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Statistical Accounts of Scotland


Old and New Statistical Accounts

Cathcart Greenock Kilbarchan Neilston
Eaglesham Houston & Killallan Kilmacolm Paisley
Eastwood Inchinnan Lochwinnoch Port Glasgow
Erskine Inverkip Mearns Renfrew

General Observations (NSA)

InverkipGreenockPort GlasgowKilmacolmErskineInchinnanRenfrewHoustonKilbarchanLochwinnochPaisleyNeilstonEastwoodMearnsCathcartEaglesham

The OSA references below are to the Edina site. In most cases they are to the main entry on roads for each parish but some additional links are provided to other relevant information. When Edina page appears go to browse scanned pages for the link.

Additional material from Crawford and Semple’s History of the Shire of Renfrew (reprinted Renfrew District Council 1991) is included. This was published in 1782 by Crawford but contains earlier material written by Semple in 1710.

The parish maps are based on sheet 14 of the 1/4" Ordnance Survey map of 1903. With thanks.
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.

Crawford and Semple give useful details of early bridges and also early attempts at road making. They also mention the deepening of the Clyde at Dunglass where there was a ford, and ferries at Cloch Point, Greenock to Drumfork (just east of Helensburgh), the West Ferry of Erskine opposite Dumbarton Castle and the East Ferry of Erskine opposite Old Kilpatrick.

The only mention of prehistory in the Statistical Accounts is of a subterranean village near Cathcart. Some thought there was a Roman camp on Camp Hill (in present day Queen's Park) and two in Kilmacolm parish (as mentioned by Crawford and Semple), as well as one in Paisley connected by road to the east.

The Cathcart account details roads at the time of the battle of Langside (1568); at Barochan there was an ancient road-side cross; a"Roman bridge" in Inverkip parish, and one in Lochwinnoch parish mentioned in Paisley Abbey's Rental Book in 1525. Crawford and Semple mention a Paisley Abbey charter of 1490 that refers to a bridge over the Cart and the king's highway in the town.

The Accounts mention the ferries noted in Crawford and Semple with additionally the Renfrew ferry that used to be sited mile upriver. Those living by the Clyde found it more convenient to use the steamers that ran up and down the river than travel by road. Details are given of the Glasgow to Johnstone canal which was later replaced by a railway. It afforded comfortable and rapid transport at the time. Descriptions are given of the unusual Inchinnan bridge which crosses the White Cart and the Gryfe at their confluence. The part crossing the Cart made navigation difficult and so was filled in and a short canal made to divert the river. This canal is now crossed by a rolling lift bridge.

There are a couple of references to how bad the early roads were such as that between Beith and Paisley being "very hilly and almost impassable for horses and carriages." Neilston c.1770 had "scarcely a road in the parish." Goods were generally carried by pack-horse. There were early turnpikes but these were not well-made or maintained and could have a bad line. The Neilston account says that in 1790 these roads had " hilly and rough courses, were very tedious and unpleasant, and often unsafe to travel on." Later turnpike roads were much better and a good transport system of coaches and carriers developed. The statute labour roads varied by parish - some were good, others bad.

The usual details of fairs, the availability of coal, and the postal service are given.


Crawford & Semple
Page 193 Roads: Pollokshields-Langside-Glasgow; Kilmarnock-Glasgow
Page 196 Bridges at Cathcart Castle and in Cathcart
Page 201 Bridge in Langside dating from 1772
Bridge at Drips over the White Cart, 1701.

Brief mention of the Kilmarnock and Ayr road running through the parish and of a bridge over the Cart (NMRS record).


Details are given of a subterranean village (NMRS record) on the farm of Overlee.
Details also of a putative Roman encampment on Camp Hill.
In an account of the Battle of Langside (1568), the writer discusses the roads that existed at that time. The road from Hamilton either crossed the Clyde at Dalmarnock or came through Rutherglen entering the parish at Hagginshaw (Hangingshaw - now Prospecthill Road) and passing along the ridge of what is now known as Mount Florida where it coincided with the Glasgow to Ayr road that wound round the south side of the Clincart Hill. From this road, 100 yards west of the present Ayr road, it diverged by the bank of a morass on what is now Bushy-Aik Lane (now Battlefield Road) to Langside village. The Ayr road continued to the south, crossing the Cart by the still remaining bridge near the old castle. The Queen, watching the battle from near the castle, left the battlefield by a lane that joins the road to Rutherglen at the Hagginshaw, which because it was so muddy is still known as Mal’s Mire (on alignment of Menock Road as it runs into Carmunnock Road just east of railway station).
An omnibus leaves Clarkstone toll for Glasgow every day (page 509).

Crawford & Semple
Page 218 Bridges: Polnoon over White Cart, "built after the old model with one arch…"; Kirkland over White Cart, built 1765 - on East Kilbride road; bridge over Water of Earn; another bridge at Kirkland on the Carmunnock road.

There is a turnpike to Glasgow and one is presently being built from Ayr to Edinburgh by Hamilton. A turnpike road is proposed from Muirkirk, through here, to Glasgow.
The village is "oppressed with gangs of gypsies, commonly called tinkers or randy beggars…"


Eaglesham Road south-east of village said to have been built by the Earl of Eglinton to his hunting lodge at Cleughearn

Details of a historic fair. In 1672 it is noted that the village lay on the King’s Highway.
Smuggling used to be common.
A coach runs to the head of Main Street, Gorbals, twice a week, and three carriers also run to Glasgow twice a week.
Fuel can be obtained but from some distance away, viz. Glasgow, Wellshot and Hamilton.

Crawford & Semple
Page 184 There are 2 bridges over the Aldhouse burn - one was built in 1755.
Main street is causewayed for two furlongs - there is a toll at the western end. The main road from Ayrshire runs through here.
Page 189 Private bridge at Pollok House built 1757/8. There is also a wooden bridge under lock and key in the east of the grounds.

No mention of roads.


The main settlement is Pollockshaws. It has a post office served from Glasgow - there is no market but provisions are readily obtained.
Several turnpike roads run through the parish, with stage coaches but the toll-dues are oppressive - it costs 1/4d for a single horse-gig to travel three miles. Bridges and fences in good condition.
Coal used as fuel.

Crawford & Semple
Page 62 Some details of both ferries. At Dunglass attempts to deepen the Clyde began about 1774 with jetties built to scour the river and open ended boxes being dragged back and forth across the river, lifting 1200 tons per day.
Page 64 The great road between Glasgow and Greenock passes through. From Renfrew it passes Inchinnan, then south of Erskine and to the north of Kilmacolm to reach Port Glasgow.

OSA Ferry; Roads
The East Ferry or Ferry of Erskine is nearly opposite Old Kilpatrick. It takes horses, carriages and foot passengers. Fine quays have recently been built. Another ferry called the West Ferry is opposite Dumnbarton Castle and is used mostly by foot passengers.
The former turnpike between Glasgow and Port Glasgow had a poor route and has been replaced by a new road along the side of the Clyde.
The crossroads are poor and there are difficulties with the statute labour.

p. 501 There are "two points on the old post-road between Greenock and Glasgow, from which may be had most enchanting views of the far-famed lake and mountain scenery of the west of Scotland." Some forty years ago there used to be an inn here where the coach which ran between Greenock and Glasgow would stop - 12 hours was alloted for the journey of 24 miles. It now takes one hour by rail.
p. 520 Post office in Bishopton with regular collections and deliveries. Those near the Clyde get their post from Old Kilpatrick.
Apart from the (new) public road from Glasgow to Greenock there are parish roads to Inchinnan, Houston and Kilmacolm maintained under the statute labour.
The stage coaches that used to run to Greenock and Glasgow have long been replaced by steamers that call in at Erskine Ferry every half-hour.
Erskine Ferry allows easy communication with Old Kilpatrick and the West Ferry with Dumbarton. There is an inn at Erskine Ferry, well-frequented by dinner parties from Glasgow and, as it is the lowest ferry for carriages and horses going to Dunbartonshire and the West Highlands, is much used for this purpose. Details of the fares are given.
Although the West Ferry (opposite Dumbarton Castle) is dilapidated and little used there are plans to improve it and introduce a steam boat service that will run to Dumbarton and further afield.
Railways are now much used for the carriage of freight as the rates are so moderate.
Coal and peat are used as fuel.

Crawford & Semple
Page 78 There is a ferry over the Clyde to Drumfork.

Old parish
Notes desirability of making the high grounds of the parish more accessible by constructing roads "conducted in a winding line.." He refers to the practice of building roads in a straight line whatever the gradient, and cites the road between Port Glasgow and Crosshill now being changed.
New parish or Town of Greenock
Street lamps being used.
Fifteen years previously there had only been one stage coach to Glasgow each day, now there four; as well as one to Irvine and a daily coach in winter to Port Glasgow and eight post-chaisses.


Many details of the shipping trade and of industries are provided.
Greenock is the market town for this parish and for Inverkip and Kilmacolm.
There is a post office with frequent collections and deliveries.
There are 8 miles of turnpike road in the parish, mostly in excellent condition. There are hourly omnibuses to Port-Glasgow and Gourock. Steam-boats have completely replaced stage coaches for travel to Largs and to Paisley.
Two fairs each year. Coal easily obtained with some peat used in the upland areas of the parish.

United Parishes of Houston and Killallan
Crawford & Semple
Page 102 No mention of roads or bridges.

There was an ancient cross (NMRS record) by the road side near Barochan that may have been a "devotional cross for travellers" .

Nearest market town is Paisley, seven miles away although many goods can be bought and sold in Johnstone, three miles away. Cattle fairs in May. Coal and peat available for fuel.

Crawford & Semple
Page 39 Considerable details are given of Inchinnan bridge. It was built in 1759 and has ten arches

Inchinnan Bridge (NMRS records and photos) has 10 arches crossing the White Cart and the Gryfe (the confluence of the Gryfe and Black Cart is just west of Glasgow Airport - beyond this point it is now known as the Black Cart) as well as an arch from the centre of the bridge to the Paisley road. It had been a toll bridge until 1787.


Views of Inchinnan Bridge - the White Cart once flowed under the first bridge but was filled in and diverted by the canal which is now crossed by the rolling lift bridge a little to the east - see 6" map, Renfrewshire, sheet VIII

As it was difficult to navigate under Inchinnan Bridge, a canal was built between the Clyde and Paisley.
Inchinnan Bridge crosses over both the Gryfe and the White Cart at their confluence.
Grain is disposed of in Glasgow and Paisley; dairy produce in Paisley.

Rolling lift bridge over the "canal" (NMRS)

Means of Communication
The Glasgow to Greenock road passes through and there are two good roads to Paisley. Inchinnan and Barnsford (over Black Cart on A726 just west of airport) bridges "supersede the fords or ferries of former times."
Manure is carried by water from the towns.
There used to be a mail-coach and several stage-coaches on the Greenock road each day but the railway has replaced these.
There is a postal service. Coaches run from Renfrew to Glasgow and Paisley.
Since the last account, the roads are greatly improved.

Crawford & Semple
Page 89 Road from Greenock. Another road is being made from Gourock to join this road at Ellie-Mill and Fancy-farm.
Page 100 There is a public ferry at Cloch-point.
Two bridges over the Kipp and Daff - both high and narrow.

The road to Irvine and Ayr is good. A John Stewart altered five miles of the road towards Greenock.
There are no tolls.
A ferry runs to Dunoon.


"Roman Bridge" at Inverkip
The "Roman Bridge" - thought to be mediaeval
There is a very old bridge on the Dunrod Burn - Dunrod is close to the Kipp Burn.





Crawford & Semple
Page 113 Mention of road to Lochwinnoch.
Page 114 Streets are causewayed.
Page 120 Mention of bridges - Aliestoun Bridge; a bridge built in 1754 at Pennal over Gryfe on the road to Kilmacolm; a bridge at Kaimhill on the road between Bridge of Johnston and Bridge of Weir (the latter was rebuilt in 1770); and one at Craigends.
Page 128 Gives a description of a road from Bridge of Johnston, passing over Kaimhill Bridge then along the top of the Long-Hill and by Bridge of Weir to Kilmacolm. Another road leads to Houston.
In 1767-68, a Mr Milliken "carried the old road from its ancient course" and made a new one via Branscroft and Whitelands into Kilbarchan. He had also funded most of the cost of two roads from Bridge of Johnston to Kilbarchan. He also had a stone bridge over the Black Cart built in 1761 and made a large contribution to the rebuilding of the Bridge of Johnston
Page 134 Stone bridge over the Lochar, 1762
Page 135 Wooden bridge at Craigends
Page 137 Private bridge under lock and key near to Blackston House. Bridge built at Linwood over Black Cart circa 1762.



Bridges in good condition; the roads could be improved but are still better than those of neighbouring parishes. The roads are built at the expense of private gentlemen with assistance from the statute labour funds. They are repaired from the statute labour which is paid in kind - only the village has had this commuted.
A toll road is being built from Paisley to Newport, Glasgow (i.e. Port Glasgow) by the Bridge of Johnston and Kilmacolm. Another is proposed from Paisley by Linwood to join the new Glasgow to Greenock road. These roads will be a great benefit.

Mention of West Ferry on the Clyde, opposite to Dunbarton Castle.
The nearest market town is Paisley but most goods can be obtained here or in Johnston. There is a post office in Johnston. Roads are good.
Although there are no coaches, it is possible to travel from Johnston to Paisley and Glasgow by passage-boat on the canal, at a rate of 8 mph.
Coaches to and from Lochwinnoch, Beith, Ardrossan, and Glasgow, pass about a mile south of this village.

Crawford & Semple
Page 72 Details of bridges - at Duchal House 1775; at Old Duchal; at the "step-ends - all on Duchal Water.
There are bridges at Milton and Littlemill over the Gryfe, both built since 1710.
There may be a Roman camp at Gibblestoun and one at Deriestoun in the Finlayston area
(Note: there is a Gibbleston near Carruth House, 2 miles west of Bridge of Weir and a Dennistoun just south of Kilmacolm though nowhere near Finlaystone - see 6" map Renfrewshire, sheet VII - both locations have mottes marked nearby - see NMRS record for Gibbleston ).


Poor roads. Thirteen bridges, built and maintained mainly by the family of Porterfield are in good condition. There are three larger bridges on the main Glasgow to Port Glasgow road. Two miles of the Greenock road runs through the parish.
The statute labour is not commuted and is performed badly.
There is a toll-bar on the road between Port Glasgow and Kilbarchan. A turnpike making for easier communication between Ayr and Port Glasgow and Greenock is being considered.

Road between Kilmacolm and Bridge of Weir
Road from Kilmacolm looking towards Bridge of Weir - the old road is on the left

Port Glasgow is the nearest market and post town. There are about six miles of public roads, with two toll bars. Roads and bridges in good condition.
There used to be a fair here. Coal and peat available although coal is expensive due to its distance.




Crawford & Semple
Page 142 Mention of Roman road leading from Erickstone to Braehead.
Page 143 On the north side of the parish there is a road from Ayrshire and the west that heads eastwards to Paisley, Glasgow etc, and northwards to Port Glasgow and Greenock. Another road goes north towards Dunbarton, Port Glasgow etc by Alieston Bridge, Kilbarchan etc.
On the south side of the parish a road leads from Ayrshire to Paisley and Glasgow.
Bridges: Over Moorburn; at Maich -1765; Kerse Bridge over the Dubbs Brook, rebuilt 1765; Loch Bridge at west end of Loch Winnoch, 1768 - there used to be a wooden bridge here; Calderhaugh, half a mile west of Lochwinnoch, over Calder Water 1769.
Page 160 Elieston Bridge was rebuilt in 1762.
There is a main road between Kilbarchan and Kilmarnock with a branch near Elistoun to Quarrelton and Paisley.
A new road is being made between Paisley and Beith - formerly the road was very hilly and "almost impassable for horses and carriages".
Page 165 Kerse Bridge was built in 1782.
Page 168 Clarksbridge rebuilt about 1715.

Roads greatly improved from not so long ago when they were hilly, narrow and near impassable in wet weather.
Two new lines of turnpike to Kilbirnie and to Port Glasgow have been proposed. The parish roads cost £100 p.a. from the statute labour commutation money.

Twelve miles of roads and walks in the policy of Castle Semple.

Bridgend Bridge

Bridgend bridge (see also NMRS record) over the Calder, north of the village, is very old being mentioned in a charter of 1650 and the rental of Paisley Abbey in 1525. As it was so narrow it was widened in 1814.
Parochial Economy
The nearest market town is Beith, but everything can be obtained here in Lochwinnoch.
Means of Communication
There is a post office here and regular carriers to Glasgow, Paisley, Greenock and Port Glasgow etc. There are excellent turnpike roads and bridges, and good private roads.
A stagecoach from Saltcoats and Beith passes near the village on its way to Glasgow and returns later in the day, taking four hours for the complete journey and two hours to Lochwinnoch.
Interesting details of fairs are given.
Coal is easily obtained in the parish.

Crawford & Semple
Page 206 Kilmarnock road built about 1777.
Page 211 Wooden bridge at Capelrig.

The road are good and road-making materials close at hand. Roads passing through are the Glasgow to Kilmarnock and the Glasgow to Stewarton road. There is also a road to (East) Kilbride and Hamilton.
Parish roads were made and repaired by statute labour but this has now been commuted to a monetary payment.

Mearns Kirk Mearns Castle

Right to hold a weekly market and two annual fairs.
The village (Newtown) is formed of two rows of houses on the Glasgow to Ayr road. Before 1792, there were hardly any roads, and these bad. Everything was carried on horse back.
Coal is available at reasonable prices.

Crawford & Semple
Page 171 At Wester Arthurly, a "Danish stone", seven feet long is used to cross a small stream.
Page 172 There is a bridge over the Levern near Dovecoat Hall.
Page 174 Roads from Stewarton and Beith meet in Neilston. They continue as one road to Arthurly where they branch to Paisley, and to Glasgow by Eastwood and Pollokshaws.

No particular mention of roads. Coal has been found at the east end of the parish but there are no roads available to exploit it.


Neilston Church
Neilston Church

Although the nearest market town is Paisley, most goods can be obtained here. Post offices in Neilston and Barrhead.
Means of Communication
Two new turnpikes run through the parish and there are three coaches every day. One turnpike runs to Irvine from Glasgow going by the Hurlet, Barrhead, north of Neilston and Uplawmoor, and the other from Paisley to Neilston, Stewarton, Kilmaurs, Kilmarnock and Ayr replacing the "old mountainous one" south of Neilston - the new road runs past Loch Libo. There are 22 bridges on the turnpike roads.
Around 1770 there was "scarcely a road in the parish." Goods had to be carried on horseback and people living in the moorland districts were frequently cut off. Even the early turnpikes - there were three in the county by 1790 - had "hilly and rough courses, were very tedious and unpleasant, and often unsafe to travel on." All this has now changed.
Several fairs are held. Coal used as fuel.
Miscellaneous Observations
The writer gives more details of the past state of the roads. In 1790 there were no stage coaches running through the parish but by 1834 the Levern Trader, the Perseverance, the Sons of Commerce, and the Union stage-coach from Irvine to Glasgow by Loch-Libo were running. The tolls were very high.

Crawford & Semple
Page 221 Listing of roads
Page 248/250 Mentions of Ross’s map, c. 1750 and Pennant’s Tour through Scotland
Page 257 The road from bridge of Johnston to Dicks-bridge is called the High Street and is 776 yards long
Page 260 Bridge at Elderslee
Page 261 As part of improvements to the Paisley Kilbarchan road in 1782, a gentler gradient was created near Elderslee Bridge
Page 266 Bridge over the Espedair near Barrelholm close to the Neilston road
Page 270 Linwood Bridge 1765 - two roads from here to Paisley
Page 271 Marksworth bridge near Easter Walkinshaw
Page 276 In a charter of Paisley Abbey dated 1490 there is mention of the bridge over the Cart and the king’s highway leading westwards to the vennel opposite the Wellmeadow.
Page 277 Mention of Causeyside

Town of Paisley: There are well-paved streets and 3 bridges.

Parish of the Abbey of Paisley: A good turnpike road runs east-west through the parish. The statute labour roads are very poor. This situation is expected to improve with a new act for building certain turnpikes and commuting the statute labour work into money.
Up until 1770, goods were generally carried on horse back for lack of roads and carriages.

Considerable details given of a putative Roman camp in Paisley and a road that ran to it from the main western Roman road via Mauls Mire.
Bridge at Johnston.
Large post office in Paisley and one in Johnston.
Weekly market and several fairs.
Hourly coach to Glasgow and regular services on the canal. Coaches also run to and from Beith and Saltcoats and Renfrew and Neilston.
About three years ago a steam-coach ran to Glasgow but when the boiler burst with loss of life the service was withdrawn.
Roads and Bridges
The turnpikes and other roads are in excellent condition. The main road is the Glasgow road which crosses the Cart by a very old bridge. There are several other bridges.
Hourly boats run to Glasgow and Johnston. In the year ending 30th September 1836, 423,186 passengers used these boats.
Increase of travelling: Whereas there was only one weekly coach to Glasgow in 1814, some 200 passengers were carried each day in 1834. Moreover, in that year, 307,275 passengers travelled by canal and a further 46,080 by the Cart coastways. These numbers are bound to increase with the building of railways.

Port Glasgow
Crawford & Semple
Page 75 Development started after 1668 when Glasgow built the port to receive goods for Glasgow.
In the early 1750’s a good public road was made down Clune Brae on the road from Glasgow. There is a toll.
About 1768 a good road was made to Greenock. There is a fine gravel walk on its north side for pedestrians only. It runs to Crawfurd’s Dyke.

New Port Glasgow - no mention of roads.

No particular mention of roads but considerable details are given of the port and extensive transport to Paisley and Glasgow can be assumed.

The Glasgow to Greenock highway passes through the town.
The ferry used to be between King's Inch and Blawarthill but is now quarter of a mile downriver. There are ferry houses on both sides of the river and a ferry-boat which is operated by rope and can take carriages.
The streets are very narrow and carriages find it difficult to pass through.
A cut about half a mile in length was made past Inchinnan Bridge as it was so difficult to navigate past the bridge. There is a timber drawbridge on this cut.


Renfrew town centre Renfrew Ferry

Main market towns are Paisley and Glasgow. There are three cattle fairs in Renfrew itself but no regular market.
Very good communications - there are frequent steamers on the river and daily coaches to Glasgow and Paisley as well as carriers to Glasgow and two foot-runners to Paisley. Those living on the north side of the river are not so well served but still adequate.
Post comes from Paisley and, on the north side, from Dumbarton.
There are good roads. Two run parallel on either side of the Clyde - the old Glasgow and Greenock road and the Glasgow to Dumbarton road. A road runs north from Paisley to the ferry and on the north side there is a road to the north-west of the parish. A road also runs into Paisley from Inchinnan Bridge, and one in the south-west of the parish. A railway is planned between the ferry and Paisley.
There are two main bridges, Barnsford Bridge and Inchinnan Bridge as well as a timber drawbridge on a canal that runs alongside the White Cart.

General Observations (NSA)
In 1792 there were Acts for Parliament for converting the statute labour and for building new roads. By 1812, some £100,000 had been spent on the roads.
There was a turnpike act in 1753 to give easier communication with Glasgow. Inchinnan bridge was built and roads made to Kilmarnock and Greenock; these were poorly maintained however until the 1792 act. £12,000 was spent on the shore road between Greenock and Kelly Bridge on the boundary with Ayrshire.