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(194) Page 156 - BIG
A plain Second Pointed, cruciform, aisleless structure,
it retains the low central tower with NE belfry turret,
the corbie-stepped western gable, and the smbattled choir
with trigonal apse ; but, whitewashed, plastered, be-
pewed, and galleried in 1795 and 1834, it has lost a W
porch, N sacristy, and lych-gate, along with its gilt oak
chancel roof, its organ loft, and its emblazoned scutcheons.
In its churchyard lie three generations of the Gledstanes
of Liberton, beginning with 'John Gladstones, malt-
man and burgess in Biggar' (1693-1756), great-grandsire
of the present premier. The United Presbyterians have
two places of worship, the North and South or Moat
Park and Gillespie churches ; the former (rebuilt in 1866
at a cost of £1400) was served from 1S06 to 1822 by Dr
John Brown, the well-known biblical expositor, whose
son and namesake, author of Fab and his Friends, was
born at the manse, 22 Sept. 1810. Monday is market-
day ; and fairs are held on the last Thursday o. s. of
January (horses and hiring), the Thursday after first
Tuesday of March (seeds), the last Thursday of April
(horses, etc.), the Thursday after 11 June (do.), the
third Thursday o. s. of July (wool and shearers), the
first Thursday after 12 August (cattle show), the 15
September if Thursday, if not Thursday after (horses,
etc. ), and the last Thursday o. s. of October (do. ). Three
public schools, East, South, and West, with respective
accommodation for 102, 110, and 195 children, had
(1879) an average attendance of 72, 89, and 171, and
grants of £77, £77, 2s., and £178, 14s. 6d. Municipal
constituency (1881) 200. Pop. (1790) 589, (1831) 1454,
(1841) 1395, (1851) 1530, (1861) 1448, (1871) 1471,
(1881) 1556.
Bounded RW by Liberton and Walston, E by Skirling
in Peeblesshire, S by Culter, and SW by Liberton, the
parish has an extreme length, from Broomy Law at its
north-eastern to the Clyde at its south-western angle, of
6£ miles ; a varying breadth from E to W of 7 furlongs
and 4 J miles ; and an area of 72S84 acres, of which 16|
are water. The Clyde, near Culter station, traces the
border for some 300 yards ; but most of the drainage is
carried eastward to the Tweed by Biggar Water, whose
level haugh, 640 feet or so above sea-level, comprises
the SE corner of the parish. All its remaining surface
swells into moderate hills, rounded and soft in outline,
rising northward to 788 feet near Spittal, 1192 near
Balwaistie, 842 near Carwood, 1176 on Ewe Hill, 817 on
Strawlaw, and 1399 on Broomy Law ; westward to 975
feet near West Lindsaylands, 1041 near Springfield, and
1275 and 1024 on Biggar Common. The prevailing
rocks are eruptive, including greenstone, porphyry, and
amygdaloid, which last has yielded fine pebbles and
moss-agates ; the soils consist chiefly of clay, sand, loam,
and peat-moss. During the last half century great im-
provements have been effected in reclaiming and fertilising
land and in restraining the Biggar's inundations, so that
less than a fifteenth of the entire area is left now as too
hilly for the plough, whilst nearly one-ninth is covered
by plantations. A moat hill, at the W end of the town,
is 36 feet high, and 120 paces round the base, 54 round
the top ; of Boghall Castle, which stood in a swamp J
mile to the S, hardly a shred remains, it having fifty
years since been razed for the sake of its stones. This
was the seat of the great Fleming family, Lords Fleming
from 1460, and Earls of Wigtown from 1606 to 1747,
whose founder, Baldwin, settled at Biggar under a
charter of David I. (1124-53). His descendants figure
in the battles of Halidon Hill, Otterburn, and Pinkie,
and in the annals of Dumbarton Castle ; and Biggar's
chief memories centre round this stronghold. As for
the battle fought in 1297 on Biggar Moss, between
Edward I.'s vast host, 60,000 strong, and Wallace's
3000 horse (plus an unknown quantity of ill-armed foot),
the battle in which 11,000 Englishmen were slain, it
rests on Blind Harry and local tradition. But Boghall,
we know, lodged Edward II. in 1310, Queen Mary in
1565 ; in 1568 it yielded to the Regent Murray, and in
1650 to Cromwellian troopers, who held it next year
against Leslie's summons to surrender, when Charles II.
reached Biggar en route for Worcester. And its beauti-
ful ruin was sketched by fat, fodgel Grose (1789), and
visited by Scott and Lockhart (1831), within a twelve-
month of Sir Walter's death. Modern mansions, with
the proprietors and the extent and yearly value of their
estates in the shire are — Biggar Park, 1 mile SW of the
town (Jas. Neilson, 348 acres, £625) ; Carwood House
(1832), 2 miles N by W (Wm. G. Mitchell, 1525 acres,
£1413) ; Cambus Wallace, 1 mile NNE (Jn. Paul, 71
acres, £183) ; and Edmonston Castle, 3 J miles NNE ( Wm.
Allan-Woddrop of Garvald House, Dolphinton, 3205
acres, £3029). In all, 4 landowners hold each an annual
value of £500 and upwards, 10 of between £100 and
£500, 17 of from £50 to £100, and 35 of from £20 to
£50. Biggar is seat of a presbytery in the synod of
Lothian and Tweeddale ; the total value of the living is
£430. Valuation (1881) £14,445, including the 2J
miles of railway. Pop. (1801) 1216, (1S31) 1915, (1S51)
2049, (1861) 1999, (1871) 2013, (1881) 2128.— Ord. Sur.,
sh. 24, 1864.
The presbytery of Biggar 'comprises the parishes of
Biggar, Broughton, Covington, Culter, Dolphinton, Dun-
syre, Liberton, Skirling, Symington, Walston, and Wan-
del. Pop. (1871) 6537, (1881) 6230, of whom 1928,
according to a Parliamentary Return (1 May 1879), were
communicants of the Church of Scotland in 1S78, the
sums raised by the above eleven congregations amount-
ing in that year to £603. The Free Church presbytery
of Biggar and Peebles, meeting at the latter town, com-
prises the churches of Broughton, Culter, Ellsridgehill.
Innerleithen, Kirkurd, Peebles, and Skirling, which
together had 1108 members in 1880.
See Wm. Hunter's Biggar and the House of Fleming
(Edinb. 1862; 2d ed. 1867), and Prof. J. Veitch's 'Mr
Gladstone's Ancestors ' in Fra,scr's Magazine (June 1SS0).
Biggar, The, a stream of Lanark and Peebles shires,
rising in the NE of Biggar parish at an altitude of some
800 feet, and first, as Biggar Burn, flowing 6f south-
westward, southward, and south-westward, along the
Walston and Liberton boundaries, and through the
interior past Biggar town. It next, as Biggar Water,
flows 5 miles east-by-southward, parting Biggar and Skir-
ling from Culter and Broughton, and traversing Brough-
ton, till, at about 600 feet above sea-level, it falls into
the Tweed, f mile NNE of Drummelzier. Its lower
course lies through an open vale ; and at the point where
it bends from southward to eastward, or 1A mile from
the Clyde, it is joined by a rill that in times of high
flood brings to it part of the waters of that river. Open
to the public, it abounds in fine red-fleshed trout, averag-
ing \ lb.
Bilbster, an estate in Wick parish, Caithness, with a
mansion and with a station on the Wick branch of the
Sutherland and Caithness railway, 5 miles WNW of
Wick town. Between 1850 and 1875 its purchaser, Mr
Jas. Henderson, expended nearly £12,000 on improving
the estate.
Billikellet or Balleykellet, a ruined ancient mansion
in Big Cumbrae island, Buteshire, f mile N by E of
Millport. It belonged to a family of the name of Mont-
gomery, who are said to have possessed the greater part
of the island till about the beginning of the 18th cen-
tury. Among the last of the line was Dame Margaret
Montgomery, joint-patroness of the kirk, who, being on
horseback at the green of Largs, is said to have been
thrown off amidst a crowd of persons ; but, being a
woman of high spirit, she pursued the horse, and
received a stroke of his foot, which proved instantly
fatal. ' The arms of this family,' it is stated in the Old
Statistical Account, ' are upon the end of the kirk, and
were lately to be seen on a part of the ruins of Billi-
kellet. About a quarter of a mile from those ruins there
is a large standing stone set up on end, with about 6
feet of it above the ground. It appears to have been
the rude monument of some ancient hero. '
Billy. See Btjnklb.
Billyness or Billow Ness, the western headland of
Anstruther Bay, in Fife.
Bilsdean, a hamlet and a burn of NE Haddington-
shire. The hamlet is in Oldhamstocks parish, and lies

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