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Statistical Accounts of Scotland


Clackmannanshire

Old and New Statistical Accounts

Alloa Dollar
Clackmannan Tillicoultry

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TillicoultryDollarAlloaClackmannan The OSA references below are to the Edina site and mostly to the main entry on roads for each parish with some additional links provided to other relevant information. When Edina page appears go to browse scanned pages for the link.

NSA references are to the GoogleBooks site, usually to the means of communication section. There may be other passing references to roads in a parish account.

Additional information about parishes can be found on the Vision of Britain site.

The map extracts are from the 1913 OS half-inch map for Perth & Stirling. With thanks.

OVERVIEW
There are traditions of Roman crossings at Manor and Throsk, with traces of a causeway and castellum at Manor. The crossing at Throsk may have been the Pons Servani across which St Kentigern is said to have fled to escape enemies. At any rate there are large spreads of stones at Throsk which served to create a (dangerous) fording point and may have given rise to the tradition of a bridge.

At a later date (1559), a bridge at Tullibody was thrown down to delay a party of Franch troops but they tore down the roof of the church to ford the river. When a bridge was built at Dollar some people contined to cross the river on stilts.

The River Forth was navigable to Stirling, and Alloa was a port that had considerable trade with coastal towns and the continent. There were regular steamboat services to Edinburgh and Stirling. Coal was brought down to the harbour along horse-drawn railroads and a waggon-road was made on top of an embankment at Clackmannan. Canals had been planned for the area but never got off the ground.

There are the usual remarks about statute labour and turnpike roads and the general improvement in transport by the time of the NSA.

ALLOA
Alloa parish - click for larger imageOSA
It seems probable that the Romans crossed the Forth either near Manor, some 6 miles upriver from Alloa, or at the ford of the Frosk, one and a half miles distant. There are traces of a causeway at Manor and till recently, the remains of a small castellum which may have protected the passage.
Mention of the ferry with piers on either side of the river. It has been called the Craig Ward and sometimes the King‘s Ferry. If turnpike roads are made on either side of the Forth, this would be an ideal crossing place for journeys north and south. West of the ferry there is a glass manufactory, to which coal is transported by waggon-way.
Mention of a French force in 1559 when the bridge of Tullibody was broken down to delay their
movements - the church was unroofed and the materials laid down on the bridge to allow a crossing
of the river.
The author recounts a story about James V being hospitably entertained in a cottage, the hosts not
knowing who their guest was; the cottager was awarded the title of King of the Muirs and told that
the next time the king was in Stirling he should present himself there and ask for the Goodman of
Ballinguiach, a title the King used when in Stirling - this was a steep path on the north west side of the
castle rock.
A description is given of the carts that were used in the past - they were little larger than a wheelbarrow
and consisted of an axle on which rough boards were placed; wheels were just pieces of wood joined
together. Present carts are much superior.
Markets: There are 4 annual fairs and 2 weekly markets.
Port: There is an important port in Alloa which includes not only the town but various creeks along the
river Forth between Kincardine and Stirling. There is considerable trade through the port - coal and glass
bottles being major exports.
Post Office: There has now been a post office for some 30 years; before that a runner went to and from
Stirling.
Roads: The statute labour system is directed by the Justices of the Peace. Labour has been commuted for
a monetary payment and, to an extent, the requirement for farmers to provide carts. Plans for turnpike roads
have been proposed. Perhaps because of this, the statute labour system is not always implemented fully.
The roads have also suffered because of the “many heavy cartiages while the distilleries were flourishing.”

NSA

River Forth at Alloa - click for larger image
The River Forth at Alloa - the old ferry terminal is directly opposite in the centre of photo

One derivation given for the name is aull waeg meaning the way to the sea, or the sea-way.
There is a ferry at Alloa. Vessels can navigate beyond Stirling to the "Cruives" of Craigforth and boats up to 800 tons can reach Alloa.

At the Rhind point (about 2 miles SW of Alloa town centre) there is a ford called Throsk Ford. There is a
great spread of boulders here as far as the low-water mark and the ford is four feet higher than low-water at
Alloa downstream; upriver there is deeper water. It is considered to be a Roman ford, like others upstream
towards Stirling.
A horse-drawn railroad runs from the coal pits to the harbour - it was formed in 1766. Formerly a horse
could draw only 6 cwt of coal, now it can pull 8 tons. Full details are given of the successive improvements
to the railroad.
Details are given of the considerable trade carried out through Alloa both with the continent and along the coast.
Parochial Economy: The main town is Alloa which has two weekly markets. The streets are well paved and clean except in the old town.
Means of Communication: Each day steam-packets sail to Stirling, Edinburgh and other towns on the Firth.
A coach runs daily to Glasgow through Falkirk, and one to Stirling, for the canal boats from Glasgow.
Carriers run to Glasgow, Edinburgh and all the local towns.
Twelve miles of turnpike, and the bridges are good.
The writer mentions the incident of the French forces unroofing the church to use the materials to bridge
the stream.
Fairs: One major fair in August is very well attended from the surrounding district; there are three lesser
fairs throughout the year.
Inns: There are 5 hotels and inns and in 4 of these chaises and other carriages can be hired. In all there are
72 places in the parish where drink can be obtained.
Fuel: Coal is available locally at low cost.
1840

The River Forth at Rhind Point - changes since the 1860's have been considerable. Image from Google Earth. © 2009 Tele Atlas. Image © 2009 Getmapping plc


Note: Old maps, particularly the 6” and 25” maps of 1860, show firstly, a large spread of boulders directly
opposite Rhind Point at the site of a partly-demolished railway bridge. Secondly, they show a spit of gravel
just upstream, near to Throsk Farm which reaches to within 120 feet of the north bank. It is not clear which
of these the writers were referring to, although their wording suggests there was a ford at one or the other. In
his Report as to Improving the Navigation of the Rivers Forth,etc, Alexander M’Gibbon, writing in 1810 refers to “A rumbling ford of large stones, called the Throsk Ford, very dangerous.”

Jocelyn, a monk of Furness Abbey in Lancashire, wrote a Life of Kentigern, circa 1185. In this there is an account of how Kentigern fleeing from rivals, crossed a river by a bridge known as Pons Servani. There is a possibility that the above mentioned spit or the boulder bed is where this happened - see Cynthia Whidden Green, The Life of Kentigern, chapter VIII, footnotes 73,78,79 and also Kenneth H Jackson's paper, The Sources for the Life of St Kentigern (pages 307-309) in Studies in the Early British Church. He notes that the river is not fordable nowadays and refers to a remark by Angus Graham that “ford” is used locally for formations like these, whether they are fordable or not.

While the remark that there was a Roman ford here is interesting, it would be very difficult to confirm. The course of the river, as shown in such maps as we have, has changed significantly even in the last 200 years or so, and from the remark about Ferrytown under Clackmannan parish may have been much wider in the past. What it was like in Roman times is very difficult to say. In addition, the boulder spread and the spit are more likely to be natural formations rather than man-made. There may, however, be some truth in the Kentigern reference given the geographical context of the tale and discounting the more legendary aspects although it is interesting that the NSA refers to a double tide in the area which could be consistent with the account. If there actually was a bridge linked to a ford this would make the crossing of the river much more feasible, though it could hardly be proved today.

CLACKMANNAN
OSA
Although in picturesque countryside, the village with its many wretched and mean houses is not. The tollbooth and court-house are a heap of ruins.
There are 3 bakers and 8 grocers in the village, along with a dozen or so tippling-houses, to the detriment of morals. There are two fairs, the one in September being important with black cattle and horses for sale along with linen and cloth and all sorts of other goods. In the past much wool was sold at this market but very little in recent years.
It seems likely that the river was once much wider, as witness the village called Ferrytown which is now 5 furlongs from the river.
When an embankment was built for a major reclamation scheme, a waggon-road was formed on top of it to allow coal to be brought to boats that were too large for the usual loading-place at the Pow of Clackmannan

Town centre Clackmannan
Town centre Clackmannan. The "clog" or "stone" of Manau, a Celtic sea-god, is resting on top of a huge pillar seen to the left of the tollbooth. Originally the stone was nearer to the Forth, which itself was wider in early times.

There are collieries at Clackmannan, Sauchy, and Kennet. Some 7000 tons are exported each year to Leith, Dunbar, Perth, Dundee, Montrose, and other places. The coal reaches the harbour in waggons of a ton and a half from the pits about three quarters of a mile away.
Considerable details are given of the distilling trade carried on in the town and also of the iron works.
In the town there are 10 carters and 2 cadgers. There are 192 carts in the parish, a coach and 2 chaises.
There used to be a ferry over the Forth, opposite the village of Clackmannan. A ferry would still be of great use to those on both sides of the river and it would be quite easy to construct a safe landing place at the harbour at Clackmannan Pow. If a village were to be built there it would be in a good position for conducting trade.
Both the county and this parish have suffered for many years from the bad condition of the roads. It is hoped that this will change with the passing of the turnpike road bill presently before Parliament

NSA
Details are given of the Devon Iron Works and the railways which serve the works.
Parochial Economy: Clackmannan is the only town in the parish. Two markets are held each year but not much business is transacted there. Although there are plenty of shops, those in Alloa are superior and many people prefer to go there.
The town has a post-office, with posts from North Queensferry to Alloa and Stirling and from Stirling and Alloa to North Queensferry each day. There is a daily coach to and from Alloa to Glasgow, which passes through Clackmannan. Steam-boats sail between Stirling and Granton pier near Edinburgh, and pick up passengers at Alloa and Kincardine.
Coal is available locally at a reasonable cost.
November 1841

DOLLAR
OSA
A fine bridge over the Devon, near the church, was destroyed by a flood some years ago. There are plans to have a wooden bridge erected, mostly by the generosity of a few public-spirited persons, which will be of great benefit to those going to church. The lack of a bridge would have not have been so serious 20 or 30 years ago, as at that time “people in this place were very expert in crossing the river on stilts. And there are still some who cross it in this way.”
Coal from here and Blairingone is carried over the Ochils to Strathern.
Roads: Two highways pass through here, between Stirling and Kinross. The road on the south side of the Devon has not been gravelled and is almost impassable in winter; the road on the north side, near to the Ochils has a better natural foundation and hence is more frequented.
Dollar is the natural stage or stopping place on this road but the road is very narrow and coaches can just pass.
The road is very busy with travellers to Kinross, as well as Perth, Dundee and other places.

NSA
Mention of roads between Dollar and Alloa and Blairingone to Alloa.
A canal had been proposed to run from Dollar to Cambus on the Forth but the proposal came to nothing.
There is an old bridge in Dollar.
Parochial Economy: The nearest market-town is Alloa, seven miles from Dollar. A mail runner goes between Alloa and Muckhart each day.
The Kinross to Stirling turnpike and the Dunfermline turnpike pass through the parish.
A stage-coach service from Glasgow to Perth through Dollar no longer runs because of lack of patronage.
A wooden bridge over the Devon at the Rack-mill is in “a very ruinous state, and often impassable“ This makes it difficult for those on the south side of the Devon to get to church, and for children to reach their school.
Fairs: There are four fairs, two of them considerable.
Inns: There are about 12 places where drink can be obtained, including the house at the toll-bar.
Fuel: Coal is available locally at a reasonable price.

TILLICOULTRY
OSA
Gate Mail: This is a tax paid to the family of Mar for the right to use a private road through the estate to the Pow of Alloa. While the road is kept in good repair there should really be a public road from Tillicoultry to what is a public harbour and a market town.
Roads: The roads along the foot of the hills are reasonably good as is the road that goes from Coalsnaughton by the bridge. However, the south road has been much neglected and is in very poor condition. Part of it to the east of Coalsnaughton was never properly made.
Amongst various suggestions for improving the parish, the author lists “a waggon-way for carrying the coals to Alloa harbour.” (at the time there was also much talk of having a canal in the area).

 

Ochil Hills at Tillicoultry
NSA
Market-Town: Alloa is the nearest market-town, four miles away, and it is nine miles to Stirling. The parish, however, is well supplied with the usual necessaries. There is a post-office, and a daily post between Alloa and Muckart.
There are good main roads to Alloa, Stirling, and Kinross, with plenty of excellent materials available locally for repairs. The bridge over the Devon was widened about 20 years ago. There is a wooden bridge below Tillicoultry for foot-passengers.
Inns and Public-Houses: “There are ten public-houses in the parish ; and there is no doubt that our Saturday evenings would be more quiet and our Sabbaths more solemn, were fewer opportunities afforded the thoughtless and the dissipated of injuring their health and morals, and exposing themselves to all the evils which drunkenness entails.”
Fuel: Coal is easily obtained locally.

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