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VJ'NE of the most important and beautiful counties in Scotland, is situated partly in the Highlands
and partly in the Lowlands ; bounded on the east by the county of Linlithgow and the river Forth, on
the south and west by Dumbartonshire, on the north by the shires of Perth and Clackmannan which
latter county touches it also on the east), and on the south and south-east by a portion of Lanarkshire.
Its boundaries are in many places distinctly marked by water-courses or lakes — the principal boundary
line on the north being the Forth, the Avon on the east, the Kelvin river on the south, the Endrick
water on the south-west, and Loch Lomond on the west. The figure of the county is extremely singu-
lar, and has been fancifully likened both to a fish and a serpent : its tail, which diminishes to an apex
at the north, is inserted between the counties of Dumbarton and Perth ; and its head is suddenly turned
towards the shires of Lanark (on the south) and Linlithgow on the south-east. Its length from east to
west is thirty-six miles — but, following the curvature of its form ; from east to its northern point it will
measure upwards of forty-five miles ; its breadth varies from twelve to twenty miles, except where it
declines towards the north, and here the distance across is very trifling. The shire comprises an area
of four hundred and sixty two square miles, or two hundred ar.d ninety-five thousand, eight hundred
and seventy-five statute acres of land, of which, two-thirds are under cultivation.
Early History. — This county, from its situation between the firths of Forth and Clyde, and on
the direct passage from the northern to the southern parts of the island, has been the scene of many
memorable transactions ; and there are few counties where monuments of antiquity are so frequently to
be met with ; neither does it yield to any in point of modern improvements or in the beauties of scenery.
The wall of Antonius, built for the purpose of protecting the Roman conquests on the south, traversed
the lower division of the county, and has left some slight traces for the investigation of the antiquary ;
the remains of Roman forts are also distinguishable, and weapons and coins of that invading power
have been occasionally dug out of the soil. After the overthrow of the Pictish sovereignty, Stirlingshire,
with all the country upon the south side of the Forth, was for some years under the dominion of the
Northumbrian Saxons ; and at a later date it passed quietly under the government of the Scottish sov-
ereigns. Subsequently considerable importance was attached to the county from the position and
strength of the castle of Stirling (which we shall notice more particularly under the head of its locality),
commanding, as it did, the most important pass betwixt the northern and southern districts of the king-
dom. In the twelfth century it was much benefited by David I, who erected religious houses, particu.
larly that at Cambuskenneth, within its bounds ; and the inmates of these establishments being generally
learned men, their pious authority tended to civilise the rude manners of the population.
Surface, Soil, Produce, Minerals, Manufactures, &c— This county, as has been said, is
partly Highland and partly Lowland. The former, which is in the western quarter, and adjacent to
Loch Lomond, is a mountainous district; here the majestic Ben Lomond rises to the height of more than
three thousand feet. East from this Highland part, the land becomes flatfish, or gently inclining
towards the Forth or the Endrick. In the centre of the county the ground is again elevated into a series
of hills, of which those of greatest altitude are from thirteen to fifteen hundred feet in height; from one
of these emiuences, in Kilsyth parish, there is obtained one of the finest views in Scotland ; it is com-
puted to embrace an extent of 12,000 square miles. Many of the hills in the central, and more especially
in the southern division, have their sides and even their summits clothed with a fine green sw r ard, which
affords excellent pasture for sheep. The eastern division of the county consists of beautiful carse land,
in many places quite flat, and in others presenting a succession of inclined planes, gradually rising
towards the south from the rich vale of the Forth. In this quarter the country has experienced improve-
ments of the most extensive and beneficial character ; and it now exhibits the pleasing spectacle of
fertile meadows, fields in the highest state of tillage, with plantations, pleasure grounds, gardens, and
orchards, all in the most exuberant vegetation and fruitfulness. A lmost every variety of soil to be met
with in Scotland occurs in Stirlingshire ; but the most common and the most fertile in the county is the
alluvial or cai - se land, which occupies many thousands of acres on the banks of the Forth ; in this
species of soil there are beds of shells, clay, marl, and moss In the western and central districts, on
the banks of the rivers, the land is generally of a light and gravelly description ; while patches of rich
loam present their surface to the husbandman in other parts of the county. From the great variety of
the soil, the system of agriculture in Stirlingshire naturally cannot be uniform, nor its produce equally
abundant or limited to any particular species : large crops of wheat, barley, beans, peas, turnips,
potatoes, &c. are raised ; the culture of artificial grasses has also been very generally adopted in this
county. The extensive ranges of moor in the upland district are exclusively devoted to the feeding of
numerous flocks of sheep, which are of the old black-faced cr Highland breed ; there are but few cattle
reared, the county being sufficiently supplied by the drovers from the Highlands. Stirlingshire is infe-
rior to "few districts of Scotland in the quantity and variety of its Mineral productions, the most abundant
of which are coal, ironstone, limestone, and sandstone. The principal coal-pits are in the southern base
of the Lennox hills ; but this valuable article is also obtained in the eastern district, in the vicinity of
the Forth and Clyde Canal : the county produces such quantities of this mineral as not only to be suffi-
cient for home comsumptiou, but, by means of the Union Canal, to supply the metropolis. The ironstone
limestone, and sandstone are found in the same districts with the coal. Veins of silver were discovered
and wrought about ninety years ago, but the working of them was soon discontinued; copper, lead, and
cobalt have likewise been raised at different periods, but not to any considerable amount. The grand
staple manufacture of this county is iron goods, both cast and malleable, the chief seat of which is at
Carron, near Falkirk. The making of nails for carpenters' work is also carried on, in several parishes
(especially in that of Saint Ninians), to a valuable extent ; at Saint Mnians are likewise manufactured
tartans ; at Stirling, tartans and shawls ; and at Bannockburn (ever memorable for the decisive defeat
of the army of Edward by the triumphant Bruce) carpets are manufactured ; while in other towns and
localities are calico printing works, large distilleries, tanneries, breweries, and chemical establishments.
Rivers, Mountains, and Railways. — The Forth is the principal river in Stirlingshire; it takes
its rise from a spring near the summit of Ben Lomond, and ; after receiving in its course the Teith, the
vo 1221

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