REV. ALEX BEITH, 1st Charge, West Church,

REV. GEO. CUPPLES, 2nd Charge, East Church,

REV. ALEX. LEITCH, 3rd Charge, East ~ West



Latitude and Longitude.- STIRLING CASTLE is situated in latitude 56° 6' north, and longitude 3° 55' west.

Name.- The etymology of the name is uncertain. The names Stirling and Strivilin or Stryviling were, at one period, both in use, as we find them both occurring in the same Acts of Parliament. The latter name, at an earlier period, almost uniformly occurs; and this in documents reaching back to the beginning of the twelfth century. On the other hand, it appears from a passage in William of Worcester's Itinerary, that, as early as his time, it was known by the name of Styrlyng. By Buchanan and others, who have Latinized the name, it has been called Sterlinum. On the present seal of the burgh, there are the words Sterlini oppidum. On an ancient seal, the castle is called Castrum Strivilense.# The place was also, at a very early period, known by the name of Snowdon, which is said to signify the fortified hill on the river.

* Drawn up by the Rev. George Cupples, East Church, Stirling.

#The Rev. Mr Stirling, Minister of Port, who edited Nimmo's History of Stirlingshire, a learned antiquary, and extensively acquainted with the topography of this district, conjectures that the ancient name was Strila, and gives the following etymology; "strigh" strife, and " lagh," bending the bow; Strighlagh, the strife of archery. Mr Stirling says of himself that, not being a Gaelic scholar, he took great pains to ascertain from those who were accurately acquainted with the language, the etymology of the names of places in the county

Extent, Boundaries, Figure, &c.-The parish is 2 miles in its greatest length from west to east; and 14 mile in its greatest breadth from north to south. Its figure is very irregular; depending in some places on the waving line of the Forth, in others on the deep indentations made in it by the parish of St Ninians. By this parish it is bounded on the west, south, and east; by the parish of Logie, on the north-east and north; and by the parish or Lecropt, on the north. It contains, besides the site of the town and castle, and the numerous gardens, &c connected with them, 1030½ imperial acres. The soil of the landward part is generally of a rich carse clay. The King's Park, which is somewhat elevated above the carse, and of an undulating surface, and some parts of the high grounds in the neighbourhood of the castle, consist of what is here called dry-field, that is, a sharp, warm soil, adapted to the cultivation of oats, barley, turnips, &c. There is scarcely any waste hilly ground in the parish. There are no caves or Caverns. The sloping eminence on which the upper part of Stirling and its citadel are built, in combination with the River Forth, the rich vale through which it flows, and the magnificent scenery formed by an extended plain and fine ranges of hills and mountains beyond, give it great picturesque beauty. This eminence rises gradually from the south-east, and terminates abruptly on the north-west. On the highest part of it, where it is girt by lofty and precipitous rocks, at an elevation of 220 feet above the plain, stands the ancient Castle of Stirling, which, when seen from the south or west, itself forms, with its solemn gray battlements and tower, and the sheer precipice beneath, an object of great and striking beauty; and commands all around a panorama of almost unrivalled loveliness and grandeur, comprehending in its details, (one of which is the extraordinary winding of the slowly receding and gradually extending river,) almost every feature that can gratify the sense of sight, and present to the mind an impressive image of natural beauty, adorned with the artificial, but legitimate, embellishments super-added by the hand of industry. At a small distance, and in different directions, are seen three or four similar eminences, rising like this from the surrounding alluvial flat. All these, and especially the Castle-hill of Stirling, are said by those who have visited the East, to bear a striking resemblance to the eminences on which the Acropolis of Corinth and of Athens, and other citadels, are built.

Meteorology.-The temperature of the atmosphere here, as compared with the neighbouring districts, is warm; the ground being, with the exception of the upper parts of the town of Stirling, but a few feet above the level of the sea. In the winter season, the frosts are generally of short continuance, and alternated with open and comparatively mild weather. Occasionally, they are intense and continued; even to the effect of, in some rare instances, Covering the Forth with ice of considerable thickness, and making it practicable for sliding and skaiting, and converting it into a thoroughfare between Stirling and the village of Cambuskenneth Abbey. In summer, or rather towards the beginning and during the earlier part of autumn, the temperature is occasionally very high, but seldom steady for more than a week or ten days at a time. Indeed, the changes between heat and cold, and wet and dry weather, are great and frequent, and often very sudden throughout the year.

Through the kindness of a gentleman residing here, who has kept an accurate register for some years, I am enabled to furnish the following tabular information, which 1 have deduced from his papers.

Atmospheric pressure.-The following table shows the range of the barometer for every month of 1839 and 1840

MonthsHighest Lowest
18391840 18391840
January,30.530.4 28.028.7
February,30.330.7 29.229.2
March,30.330.7 29.329.9
April,30.730.5 29.429 7
May,30.330.4 29~329.5
June,30.330.2 29.328 S
July,30.330.3 29.529.2
August,30.330.4 29.529.2
September,30.030.3 29.129.1
October,30.530.5 29.629.1
November,30.130.5 29.129.0
December,30.330.5 29.129.2
Mean30.308330.45 29.229.1916

The following shows the range of the barometer for every year from 1825 to 1839 inclusive :-

Highest ins. Lowest ins.
182530.7January 1029 January18
182630.6March, 1329. Dec.2
182730.7Feb. 829. January,14
182830.6October 2929.1 May,2
182930.9Dec.. 1329. April13
183030.7January, 1229.1 Nov.7
183130.6January, 1328.8 Dec.7
183230.5January,. 1529.1 Nov.29
183330.5July, 3029.1 Oct.26
183430.7Dec. 1428.9 Dec.1
183530.7January, 328.9 Oct.26
183630.5May 428.7 January,.23
183730.4April, 829. Oct.30
183830.5January 828.6 Nov.30
183930.7April 1028. January,.7
Means30.62 29.02

Temperature.- The following table shows the range of the thermometer for every month of 1839 and 1840:-


The daily average each month was as follows

Mean daily averages46.0375 48.4808

The hottest day in 1839 was the 18th of June, when the thermometer stood at 68°; the coldest the 10th of February, when it was at 21°. The hottest day in 1840 was the 7th of August, thermometer at 67°; the coldest the 30th of January, thermometer at 22°.

All the observations were made at 9 o'clock A. M. and 9 o'clock P.M.

Weather.-The following table shows the recurrence during. 1840 of the other particulars, which, along with the pressure and temperature of the atmosphere, combine to form the character of the weather :-

Days of :

Months. E. wind. W. wind. calm. Rain. Frost. Snow.
January,912 10 17 7 3
February, 12 15 2 13 12 4
March, 7 21 3 6 19 0
April, 13 12 5 12 2 0
May,16 12 3 16 0 0
June, 5 21 4200 0
July, 0 23 8190 0
August, 8 15 3 13 1 0
September, 7 16 7 21 3 0
October, 4 13 14 10 11 0
November, 9 4 17 15 9 2
December, - 6 3 20 10 15 2
96 169 101 172 79 11

On twelve days of the year gales occurred ; viz. in January, 4 February, 1 ; May 1 ; June, 4; consecutively ; November., 1

On the 22d October 1839, at or near 10 o'clock P. M., two slight shocks of an earthquake were distinctly felt in several places in Stirling.

There is no rain-guage here, by which the quantity of rain might be determined.

The atmosphere of the lower part of the town being, from its trifling elevation, and from the heavy quality of the soil, somewhat humid, combines with the variableness of the weather to produce occasionally catarrh, sore-throat, influenza, and similar complaints. Typhus and scarlet fever also, from time to time, make their appearance, and prove severe; the former chiefly, but by no means exclusively, among the poor; the latter usually among the young. Small-pox, of late years, has often visited the town and has, in many instances, proved fatal. Measles and hooping-cough, as may be expected, frequently prevail, and carry off a portion of the children of the place. Cholera prevailed to a very considerable extent in Stirling and the neighbourhood, at the time of its general prevalence throughout the island. Ninety cases were reported to the Central Board of Health, as having occurred in the town, of which fifty-nine terminated fatally. It broke out again in 1832. The cases were much fewer in number, but a larger proportion proved fatal.

In forming an estimate of the healthfulness of any place, it must always be an interesting object to ascertain the component parts and qualities of the water daily consumed by the inhabitants. The water of the public wells here is spring-water brought from the Touch hills, three miles from the town, in a pipe of two inches calibre, delivering at its maximum 19,532 imperial gallons in twenty-four hours, or, for each individual or the present population, 2.271 gallons; and at its minimum, 7812 gallons, or for each individual, .909 gallons per day, showing in seasons of drought a very inadequate supply, insufficient to preserve the cleanliness of the poorer classes, and consequently injurious to their health. It is very pure in its appearance, and its chemical analysis, discovering no other substance combined with it but muriate of lime, proves it to be really so. It is admirably adapted for domestic purposes. Besides the water supplied by the public wells, there is near the south Port, on the very verge of the parish towards St Ninians, that of the well called St Ninian's Well, on account of its having been dedicated to that saint. It is celebrated for its copiousness and purity. It is a hardish water, but of low specific gravity, and much used for washing. It has been calculated, that, were all the water proceeding from this spring forced into the pipes that supply the town, it would afford every individual not less than 14.03 gallons per twenty-four hours. It is protected by a small building, part of which is supposed to have been a small chapel, but is more likely to have been a bath. Its temperature is very cold. It exhibits, in addition to muriate of lime, sulphate of lime, or plaster of Paris. It is, therefore, not quite so well adapted for culinary purposes as that of the public wells; yet it is not, on account of the small quantity of sulphate of lime found in it, less wholesome. It is well adapted for, and much used in, brewing. The poorer classes in Stirling inhabit generally very old houses, many of them in closes closely congregated together, and are far from being particular in removing from their neighbourhood the filth thrown from their dwellings. This must have a very injurious effect on their health. On the other hand, the immediate neighbourhood to the town of the King's Park, affording a cheerful outlet into the fresh air, and a beautiful and bracing promenade, contributes much to counteract this unhealthful influence. The high elevation, too, of the upper parts of the town, promoting a free circulation of air, tends to diminish the dampness of the atmosphere, produced by the proximity of the river and other causes in the lower parts. So that, notwithstanding some disadvantages such as those that have been mentioned, the various healthful influences with which they are combined produce, upon the whole, a salubrity so well known, as, along with the extraordinary beauty of the situation, to attract many families not connected with Stirling by nativity, relationship, or professional business, to settle themselves in it as residents. A remarkable illustration of the healthfulness of the climate may be given on the authority of the same medical gentleman ( W.H. Forrest, Esq) to whom I have been indebted for many of the above particulars. The number of cases of consumption which have occurred in the Stirling Dispensary since its institution down to February 11 of this year, amounts to 26; the number of all diseases to 2809. These give a ratio of 1 in l08 cases. In England the ratio, in every place where it has been determined, is much higher. In Worcester, it is 1 in 22; in London, 1 in 19; in Bolton-le-Moors, 1 in 21; in Plymouth, 1 in 32; and at the Land's End, 1 in 28. In other words, for every case of consumption that occurs in Stirling, 42 cases occur in the places just enumerated. The relative mortality from consumption is also very low in this town ; 21 of the cases occurring in the dispensary proved fatal, and the deaths from all diseases amounted to 252. This gives a ratio of 1 in 12 deaths. According to Sir James Clarke, the most esteemed writer on the subject, the average relative mortality is as high as 1 in 8. By others, however, it is calculated as low as 1 in 5. If we take the medium between these, viz. 1 in 4, we should have had, instead of 21 fatal cases of consumption, no fewer than 63. This induction of facts surely justifies the conclusion, that too much has not been ascribed to the highly favoured situation of Stirling, the purity of its atmosphere, and other advantages possessed by it, in reference to its general salubrity. I may be permitted to add, that, within these very few years, several individuals have died at the advanced ages of 88, 89, and even 90; and that there are some still alive, who have attained to a great age, one of whom, a female, during the last month, entered upon her 94th year.

The River Forth.-This is the only stream of water, deserving of notice, connected with the parish ; which, in some places, as has been already mentioned, it bounds; and, in other places, intersects, by separating from the other portions of it the village and Barony of Cambuskenneth. This river, called by the Romans Bodotria, probably Latinizing, as best they could, its ancient Celtic name, respecting which nothing certain is now known, has its source from a spring in the northern side of Ben Lomond, near the summit; traverses Stirlingshire for ten miles under the name of Duchray, augmented as it proceeds by numberless mountain streams; then enters Perthshire, and receiving near Aberfoyle, in the river that issues from Lochard, an accession equal to the volume of its own waters, takes the name of Avondow, or Black river; after running about five miles in Perthshire, it again joins Stirling-shire below Gartmore House, and obtains the name of Forth, which it retains throughout the remainder of its course. It is only when it approaches the immediate vicinity of Stirling, that it becomes distinguished for size and beauty. Having then received the Teith and Allan, and beginning to be swollen by the tides which affect it more than a mile above Stirling bridge, it has become both wide and deep; and, not only by its magnitude and serpentine meanderings, forms a feature of great interest in the landscape; but is navigable for vessels of various burden as high as the shore of Stirling. Downwards towards Alloa, it continues to be enlarged by receiving the Bannockburn on the south, and the Devon on the north, and by the increasing influence of the tide; and winds its way by a tortuous course, and with extraordinary majesty and beauty, to Alloa, where it begins to lose its character of a magnificent river in that of a noble estuary. The tide rises near the Drip bridge, at the point where it is arrested by a rock crossing the channel, five feet at stream-tide; and about four fathoms lower down near Stirling. It has certain intermissions of ebb and flow, making a kind or secondary tide. Its utility as a navigable river is much impaired by fords, or rocky shallows, occurring in certain places a little below Stirling. But vessels of seventy tons burden reach the shore. The whole course of the Forth, from its source to Alloa, where it becomes an arm of the sea, may be estimated at about sixty miles; although the actual distance between these two points does not exceed thirty-five miles. The surface, which it drains, is estimated at 541 square miles; and it is believed, as the result of calculations, which appear to proceed on carefully ascertained data, that the fresh water it conveys to the ocean, is about one-half of what is discharged by the Spey, and one-fourth of what is discharged by the Tay. It is thus, in point of magnitude, the third of Scottish rivers.

Geology and Mineralogy.-The rocks are of the coal-formation. They crop out within a mile of the ridge of the Castle-hill at Craig-forth on the north-west, and at Causewayhead on the north; where they are met by the old red sandstone, which continues to Callander. Under the town and castle, and in the King's Park, which is to the south of these, the coal-formation is surmounted by green-stone, which, in a few instances, assumes a regularly formed columnar aspect. The fossil remains are marine shells. In the alluvial clay there is a stratum of vegetable matter, in which are found pieces of decayed wood, hazel-nuts, and reeds; which seem to have been deposited by water, and which generally lie from 10 to 14 feet below the surface. This stratum extend not less than six miles near the margin or the Forth. Its breadth is unequal. It is found in some plac6s, a mile from the river. It varies from 6 to 16 inches in thickness; but, considering the pressure of the superincumbent mass of clay upon it, we are led to conclude that its thickness must have been originally much greater. In the coal-formation have been found thin strata of ironstone, and in the green-stone there are seen veins of calcareous spar. The alluvial deposits are clay, sand, arid gravel. In some places the sand and gravel are 40 feet deep. The clay has in one place been ascertained to be upwards of 70 feet in depth. Under the gravel, clay is also round of an unknown depth, abounding with rolled blocks. The head of a Deer or Stag, was found in the brick field to the north of the town near the river. In the lower part of the parish, as throughout the Carse of Stirling, of which it forms a part, the soil is entirely alluvial; and is believed to rest on the coal-formation. In the higher parts the Soil is gravelly. The plants most frequently and peculiarly attached to the soil are furze and broom; in the King's Park, the latter only. An attempt was lately made to find coal immediately under the high ground contiguous to the Castle-hill to the north; but none was obtained worth working, at a depth of upwards of 70 fathoms. *

* For this account of the Geology of the parish, I am indebted to Alexander Blackader Esq., Land-surveyor.

Zoology and Bottany. -The rarer animals found in the parish are the polecat, the otter, the black-snake, and the adder. The wolf and the red-deer formerly existed in the district; but have been long extinct. The cattle, sheep, horses, &c. bred in the parish are not distinguished in any way from those that are reared in the adjoining country. In the river are found salmon, grilse, sparlings or smelts, pike, perch, trout, eels, and flounders. Of these the three first mentioned are of great importance. Salmon and grilse furnish a highly prized article of food, and constitute also a branch of profitable trade, many being exported. They come up the river to spawn in spring, and return to the sea in autumn. The sparling makes its appearance for some time in spring; and is, while it remains, a favourite article of food, especially with the lower classes.

The following rare, or otherwise interesting native plants, have their habitats on the Castle and Gowland hills, viz.-

Resale Luteola Anchusa sempervirens Convulvutus arvensis
Resale lutea Sedum telephium Convulvutus sepium
Oxalis acetosella Sedum - anglicum Echium vulgare
Viola odorata Geranium lucidum Symphytum officinale
Chelidonium major Geranium sanguineum Borago officinalis
Hyoscyamus niger Sherardia arvensis Scrophularia vernalis
Verbascum Lychnitis Conium Maculatum Parietaria officinalis
Leontirus cardiaca Pyrethrum Parthenium Stellaria nemorum
Smyrnicum olusatrum Tanacetum vulgare Gallium cruciatum
Rosa rubiginosa Cartinus Marianne Gallium saxatile
Ornithogalum umbellatum Lactuca virosa

The following are found both on the hilly and lower grounds of the King's Park, viz.-

Solanum dulcamaraPrimula vulgaris Spirra ulmaria
Rosa spinosi~imaAgrimonia Eupatoria Saxifraga granulata
Prunus PadusRanunculus Americanus Caiths palustris
Flyacinthus non scriptusPinguicula vulgaris Anthyllis vul neraria
Menyanthes trifoliataA nagallis arvensis Cartlamine pratensis
Valeriana officinalisAdiantum Capillus Veneris Viola tricolor

The principal forest trees thrive well either in the rich clayey loam or alluvial soil of the lower grounds, or in the lighter soil of the higher parts. On the light sandy loam, are growing some noble specimens of the Scotch elm (Ulmus glabra) and beech.