There is no record of the 500 merks Scots ever being paid to the Session out of the estate of the Macfarlanes.
The first minister, Archibald McLachlan, was appointed in 1658, and demitted the charge on 4th. November, 1701. He was occasionally accused of solemnizing clandestine marriages. He died in October, 1731, at the age of 94, in the 71st year of his ministry, one of the longest in the Church. He demitted the charge of Arroquhar in 1701 on the grounds of "infirmities of body and various secular discouragements", which last consisted of the want of a church, manse and glebe. In the meantime, however, the people of Arroquhar wanted rid of McLachlan, possibly because of neglect of duty on his part, and they brought a libel against their minister. The Presbytery were not willing to deal harshly and they appointed an assistant, one Robert Macfarlane, a bursar of the Presbytery. Robert knew the situation at Arroquhar and refused to accept the appointment and appealed to the Synod of Glasgow. The Synod determined to uphold the appointment of the Presbytery, and that Robert Macfarlane must obey, unless he can prove, as he alleges, "that there is neither kirk, nor manse, nor kirk session, nor school in the Parish." Robert Macfarlane proved that there was none of these things but he had to take up the appointment though declared "transplantable" and in due course he was translated to Fintry (in 1705).
A third minister was a Daniel Reid who was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Dumbarton on 6th. August, 1706 and was ordained and inducted to Arroquhar on 28th. August, 1707. He was deposed on 16th. October, 1716, but appears to have returned to minister until 1727 or 1728.
In 1729 John McAlpine, A.M., was ordained at Tarbet, Lochlomond, on 25th. September, and it was during his ministry that the first church was built in the Parish of Arroquhar, in 1733. McAlpine was translated to Campbeltown 2nd Charge on 2nd. January, 1750.
He was followed by Alexander Macfarlane, A.M., who was admitted to Arroquhar on 2nd. January, 1754, and died in Arroquhar in 1763. He was a distinguished Gaelic scholar and a great wit. He translated Baxter's Call to the Unconverted; the Psalms of David with the Paraphrases; and some Sermons, into Gaelic.
The sixth minister was a John Grant, A.M., who was presented by Sir James Colquhoun of Luss in January, 1764, and ordained in September of the same year. He only stayed until 25th June, 1765, when he was translated to Abernethy.
John Grant was followed by a William Grant, A.M., a native of Keith who does not appear to have been a relation of John. William was admitted to Arroquhar on 14th May, 1766. In 1772 he was presented to Fintry by William, Duke of Montrose, which he resigned and was translated to Luss on 1st. December of the same year.
John Stuart, son of the minister of Killin, was the eighth minister and was presented to the Parish by Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, Bart, in October 1773, and ordained on 12th May, 1774, and was translated to Weem on 26th. March, 1776. This John Stuart eventually came to Luss and while there translated the Holy Scriptures into Gaelic. He was honoured by his Alma mater with the degree of Doctor of Divinity and was also a Fellow of the Royal Society. He died at Luss in 1821 and was buried there.
In 1776 John Grant was presented by Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, and admitted on 26th June of that year. He demitted on 7th December, 1779.
Hugh McDiarmid, who was promoted from the Gaelic Chapel of Ease, Glasgow, was presented by Sir James Colquhoun of Luss in April, 1780, and he demitted on the 5th. December of the same year, and was settled in Comrie in 1781.
The eleventh minister was John Gillespie, who was licensed by the Presbytery of Dumbarton on 3rd October, 1780, presented by Sir James Colquhoun of Luss in 1781, and ordained in Arroquhar on 23rd. July, 1782. He remained as minister until he died on 28th. August, 1816, and was buried at Arroquhar. During his ministry the First Statistical Account of Scotland (edited by Sir William Sinclair in 1792) was issued, and Mr. Gillespie wrote the Account for Arroquhar. Mr. Gillespie, in his Account, makes little mention of Church matters except to say, "The stipend, including the glebe, is below the minimum. The manse, which is in bad repair, was built in the year 1754. Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, Bart., is patron." It is not known where this Manse was situate as the succeeding Minister, Mr Peter Proudfoot, who wrote the Second Statistical Account of the Parish mentions the erection of a new manse in 1837, and this remained the Manse until the year 1951. Perhaps the last sentences of the First Statistical Account reveal Mr Gillespie's nature: "The sale of the estate of Arroquhar, which happened some years ago, contributed not a little to extinguish the remains of that system of barbarity, which so long retarded the progress of civilisation in Europe. In proportion as it lost its influence, the manners of the people changed to the better. They are now civil, well bred, honest, industrious, and not addicted to an immoderate use of spirituous liquors." The 'system of barbarity' was the feudal clans, and at the time this was written there was a shebeen in almost every corner, and at least six recognised public houses between Tarbet and the head of Glencree, (about six miles).
Peter Proudfoot was licensed by the Presbytery on 7th. May, 1816, presented by Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, Bart., on 21st. January, 1817, and ordained at Arroquhar on 8th. May, 1817. As stated above, he wrote the Second Statistical Account of the Parish, published in 1839. In addition to his mention of the new Manse he writes: "The church is situated rather at a corner of the parish; but the great body of the parishioners are at no great distance; some families are at the distance, however, of ten or twelve miles. The church was built in 1733, and will soon require a general repair. It is seated for about 300. The sittings are all free. The glebe contains about 19 acres; but with the exception of little more than three acres, is all hill ground and of inferior quality. It is not worth more than £9 annually. The stipend is £231, with 12 bolls meal. This also includes communion elements. The teinds are exhausted. There are no government churches, no chapels of ease, no catechists, no Dissenting chapels, and no Dissenters within the parish. Divine service is exceedingly well attended. In summer, the church is generally crowded to overflowing, and is felt then to be much too small; and, in winter, when the weather is favourable, it is filled. Probable average of communicants, 216. No religious societies; but collections are occasionally made for religious purposes, which have always been liberal."
It was during the ministry of Mr. Proudfoot that the Ten Years' Conflict which ended in the Disruption in 1843 divided the Church in Scotland. Mr Proudfoot has not left any record of his own feelings at the time and I have had to glean something of them from "An Account of the Origin of Ballyhennan Church, 1845," written by Colin Mackenzie, the first Free Church minister in Arroqhar. From this it appears that Mr Proudfoot's "mind had been weakened and distracted by sickness and embarrassment in his worldly affairs." He had had great difficulty in making up his mind on the important questions at issue, and he took no steps to inform his people on the subject, previous to the Disruption. "Though various printed papers and pamphlets published by the Committee of the Convocation were regularly received at the Manse, not one of them ever found their way into the hands of the parishioners" ... "The time of the meeting of the General Assembly was at hand ... Their strong attachment to their minister, and a reluctance to part with him in case he should keep his 'living.' ... Not many days after his name was seen in the newspapers among those who had signed the Deed of Demission. This was a surprise to most of his people, but a great disappointment to the Established party as the general opinion was that he would have acted otherwise ... On his return he preached on 11th June, not in the church, but in Arrochar House." On the next Sunday a Mr. Reid, a probationer, officiated at Arrochar House, Mr Proudfoot being a hearer. Then on the third Sabbath, to the consternation of the whole parish, it was found that Mr Proudfoot had returned to the Establishment Church. His health deteriorated rapidly, and he died on 27th. October, 1843, and was buried in Arroquhar. From this date both congregations, the Free Church as well as the Establishment, had to procure ministers as best they could.
Arroquhar Free Church
The great surge of Evangelical Fervour which poured forth in Scotland from the Disruption has been described far better in other histories, and in the parish of Arroquhar there was soon practical evidence of that spirit which was abroad among the Scots. Money poured in for a General Building Fund, and after an open-air Communion Service on the first Sunday of August, 1843, it was decided to petition to the Free Church Presbytery for sanction to build a church and call a minister. Application was made to Sir James Colquhoun, Bart., of Luss, the proprietor of Arroquhar for a site; which was readily granted, close to the Burying Ground of the Parish at Balhennan (now Ballyhennan). This proximity to a burial ground by a Free Church is unusual, and tradition also has it that near this church lie the bodies of the Norsemen who were defeated in a battle with the Scots at Tarbet ("neck of land") as they attempted to carry their long Viking ships from Loch Long to Loch Lomond. "A contract for building was entered upon with Mr Alexander Stewart, builder at Dunoon, the church to be seated for 250 at £240 sterling, the members of the congregation to cart all the materials. The work was commenced on 10th. January, 1844, and finished on the 11th. day of April, 1844, and fully settled for with the contractor." Colin Mackenzie, who was then minister of Sheildag but had been 'outed' by his Laird, accepted the call to the Free Church, Arroquhar, and was inducted on the 18th. April, 1844. The Session records of Arroquhar Free Church do not record when Mr Mackenzie left Arroquhar, but on 8th. December, 1882, his death is noted and he is referred to as Senior Minister.
In 1869 the second minister of the Free Church was ordained. He was Mr Kippen and he was minister here until his death on 26th. October, 1881. A set of stained-glass windows at the rear of the nave of the church commemorate his ministry.
On 13th. April, 1882, John Robson Elder, was translated from Cromarty to Arroquhar Free Church, and he ministered here until his death in May, 1897.
He was succeeded on 21st. October, 1897, by the Rev. A.P. Telfer, who had been a member of Duff College, Calcutta. During Mr. Telfer's ministry the Free Church union with the United Presbyterians took place and from 4th. November, 1899, the local church became the United Free Church and a member of Dumbarton United Free Presbytery. There is also recorded in the Minutes of Session the decision of the House of Lords of 1st. August, 1904, when the residue of the old Free Church obtained the whole of the property it had claimed. On the 5th. of May, 1904, is recorded the last issue of Communion Tokens by Arroquhar Free Church. Mr Telfer applied for a colleague and successor on 2nd. October, 1925. Mr Telfer died on 24th. November, 1938, and was buried in Arrochar churchyard.
On 28th. April, 1926, Mr Richard D.E. Stevenson was inducted to the United Free Church of Scotland, and during his ministry the Basis and Plan of Union between the United Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland was submitted and approved. On 1st. September, 1929, at a joint meeting with the Parish Church it was agreed that the new names of the churches would be (Parish) Tighness and (United Free) Bally Hennan. On 10th. November, 1929, the two ministers dispensed the Lord's Supper to the whole Parish in Bally Hennan Church. In 1947, Mr Stevenson applied for permission to demit office to facilitate local union, and on 23rd. June, 1947, a Service of Recognition of Local Union was held in Tighness Church.
On the death of Mr Peter Proudfoot, on 27th October, 1843, the Established Church determined to have a Gaelic-speaking minister, and after severe competition (Arroquhar was regarded as a plum with a stipend of £240 whereas the school-master had only £30 or £40 per annum) the Rev. John Macfarlane, assistant at Saddell from 1822, was admitted to Arroquhar in 1844. Mr. Macfarlane was granted his Doctor's Degree while in Arroquhar. Of him the story is told that one day an exciseman, who was new to the district, travelled from Glasgow to Tarbet by coach and met Dr Macfarlane on the way. The exciseman thought he might safely rely on the reverend gentleman for help and guidance. So he told the Doctor that the excise authorities had received information that a certain man in Morelaggan was just about to commence a brew, and that he had been sent down to catch him. Dr Macfarlane certainly gave him the right directions but as the day had been cold and wet he suggested that the gauger might come in and get some refreshments before he proceeded on to Morelaggan. The gauger accepted and while he was regaling himself on the Manse brew, the Minister's housekeeper had sent a swift messenger to warn old Macintyre that the gauger was coming, and by the time the refreshed exciseman reached Morelaggan there was nothing of a questionable or lawless nature to be seen. It was Dr Macfarlane who purchased the ruins of the original church for the sum of £10 and at his death in 1868, he was buried within the old walls where the old pulpit was supposed to have stood.
The fourteenth minister, Mr James Dewar, M.A., was the son of a schoolmaster in Arroquhar. He attended Glasgow University to study for the ministry and graduated M.A., and then was licensed to preach by Glasgow Presbytery on 8th. January, 1851. He was assistant to Rev. D. Jamieson of St. Paul's. Glasgow and then to Norman Macleod of St. Columba's. He was then presented by the Duke of Argyll to Kilmodan where he was ordained on 8th September, 1851. He was there until May, 1869, when he was translated to Arroquhar. Mr. Dewar was minister in Arroquhar until 1901, when he died and was buried in Arroquhar Churchyard. During his ministry he took an active part in local affairs, and he was the driving force behind the erection of the Mission Church at Ardlui, and also the erection of the Parish Hall midway between Arrochar and Tarbet. There were both built in 1895, the year that the West Highland Railway was opened for traffic. Ardlui Church was built to serve the shepherds, and the railway workers and the summer visitors to the northern tip of Loch Lomond. It is about a mile from the boundary between Perthshire and Dunbartonshire, set some fifty yards to the left of the main road to Crianlarich. It is a substantial stone harled building with an outside belfry. It seats 80 people and is a pleasing church inside and out. It was built for a little more than £600.
Mr. Dewar was followed as minister by Dugald Macfarlane who came from Glencoe in 1902 and was minister of the Established Church until 21st. December, 1906, when he was translated to Kingussie. Mr Macfarlane remained at Kingussie for the rest of his life and during his term there was honoured by being elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1937.
Coll Archibald Macdonald, M.A., B.D., was the sixteenth minister of Arroquhar, being translated from Ardrishaig on 2nd. May, 1907, and he remained in Arroquhar until he was translated to Legierait on 4th. June, 1913.
Mr. Hugh Sinclair Winchester, M.A., B.D., was trained as a school-teacher and was licensed by the Presbytery of Edinburgh. He was ordained at Arrochar on 11th. September, 1913. During World War I he served as Chaplain to the K.O.S.B., (King's Own Scottish Borderers) and saw service in France and Palestine. He published three Bible Class Handbooks which were widely used, and also "Traditions of Arrochar and Tarbet and Clan Macfarlane" which is now out of print. He retired from Arroquhar on 28th November, 1935, and died on 8th. November, 1958.
The eighteenth minister was William Fraser Wills who was ordained at Montrose in 1935, and came to Arroquhar in 1936. In 1940 he was translated to St. George's Tron, Glasgow.
Mr James E. Esslemont followed Mr Wills on the 22nd November, 1940, as nineteenth minister of the Established Church and remained in Arroquhar until the 31st. of March, 1947, when he demitted the charge.
The Rev. R.D.E. Stevenson, minister of the United Free Church at Tarbet (Bally Hennan) being agreeable to facilitate local union by retiring, the Parish became once more a single charge from the 23rd June, 1947, and the united charge had as its first minister Angus MacCuish from 20th October, 1947, until he was translated to Stornaway High on 6th December, 1950.
The present minister, Iain Dunnet Reid, was ordained and inducted to the charge on 25th. June, 1951, as twenty-first minister of Arroquhar.
The Parish lies on the neck of land in the northernmost part of the County of Dunbarton between the sea Loch Long and the fresh-water Loch Lomond. Taking as the starting point the middle of Loch Long opposite Glendouglas, the parish boundary goes through that glen to meet the imaginary county boundary running down the centre of Loch Lomond. It follows that boundary, taking in two farms on the east side of Loch Lomond, until it reaches the road bridge over the Falloch river. It then turns west still following the county boundary until it meets the Loin Water. At that point by Act of General Assembly, 1953, it invades the County of Argyll and takes in that part of the Parish of Lochgoilhead and Kilmorich contained "in a straight line to the point 'Rest-and-be-Thankful' on the Inverary Road then south-east in a straight line to Coilessan Farm, and then south down Loch Long to the original point opposite Glendouglas. The Ecclesiastical Parish is about 50 square miles, and contains very much 'high ground' (seven mountains well over 2,500 feet), very little arable, no general farming, and mostly hill-grazing for sheep. The population is about 850 and the industries are sheep-farming, forestry, Hydro-electric scheme, Torpedo Testing Range, and British Railways. These all tend to employ the older groups of men and there is an exodus of the young from the community as they approach manhood and womanhood. The people of the parish are in the majority 'incomers' and there is no true communal spirit expressed yet. When it is realised that the four industries in the district are all new, the Railway in 1895, the Torpedo Range in 1912, Forestry in 1922, and Loch Sloy Hydro-Electric in 1949, the lack of 'roots' is partly explained. And to create a certain amount of dis-union, each of these industries have had built for their employees blocks of houses which are placed at considerable distances from each other, resulting in little coteries within a Parish which should be a single community.
Iain D. Reid
THE CHURCH OF THE CLAN MACFARLANE.
By THE LATE REV. WILLIAM BARR MACFARLANE, M.A.,
SECOND LIEUTENANT IN THE FIFTH KING'S OWN SCOTTISH B0RDERERS.
THE Parish of Arrochar is the most northerly in the modern county of Dumbarton, and Luss is just south of it.
These two parishes were one at the beginning, and as they now stand they are the result of a most interesting struggle between the idea of its Church as the Church of a Clan, and the idea of it as the Church of a Territorial District.
The story, however, centres round the first of these ideas-round the Church, in fact, of the Clan Macfarlane-and it is in connexion with the story of that Clan, that I now propose to treat the history of the Church of Scotland in the Luss and Arrochar country.
The eponymous ancestor of the Clan Macfarlane, was a certain chief, Parlan or Partholan (Latinised into Bartholomew) who flourished at Arrochar in the reign of David ii. (1329-1371) but the history of the Clan must, I believe, go back far beyond that time. The name Parlan, however it came in, is non-Gaelic, and several things go to show that the Clan are the modern representatives of the Athacots (or Attacotti) whom Richard of Cirencester describes as dwelling in the Lennox country at the time of Agricola and Agricola's successors. (Chalmers, Caledonia. Irving, Book of Dumbartonshire, vol. I County.) But who were the Athacots? We find them distinguished from the Picts, Scots, Britons and Saxons; and their country, Loch Lomondside, if Richard of Cirencester's description be correct, is just the place where we should expect to find some old remnants of a prehistoric people, still working out their destiny. The Lennox country indeed, is a mountainous wedge between the old spheres of the other contending powers; and admirably suited for such a last refuge. My own idea (if I may venture to have one) is that the Athacots were a part of the pre-Celtic, Iberian, "dolichocephalic" people, whose chambered cairns are scattered over Argyllshire, Arran and Bute, and who apparently gave us the one or two Shemitic idioms which we find in modern Gaelic. "These Athacots," says Richard, "deserved high praise" for having sustained the attacks of the enemy after "the subjugation of the neighbouring provinces;" in fact, so determined was their opposition that the Athacots got a character from the Romans of the utmost ferocity, S. Jerome even describing them as cannibals. This character agrees somewhat with that given to the Clan in the days of the Stewart Kings of Scotland.
To such a people, assuming our facts are right, it was that the earliest Christian missionary came about the year MD. 500. This missionary was S. Kessog. In a delightful little pamphlet entitled "Saint Kessog and his Home," lent me by the Rev. Mr. Dunlop, minister of Luss, Miss Mary Colquhoun, the "Bardess" of the Colquhoun Clan, tells what we know of the Saint, and the church which he founded.
The date of the death of S. Kessog (or Mac-Kessog) is given in some calendars as 10th March, A.D. 520. Now the 10th of March, if it was his day, is, curiously enough, the New Year of the Druids-the day near to which the mistletoe was gathered, and we may have here a link between the present Church of Luss and the old pagan religion. The year of death is put somewhat later by David Camerarius (De Scot. Pict, lib. iii.) who says "Superis dedit Makkessogum Boina sub annum Christi DLX, anno Congalli regis secundo." The name itself, "Mac Kessog," shows the high repute in which the Saint must have been held, by the people he worked among. "Mac" is really for "Mo"-a title of honour; and "og" here is a term of endearment.
Mac Kessog was of Royal lineage, like S. Columba, and came of that dynasty which held his birth-place, the commanding Rock of Cashel. Which of the great schools of Ireland had the honour of educating him for the ministry is not known, but according to some authorities, Kessog was also called "Moshenog of Beithach." Perhaps this name "Moshenog,"-"my little o1d man (?)" gives us an inkling of S. Kessog's personal appearance. In Scotland we trace his pilgrimmage in the dedication of the church at Luss, and in other dedications at Auchterarder and Callander. There is a Kessog's Ferry at Inverness, and fairs called after S. Kessog were held on the Saint's day at Comrie and Cumbrae.
But it was at Luss that the Saint made his home. Half warrior himself-he was known as the "Priest-Soldier"-his message and his whole bearing went straight to the hearts of the brave men of the Lennox. Dempster (Menologium) tells us that his name was invoked by the warriors of Leven as they went to battle; while his picture, as a soldier carrying a charged bow, lent them courage.
But I have no doubt that S. Kessog, like S. Columba, taught also the higher virtues of Christianity. Indeed he showed his own essential humility and distrust of the world by retiring finally to Inch-ta-Vanach on Loch Lomond ("the island of the two monks") and there, perhaps with an attendant, he would ring his "little bell" outside his modest chapel, to call to the holy offices of the Faith-a little bell that down to the Seventeenth century was held in great veneration in the Lennox. For we find that so late as the year 1675, James, Earl of Perth, was retoured in the lands of Barnachills with the Chapel and Holy Bell of S. Kessog.
How long S. Kessog lived at Inch-ta-Vanach, or how he met his death, is not now known. Tradition asserts that he fell by the hand of assasins at Bandry, a mile and a half below Luss village, and just where the United Free Church now stands. Perhaps his slayers were men of an outlying Clan, for another legend tells that he suffered martyrdom among foreigners in a foreign land, and that his remains, embalmed with sweet herbs, were brought for interment to the church on Loch-Lomondside, at the village where his home had been. This village was then called Clachandhu-"the black hamlet" ; but lo! one of the herbs sprang up from his grave, and spread itself over the wall of the church ; wherefore the Parish took the name of "'Lus," which in Gaelic signifies a plant or herb. This herb, it is added, continued to flourish as long as the old church stood, but when it was pulled down it perished. The church thus became celebrated, and numerous devotees went to it on pilgrimage.
The original "church" would be a little oratory, built by S. Kessog on the shore, almost opposite to his own little chapel on Inch-ta-Vanach, an oratory from outside of which he would preach, and inside which he would celebrate the Eucharist. It is quite likely that it was the first of many successors on the spot where the Church of Luss now stands.
At Bandry there was a cairn known as S. Kessog's Cairn (Carn-na-Cheasaig). This existed as late as 1796. In the middle of the Eighteenth century, when the military road along Loch Lomond was formed, the cairn was partly removed. In it a large stone was found carved as a recumbent effigy for the tomb of an ecclesiastic. It is supposed to have been placed by mediaeval devotion on the traditional site of S. Kessog's martyrdom. It is now in the chapel at Rossdhu, and represents a Bishop or Abbot, mitred and habited in eucharistic vestments-alb, stole, tunic, chasuble, maniple and amice. (S. Kessog and His Home.)
The Saint indeed was long held in reverence, and on the 6th of March, 1316, we find King Robert the Bruce confirming to John de Luss, knight, a charter by Malcolm, fifth Earl of Lennox ; and granting therewith, "for the honour of his patron, the most holy S. Kessog, to his beloved and faithful bachelor (baculario) freedom from exactions for the Royal household during the king's progresses within the lands of Luss, and exemption from appearing as a witness (ratione testimonto perhibendi) before the king's justiciar." (Reg. Levenay p. 21, quoted in Origines Parochales.)
More significant still-on 18th March, 1315, King Robert the Bruce granted to the Church of Luss the privilege of Gyrth or Sanctuary for three miles round by land and water, partly for the honour in which he held S. Kessog, and partly, I suppose, in token of his friendship for Earl Malcolm who was one of the Bruce's most devoted servants and adherents.
The church of Luss possesses now a set of Communion vessels with the figure of S. Kessog engraved upon them.
We have these legends and these material links revealing to us S. Kessog and his coming. After him the light grows dim. For six centuries the darkness continues, and to many of our Scottish historians the country north of Dumbarton as far as Glen Falloch becomes almost a lost land. We know however, that by the time of the great king Cadwallawn (circa A.D. 633) the district had come under the sway of the Briton rulers of Strathclyde. In Glen Falloch, above Loch Lomond, just a little beyond the point where Perthshire and Dumbartonshire meet, is a stone called Clach-na-Breaton, which marked the northern boundary of their kingdom. Now in Gaelic and Welsh we have many old poems and records dealing with this ancient British country and its frontier wars. Tighernac, for example, in 711, records a great conflict between Britons and Scots at Loirgeclat (probably Loch Arklet), where the Britons were defeated ; and another battle in 717 at the stone called Minvircc, probably Clach-na-Breaton.
In these battles the ancestors of our present Clan Macfarlane would, in all likelihood, be fighting; and when we have worked out the Celtic sources for these dim years between the Sixth and the Twelfth centuries we should have something very interesting to add anent the origin of the Clan and the historical connexion of the present church of Luss with that old one of S. Kessog's. In Glenloin above Stronafyne are some old mineral workings which may belong to this time. (Note from C.J.T. Macfarlane, Esq., Stronafyne, Arrochar.)
When light begins to break again we find a chief Alwyn ruling the Lennox in a Scotland now consolidated under the wise and godly rule of King David I. (1124-53). Alwyn's ancestry is lost in the mists of the years before his date, though some have traced his descent from an English noble who fled to Malcolm Canmore's protection after the Battle of Hastings, and others have connected him with Kenneth III. (971-995), and the royal Scottish House. But Alwyn's name, which is Welsh or British, betrays affinity with the Kingdom of Strathclyde, and he may have simply been (Celtic records should help us here) the lineal heir of the chiefs who led the men of Glenfalloch and Arrochar to battle in the time of Tighernac. Whatever may have been his origin, it is interesting to note that there is no break in ancestry between this chief and the latest chiefs of the Clan Macfarlane.
This Alwyn, who held the title of Earl, seems to have taken a wide interest in the ecclesiastical and civil life of the reign of King David I. There is scarcely a charter indeed of that "'Sair Sanct for the Crown" which he does not witness. And he himself was very generous to the Church. For instance, he mortified to the Church of Kilpatrick in his Earldom the lands of Cocknach, Edinvarnan, Baccum, Finbealuch, Craig in Tulloch, Monach, Dalmanach, etc. These lands were soon transferred to the Abbey of Paisley, and formed for long its most valuable appanage.
To Alwyn succeded his son Alwyn II who made a promise of the lands of Luss, in his earldom, to Maldwin, Dean of Lennox.
Maldwin would be rural dean of Lennox or "Dean of Christianity" there. He would be vicar of the Church of Luss, and would exercise a superiority over the clergy of the "deanery of Lennox "-an ecclesiastical division which corresponded to the modern Presbytery of Dumbarton.
Maldwin evidently was married, and he may have been connected with the house of Earl Alwyn, whose eldest son was also called Maldwin.
And this other Maldwin, the heir of Earl Alwin, when he in turn succeeded to his father's power, confirmed his father's promise and handed over the aforesaid lands of Luss to his namesake. These lands never passed from the possession of Maldwin the Dean's family; they remain to-day in possession of the Colquhouns, one of whom married the heiress of Luss about the year 1390.
But Alwyn II. had made another promise, viz., of the lands of the Upper Arrochar or the "plough-land" of Luss-to Gilchrist his second son. (In this testament we are shown the derivation of the name Arrochar. It is evidently the name for an old Celtic division of land - almost equivalent to the Anglo-Saxon "carucate" - and would seem to be a cognate of the Latin "aratrum," a plough.)
When the new earl came to his earldom he confirmed Gilchrist in these lands.' Legal evidence of this earliest "donatio" lies bound up with many of the original Macfarlane charters in the Procurators' Library, St. George's Place, Glasgow. So that we have now (circa 1220) three, or rather four, owners of the ancient territory, viz., (1) the Church, with various possessions; (2) Maldwin the Dean with Luss in his own right, minus its upper plough-land; (3) Gilchrist with the "Arrochar" aforesaid ; and, (4) Maldwin, the Earl, with Dumbarton Castle and the richer lands to the south. In 1238-to finish our list of owners-King Alexander II. caused Earl Maldwin to hand over Dumbarton Castle to his Royal authority. Dumbarton Castle has ever since remained a national fortress.
With this we enter upon the history of the Clan Macfarlane proper and of its church. For to Gilchrist of Arrochar was given the rule not only of a lovely land of lochs, and waterfalls, and glens, but also of a warlike people, the men who held the frontier of the earldom against Bredalbane and Argyll ; and in his lands the old history of the Lennox Clan, as a real clan, went on without a break. And so did the Clan's connexion with the Church at Luss, only in a way that is very curious -and significant.
Gilchrist's men, on their separation, found themselves not without a church indeed-for they still regarded Luss as their own ; but with a church in the lands of a man who was not their Chief. If the territorial system had then been in the ascendency, Gilchrist would simply have built a new church in his new barony; but the clansman clung to the old associations in a way perhaps unparalleled in Church history ; (cf. However the connexion of Argyll with the graveyard in Kilmun, in the Lamont country. - F.A.S.) and right down through the centuries till 1658, Luss remained the Church of the Macfarlanes, and its graveyard, the burying place of their chiefs. The present church covers a portion of the ground on which was their vault later on ; and built into one of the northern gables is a stone which bears the following inscription engraved underneath a skull and other emblems of life's transitoriness, thus:
HERE IS THE PLACE OF BURIAL
APPOINTIT FOR THE LAIRD
OF ARROQVHAR BVILDIT BE
JHONE MACKFARLAN LAIRD
EFTER . DEATH .
REMAINS . VERTEW .
MEMENTO . MORI .
J . M . 1612
This stone is crumbling and needs attention badly.
In the part of the Churchyard of Luss adjacent to the north gable containing this inscription, are several tombstones to the memory of members (one supposes) of the chiefs family for they have carved on them the Macfarlane shield. On the back of one tombstone is a particularly fine semi-relief of the full Loch Sloy coat-of-arms.
But far more ancient than these, a rare "sow-backed" stone lies in the churchyard near 'the gate, and at least three stone coffins are shown, lying now among the other tombs. These stone coffins were dug up when the foundations of the new church were being prepared. They are made of two stones placed one above the other with the insides (of both) hollowed out.' (There are similar stone coffins in Peterborough Cathedral Churchyard and at Lincoln. Note by Mr. Horace Macfarlan, Boston, U.S.A., who has examined the stones at Luss.) "R. McF." is engraven on one, but whether this is an ancient mark or not it is hard to say.
The first minister of Arrochar, after Arrochar had been formed into a separate parish, is buried here. His tombstone bears the inscription: "Here lies the corpse of Master Archibald McLachlan, late minister of the gospel at Tarbet," (i.e. West Tarbet, Arrochar) "who departed this life October, 1731, and of his age 94 years." Mr. McLachlan's was one of the longest services in the Church of Scotland.
The continued clinging of the MacFarlanes to the church at Luss is all the more remarkable, in that the Rector of the Church before the Reformation, like its minister afterwards, was always appointed under the patronage of the Laird of Luss, till patronage was abolished in the latter half of last century.
An added interest is given to this association from the facts that as far back as 1390 the old lairds of Luss (who were probably real Lennox people themselves) had passed away, and their heiress married a Colquhoun, the laird of a castle and lands further to the East; and that with the Colquhouns the Macfarlanes were sometimes at deadly war. An interesting sidelight on this circumstance appears in the records of the Presbytery of Glasgow, in which, under date 1610, John Campbell, A.M., is accused of assisting the Clan Gregor-the old ally of the Macfarlanes-against his patron at Glenfriun (Battle 1603).
What indeed did the Lairds of Luss do about their church? Maldwin, the Dean to whom the grant was made, circa 1220, would as Dean hold on to the old church, and so would his ecclesiastical successors ; but Gilchrist of Arrochar and Gilchrist's successors-Duncan, Maldwin, Parlan, Malcolm, Duncan-evidently maintained their position as its chief adherents; so much so that we find the Colquhouns, who succeeded to Luss about the time of this last Duncan, seeking a place of worship elsewhere! That was, perhaps, a reason why the Chapel of Rossdhu was built; This chapel is just beside Rossdhu House, the modern residence of the Colquhouns, and is in Luss Parish. No records of this chapel earlier than the Seventeenth century have been discovered ; but the building is obviously very ancient, and has indeed been ascribed to the Twelfth century. Beneath its stone floor is the burying place of the family of Colquhoun of Luss. In the chapel, at its west end, the effigy of S. Mackessog which was found in his cairn at Bandry, has been placed for preservation, as already noted. One old notice of this chapel is interesting. In 1556 a vacancy having occurred in the office of Chaplain by the death of Sir James Wright, Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, undoubted patron of the church or chapel of Rossdhu, went on 12th April to the Altar of the blessed Virgin Mary in the Church of Rossdhu, in the diocese of Glasgow, and there presented Sir Thomas Henderson to be chaplain of the said church or chapel, by delivering 'to him a missal book, a cup, and other vestments of the altars according to the form and tenor of the foundation of the same.' (Original instrument at Rossdhu. Quoted Sir W. Fraser "Chiefs of the Clan Colquhoun.")
Thus we see the Clan system, even in the so late as Sixteenth century, proving itself too strong for the Territorial. We have a clan, the Macfarlanes, whose church is not in their own barony; and we have another clan, the Colquhouns, who find themselves able to lay only the claim of patronage to the " Parish" church which is in their lands, while they worship in a church of their own, which is simply the church of their clan and of its chief, and not the church of a parish at all!
It must here be mentioned that away up Glen Luss there is another old chapel about which not much is known. It is said to have been dedicated to S. Michael; and in 1838 gold coins of the reign of King James IV. were found in a corner of the wall. At that time the chapel is described as having an arched vault, with narrow lancet openings, a stone which held a cross, and a stone spout which is now used in the adjoining farm. Further, there is reason to think that the home of the priest who officiated at the chapel was at Edintagart in Glen Luss, on the site of the present farm-house of that name. (Original instrument at Rossdhu. Quoted Sir W. Fraser "Chiefs of the Clan Colquhoun.")
A third chapel dependent on Luss stood at the mouth of the Endrick, in the lands of Buchanan and near the residence of the Lairds of Buchanan. (Origines Parochiales.) The lands of Buchanan formed part of the Parish of Luss till 1621. Probably the Buchanan family erected this chapel for their own use, and never had it erected into a parish church. Here again we see, how in early times a church began in connexion with a family rather than a parish; and we get some inkling of a way in which Patronage might in such cases arise and be justified. After 1621 the parish church of the Buchanan district was that of Inchcaillach, now in ruins, but still having round about it several Macgregor and Macfarlane gravestones. To-day the parish church of this district is that of Buchanan.
There is also a burying ground at Auchenheglish (or Auchnaheglish) part of the estate of Auchendennan Righ, in a part of Bonhill parish, which, till 1648, belonged, to Luss. At any rate, several ecclesiastical remains were found there some time ago, when the foundations of a new building were being laid, and the name Auchhaheglish tells us that the place is " the field of the Church." (From the late Rev. William Simpson, D.D., minister of Bonhill.)
Only in the barony of Arrochar itself was there no church ; and yet there was one sacred spot in the lands which Gilchrist had heired. It was Gilchrist's son, Duncan, I think, who was ruling in Arrochar when the Battle of Largs was fought in 1263. Before that battle King Haco sent an expedition, under one or two of his lieutenants, to ravage Loch Lomondside, and the Glen of Tarbet. Tradition says that a desperate fight took place between Duncan's clansmen and the Norse. I do not know if the dates will fit properly, but it is said that the chieftain's young grandson, Parlan, led the clan to a glorious victory, and that henceforth and forever his enthusiastic followers acclaimed themselves "MacPharlain," while the name of Gilchrist, by which they had hitherto been known, dropped away. To bury the slain in this action the little graveyard at Ballyhenan was begun, half-way between Arrochar and Tarbet and just where the United Free Church now stands. Here also are many ancient Macfarlane stones which should tell a story when examined properly-many with the shield of the chiefs family sculptured on them; and there are at least two old stones there adorned with what looks like ancient Celtic tracery. It is only right to add that there is another tradition about this old graveyard-to the effect that it originated after an attack of plague in which many people died, and had to be buried at once.
At Loch Sloy are one or two mounds that look like the coverings of graves. Recent excavations, however, have disclosed nothing. It has been suggested that these mounds are merely "lazy beds "-an old agricultural expedient for making potatoes grow quickly ; but then men do not often go from home to grow potatoes in the wilderness. There was no clachan at Loch Sloy-we only know it as the traditional gathering place of the clan.
The records of the Macfarlanes' church at Luss yield many instances of the interesting kind of ecclesiastical procedure we have noticed in the case of Rossdhu. Concerning these records we shall note only that between 1426 and 1432, John Cameron, Bishop of Glasgow, erected this church into a prebend of his cathedral, with consent of its patron Jno. de Colloquhone, Lord of Luss. It was agreed that the patron and his successors should have the right of presenting to the prebend ; and that the cure of the parish should be served by a vicar-pensioner bound to make continual residence, whose provision and collation should belong to the bishop, and who should receive a yearly pension of 20 merks. [So Origines Parochiales.]
At the Reformation the church of Luss was supplied by "James Layng, reader," who had probably served there in Roman Catholic times as parish priest, but was not able, or was not trusted by the Reforming leaders, to do the preaching that was now required. The records [in Hew Scott's Fasti] concerning William Chirnsyde, first reformed minister of Luss, bring clearly before us the difficulty then found in supplying parishes with clergymen. William Chirnsyde was appointed minister of Luss in 1572, and in the course of the seven years which followed he was twice withdrawn to be minister of other places, and twice brought back and installed in Luss to be minister there again.
From the Reformation to the Revolution, the history of the Clan itself is bound up with the history of the Church of Scotland as a whole. Duncan Laird of Macfarlane in the reign of James V. was "one of the first of any account who made open profession of the Christian (!) religion "-so runs a quotation from William Buchanan of Auchmar, "in this Kingdom." ("An account of the surname Macfarlane," in An Historical and Genealogical Essay upon the family and surname of Buchanan," etc. Wm. Buchanan of Auchmar, Glasgow 1723. Earliest printed account of the clan.) He joined Lennox and Glencairn at Glasgow Muir; but fell fighting against the English at Pinkie, Sept. 1547. Duncan's son, Andrew, led his clan at Langside, and decided the battle for the Earl of Murray, as the historians of that battle tell us. Andrew's grandson, Walter, supported Charles I., and, after being twice besieged in Inveruglas during Cromwell's usurpation, had his castle there burned down by a party of Cromwell's soldiers (1650 ?).
Walter's grandson, John, evidently supported Lauderdale, Charles II.'s minister, against the Covenanters. "At Bothwell Bridge," to use Sir Walter Scott's words in Old Mortality- "the defence made by the Covenanters, was so protracted and obstinate that the royal generals began to fear it might be ultimately successful. While Monmouth threw himself from his horse, and rallying the Foot-Guards, brought them on to another close and desperate attack, he was warmly seconded by Dalziel, who putting himself at the head of a body of Lennox Highlanders-the men of the clan Macfarlane-rushed forward with their tremendous war-cry "Loch Sloy." After a short and bitter struggle the passage of the bridge lay open, the Guards and Highlanders poured over, the dragoons of Claverhouse soon followed them, and after a still shorter struggle on the other side, the day, though not the cause, was lost and won. For even John Macfarlane himself sided with the Revolution party in 1638, and was appointed colonel of a volunteer force raised in his own vicinity.
But there was one of these chiefs [between say, 1542 and 1688], whose name I have omitted and who showed his interest in the Church in another way. This was John Macfarlane, son of that Andrew who fought' at Langside, and father of the chief whom Cromwell's men besieged at Inveruglas. His name has been carried down to us through the three centuries that have passed since he ruled at Arrochar, on the inscription above referred to on the old 1612 stone built into the wall at Luss church. Towards the foot of this inscription we read-(it will be remembered)
It was more than mere empty praise. For John Macfarlane (in the reign of James VI.) had built and endowed at his own expense an Almshouse at "Bruitfort" on the mainland opposite to his castle on the island called Eilean-a-Vow (Bhuth ?) The Macfarlanes seem to have had five places of residence during the years of their occupation of Arrochar. (1) On an island at the very head of Loch Lomond, now almost silted round by sand from the Falloch. (2) Eilean-a-bhuth also called "Elenore" = "Eilean Ur," the New Island. (3) Inveruglas. (4) At East Tarbet (5) at West Tarbet or Arrochar.
The alms-house was endowed with ample resources for the reception of poor wayfarers passing through the district. On its front there was a stone containing the armorial bearings of John, the chief, impaled with those of his fourth wife, Margaret Murray or Strowan, being 3 mullets, the well-known cognisance of the Murrays. The alms-house referred to no longer exists, although at a place opposite Eilean-a-Vow on the mainland the wall tracks of a house can still be traced. The spot is called " Croiteaphurte," generally pronounced, " Crutty forst," or " Cruta forst," (Sir William Fraser's spelling " Bruitfort?" (So Sir William Fraser, Chiefs of Coloquhoun.) It means the croft of the landing, or place where people embark or disembark from a small boat.
In 1648 negotiations were opened to have Arrochar separated from Luss, but so troublous were the times that the matter was not finished till 1658, when the Council of State appointed commissioners. In 1659 Sir John Colquhoun of Luss denuded himself of the tithes of Arrochar ! and John Macfarlane fiar of Arrochar- evidently the Chief at the time of Bothwell Bridge, and the Revolution later on-took over the whole responsibility, binding himself to erect a church and a manse, and to provide a competent glebe. The question of the old tithes of Luss make an interesting study in Church Law. We will only note here that - though John Macfarlane must have taken over a considerable amount of Free teind over and above that actually apportioned to the living of Arrochar, Arrochar has now lost its Free teind. At one time or another the Laird of Macfarlane must have gained an approbation of a reduction of all this Free teind. This reduction would not be disputed within the statutory forty years, and so there is now no possibility of augmentation of the Arrochar living from the teinds. A church was not built in Arrochar till 1733. The present church dates from 1847, the present manse was built in 1837.
There is now a United Free Church in the pass half-way between Tarbet and Arrochar villages-a change from the days of 1839 when the Rev. Peter Proudfoot could write in the New Statistical Account: "There are no Government Churches, no Chapels of Ease, no Dissenting Chapels, and no Dissenters within the Parish. The teinds are exhausted." The notice of Arrochar in the Old Statistical Account (circa 1790) has also some dry remarks by the Rev. John Gillespie, Peter Proudfoot's predecessor: "The greater part of the people in this Parish are Macfarlanes, who have always had, till of late, a strong attachment to the Laird, as their chief; and while this subsisted, misanthropy and ferocity of manners were prominent features in their character. Military roads &ldots;&ldots; the settlement of graziers from the low country"-much resisted at first- "and the sale of the Estate of Arrochar" to Ferguson of Raith in 1785 "have all contributed to extinguish the remains of that system of barbarity (!) which so long retarded the progress of civilization in Europe. The people are now well-bred, honest, industrious and not addicted to the immoderate use of spirituous liquors."
We may surmise that the Rev. John Gillespie was angry with the late Laird, John Macfarlane, the last of his race to hold his ancestral home. For the Laird became bankrupt about 1785, and the estates had been sold-moreover, the Laird owed to the Kirk Session at that time a sum of money running into three figures! And yet, even in 1790, the money was coming gradually back to the Kirk Session from the Macfarlanes' estates in Jamaica ; and the Rev. John Gillespie's own Session records show, under date 1801, that, to this Kirk Session at least, the Macfarlanes paid 20s. in the £1
Almost inevitably the estates passed from the hands of Ferguson of Raith into the possession of the Colquhouns, and that very soon. However, the Colquhouns were good landlords, for the New Statistical Account continues: "Within the last twenty years the population has considerably increased ; the system of feuing has continued, the character of the people, during the same period, has also considerably improved. A better conducted system of education based on Scriptural principles has been introduced ; and the establishment of a Sunday School, which has been in existence (1839) for upwards of twenty years,"-this is notable- "and the regular church-going habits of the people, have, it is hoped, been attended with the most beneficial results." A few of the old people at Arrochar still remember the Rev. Peter Proudfoot, and one old lady told me that she got all the schooling she had in this Sunday School of his, held in the Manse kitchen. The Rev. Peter Proudfoot knew no Gaelic at first, but he got an old man to teach him it, that he might be able to put up a prayer, at least, in the old language; and to this old man, for his pains, he gave a little house at the corner of his glebe to stay in.
In 1839, as he tells with some pride, there were no Dissenters among his flock, but in 1844 at the Disruption the minister himself came out, or nearly so. He wavered. It is said he held one service as a Free Church minister from the steps of Arrochar House, and then went back to his old church. But, poor man, he did not long enjoy his reconciliation, for he died that same year 1844. A note written by himself about his old church officer may be transcribed -here. Thus: "The old church officer who for upwards of two years was confined to bed, had the utmost horror of coming upon the poor's box ; and, from his salary being continued, from marriage dues, from the kindness of the benevolent, and from that disposition which was indicated by his own significant expression, "Providence is large, and I'll no come upon the poor's box" ; he lived and died without receiving a farthing from the Session, and he had safely husbanded for many a long day a guinea to pay for his coffin. It is to be feared that the feeling so remarkably exhibited by him is gradually, if not rapidly, diminishing." Several of this church officer's descendants are living in Arrochar, or elsewhere in Scotland, to-day.
At one time the people of Ardlui asked the minister-was it Mr. Proudfoot? for services at their end of the parish; and he promised to conduct such there if a pulpit was provided for him. Whereupon the existing hole in the " Pulpit Rock" on Loch Lomondside was blasted out, and a door put to it, and turf seats built up round about. But the first attempt at blasting ended in a tragedy, for in it the blaster lost his eyesight-Robert Macfarlane long afterwards known among the Tarbet people as "blind Rabble." The blast was completed by a certain Neil (?) Sinclair. Now the door has been burned by tinkers for fuel, and the seats have long disappeared ; but many services must have been held there in the memory of people living still, both by Mr. Proudfoot and by the Rev. Dr. John Macfarlane.
In the time of those older ministers the Sacrament Sunday was a wonderful day at the village church. Once, it is said, as many as seven steamers lay at Arrochar over Sunday for the occasion; for people came from all quarters to observe the sacred rite. The Pulpit Rock now had a novel part to play: it was there that refreshments were sold to the worshippers from a distance!
The Rev. John Macfarlane, D.D., succeeded Mr. Proudfoot. He was a close friend of the Very Rev. Duncan Macfarlane, Principal of Glasgow University, Moderator of the General Assembly for the second time in 1843; for he was put into the chair after the Free Church party had withdrawn. The Principal's ancestors are buried in Ballyhenan churchyard : his father was minister of Drymen, and while minister there held the office of factor on the estate of Arrochar. It is notable that another clergyman, Dr. Stewart, the great Gaelic scholar, who was minister of Arrochar (1774-6) and later of Luss, also held the office of factor for the Laird.
After the Rev. John Macfarlane came the Rev. James Dewar, M.A., the much loved minister of Arrochar, who held the charge from 1869 to 1902. Next (1902-7) the Dugald Macfarlane now of Kingussie; then the Rev. Coll Archibald Macdonald, B.D., now of Logierait, till 1913. The present minister is the Rev. H. S. Winchester, B.D.
One other personal note concerning the ministers of Arrochar must be given. In 1701 Rev. Archibald MacLachlan, first minister of Arrochar (who has already been mentioned as having been buried in the churchyard at Luss), was getting old, and had already been threatened (1697) with a libel by his parishioners for negligence in parish duty and family worship. The solution found by the Presbytery seems to have been to appoint a sort of assistant and successor-whom they called and ordained in December, 1701; But this assistant and successor was a certain Robert Macfarlane, and he refused to accept of the living, to the great indignation of the Presbytery who had educated him as their bursar eight or nine years, with the express view of getting him to fill one of their Gaelic-speaking parishes. The Synod, however, compelled him to undertake the charge, but declared him "transplantable" on his proving to the satisfaction of that reverend body that there was neither church, manse, glebe, kirk-session, or school in the parish ; these, indeed, were all to come later. Robert Macfarlane went to Fintry in 1705. [Irving, Book of Dumbartonshire, Vol. II.]
It is interesting to observe that out of the seventeen ministers of Arrochar since the parish was erected in 1658, four have been of the name of Macfarlane.
Sir Ian Colquhoun is the owner now of the Arrochar estates. Sir Ian succeeded to the lairdship of the Lennox country on the death of his father, Sir Allan Colquhoun, in 1910.
Thus, at the present time, the Macfarlanes are not in power in their old parish and countryside. But the two principal farms of the district are managed by Macfarlanes, i.e.,
Stronafyne.-Col. James Turner Macfarlane, J.P., C.C., Member of Parish Council, Chairman School Board.
Tullich.-Robert Macfarlane, J.P., Chairman of Parish Council.
Parish of Arroquhar
(Country of Dumbarton.)
By the Rev. Mr. JOHN GILLESPIE, Minister of that Parish.
Name, Situation, and Extent.
Arroquhar is a Celtic word, which signifies a high or hilly country. It is generally pronounced, in the Gaelic language, Arrar, which is a contraction of Ardthir, ard signifying high, and thir a country. The name is very descriptive of the place, which is high and mountainous, having very little flat or arable ground in it. The extent of the parish is near 14 miles long, exclusive of 4 farms, which lie on the east side of Lochlomond, near the north end of it. The mean breadth may be computed at 3 miles. It is situated in the county and presbytery of Dumbarton, and in the synod of Glasgow and Ayr.
Soil, Climate, and Diseases. - The surface of some of the farms is smooth, and clothed with a beautiful verdure, intermixed with heath and bent; of others rocky, but the intermediate spaces afford excellent pasture for sheep. When the pasturing of black cattle prevailed here, the surface was mostly covered with heath, and had a dismal appearance; but since the introduction of sheep, the country has assumed a different aspect. The climate is very temperate in this place, it being screened by the mountains from the northerly and easterly winds, the cold in winter is not so intense as in the low country; but there are frequent and heavy falls of rain from the south and south-west, accompanied with high winds. There are no local distempers prevalent here, except fevers, to which the poorer people are subject in the latter end of winter and beginning of spring. With respect to the small pox, the people begin now to see the advantages of inoculation, and to be more reconciled to it, though it is not yet much practised among the lower class.
Sheep, Horses, etc. - The number of sheep in the parish amounts to about 10,600; horses, 60; black cattle, 460. The sheep, in general, are black faced, and of the Linton kind. The while wool has sold here, these two years past, at about 7s. per stone of 24lb. English weight, and the laid at 5s. On an average, 8 or 9 fleeces of the white, and 5 or 6 of the laid wool go to the stone. If a premium were given annually for the best tups, there would be a competition, and consequently a considerable improvement made both on the sheep and wool. It is expected, that the Hon. Board of Trustees in Edinburgh, will give the same encouragement to this district of the county of Dumbarton, for the improvement of the breed of sheep, that they give to some other counties in the Highlands of Scotland.
Trees. - There is a considerable deal of oak growing in this parish, on the banks of Lochlomond. But as the woods are generally cut about 20 or 24 years of age, there is no great timber in them, except some standards left at last cutting.
Population. - In the month of March 1791, there were living in the parish of Arroquhar 379 person, of whom there were,
Under 10 years of age, 105
Above 10 years of age, 274
Abstract of Births and Marriages for the last six Years, as entered in the Parish Register.
1785 11 8
1786 10 6
1787 11 5
1788 19 4
1789 9 4
1790 18 3
From the above it appears, that there are, upon an average, 13 baptisms, and 5 marriages annually. From the year 1769 to 1775, the average of baptisms is nearly 12; but the marriages do not amount to 1 yearly. Hence it appears, that the population of this parish, since 1769, has increased, which is owing, probably, to the high price of labour, and the encouragement given to tradesmen and day labourers to reside in it. There has been, however, a decrease of 87 upon the whole, within these 40 years, as the return to Dr. Webster, in 1755, was 466. There is no register of burials kept in the parish.
Heritors, Rent, etc. - There are only two heritors, one of whom is proprietor of nearly the whole parish, but does not reside in it. The rent, after Whitsunday next, will be near £1200 Sterling. The farms, which were let in lease about 7 years ago, and, since that time, pay, on an average, double the former rent, and are still increasing in value. After the introduction of sheep into this country, the proprietors found it their interest, to let as much ground to one man as he could stock, so that the principal farms in this parish and neighbourhood are in the hands of a few. One man possesses now what was formerly thought sufficient for 5 or 6 tenants, and yet the condition of the lower class is not rendered worse. About 40 years ago, some of the tenants could afford to pay very little more than the public burdens for these farms, which now pay a high rent to the proprietor. Formerly, every tacksman was bound to perform work with men and horses, a certain number of days yearly, or to pay so much in lieu thereof, in the option of the master; but in most of the leases, which have been granted of late, these personal services, and the other casualties payable by the tenants, are converted into cash, and included in the rent.
Occupations.- The small tenants and cottagers find employment, either in repairing the high roads along with the military, building dykes, manufacturing timber and barks in woods, or at the herring fishing, which they generally attend, from the beginning of harvest till New Year's day.
Prices of Labour. - On an average, the wages of a man servant are 1s. a day, from the beginning of February till the beginning of November, without victuals. The day's wages of a wright are 1s.; of a taylor 8d.' of a carpenter 1s.6d.; of a shoemaker 8d.; and of a mower of hay 1s. besides their maintenance. The wages of women servants, in general, are 3d. a day; but in harvest 6d. exclusive of their victuals. When they eat in their master's house, they receive, on an average £3 a year, and the men servants, about £6. In this parish they all eat in the house, except shepherds, who live at a distant corner of the farm. These have a benefit from the master, that is to say, a house, 52 stones of meal, 2 cows grass, ground for potatoes, and grass for 60 sheep in the hill, which may amount in all to £14 or £15 Sterling per annum.
Church.- The parish of Arroquhar was originally an appendage of the parish of Luss, and was disjoined from it in the year 1658. The stipend, including the glebe, is below the minimum. The manse, which is in bad repair, was built in the year 1754. Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, Bart. is patron.
Poor. - The number of poor, upon the roll at present, is 9. The weekly collections amount to about £7 Sterling a year, which are distributed, together with the interest of £50 Sterling, left to the poor of the parish, by the late Robert Carmichael of Broomly, and the interest of another small sum appropriated for their benefit.
Fish. - The fish, which frequent Lochlong, are cod, haddocks, seath, lythe, whitings, flounders, mackarel, trouts, and herrings. Nobody in this place, a few individuals excepted, give themselves the trouble of fishing any of these species, but the latter, which are sometimes got in abundance. For these two seasons past, each man employed in the herring fishing, has cleared £8 on an average, between the middle of harvest and the 1st. of January.
Fuel. - The common fuel is peats, which are got in abundance in the hills. But it sometimes happens, that after all the expence and trouble of carting and fitting them up, the season may be so wet as to put it out of the power of the tenants to get them home. The better sort of farmers, who live near Lochlong, make use of coals, which cost about 5s. 6d. the Glasgow cart, including freight, &c. It is believed, upon the whole, everything being considered, that they are cheaper than peats.
Prices of provisions. - The average price of oat meal may be estimated at 1s. per peck. Sometimes Irish meal is imported into Lochlong, and sold under that price; but meal manufactured in the country is often above it. The average price of butter is 9d. per lib.; of common cheese, 5s. the stone tron weight; of a hen 1s.; and of eggs, 3d. the dozen. The price of beef is regulated by the Glasgow and Dumbarton markets.
Roads and Bridges. - The principal roads and bridges in this parish are kept in repair at the expence of government. The line of road, which leads to Inverary, being the most public, is kept in good order; but the line from Tarbert, leading to Tyndrum, is much neglected. In several places, particularly at the point of Farkin, and at Craig-an-aren, the road has been ill planned. Instead of bringing it up a steep hill, it should have been brought, at both places, round the point along the side of the loch, which would not have been much longer, and might have been executed at nearly as little expense as the present line. It is much wished, that the roads in these places may be soon altered, and the pulls taken off, which are so inconvenient for travellers, and so oppressive to horses. The other roads are kept in repair at the expence of the tenants and cottagers. last year the former were assessed at the rate of 11s. for every £30 of real rent. This assessment varies according to circumstances. The ultimatum is 12s. for every ploughgate, or £30 Sterling of rent, which the commissioners of supply cannot exceed. The latter pay from 1s.6d. to 2s.6d. according to their abilities. The bye-roads in Arroquhar might be kept in good repair with the one half of the money levied in it, or perhaps with less; notwithstanding, the assessment is as high as it is in these parishes within the district, where the roads are bad, (the trustees having it i their power, to appropriate the surplus money to any other part of the district, where they think it necessary), which is considered as a grievance.
Posts. - Every night, about 8 o'clock, (Wednesday excepted), a post arrives from Inverary, and another, at the same time, from Dumbarton. These are succeeded by other two, who wait their arrival, and set out soon after with the mails. They meet near the head of Lochlong, where they are all stationed, (which is half way between the post towns, or 22 miles distant from each), and succeed one another alternately. There being no allowance made for horses, they are obliged to travel on foot, which is a laborious task in winter. It rarely happens, however, that the snow is so deep on the road as to stop travellers. In March 1782, the communication between Dumbarton and Inverary was interrupted for a few days; but such a fall of snow, so uncommon at that season, may no happen again in a century.
Language. - Both the Gaelic and English languages are spoken here. The former is most prevalent, and is best understood, particularly by the old people. The names of places are Gaelic, and descriptive of their local situation.
Presbytery of Dumbarton, Synod of Glasgow and Ayr.
The Rev. Peter Proudfoot, Minister.
1. Topography and Natural History.
Name - Adopting the statement given in the former Statistical Account, Arrochar, formerly written Arrocher and Arroquhar, "signifies a high or hilly country; it is generally pronounced in the Gaelic language Arrar, which is a contraction of ard thir ; ard signifying high, and thir a country." The name is very descriptive of the general appearance of the parish, which is high and mountainous, and presents very little low or arable ground.
Extent, &c. - The parish is about 15 miles in length, exclusive of the farms of Ardleish and Doune, which lie on the east side of Loch Lomond, and commencing about two miles beyond its most northern point, extend down its eastern shore five or six miles, and form the boundaries of the properties of Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, Bart, and His Grace the Duke of Montrose, and also of the counties of Dumbarton and Stirling. The mean breadth of the parish may be computed at 3 miles: and it contains a surface of somewhat more than 48 square miles. It is bounded on the east by Loch Lomond, the farms excepted which stretch down its eastern shore, which are bounded by the counties of Perth and Stirling; on the south, by the water of Douglass and part of the parish of Luss; on the west, by Loch Long, and part of Argyleshire; and on the north, by the parish of Strathfillan in Perthshire.
Topographical Appearances - Its form is peculiar; towards the upper and lower ends of the parish; there is a considerable extent of mountainous country, while from Tarbet on Loch Lomond side, to Arrochar on Loch Long side, there is only a small isthmus of not more than a mile and three quarters. ben Vorlich is the highest mountain in the parish. It is distinguished for the richness of its pasture, its rare and varied botanical productions, and rises about 3000 feet above the level of the sea. The parish is so mountainous, that there is only a small proportion of arable ground, not more than from 300 to 400 acres.
There are no caves that require any particular notice. Tradition says that there was one of considerable extent in Ben Vorlich, and another of smaller dimensions, on the farm of Stuckendroin, the scene of some tragical event.
The extent of coast along Loch Lomond on the east is nearly 14 miles, and on the west along Loch Long about 3 miles. The shores of Loch Lomond are sandy, flat and occasionally rocky, with many most beautiful headlands. There are small bays at Cambusnaglass, Farkin, Tarbet, Inveruglas, Ardvorlich; and there are three islands in Loch Lomond, which may be considered as belonging to Arrochar.
The climate is generally mild, but variable. Frosts, though occasionally severe, are seldom of long continuance. Snow seldom lies above a few days upon the low grounds. Colds in winter and spring are sometimes general, and then they usually assume the character of influenza; inflammatory attacks were more frequent some years ago than at present. Typhus fever occurs occasionally, but has been confined almost always to one family, and never extended to more than two families in any one season, for upwards of twenty years.
Loch Lomond, the eastern boundary of the parish is twenty four miles in length, and in some places seven miles broad. From Lower Inveruglass, where the parish of Arrochar commences, up to near its northern point, it is of considerable depth. Opposite the point of Farkin, about a mile and a half from Inveruglas, it is 66 fathoms, a little farther north 80 fathoms deep; for about a mile south of Tarbet, it is about 86 fathoms deep; but about 2 miles north from it, opposite Alt Gary, it is 100 fathoms, which probably is its greatest depth; beyond that, its depth gradually diminishes to its northern end. It is almost unnecessary to add, that the scenery of Loch Lomond is singularly bold and beautiful, and for extent, variety, and magnificence, is not perhaps equalled or surpassed by any Lake in Great Britain. Loch Long, which constitutes part of the western boundary, is from 20 to 22 miles in length, and at some parts may be about 2 miles in breadth. Its depth in the immediate neighbourhood of Arrochar may be stated from 15 to 20 fathoms. Its shores are occasionally sandy, but their general character is rocky. There are several magnificent points in Loch Long, the opening of Loch Goil, and the bold and splendid scenery towards the head of Loch Long, are objects of general attraction and admiration.
There are no rivers in the parish that require particular notice. The water of Falloch, which rises and falls into Loch Lomond at its head, - of Inveruglas, which runs into Loch Lomond at Upper Inveruglas, - of Douglass, which enters the same at Lower Inveruglass, with the water of Linnhe that flows into the head of Loch Long, - are not remarkable for either length, depth, or breadth. There are several small but beautiful cascades in the parish.
Geology and Mineralogy. - Except where in one or two places it is traversed by a whin dike, mica slate is the only rock formation of the parish, - extending from the sea level to the summit of the highest hills; the schistose laminae are usually in parallel layers; but the section made by the new road along Loch Lomond to the foot of Glen Falloch presents them in every variety of contortion. Nor can there be any where a better field for studying the peculiarities of this primary rock so prevalent in the mountainous regions of our country. So far as we are able to judge, there are no indications of minerals, iron excepted; and these are but few and not very distinctly marked.
Zoology - White hares and Ptarmigan are to be met on Ben Vorlich. Several of the farms rear sheep of excellent quality. In Loch Lomond, salmon, salmon-trout, pike, perch, powans, usually called fresh-water herrings, and eels are to be met with. In Loch Long, there are salmon, salmon-trout, cod, sethe, lythe, ling, whitings, skate, halibut, founders, soles, with herrings in their seasons, and almost all the varieties of white fish. Muscles are found in great abundance towards the head of Loch Long, oysters but in small quantities, limpits, wilks, buckies, spout-fish; but crab-fish or partans are seldom met with, in any degree of perfection.
Caterpillars are occasionally troublesome in gardens, and several years ago they attacked, in immense numbers, and with great voracity, the oak woods; and in many places the foliage was utterly destroyed.
Botany.- On Ben Vorlich, the following are among the more interesting plants:
Statice armeria Saxifraga stellata Oxyria reniformis
Juncus biglumis Saxifraga oppositifolia Circaea alpina, vars. alpha
Juncus triglumis Saxifraga hypnoides, var. and betta Hook
Juncus trifidus platypetala Lysimachia vulgaris
Lazula spicata Hieracium alpimum Lobelia Dortmanna
Vaccinium uliginosum Gnaphalium supinum Lythrum salicaria
Epilobium alsinifolium Carex stricta Solidago virgaurea
Draba incana Rhodiolarosea Hypericum Androsaemum
Saxifraga nivalis Cnicus heterophyllus Parnassia palustris
2. Civil History.
Landowners. - Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, Bart. is proprietor of almost the whole parish. The only other (and the only resident proprietor) is John McMurrich, Esq., of Stuckgoun, whose property, though not extensive, is one of singular beauty and value.
Parochial Registers. - There are no parochial registers of a more remote date that 1761. They are not voluminous, and have not been particularly well kept.
Within these few years a number of houses have been erected for sea-bathing quarters; for which Arrochar presents excellent opportunities.
The population of Arrochar in 1755 amounted to 466.
The population of Arrochar in 1791 amounted to 379.
The population of Arrochar in 1831 amounted to 334 males, 226 females, a total of 560.
The population has, of late, increased considerably. This arises from Arrochar having been of late years divided into smaller farms, and from the number of feus that have been taken. So lately as 1817, the land was almost all in the hands of one individual.
The yearly average of births for seven years may be stated at 12, marriages 3. No register of deaths has been regularly kept.
Number of persons under 15 years of age, as nearly as can be ascertained, 147
Number of persons from 15 - 30 years of age, as nearly as can be ascertained 54
Number of persons from 30 - 50 years of age, as nearly as can be ascertained 143
Numbers of persons from 50 - 70 years of age, as nearly as can be ascertained 50
Number of persons 70 and upwards, as nearly as can be ascertained 14
There are 105 families; 96 inhabited houses, and 6 uninhabited houses, at least for one part of the year; but three of these are usually occupied during the summer season. There are no fatuous, deaf, blind, or dumb persons in the parish.
English and Gaelic are generally understood; but while there are no individuals that cannot speak and understand English, there is a considerable number that have no acquaintance with Gaelic. Within the last forty years, Gaelic has rapidly lost ground, and will, ere long, as in other parts of Dumbartonshire, be known here only as a matter of history.
The inhabitants are shrewd, moral, and professedly religious. Poaching in game and salmon fisheries are now almost unknown.
There are fourteen farmers. The servants are generally shepherds, though they also assist in the ordinary work about the farm, and may amount to about 16. Cottars are occasionally but not permanently employed in farming occupations. There are no manufactures. There are 3 grocers, 7 public-houses, 5 of which are worse than useless, and ought to be abolished; but two are necessary, - the inns at Tarbet and Arrochar. There are 3 tailors, 6 shoemakers, 3 smiths, one master wright with 2 men. 23 individuals are employed in the herring-fishing.
Agriculture. - The parish consists of 31,011 English or 24,809 Scotch acres. There may be from 300 to 400 acres under constant or occasional cultivation. It does not appear that more ground could be cultivated with advantage. The number of acres under natural wood mus be very considerable; but the amount has not been ascertained. The oak woods are regularly thinned, and are in good order.
Rent. - The average rent of arable ground may be stated at £1.10s. per acre. The average rent of grazing is £2 for an ox or cow; eye or full-grown sheep, 2s.6d. to 3s.
Wages &c. - Farm-servant's wages may be stated at £20 per annum. Labourer's wages vary from 9s. to 12s. per week; wrights and masons, 15s. and 16s. per week. The sheep are of the black-faced breed. Cattle are either reared upon the ground, or brought when young from Argyleshire.
John McMurrich of Stuckgoun has reclaimed about 50 acres. The general duration of leases is nine years. Farm-buildings and enclosures are capable of considerable improvement. There are no mines; but there are two small whinstone quarries, formed from the whinstone dike that stretches from Loch Lomond to Loch Long.
Fisheries. - Herring fishing employs 23 hands, and is sometimes pursued with great success. Herrings are usually in Loch Long towards the beginning of June, and are in great perfection from the end of that month till the middle or end of July. When the fishing fails on Loch Long, the fishermen go to Lochfine, and follow the occupation till the end of the season, in the neighbourhood of Tarbert, and from Tarbert they go onwards to the vicinity of Campbelton. Each boat upon an average will clear from £30 to £60. There are usually three hands in an ordinary sized wherry.
Produce. - The annual thinning and felling of woods may yield about £300; of fisheries, £320. The amount of sown produce the writer has been unable to ascertain. Small quantities of kelp were manufactured some years ago; but, from not affording a remunerating price, the manufacture has been abandoned.
Navigation. - No vessels of larger size belong to the inhabitants than small fishing-boats. A steam-boat regularly plies from Glasgow to Arrochar, during the summer months, and vessels with coals and lime from Glasgow and Ireland come to Loch Long Head; and wool is frequently forwarded from this to the Liverpool market.
5. Parochial Economy.
Market-Towns. - No market-towns in the parish. The nearest market-towns are Helensburgh and Dumbarton, - the one seventeen miles and a quarter, and the other twenty-two miles distant. There are two small villages or clachans.
Means of Communication. - There are a daily post, and two carriers weekly. Steam-boats ply regularly, both on Loch Lomond and Loch Long during the summer months, commencing towards the middle of May, and ceasing about the middle or end of October. There are no mail or heavy coaches. But a coach runs for about three months in summer, every lawful day, from Inverary in the morning to Tarbet, and from Tarbet in the afternoon to Inverary. Chaises, gigs, and carts can at all seasons be readily procured at Tarbet or Arrochar inns.
The roads, with the exception of two miles on Loch Long side, are excellent. The roads on Loch Lomond side are about fifteen miles in length, and present singularly beautiful and splendid scenery. Bridges, with one exception, are in good repair.
Ecclesiastical State. - The church is situated rather at a corner of the parish; but the great body of the parishioners are at no great distance; some families are at the distance, however, of ten or twelve miles. The church was built in 1733, and will soon require a general repair. It is seated for about 300. The sittings are all free. The manse was built in 1837, and is an excellent house. The glebe contains about nineteen acres; but, with the exception of little more than three acres, is all hill ground, and of inferior quality. It is not worth more than £9 annually. The stipend is £231, with 12 bolls meal. This also includes communion elements. The teinds are exhausted. There are no government churches, no chapels of ease, no catechists, no Dissenting chapels, and no Dissenters within the parish.
Divine service is exceedingly well attended. In summer, the church is generally crowded to overflowing, and is felt then to be much too small; and, in the winter, when the weather is favourable, it is filled. probable average of communicants, 216. No religious societies; but collections are occasionally made for religious purposes, which have always been liberal.
Education. - There are one parochial, one privately endowed school, and a charity sewing school, to the teacher of which the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge gives a salary of £4 annually. In the parochial school, the ordinary branches of education are taught. IN the private, in addition to these, practical mathematics, geography, Latin and Greek are taught. The parochial teacher enjoys the maximum salary, and also received £5 or £6 our of the bishop's lands, Dunkeld. The school fees must for a number of years have been very small. In the parochial school, the fees are, for reading, 3s. per quarter; reading and writing, 4s.; reading, writing, and arithmetic, 5s. The teacher has the legal accommodations.
The salary of the private teacher is £25 annually, which is paid by John McMurrich, Esq., of Stuckgoun, a gentleman to whom the parish of Arrochar is under no common obligations. The fees in this school are, reading, 2s.6d.; reading and writing, 3s.; reading, writing, and arithmetic, 3s.6d.; and Latin, 5s. per quarter. Fees may amount annually to betwixt £15 and £20.
There are no persons in the parish between the ages of six and fifteen, that cannot read and write. There are three families towards the head of the parish, whose children can neither be benefited by the parochial nor private school.
Literature.- There is a small parochial library. No Friendly Societies, and no Savings Banks.
Poor and Parochial Funds. - Nine may be stated as the average number of the poor. The largest sum given, and that to a pauper, who is perfectly helpless, is £15; the lowest, £1. Collections for the poor average for several years, £30. These, with interest of money, £6.6s., marriage and mortcloth dues of £2 per annum, have always proved sufficient for the support of the poor. For repairs upon houses allotted to the poor, funeral expenses, &c. the sum of £48.6s.21/2d. was distributed last year; considerably the highest sum that was ever in one year expended for the support of the poor. There have been some remarkable instances of reluctance on the part of the poor to receive parochial aid. The old church officer, who was for upwards of two years confined to bed, had the utmost horror of coming upon the poor's-box; and, from his salary being continued, from marriage dues, from the kindness of the benevolent, and from that disposition which was indicated by his own significant expression, "Providence is large, and I'll no come upon the poor's box," - he lived and died without receiving a farthing from the session, and he had safely husbanded, for many a long day, a guinea to pay for his coffin. It is to be feared that the feeling so remarkably exhibited by him is gradually, if not rapidly, diminishing.
Inns, &c. - There are two inns, one at Tarbet, which is too well known to require any favourable notice; another at Arrochar, which has been lately built and opened, and is also under excellent management. These are necessary for the accommodation of travellers, who come from all quarters to visit the splendid and beautiful scenery of Inverary, Glencroe, Loch Long, Lochlomond, and Loch Kettwrin. There are five other public-houses, which from the facilities they present, have a most pernicious influence, inducing and maintaining habits of intemperance. It were well for the interests of the community that these were instantly and for ever put down.
Fuel. - Coal is the common fuel, - which is usually shipped at the Broomielaw. The average price, at present, may be stated at 8s.6d. the 12 cwt., carriage included.
Within the last twenty years, the population has considerably increased; and if the system of feuing is continued, there is every probability that a few years only will elapse, when Arrochar will become much more extended as a watering-place than it is at present. The character of the people, during the same period, has also considerably improved. A better conducted system of education, based upon Scriptural principles, has been introduced: and the establishment of a Sabbath school, which has been in existence for upwards of twenty years, and the regular church-going habits of the people, have, it is hoped, been attended with the most beneficial consequences.
By the Rev. Ian D. Reid
Situation. - The parish lies on the neck of land in the northern most part of the county of Dumbarton between Loch Long and the freshwater Loch Lomond. From a starting point at the middle of Loch Long opposite the entrance to Glen Douglas, the parish boundary goes straight through the middle of that glen to meet the county boundary in Loch Lomond; it continues northwards following that boundary and taking in two farms on the east side of Loch Lomond to the road bridge over the River Falloch, where it turns west along the county boundary until it meets the Loin Water. At that point the ecclesiastical (unlike the civil) parish invades the county of Argyll and takes in the part of the parish of Lochgoilhead and Kilmorich contained in a straight line to the point "Rest-and-be-Thankful" on the lnveraray road, then south-east in a straight line to Loch Long at Coilessan Farm, whence it continues south down Loch Long to the point opposite Glen Douglas. The part of Argyll county was added to the parish of Arrochar by the General Assembly of 1953 to form part of the ecclesiastical parish, but for purposes of civil law it is still part of the parish of Lochgoilhead and Kilmorich. The original parish was set up in 1658, by separation from the parish of Luss.
The present ecclesiastical parish of Arrochar contains about 30,000 acres and the civil parish 25,872. (This figure is given in the 1951 census report; the county council estimate is lower.) There is much high ground. The highest peaks are Ben Vorlich, 3,092 feet, and Ben Vane, 3,004 feet, and there are many others over 2,000 feet. Only a small portion of the parish can be reckoned as arable, while there is a large extent of hill grazing and high rocky wasteland. The rivers flowing into Loch Lomond are the Douglas Water, the Inveruglas Water and the River Falloch, besides many mountain streams. Into Loch Long there fall the Loin Water, the Croe Water and numerous streams. There are several small mountain lochs, of which the largest is Loch Sloy, now increased in area for the purpose of the hydro-electric scheme. A low-lying one is Geal Loch, near the River Falloch where it enters Loch Lornond.
History. - This is the land of the Macfarlane clan and is steeped in legend. tradition and history. According to the Old Statistical Account "the people of this parish are mostly Macfarlane, and until lately they have always had a strong attachment to the laird as chief," but today there is only one family in Stronafyne farm, apart from one lady in Loch Long Hotel (they are cousins) who boast the name of the ancient clan. The Macfarlane clan is in the unhappy position of being without a chief and landless; for the barony of Arrochar was sold in 1784 to pay the debts of the twenty-first chief, and the last chief the twenty-fifth died in 1866. All through the ages the inhabitants of this part of Scotland seem to have had a reputation for lawlessness and wild turbulence, but, when it is remembered that until modem times the parish was the only door to the western and north-western Highlands from the Lowlands, and that the superior, the Earl of Lennox, authorised his kinsman Macfarlane of Arrochar to levy blackmail on all traffic north and south, one does not wonder at the evil name that the men of the district acquired. To-day a very different tale can be told, for the people of the parish are of a decent, hard working and honest type, while the land, which until 1954 had been part of the estates of the Colquhouns of Luss for the previous 133 years, has been sold to an English firm of land speculators to meet the duties imposed on the death of the late laird, Sir lain Colquhoun. This firm is now re-selling the various portions to tenants and others.
Population. - The population of the parish, as the following figures show, has increased in the main since the first census in 1801:
1801 470 1891 1,457
1841 580 1901 605
1851 562 1911 537
1861 629 1921 896
1871 525 1931 670
1881 517 1951 1,367
The writer reckons that the present population in the additional area of the ecclesiastical parish numbers about 850. The very sharp rise in 1891 was due to the influx of workers employed on the building of the West Highland Railway, and the increase in 1951 arose from the employment of some 600 men on the construction of the Loch Sloy dam and power house. Of the settled population some 25 per cent are native to the parish and a further 6 per cent are from other parts of the county. The rest of the inhabitants might be termed "incomers" who have come from other parts of Scotland, a few from south of the border, and also one or two Irish families.
Public Services. - Water for the domestic use in the Arrochar and Tarbet districts is now obtained from a reservoir which is situated on the slopes of Ben Riach and which was enlarged for this purpose some four years ago. Before this most of the houses had their own private tank supplies, as is still the case in the houses outwith the special district. The parish was fortunate in being chosen for development by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, since practically all the houses are lit by electricity, as are the main roads within Arrochar village and Tarbet. There is also a system of sewage disposal for the same special district. The disposal of domestic refuse is carried out under contract by a Garelochhead firm, which removes rubbish to a site to the east of Arrochar golf course.
A resident medical practitioner in Tighness (Arrochar) and a district nurse serve the whole of the parish area.
Education. - Arrochar primary school is situated on the banks of Loch Lomond, 300 yards from Tarbet Hotel on the Oban Road. In the past it was a one-teacher school, and there was also a school at Tighness in Arrochar. The Education Act in 1918, however, raised the Arrochar (Tarbet) school to junior secondary status, and the school at Tighness continued as an infant school. Then in 1946 Arrochar (Tarbet) was again reduced to a primary school, and the Tighness one was closed. There was a primary school at Ardlui till 1942, when it too was closed. At Arrochar (Tarbet) there are now four teachers including the headmaster (who lives in the schoolhouse), and the school roll is 102. The pupils are conveyed by motor transport from Ardlui, Glen Douglas, Firkin. Morelaggan, Succoth and Arrochar to this central primary school. A school canteen in a separate building provides lunches for the pupils. The post-qualifying pupils of the district are conveyed by motor to Hermitage School at Helensburgh. In the Argyll portion of the ecclesiastical parish there is a one-teacher primary school in Glencoe, and the roll is 18, ranging from five to twelve years. The pupils who attend this school live in the Range Cottages, Ardgartan and Coilessan; a special arrangement is made between the two county councils for the teaching of the Succoth children at Arrochar. In accordance with another inter-county agreement, all the secondary pupils living in the Argyll section of the parish are conveyed to Hermitage school in Helensburgh. Suggestions have been put forward for the establishment of a new junior secondary school to serve the whole area and this would certainly benefit the pupils, as they are at present away for home for ten hours of each school day; but the matter has been shelved.
Transport. - The parish is still the gateway to the west and north-west. The main trunk road from Glasgow to Oban runs alongside Loch Lomond to Ardlui, and the main road from Glasgow to the Cowal, Knapdale and Kintyre country passes through Tarbet and Arrochar and round the head of Loch Long. At Arrochar Hotel another main road leads south to Garelochhead, Helensburgh, the River Clyde towns and Glasgow. The amount of traffic on both the through roads is very heavy, since many road haulage vehicles use the Loch Lomond road throughout the year and the traffic is augmented during the summer months by innumerable private cars and omnibuses on both roads carrying tourists (lowlanders, English and foreign visitors). Arrochar and Tarbet are favourably placed for public transport. The railway has brought Glasgow within one and three quarter hours' journey, and there are four trains in either direction daily, with extra runs during the summer. One omnibus company runs a service from Glasgow to Tarbet (Loch Fyne), Ardrishaig and Campbelton, and this passes through Tarbet and Arrochar twice daily in each direction. Another Omnibus company has a service from Glasgow to Oban, which likewise passes through Arrochar and Tarbet twice daily in each direction, The former service approaches the village via Balloch and Loch Lomond, while the latter comes up Loch Long from Helensburgh and Garelochhead. Additional summer runs operate in each case. During the summer months, too, British Railways operate pleasure steamers on Loch Lomond and on Loch Long, which provide the very popular "three lochs" tour (Loch Lomond, Loch Long and Gare Loch); a public conveyance is available to take passengers over the two miles between Loch Long and Loch Lomond All these means of transport have helped to bring the district to the notice of strangers, and tourist traffic is particularly heavy, for this land of mountains, sea and loch makes a vivid impression on all who pay it a visit. The accessibility of Glasgow, Dumbarton, Alexandria and Helensburgh is one of the reasons why there are so few shops in the parish, as many of the housewives make frequent journeys to these larger centres for shopping.
Voluntary Services. - Arrochar parish hall, situated midway between Tarbet and Arrochar, is a wooden building with corrugated iron facings and was built in 1890, when the cost was met mainly from public subscriptions raised to a large extent by the minister of Arrochar, the Rev. James Dewar. It serves as the focus of the social activities of the parish, and during the winter months is in use every night of the week. The organisations which have their meetings and functions in the hall are the Woman's Guild, Women's Rural Institute, British Legion (including a woman's branch), Red Cross, Golf Club, Rifle Association, Badminton Club, Carpet Bowling Club, and the Highlands and Islands Film Guild. The hall has an excellent floor, and numerous dances, whist drives and social evenings draw the people from all over the parish to this centre of communal life.
A portion of Tarbet farm on the south side of the road opposite the parish hall has been made over to the local golf club and a very fair nine-hole golf course has been constructed. There are not many members, and they find it difficult to keep the course in good condition by voluntary labour. A football club was formed in 1954 and is showing a great deal of promise in games against neighbouring village teams, while a team has also been formed for the younger boys of the district; in each case, however, transport is a formidable item of expenditure.
In 1946 a youth club was formed in Arrochar, and it is aided by grants from Dunbartonshire education committee. The club has the use of the old Tighness primary school building, where it meets for handicraft, sewing, and small social activities; a flourishing badminton section meets in the parish hall; and here too, social functions are held throughout the year. The main women's organisations in the parish are the Woman's Guild, which meets every week, the Woman's Rural Institute, which meets once a month; the British Legion (Woman's Branch) also meets once a month; a section of the Woman's Voluntary Services; and a detachment of the Red Cross, with a junior section. To some extent the membership of these organisations overlaps, and it is not unusual to find one person a member of three or even four. The 1st. Arrochar and Tarbet wolf cub pack was formed in 1946 and is the only uniformed organisation for boys in the district. About 25 strong each session, the boys have done well, and have been second on two occasions and third once in the county totem pole competition.
Housing. - No "thackit" houses are left in Arrochar parish; the last two in the village were demolished about ten years ago. The majority of the houses built in the nineteenth century were of the "but-and-ben" type, and a good number of these are still in occupation. There are also a small number of houses of that type, which are more than 100 years old. Among the large houses of the district are Stuckgowan, about one and a half miles south of Tarbet, formerly residence of the owners of Tarbet estate, which now is part of the Luss estates; Ben Cruach Lodge, Tarbet, formerly a shooting lodge on the Luss estate, which has now been purchased as a private house; and Blarannich, one mile north of Tarbet, also a shooting lodge, now owned and occupied by the resident plumber. Auchendarroch and Edendarroch, in Tarbet and a little south of the village are also large houses which are privately owned. In Arrochar and on Loch Longside, Rossmay, one and a half miles south is a boarding house. Ardmay is a pig and poultry farm, the old Established church manse is another boarding house; Mansefield, Inveriach, Daildarroch and Benriach are all privately owned, Daildarroch being converted into self-contained flats; Fascadail is owned by the Admiralty and occupied by their range officer; Arrochar House, the former house of the Colquhouns in this area, the rear portion of which is the original lnveriach House built in 1697, is being run as a private hotel; Oakbank is owned by the Admiralty and occupied by the assistant range officer; Ravenswood belongs to the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board and is occupied by the manager of the Loch Sloy station; High Bellevue is a boarding house; Ardgarten, on the west side of Loch Long, is a youth hostel.
The Admiralty built for their workers houses of the two-storey cottage type on each side of Loch Long, and there are also six semi-detached Weir-type steel houses in their range grounds. After the First World War the local authority built 16 houses in the field behind the parish church. The houses are two storeys high, of the flatted type, and form three sides of a square in a continuous line. Since the Second World War the local authority has built 18 semi-detached cottage type houses in a field south of Arrochar House; four of these are in the process of completion. At the head of Loch Long, on part of the Succoth farm lands, the Forestry Commission has erected 24 brick and wood cottage type houses for their workers; these are very warm and comfortable houses and have been an added incentive to prospective workers, whose distance from the village, once they are settled, tends to make them a separate community. When the Loch Sloy generating station was planned it was decided workers there would be housed at Tarbet, and a portion of land was bought at Ballyhennan, next to the former United Free Church. There the Board has built 27 excellent stone-fronted houses to conform to the church and blend into the landscape. They are built in a crescent round an open space which is intended to develop as a shrubbery and park. The houses are all-electric and are occupied by maintenance engineers and other workers on the Loch Sloy scheme. The Board also built six houses of the brick and wood type at Inveruglas as temporary housing for the first of their engineers, but five of these have since been sold to private owners.
Farming. - There is no general farming or cropping within the parish. The 1955 agricultural statistics for the parish, as supplied by the Department of Agriculture for Scotland, are as follows:
tillage 18 acres; rotation grass, 35 acres; permanent grass, 285 acres; rough grazing, 28,458 acres. (The figures given here result in a total exceeding the acreage of the parish, as certain properties whose farm buildings are in the parish extend into adjacent parishes.) The hill country is divided between nine farms: Doune and Ardleidh, small farms (worked as one farm) on the east bank of Loch Lomond; Garabal 4,350 acres, in the northern part of the parish; Stuckindroin, 4,061 acres, north and east of Ben Vorlich; Stronafyne, 6,843 acres, from Ben Vorlich to the county boundary of Argyll and south to the Arrochar-Tarbet road; Tarbet, on the north side of Ben Riach; Invergroin, in Glen Douglas, on Beinn Bhreac; Firkin, on the Loch Lomond side of Beinn Bhreac; and Succoth, east of Ben Arthur. A few cows are kept for domestic milk supplies, and store cattle in small quantities are fed for market, but there are no dairy farms. A small amount of grain is grown on the better land of each farm, while hay is grown and cut for feeding purposes on any suitable field that is left. The rest of the acreage of each farm is given over to hill-sheep, the estimated sheep population of the parish in 1955 being 13,053. There were only 30 head of dairy cattle and 71 beefcattle. Evidence of former crofts is obvious in all parts of the parish, but only one is now worked as such, Cnoc in Tarbet. In spite of the large acreage given over to sheep-grazing the number of farm workers is small: no more than about twenty men are employed in that work in the whole parish. A system of "helping" is in vogue at the busy times, such as dipping and clipping, when neighbouring farmers unite and complete the task on one farm and then move on to the next. The farmers and shepherds lead a very busy and arduous life on land that is not very fruitful, and in weather that is more often wet and windy than dry and warm.
Industry. - Sheep farming, forestry, the hydro-electric scheme, the torpedo range and the railway all tend to employ the older men, so that there is an exodus of young men from the community as they approach manhood. No real work is available for young girls in the district, and they too go to other parts for work. A small proportion of these return to settle in later life, but the biggest number stay away and merely pay holiday visits to their relatives.
The construction of the West Highland Railway, from Glasgow to Fort William, in the last decade of the nineteenth century, was the first enterprise to bring new people to the district. Parliamentary powers were obtained by the Railway Company on 12 August 1889, and on 7 August 1894 the whole line was opened for passenger traffic. Arrochar and Tarbet station is a main centre on the line, and there are 38 employees within the parish. The stretch of line from Arrochar to Craigendoran is unique in having a "push-and-pull" train operating system between these two points. The district is well served for passenger traffic during the winter, when four trains run daily in each direction, and in the summer this is increased to six a day north and south. Fifteen houses have been built by the Railway Company and are occupied by the employees and their families.
In 1910 the Admiralty began building on the west (Argyll) side of Loch Long, a torpedo range for the trying and proving of the completed torpedoes that were then made in Greenock. The range has developed into one of the main industries of the locality; has an experimental station attached to it; and some 70 men are employed, most of whom are immigrants to this area. Fifteen houses are owned by the Admiralty near the range and seventeen others in the village of Arrochar. Very few young men are employed at this station; the average age is reckoned as 50.
The lower slopes of the hills lend themselves to the growing of trees, and in 1924 the Forestry Commission began operations on the estate of Ardgartan, on the west side of Loch Long; in 1928 they took over the estate of Coilessan from Glasgow Corporation. The area of the Ardgartan forest totals 18,126 acres within the county of Argyll, including the portion in the ecclesiastical parish of Arrochar, and about one-third of that acreage has been planted with spruce and larch trees. The old houses on the two estates are tenanted by forestry workers, and the brick and timber houses mentioned above have been built on part of the Succoth farm land to the west (Argyll) side of Loin Water for the housing of other forestry workers. A total of 80 men and women are employed in forestry, and of these 90 per cent have come from Glasgow and its neighbourhood; presumably they prefer the country life to city grime. Young married couples are in the majority in this scheme.
The most recent industry to come to the Arrochar district is the result of the large amount of rainfall in the parish. The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board built a dam at Loch Sloy and led water for power to the generating station at lnverglas. When it is realised that the average at Sloy Dam for the years of rainfall records from 1947 to 1955 inclusive, is 129 inches per annum, it will be seen that this site was a natural choice for waterpower. The total catchment area is 32 square miles, an increase from that natural one of 6½ square miles; burns have been tapped, a tunnel has been bored through Ben Vorlich, and Loch Sloy has been changed from a small loch to a very large sheet of water by the construction of a massive dam which has raised the level of the loch by about 150 feet. When the reservoir is at its maximum surface level, one inch of rain yields 1,300,000 units of electricity. The generating station was officially opened by the Queen (now Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) on 18th. October 1950, a day of typical Loch Sloy weather, heavy and continuous rain. Further construction is still being carried out at sub-stations outside the parish and this work is now nearing completion. The station is used for peak hour feeding, and the electric power goes into the national grid system and is then distributed to receiving stations. Some 22 men are employed at the station. The Board has constructed new houses in stone at Tarbet for their employees at the station and also for those who will be employed at sub-stations and on-line maintenance.
Tourism. - There are five hotels and one private hotel in the parish. In Arrochar the Loch Long Hotel is in the Tighness district; Arrochar Hotel lies at the junction of the Helensburgh and the Tarbet roads; and Ross Hotel stands in the village towards the head of the loch. Tarbet Hotel is situated at the junction of the Oban and Arrochar roads, while Ardlui Hotel is at the head of Loch Lomond commanding the Oban road. These hotels are all licensed and give excellent service. Arrochar House private hotel is the only unlicensed hotel in the parish; has accommodation for more than 20 people; and is open throughout the year. All the hotels are fully occupied by visitors during the season, and have obtained a good name throughout the country. A minor, and extremely lucrative, business is carried on during the summer months by the housewives in most of the houses in the parish. After Easter and the Spring cleaning, a crop of boards and placards begins to shoot up in the front gardens announcing that bed and breakfast are available to passing tourists. The charge is 12s.6d a night, and until the end of September most houses are well patronised by visitors, some of whom stay for longer than they intended when they find they are receiving excellent fare.
Commerce. - The tradesmen resident in the parish include one building contractor, employing 15 men; one plumber and apprentice; one joiner; one garage owner, employing six men; one engineer employing four men and two boys. The shops in the district, like the houses, are not confined to one place, but are scattered throughout the parish. There is a provision merchant in Tighness (Arrochar) with four assistants, and also a general store with two employees. In Arrochar there are a novelty shop, two cafes, and a sweet and tinned goods merchant, the Post Office, where may be obtained newspapers, sweets and tobacco (three assistants), and a butcher's shop employing three men and a boy. In Succoth there is a small general shop. The Tarbet Store is the only shop in that part, and it also has a Post Office attached to it. Each of the hotels has a display of tartan and Scottish novelties for sale to visitors. A handloom weaver plies his craft in a converted cottage about a mile north of Tarbet.
Churches. - In 1843, with the rest of Scotland, the people of the parish were disturbed by the Disruption. The then incumbent, Peter Proudfoot, who wrote the new Statistical Account "came out"; by April 1844 the Free Church had built a new church to hold 250, adjacent to the old burying ground of Ballyhennan, and the records state that the cost was on £240 sterling. The building is in the shape of a cross with a belfry between the right transept and the nave, and the church hall is in the upper part. It was completed in four months, and is still in use as a place of worship. It continued as the Free Church until 1900, when it became part of the United Free Church of Scotland. In 1929, with the majority of the United Free Church, it joined the now re-united Church of Scotland. The minister at the time, the Rev. R.D.E. Stevenson, continued in office until 1947, when he retired to facilitate a local union with the Established Church in Arrochar. The parish church, after Proudfoot had left it at the Disruption, called Dr. John Macfarlane, a Gaelic speaker. In 1847 the old church, which had been built in 1733, was replaced by the present building, a fine and pleasing edifice with a square central tower, facing Loch Long from its situation in God's acre. Two adjoining walls of the original church are preserved in the churchyard with (fortunately) an entrance and the date 1733 over it; this is not scheduled as an ancient monument.
About six and a half miles north of Tarbet on Loch Lomondside is situated what is known as the Pulpit Rock. A deep recess, cut to form a rude pulpit, was excavated under the direction of the Rev. Peter Proudfoot about the beginning of the nineteenth century. It served as a meeting place for the upper reaches of Loch Lomond until, in 1895, a mission church was established at Ardlui, principally by the unwearying labours of the Rev. James Dewar, minister of the parish church at the time. The Free Church, naturally, had to open a similar mission church, but it was only a wooden hut and has now disappeared. The Ardlui church is still in use, and services are held there once a month, though the population in that area has decreased very much. This church is one of the loveliest of its kind in the country and compares favourably with others of like dimensions. Its plain style merges admirably with its sylvan setting.
The Church of Scotland membership in the parish was 196 at 31 December 1953. They are all adult members and are living in houses scattered throughout the whole area of the parish. It is only at communion times, in May and November, that a commendable representation is to be found at one service. The average attendance at Tighness (Arrochar) church during the winter is 45; this rises to 65 in the summer holiday months. At Ballyhennan (Tarbet) church the average throughout the year is 25. The attendance at Ardlui fluctuates more, owing to the sparseness of the population and the inclement weather, from 8 in the winter months to 25 in June and July. Two communion cups in the possession of Arrochar church were given in 1742 by a Lady Arbuthnot, the mother-in-law of the then laird of Arrochar, and these were being used in the twenties of this century. She also left two hundred merks (Scots) for the purchase of a bell, and this, after hanging on a "Bell tree" in the churchyard from 1802 to 1847, was placed in the tower of the present church, from which it is still rung to call the faithful few.
That the people of the parish are not in any way "kirk greedy" is apparent from the fact that there are over 250 houses in the parish and only an average of 90 attends at the three churches. Weather, Sunday work, Sunday newspapers and laziness are the reasons for the lapses. There are a few Episcopalians in the parish but some attend the Presbyterian churches. On Christmas Day 1952 the Glasgow Diocese of the Church of Rome opened a new chapel in Arrochar village. About twelve families in the parish owe allegiance to this faith.
by Barclay Henry
Mrs. Galbraith, President, or ought I to say, Chairman and ladies of the Women's Rural Institute, when I was asked to give this talk, I agreed with considerable misgivings as I realised that whatever I might say would of necessity be more or less a repetition of what I had already said to the Y.P.A. here a year or two ago. In the first place I have to tell you so far as I know it, some of the ancient history of the district, for without that background I could not give you any sort of picture of the wonderful changes that have taken place down the years in this little corner of the Highlands. Now this will perhaps be rather boring for those of you who may know it already; from those I would ask their indulgence for I am presuming that some of you may not know much about it. I would like to say at once that, outside of books, I am indebted almost entirely to the one time minister of the Parish, the Rev. James Dewar, and to his brother who was schoolmaster here and whose ancestors had lived in this district for generations. When I tell you that Mr. Dewar the schoolmaster must have been nearly ninety when he died and his father, who was schoolmaster for a time before him, and also lived to a ripe old age, you will understand that he must have had an enormous fund of local lore.
But little did I think at that time that I would ever have to try to pass any of it on for I was only a boy, and careless and missed much. The parish of Arrochar like many other highland districts has no written history from which we could conjure up any real picture of what life must have been like when Glasgow was a few wattle huts and Dumbarton a Roman Town - some say Theodosea. The very name of Arrochar is a matter of controversy among Gaelic-speaking authorities; the first authentic mention of it occurs in a Latin deed by the Earl of Lennox dated 1225 bequeathing to his youngest son Gilbert the lands of 'upper Arrochar of Luss.' What that may exactly mean I do not know. The gift is quite distinct and that it is a portion of land. But that does not help us with the meaning of the name, and it being spelt Arroquhar in the old archives of Dumbarton only makes it more difficult. I will not give any opinion as there are so many theories. In any case, this name probably obtained for this place hundreds of years before the document I mention was penned.
It was in this Gilchrist's time that King Haer's Norse invasion took place and history tells us that Olaf, King of Mau sailed up Loch Long with sixty ships and anchored them at the head of the Loch. Of course, they were very small vessels as we understand ships and could have been hoisted to the havills of any of our liners. But the small ones were detached and dragged through the valley and launched on Loch Lomond. The whole incident is described in the Norwegian Chronicle which I believe is still preserved in Onslow. Now, as I have told you, Gilchrist was the first resident laird or chief of the lands of Arrochar and the real progenies of the clan MacFarlane. The tradition is that this Gilchrist had a grandson called Bartholemew, which in Gaelic is Parlan, and at this fight with the Norsemen, he, although really only a boy, so distinguished himself by his bravery that afterwards when in time he became chief, his followers all called themselves McParlan, son of Parlan - McFarlane as we have it. Some of the history books, as does the the Norwegian account, tell us however that the Norsemen bore through after a fight and they harried the lower reaches of Loch Lomond, evidently even then a fertile land. But it was coming back with their booty that the Norsemen paid the price. It was no longer an unexpected, sudden raid. The Arrochar men were ready and the very elements seem to have aided them for there was a three days gale in which ten of their ships were totally wrecked and those who escaped promptly left Loch Long. I rather think this would be the truth of the matter for in reliable history it is recorded that King Alexander of Scotland was deliberately parleying with King Haco's fleet off Largs, for the purpose of gaining time for gales to come, which did come and rendered their anchorage impossible. However, between that and their defeat at the battle of Largs, the Norse invasion ended in disaster.
The main part of the fighting here took place in the valley between Arrochar and Tarbet on this side of the Railway Embankment. The dead were buried at Ballyhennan in what is now the churchyard there. Now I wonder if it was merely an attempt to imitate the sound of the proper name with the usual result of being quite wrong. It is really Loch Lougue, Lougue being a ship in Gaelic, hence the meaning 'The Ship Loch.' Well, so much for those early days - that is early days from our limited point of view. Beyond that the history of this place is lost in the mists of antiquity.
But I have tried to indicate to you what was the beginning of the clan McFarlane who held and ruled the land of Arrochar for six hundred turbulent years, packed with adventure and romance. The poet who wrote:
'The breath o'moor and fell in it,
There souch a highland glen in it,
There legends old
O' heroes bold
And sound o' marching men in it.'
may well have done so about old Arrochar. The clan McFarlane, considering their small numbers and limited lands, occasioned more trouble to whoever tried to curtail their activities than almost any other.
When things began to take shape a bit in the way of central government, there are various documentary records of such attempts - one in 1593 where Lord Ogilvy, Warden of the West, is authorised - if he deems it expedient to remove the sentence of outlawry from Duncan McFarlane of Arrochar and his brother Walter of Ardleish if they pay the fines of £3,000 and £1,000 respectively. Needless to say they were not paid. Perhaps the Warden of the West did not deem it expedient to proceed further. Then eight years later you find the chief and 58 of the clan summoned to Dumbarton to answer the charge of having made a raid and taken much booty from Sir Patrick Maxwell's estate of Newart. They did not appear, strange to say. Shortly afterwards the chief's son married Miss Maxwell. Perhaps they fell in love at the raid.
Another rather illuminating change made is that there was always kept in Tarbet Glen 100 armed men for the purpose of levying blackmail. But I do not wish you to suppose that the men of Arrochar were just a band of lawless marauders. When occasion demanded they were ready and willing to fight for the crown. The clan fought gallantly against Edward I of England. Meldrum, another chief, succoured and shielded King Bruce after his escape from the McDougals at Tynedrum in the winter of 1306. Sir John McFarlane died at the head of his men at Flodden. Truly they were grand fighters those McFarlanes. It did not seem to matter which side or what it was about. Cromwell's troops burned down their castle at Inveruglas. They played a leading part in the Battle of Bothwell Brig, and later the same chief was a strong supporter of the revolution. The clan came to an end in 1784 at least so far as their lands were concerned. They were sold at the instance of a lawyer in Edinburgh acting for himself and other creditors. Afterwards the estates were bought by the Fergusons of Raith, who had them for about thirty years, and in turn sold them to the Colquhouns of that period; but the Stuckgowan part of the lands was sold to two brothers McMurrich, business men, I believe, in Glasgow.
In the statistical account of Scotland in 1790 the account of the parish as written by the minister of that time is very meagre about many things we would like to have been informed about. According to him, the misanthropy and ferocity of manners which masked the character of the inhabitants was occasioned by their attachment to their chief. But since the passing of the chief the sales of the estates, the making of the military roads and the settlement of the Graziers from the low country, had, in his opinion, contributed to extinguish the remains of that system of barbarity the civilization of Europe. Splendid. If that is to infer that the doings of this small clan had repercussions on the continent say in Berlin and St. Petersburg we may be proud of them - But with all due respect I rather doubt it. The writer then goes on to say that the people are now well-bred, honest and industrious and not addicted to the immoderate use of spirituous liquors. Considering at the time (1790) there were six or eight recognised places of refreshment between Tarbet and the head of Glencroe, besides sheebeens all over the place I think the natives deserved a little more hearty commendation for their good behaviour, when you remember that this account was written just six years after the old order had changed. probably there was a much larger crofting population than we have any idea of. I recollect Mr. Dewar telling me that he remembered when there were thirty different families on the Argyllshire side of the Loch from Succoth to Mark Point at the entrance to Loch Goil. There is a romantic story attached to one of those taverns which stood at the rise in the road between the head of the Loch and the Torpedo Range, just above the stretch of grass now fenced in and where you could 'a few years ago easily trace the foundation among the grass and bracken.' It was during the Napoleonic wars, when the press gang were out in every port to get men to man our ships, that one John Meek living quietly in a village on the south coast of England was lifted and carried off to sea. Now Meek was just about to get married, but nothing was allowed to stand in the way at that time, the need was urgent so he had to go, leaving his sorrowing betrothed behind. The war dragged on and years passed, but never any news of the kidnapped bridegroom. At length the girl grew hopeless and set out to wander the country alone making a living by selling small wares, which she carried in a basket! At length the war ended and John Meek returned to his home only to find his sweetheart had gone away. No one could tell him where and he determine to search the land to find her. He did, however, get trace of her and followed her to the north of England, then over the border into Scotland, on and on, till one evening he found his long, lost bride by the shores of Loch Long near Ardmay. They made their way to Arrochar together and the old laird of Ardgartan - no doubt moved by the story - put them into the old tavern. The neighbours henceforth called the place Alt-na-Gall - 'the Low Lands Man's Height' probably through someone having mistaken Gall and Gale. Another instance of the reverse meaning.
Naturally the plethora of places of refreshment and private distillation led to official activities and there were several excisemen or gaugers stationed in the district. That they were unpopular is to state the case very mildly and seemingly the feelings of the private distillers were shared by the clergy. Perhaps fifty four years after the statistical account had been written, Dr. McFarlane was minister of this parish, into the 60s of the last century and of him this story is told. The Reverend Doctor was coming home by coach up Loch Lomondside with a fellow passenger, a young man also bound for Tarbet. On their arrival, the young man having taken stock of the reverend-looking old clergyman, and being a stranger to the place, thought it would be a wise move on his part to get local information and help from him. So he quietly informed the doctor that he was an exciseman and had been sent from Glasgow; that the authorities had learned that a certain man in Morelaggan was commencing a brew; but he was uncertain how to get there or indeed precisely where it was. The good old doctor got rather a shock but he never turned a hair but courteously told him exactly where it was and offered the gauger his company as far as the manse at Arrochar. Now the journey had been long and the weather inclement, and Doctor McFarlane would not hear of the young man going on the way further, without some refreshment and rest, and the exciseman was no doubt quite pleased to accept. Of course, whenever they got inside the manse, the old doctor told his housekeeper how things stood, telling her he would entertain the gauger as long as he could. Immediately a messenger went off hot foot for Morelaggan to warn old McIntyre. When the refreshed exciseman reached Morelaggan there was nothing of the questionable nature to be seen - just as the old doctor had told him, that he did not think he would find anything wrong in Morelaggan. This Doctor McFarlane was a friend of my parents, and was a humorous story teller, second to none, in his time. In fact I have been told some of his clerical brethren suggested that it was his story-telling that got him his B.D.
I'll tell you another one to illustrate the same point; it was told to me by my mother.
Remember it was not so much that the people of that time had any predisposition to the abuse of liquor, but just that they hated any outside official supervision. Their minister was there for that purpose and any other was just a nosey parker and to be treated as such. This particular minister had an exciseman in his congregation one day, and felt that he would dearly like to give him a piece of his mind, but knew he was debarred from outraging the proprieties by addressing anyone in person, so this is how he got round it: "When I was a young student in the great University of Aberdeen, the old woman use to ask me 'Will this one be saved or will the next one be saved?' and I always said I did not know. But one day an old woman asked me, 'Would a gauger ever be saved?' and I said, 'No, never as long as he is a gauger.'"
And now something about the Arrochar Church and I must hark away back. Proceedings were begun in 1648, by a commission appointed; but it was not until 1658 that the Parish of Arrochar was formed, ten whole years. Times were a bit too strenuous for erecting kirks or making new parishes. Cromwell's soldiers were on the war path. However, in 1658, the Rev. Archie McLachlan was presented to the charge by the patron, the Chief John McFarlan, who had undertaken (probably under pressure) to provide a Kirk, Manse and Glebe. The Luss Church was really the church of the Arrochar folk, and had been for hundreds of years before that and it seems that they thought it was good enough. (Whether they were good attenders or not is another matter.) At any rate, it was some 75 years afterwards that the first church and manse were built. (You can see the date above the doorway of the old ivy-clad ruin: 1733.) As there were at least four ministers between 1658 and 1733 they must have been officiating without any kirk or manse. There is something to be said for the unwilling heritor. The Clan Castle had been destroyed by Cromwell's men and they had been in the throes of building another castle. Well, from 1658 until the present year 1940, 282 years have passed and Mr. Esselmont is the 19th. in succession.
Now we must shift our point of view a bit in order to show you how our district grew and what energetic far-seeing men there were then. In 1816 just four years after the launching of the Comet - the first passenger steamer to ply on European waters - there was launched the steam packet - Marion - built to the order of David Napier, a Dumbarton man. This vessel was tried out on the Clyde for one year. By the way, she must have been a quaint-looking craft. She was sixty foot long, wood built of course, twenty horse power engines, schooner bows; mast and sail for emergencies, and a funnel like a tremendous stove pipe, 25 or 30 feet high, After the year's trial running on the Clyde, she was taken up the Leven to Loch Lomond where she inaugurated the immense tourist traffic as we know it. I say they were enterprising men in those days, in the very infancy of steam navigation to put a steamer on a Highland Loch - foreseeing the possibilities.
And now to something of the Arrochar of my childhood. I suppose I see the old people through rose-tinted spectacles. But they are very pleasant spectacles and I intend to stick to them. It was a wee Highland Village then with many thatched cottages, primitive if you like, but they were picturesque, and there were strapping men and bonny lasses come out of them. We were a small community and it has been suggested to me in our modern and up-to-date time, that we must have been in starvation then, what rubbish! Wages were less than half what they are now, but so was living. A man could get an ounce of tobacco for 3d. that now costs 9d. and 4d halfpenny for what is now 1s.2d and there was never anybody in real want, but they were looked after somehow. Their fields were cultivated in rotation. But, looking back on it, there must have been a cycle of good summers and hard winters, for there was always a period of curling. The roads were, of course, very different. There was no black tar-macadam; they were macadam all right, mostly punky yellow in colour. In fact, I have often heard the roads remarked on for their colour. Here and there on the foreshore were small stretches of turf. One old woman told me that she had helped to gather a crop of potatoes on what is now pebble beach at Tighness, and an old man that he had cut hay on what is now the shore below the Post Office. I do not remember myself when the whole head of the loch on the shore side of the road was one big sweep of good turf, where cows grazed regularly, and it was a stance of recognised resting place for the droves of highland cattle. A thing I shall never forget, and most picturesque they were, is the old Oban Coach - a real old stage coach, red and yellow, as it came swinging down the road with the spanking four horses, to pull up with a flourish at the Hotel. Believe me, you never saw a Rolls Royce that was a patch on it for appearance. At that time, extending from the pier up to the small cottages on the shore - we called it Archie McKay's cottage - was one long line of stances - that is poles and crossbars for drying nets, which were often festooned.
Loch Long was one of the best fishing Lochs in the West; several families did nothing else but follow the fishing, of course. Like other fishing places it was sometimes poor and at others very successful. A Tarbert Loch Fyne fisherman once, pointing to a rather fine villa there, said to me, 'My father made the money to build that in a couple of winters fishing at Arrochar.' Of course, you can understand when such good catches occurred there was a general jubilation and proper celebrations in the Hotel. Now it so happened that at such a time of prosperity my father sent a man with a horse and cart up to the village to get a cart of coal. He was a long time returning, but at last he did come in at the gate, led his horse right round the house and couped a full cart of herring in Fascadail back yard, under the impression that it was a cart of coal. I leave you to picture the result. What a mess of slippery, sliding herring. We were better served as regards water transport, with our own special steamer, the good old 'Chancellor,' than we are now. Visitors usually wanted to stay here for from a month or two to three months at a time, and every house willing to let could choose their tenants. Of course, sometimes visitors from the south required humouring and often a little ingenuity in making things do.
Another that I must tell you, a story of what happened in such a case. A gentleman from the south staying in one of the cottages, one morning announced to his landlady that he particularly wished a hot bath, this was a problem but resourceful woman that she was, she said she would see what could be done, and consulted her husband whose retort was - man-like - 'Is the Loch not good enough?' She in turn replying that the Loch was not heated; but then they both had a brainwave. The boiler for barking and tanning the nets, a huge cauldron at the end of the house. A bit syne out, a bit fire below it and there was his bath; no one would see him. The gentleman, having had the whole situation explained to him, agreed that it might do, and it did do: he had a good hot bath. But then, as the novelists say, a strange thing happened. When he came out, he was tanned all over - a beautiful sun bronze. You see the boiler had not been sufficiently syned, and the kalhan for the nets had done its work. I draw a veil over the resultant row. The colour would not wash off, but it gradually faded a bit and I have been told that on his return south the gentleman was congratulated on his bronzed appearance from his holiday in the wilds of the north. The strange thing about this story is that a lady visitor to Kyleakin in Skye, where my mother and I were also visiting at the time, said to me, having discovered I came from Arrochar, "Is that village still as primitive as it used to be?" I, of course, denied that it was at all primitive; on the contrary, it was quite up to date, and one of the beauty spots of the highlands. She then, to my amazement, told me the story I have just told you. Of course, I said that it must be a yarn, but she retorts, "It is no yarn. It was my brother who was tanned!" And, of course, I knew all the time it was true but I was not going to let Arrochar down.
There were more individual characters then today somehow. I do not mean that they were any better or worse, but perhaps because they could mostly all speak Gaelic as well as English, their sayings had an originality - with, at times, a sting in the tail of them. Here is a sample: Old Arrochar was a favourite haunt of artists, and one famous in his time, and who I knew well and who, by the way, was a rather handsome man, was painting about one of the bonny thatched cottages and became on very friendly terms with the old lady who was tenant. He and his family had a house further down the village, when the time came for him to leave, he went to say goodbye, and this was the manner of his leave-taking: "Well goodbye, Mr. McEwan, I wish you well. You have a bonny wife and bonny daughter, and maybe in the great hereafter the Lord'll mak you bonny tae!"
But by far the greatest change of all took place when the Railway was made. It took four or five years to make and at times there were 1,000 men on the section, and four policemen had their hands full on a Saturday night. Of course, when it was finished, so was old Arrochar. We were no longer!
Ministers of Arrochar Parish Church
founded 25th. January, 1659
More information about many of the ministers listed below can be found in the article by Ian D. Reid listed on the History Page.
Archibald McLachlan, appointed 1658 and demitted on 4th. November, 1701.
Robert Macfarlane, appointed in 1701 and translated to Fintry in 1705.
Daniel Reid, licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Dumbarton on 6th. August, 1706 and ordained and inducted to Arroquhar on 28th. August, 1707. He was deposed on 16th. October, 1716, but appears to have returned to minister until 1727 or 1728.
John McAlpine, A.M., ordained at Tarbet, Lochlomond, on 25th. September, 1729 and translated to Campbeltown 2nd Charge on 2nd. January, 1750.
Alexander Macfarlane, A.M., admitted to Arroquhar on 2nd. January, 1754, and died in Arroquhar in 1763.
John Grant, A.M., presented by Sir James Colquhoun of Luss in January, 1764, ordained in September of the same year and translated to Abernethy on 25th June, 1765.
William Grant, A.M., admitted to Arroquhar on 14th May, 1766 and translated to Fintry in 1772 (becoming Minister of Luss later that same year.)
John Stuart, presented to the Parish by Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, Bart, in October 1773, ordained on 12th May, 1774, and translated to Weem on 26th. March, 1776. (John Stewart also went on to become Minister of Luss.)
John Grant presented by Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, admitted on 26th June, 1776 and demitted on 7th December, 1779.
Hugh McDiarmid, promoted from the Gaelic Chapel of Ease, Glasgow, was presented by Sir James Colquhoun of Luss in April, 1780, demitted on the 5th. December of the same year, and was settled in Comrie in 1781.
John Gillespie, licensed by the Presbytery of Dumbarton on 3rd October, 1780, presented by Sir James Colquhoun of Luss in 1781, and ordained in Arroquhar on 23rd. July, 1782. He remained as minister until he died on 28th. August, 1816.
Peter Proudfoot, licensed by the Presbytery on 7th. May, 1816, presented by Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, Bart., on 21st. January, 1817, and ordained at Arroquhar on 8th. May, 1817. He died on 27th. October, 1843, and was buried in Arroquhar.
Ministers of Arrochar Free Church
Colin Mackenzie, inducted on the 18th. April, 1844 and died, as Senior Minister, in 1882.
Mr Kippen, second minister of the charge, ordained in 1869 and ministered here until his death on 26th. October, 1881.
John Robson Elder, translated from Cromarty to Arroquhar Free Church on 13th. April, 1882, and ministered here until his death in May, 1897.
Rev. A.P. Telfer, inducted on 21st. October, 1897. applied for a colleague and successor on 2nd. October, 1925, died on 24th. November, 1938, and was buried in Arrochar churchyard.
Richard D.E. Stevenson, inducted on 28th. April, 1926, and following the Union of 1929, demitted to facilitate local union in 1947.
The Established Church
Rev. Dr. John Macfarlane, admitted to Arroquhar in 1844, and died in 1868.
James Dewar, M.A., translated to Arrochar in May, 1869, and died in 1901.
Dugald Macfarlane translated from Glencoe in 1902 and ministered until 21st. December, 1906, when he was translated to Kingussie.
Coll Archibald Macdonald, M.A., B.D., translated from Ardrishaig on 2nd. May, 1907, and translated to Legierait on 4th. June, 1913.
Hugh Sinclair Winchester, M.A., B.D., licensed by the Presbytery of Edinburgh, ordained at Arrochar on 11th. September, 1913 and retired from Arroquhar on 28th November, 1935. He died on 8th. November, 1958.
William Fraser Wills ordained at Montrose in 1935, came to Arroquhar in 1936 and in 1940 was translated to St. George's Tron, Glasgow.
James E. Esslemont inducted on 22nd November, 1940, and remained in Arroquhar until the 31st. of March, 1947, when he demitted the charge.
The Single Charge of Arrochar
Angus MacCuish inducted on 20th October, 1947, and translated to Stornaway High on 6th December, 1950.
Iain Dunnet Reid, ordained and inducted 25th. June, 1951 and translated in October, 1959.
J.H.I.Watt, translated in May, 1960, moving on in May, 1964.
R.K. Williamson, translated in September, 1964, and retiring in December, 1972.
A.F. Bolton, translated in May, 1973 and retiring in January, 1983.
Les Carnew, inducted in September, 1983 and demitted in December, 1985.
The Charge of Arrochar with Luss
Ewan S. Nicoll, translated in October, 1986 and retired in February, 1988.
NOTABLE PEOPLE, AND MEMORABILIA,
OF THE LENNOX
by Donald MacLeod
published in Dumbarton in 1891
and printed for the author by A. Lawrance, Church Place.
The parish of Arrochar, which embraces a goodly portion of north-west Lochlomondside, was for long part of Luss. After its disjunction therefrom, Archibald McLachlan was presented as first minister of the charge by the patron, MacFarlane, laird of Arrochar, who, as only heritor within its bounds (save MacFarlane of Gartartan), had undertaken the burden of providing a kirk, manse, and glebe in the newly-erected parish. The origin of the name of the parish is disputed. Some say that it is derived from the Gaelic Arrar - a hilly country; and other some assert it takes its rise from Arachar - a measure of land.
Since 1682 there have ministered to the parishioners in holy things fourteen clergymen, including the present incumbent.
The kirk, kirkyard, and manse of Arrochar are situated at Tyness, about a mile south of the village. They form a beauteous combination, standing 'mong green fields at the base of the range of the rugged hills which separate Lochlong from Lochlomond.
Fronting the sacred edifice, the loch stretches its dark hill o'ershadowed waters for many a league, and directly opposite the places of graves Ben Arthur, dark of hue and rugged of mien, towers up proudly, having as apex that weird auld carle the Cobbler, and these give a sublime aspect to the entrance of dreary, dark Glencroe. This glen has as its southerly termination the westerly-trending range of hills, at the feet of which lies in deep repose the richly wooded promontory on which Ardgarten House stands, the beloved Highland home of MacGregor of Glencroe, a native of Luss, known world-wide as the popular mine host of the Royal Hotel, Edinburgh. His estate, as I have been informed, belonged of old to the MacGregors, but these were hunted out of it when the clan was nameless and proscribed. Now a member of the clan Gregor has re-conquered it, and it once more owns a MacGregor as lord.
In this connection it is worthy of mention that the laird of Glencroe's deceased brother, James, who erstwhile was proprietor of the Queen's Hotel, Glasgow, purchased the Glengyle estate, Loch Katrine, a very ancient patrimony of the MacGregors, and in his family it still remains.
The present kirk of the parish, which is a fine specimen of the Gothic architecture of its era, was built in 1847, in near proximity to where its predecessor stood, the ruined grey walls of which are still to be seen enclosing a place of sepulture, wherein, among others, are buried all that is mortal of the Rev. D. MacFarlane, the genial minister of the parish from 1844 to his death in 1869, and his great friend, Mr. John McNab, Arrochar Hotel. Mr. McNab was a native of Blair Athole. He was for a long period the popular steward of Dumbarton steamers. In 1865 he leased the hotel of Arrochar and sheep farm connected therewith. Two years before his decease, which occurred about seven years ago, he an attack of an apoplectic nature, which enfeebled him so much that he had arranged to retire soon from active life and live privately at Tarbet. After a renewed attack of his old complaint, he quietly passed into the silent land, aged 65. He was a much-loved, honourable man, and full of pawky humour. He is survived by Mrs. McNab, three sons and a daughter.
Before leaving Lochlong-side for that of Lochlomond, I have thought it right to give a short biographical sketch of the esteemed minister of the parish,
REV. JAMES DEWAR, M.A.
The minister of Arrochar is son of an erstwhile schoolmaster of that parish. Having received a good education at home, young Dewar was sent to the University of Glasgow to study for the ministry. After finishing his studies, he obtained license from the Presbytery of Glasgow on the 8th. January, 1851. For some months, however, before he became a licensed preacher, he was employed as missionary under the Rev. D. Jamieson, of St. Paul's, Glasgow. Mr. Dewar next became assistant to the Rev. Dr. Norman MacLeod (old Norman), of St. Columba's, Glasgow. After acting in that capacity for a short time, the Duke of Argyll presented him to the church and parish of Kilmodan at the unanimous request of the parishioners, and he was ordained to that charge in September, 1851. There he continued until May, 1869, when his native parish became vacant, and to it he was presented by the late Sir James Colquhoun, Bart. Mr. Dewar is a good Gaelic scholar, and preaches with as much fluency in that language as he does when he is discoursing in English, so that his services are in request over a considerable area.
About two miles from Arrochar, across the isthmus which divides Lochlomond from Lochlong, and not far from the margin of the former, in a quiet glen amid the majesty of hills, beautiful for situation, there stands, near the road and immediately behind the Tarbet Free Church,
BALLYHENAN BURIAL PLACE.
So far as it known, no chapel, down to a very recent date, ever stood on or near the spot to account for a place of sepulture being there. It is the general belief that its origin as such took place many centuries ago after a bloody encounter between rival clans, when the slain were there deposited in the bosom of their mother earth, all gory and clad in their tartan array. It is a picturesque burying place that of Ballyhenan.
One of the finest tombstones in the place of graves is erected to the memory of the late Mr. McPherson, Hotel Keeper, Tarbet, father of the present esteemed tenant of the hostelry.
On the south-east corner of the graveyard, which exhibits in picturesque combination billowy mounds and quaint, moss-covered tombstones, there stands a grey granite monument about eight feet in height, surmounted by an elegant draped urn. The ground in front is carefully tended by loving hands. The inscription on the tombstone runs as follows: - "In loving memory of Alexander MacPherson, Tarbet, Lochlomond. Died 9th. Nov., 1861. Elizabeth, his daughter, died 29th. October, 1862; and Janet Cameron, his widow, died at Stirling, 20th. February, 1882. 'Her children arise up and call her blessed.' And Janet Milligan, wife of A.H. MacPherson, Tarbet Hotel, died on the 6th. February, 1889, aged 41 years. 'I know that my Redeemer liveth.' 'Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him,'"
Mr. Alexander MacPherson was born at Laggan, Inverness-shire, in 1804, his father being a farmer. After receiving a fair education, and doing a spell of work on his father's farm, he began hotel keeping, first in Perth, then in Blair Athole. In 1854 he removed from thence to Tarbet Hotel, Lochlomondside, where he remained until his death. Mr. MacPherson was a man of great push and energy. He was a well-read man, especially in the domain of history, and on literary matters corresponded, amongst others, with the late Sir Archibald Allison, Bart., the historian, and with the Messrs Blackwood, his publishers. At his death, the subject of this memoir was 57 years of age, and left a family of four sons, four daughters, and a widow, as also a host of friends, to mourn his departure.
It may be stated that there is a somewhat pretentious white marble enclosed tombstone on the west side of the lace of graves, erected to the memory of the lairds MacMurrich of Stuckgown, whose history is narrated further on; and it is also worthy of note that near the entrance gate there is a stone of memorial over the grave of a blacksmith, with a goodly sized anvil and other objects carved on same.
The minister of the Free Church, incidentally noticed above, is one who for the last decade has taken a warm interest in the spiritual and temporal advancement of the people among whom his lot is cast.
REV JOHN R. ELDER
was born at Edinburgh fifty years ago, son of Rev. Dr. Elder sometime minister of St. Paul's Church, Edinburgh, latterly of West Church, Rothesay. Moderator of Free Church General Assembly, 1871. Educated at Rothesay and Edinburgh. M.A. of Edinburgh University. Licensed in 1867 by Free Presbytery of Dunoon. Assistant at Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, and in St. Matthew's Church, Glasgow. Minister of Free Church, Cromarty for thirteen years. Minister of Free Church, Arrochar, since April, 1882. The reverend gentleman, it may be stated, is a member of the School Board, also of the Parochial Board of Arrochar Parish.
The great historic family of Arrochar is
THE MACFARLANES OF THAT ILK.
The burial place of this ancient family was Luss. The land knoweth the family as its lord no longer. They traced their descent to Gilchrist, fourth son of Alwyn, earl of Lennox, who obtained a grant of land in the reign of Alexander II. His son Duncan succeeded him, and he had a son Malduin, by his cousin Matilda, daughter of Malcolm, fourth Earl of Lennox. Malduin was father of Bartholomew, in the Gaelic Pharlan, and he in all probability was the chief after whom the clan was named. The early history of this clan is one of turbulence and bloodshed. Their raids, however, seem to have been more in the direction of harrying and harassing their more lawless northern neighbours, than engaging in acts of hostility against their more law abiding southern ones. The earliest and principal stronghold of the clan Farlane was situated at Inveruglas, and it being destroyed in Cromwell's time, their chief had afterwards his residence at Tarbet and at Ellan Vhow, a lonely little isle on the north end of Lochlomond, where the ruins of his seat are still to be seen. Loch Sloy was the gathering place and slogan of the clan. On the death of the sixth Earl of Lennox without male issue, Malcolm MacFarlane became the representative of the male line of the family. He was son of the Bartholomew mentioned above, who, about 1344, obtained from his cousin David a confirmation of all the lands and liberties previously in possession of his family. His son and successor, Duncan, obtained a charter of the lands of Arrochar, and married Christian, daughter of Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow. There never failed the clan a chief to rule it, from that time down to about the end of the eighteenth century, when the estate of Arrochar while possessed by John MacFarlane, was brought to a judicial sale (in 1785), and purchased by Ferguson of Raith. John MacFarlane, the last chief, had several children.
When in Edinburgh recently, I had an hour to spare and went to spend it in Greyfriar's Churchyard, my object being to visit the grave of the last of the MacFarlanes of that ilk. I found it easily; it is situated at the south west corner of old Greyfriar's Church, right under the slab inserted in its wall to the memory of Allan Ramsay the poet. The MacFarlane memorial stone is of freestone, circular topped, and stands seven feet or so high. Within the circle the arms of the family are engraven, in bold relief, having over them the legend on a scroll, "This I'll defend," and beneath them the slogan of the clan "Loch Sloy." The slabs of stone contain the following inscription: "In memory of Janet MacFarlane, daughter of William MacFarlane of MacFarlane, Esq., died 2nd. Dec., 1821; and of her niece, Margaret Elizabeth MacFarlane, who died May 12, 1846, aged seventy nine years (not twenty nine, as given in a local history), being at the period of her decease the lineal representative of the ancient and honourable house of MacFarlane of that ilk." The slab containing the foregoing inscription has slipped out of its place, being parted from the monument, and now rests on the ground and against the stone in an upright position. To shew how strong the clannish feeling still exists, I was informed by the keeper of the graveyard that a MacFarlane, a common soldier quartered in Edinburgh Castle, came recently to the revered burial place with a tradesman to fix the inscription tablet into its original position, but to his great regret it had got twisted and could not be reinstated. As showing the increase of recent years in the value of Highland property, it may be stated that Ferguson of Raith in 1785 paid for the Arrochar estate the sum of £28,000. In 1821 it was sold to Sir James Colquhoun of Colquhoun and Luss, Bart., for £78,000.
When the MacFarlane family began to get into pecuniary difficulties, the Stuckgown portion of the Gartartan property was disposed of, which in the course of time led to the establishment on Lochlomondside of
THE MACMURRICHS OF STUCKGOWN.