1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Clackmannanshire

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CLACKMANNANSHIRE, the smallest county in Scotland, bounded S.W. by the Forth, W. by Stirlingshire, N.N.E. and N.W. by Perthshire, and E. by Fifeshire. It has an area of 35,160 acres, or about 55 sq. m. An elevated ridge starting on the west, runs through the middle of the county, widening gradually till it reaches the eastern boundary, and skirting the alluvial or carse lands in the valleys of the Forth and Devon. Still farther to the N. the Ochil hills form a picturesque feature in the landscape, having their generally verdant surface broken by bold projecting rocks and deeply indented ravines. The principal summits are within the limits of the shire, among them Ben Cleuch (2363 ft.), King’s Seat (2111 ft.), Whitewisp (2110 ft.), the Law (above Tillicoultry, 2094 ft.) and Blairdenon (2072 ft.), on the northern slope, in which the river Devon takes its rise. The rivers of importance are the Devon and the Black or South Devon. The former, noted in the upper parts for its romantic scenery and its excellent trout-fishing, runs through the county near the base of the Ochils, and falls into the Forth at the village of Cambus, after a winding course of 33 m., although as the crow flies its source is only 5 1/4 m. distant. The Black Devon, rising in the Cleish Hills, flows westwards in a direction nearly parallel to that of the Devon, and falls into the Forth near Clackmannan. It supplies motive power to numbers of mills and collieries; and its whole course is over coal strata. The Forth is navigable as far as it forms the boundary of the county, and ships of 500 tons burden run up as far as Alloa. The only lake is Gartmorn, 1 m. long by about 1/3 of a mile broad, which has been dammed in order to furnish water to Alloa and power to mills. The Ochils are noted for the number of their glens. Though these are mostly small, they are well wooded and picturesque, and those at Menstrie, Alva, Tillicoultry and Dollar are particularly beautiful.

Geology.—This county is divided geologically into two areas, the boundary line skirting the southern margin of the Ochils and running westwards from a point north of Dollar by Alva in the direction of Airthrev in Stirlingshire. The northern portion forms part of the volcanic range of the Ochils which belongs to the Old Red Sandstone period, and consists of a great succession of lavas—basalts and andesites—with intercalations of tuff and agglomerate. As the rocks dip gently towards the north and form the highest ground in the county they must reach a great thickness. They are pierced by small intrusive masses of diorite, north of Tillicoultry House. The well-marked feature running E. and W. along the southern base of the Ochils indicates a line of fault or dislocation which abruptly truncates the Lower Old Red volcanic rocks and brings down an important development of Carboniferous strata occupying the southern part of the county. These belong mainly to the Coal-measures and comprise a number of valuable coal-seams which have been extensively worked. The Clackmannan field is the northern continuation of the great Lanarkshire basin which extends northwards by Slamannan, Falkirk and the Carron Ironworks to Alloa. Along the eastern margin between Cairnmuir and Brucefield the underlying Millstone Grit, consisting mainly of false-bedded sandstones, comes to the surface. Close to the river Devon south of Dollar the Vicars Bridge Limestone, which there marks the top of the Carboniferous Limestone series, rises from beneath the Millstone Grit. The structure of the Clackmannan field is interesting. The strata are arranged in synclinal form, the highest seams being found near the Devon ironworks, and they are traversed by a series of parallel east and west faults each with a downthrow to the south, whereby the coals are repeated and the field extended. During mining operations evidence has been obtained of the existence of a buried river-channel, filled with boulder clay and stratified deposits along the course of the Devon, which extends below the present sea-level and points to greater elevation of the land in pre-glacial time. An excellent example of a dolerite dyke trending slightly north of west occurs in the north part of the county where it traverses the volcanic rocks of Lower Old Red Sandstone age.

Industries.—The soil is generally productive and well cultivated, though the greater part of the elevated range which is interposed between the carse lands on the Forth and the vale of Devon at the base of the Ochils on the north consists of inferior soils, often lying upon an impervious clay. Oats are the chief crop, but wheat and barley are profitably grown. Sheep-farming is successfully pursued, the Ochils affording excellent pasturage, and cattle, pigs and horses are also raised. There is a small tract of moorland in the east, called the Forest, bounded on its northern margin by the Black Devon. Iron-ore (haematite), copper, silver, lead, cobalt and arsenic have all been discovered in small quantity in the Ochils, between Alva and Dollar. Ironstone—found either in beds, or in oblate balls embedded in slaty clay, and yielded from 25 to 30% of iron—is mined for the Devon iron-works, near Clackmannan. Coal has been mined for a long period. The strata which compose the field are varieties of sandstone, shale, fire-clay and argillaceous ironstone. There is a heavy continuous output of coal at the mines at Sauchie, Fishcross, Coalsnaughton, Devonside, Clackmannan and other pits. The spinning-mills at Alloa, Tillicoultry and Alva are always busy, Alloa yarns and fingering being widely famous. The distilleries at Glenochil and Carsebridge and the breweries in Alloa and Cambus do a large export business. The minor trades include glass-blowing, pottery, coopering, tanning, iron-founding, electrical apparatus making, ship-building and paper-making.

The north British railway serves the whole county, while the Caledonian has access to Alloa.

Population and Government.—The population was 33,140 in 1891 and 32,029 in 1901, when 170 persons spoke Gaelic and English and one person Gaelic only. The county unites with Kinross-shire in returning one member to parliament. Clackmannan (pop. 1505) is the county town, but Alloa (14,458), Alva (4624), and Tillicoultry (3338) take precedence in population and trade. Menstrie (pop. 898) near Alloa has a large furniture factory and the great distillery of Glenochil. To the north-east of Alloa is the thriving mining village of Sauchie. Clackmannan forms a sheriffdom with Stirling and Dumbarton shires, and a sheriff-substitute sits at Alloa. Most of the schools in the shire are under school-board control, but there are a few voluntary schools, besides an exceptionally well-equipped technical school in Alloa and a well-known academy at Dollar.

See James Wallace, The Sheriffdom of Clackmannan: a Sketch of its History (Edinburgh, 1890); D. Beveridge, Between the Ochils and the Forth (Edinburgh, 1888); John Crawford, Memorials of Alloa (1885); William Gibson, Reminiscences of Dollar, Tillicoultry, and other Districts adjoining the Ochils (Edinburgh, 1883).