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ALLOA - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"ALLOA, a parish, burgh of barony, seaport, and market town, in the county of Clackmannan, Scotland, 2 miles to the N.W. of Clackmannan, 7 from Stirling, and 32 miles from Edinburgh. It contains the villages of Cambus, Collyland, Holton Square, and Tullibody, and is situated on the northern bank of the Frith of Forth, where the river Devon falls into it. It is a station on a branch of the, Stirling and Dunfermline railway. It became the property of the Erskines in 1365, when David II. conferred it on Lord Erskine, in exchange for Strathgartney, in Perthshire. The parish of Alloa extends about 4 miles in length, but its extent of bank along the winding Forth is about 5½ miles, and 2 miles in breadth, consisting for the most part of braes, "bonnie links o' Forth," which slope up from the water's edge. The burn of Alloa intersects it, and the land is good and fertile. There are extensive coal-fields, yielding coal of good quality, which is one of the principal articles of export, the annual average yield being from 76,000 to 80,000 tons. The town, part of which is very ancient, stands on level ground by the Forth, and is backed by pleasant hills. The old streets are narrow and irregular, but clean, and the town has been greatly improved. Many pleasant residences have been erected on the hill behind the town to the west. It is a bonding port, and has a ferry at the head of the Frith of Forth, which is here 500 yards in breadth. There is a good quay, and the harbour has a depth of water of twelve to twenty-two feet, enabling vessels of large size to lie close up to the quay at any state of the tide, which cannot be done at any other port on the Frith. There is a dry dock, in which vessels of 400 tons burden can be repaired. A wet dock is now being formed. The trade of Alloa has increased very much during late years, but not in proportion to its natural advantages. There were five steam vessels belonging to the port in 1851, besides sailing vessels, the aggregate tonnage of which were above 20,000 tons. These vessels are chiefly engaged in the coasting trade, which is considerable; others visit the colonies and foreign ports, especially Holland and the Baltic. The harbour is under the charge of trustees. The chief articles of export are coal, glass, ale, and woollens; the chief articles of import, flax, linseed, corn, wool, timber, and iron. There are eight ale breweries, large glassworks established in 1825, woollen manufactories, spinning mills, brick: and tile works, and two ship-building establishments. There are also a pottery, brass and copper works, and a steam engine and machine manufactory. Assembly rooms, a custom-house, gas and water works, and a courthouse, are the principal public institutions. The town is a burgh of barony, and a sheriff's court is held. The affairs of the town are now managed by a board of nine Commissioners. The market is held on Wednesday and Saturday. Cattle fairs take place on the second Wednesday in the months of February, May, August, and November. The living is within the presbytery of Stirling, value £299, in the patronage of the crown. The church, built in 1819, is an elegant Gothic edifice, with a handsome spire 200 feet in height, and stands on the hill. There are two Free churches in the town, and one at Tullibody, two chapels belonging to the United Presbyterians, and others to the Episcopalians, Baptists, Primitive Methodists, and Swedenborgians. There are parish and free schools, ragged, and industrial, and infant schools, and various charitable societies. Two weekly newspapers are published, called the Alloa Advertiser, and Alloa Journal. One of the most interesting objects in the district is Alloa House, the ancient seat of the Erskines, Earls of Mar. Of the old building there remains only a tower of the 13th century, ninety feet high, with walls eleven feet in thickness, the rest having been destroyed by fire in 1800. It stands secluded in a beautiful park. It is believed that Mary, Queen of Scots, spent part of her early life in Alloa House, as one of her guardians was Lord Erskine. Her son, James VI., also was here in his boyhood, in charge of the Earl of Mar, as was afterwards his son, the Prince Henry. A stoutly made cradle and chair used to be shown as those of the "infant Solomon." Alloa was the birthplace, in 1748, of David Allan, the historical painter. Tullibody, now united with Alloa, was the birthplace of Generals Sir Ralph and Sir Robert Abercrombie. The parish extends over an area of about eight square miles."

"CAMBUS, a village in the parish of Alloa, in the county of Clackmannan, Scotland, 2 miles to, the W. of Alloa, at the junction of the Forth and the Devon."

"COALYLAND, a collier village in the parish of Alloa, in the county of Clackmannan, Scotland."

"HOLTON-SQUARE, a village in the parish of Alloa, county Clackmannan, Scotland, not far from Clackmannan. It is principally occupied by colliers."

"OLD and NEW SAUCHIE, villages in the parishes of Alloa and Clackmannan, county Clackmannan, Scotland, 2 miles N. of Clackmannan, and 3 from Alloa. They are situated on the road to Alloa, and are chiefly inhabited by persons employed in the neighbouring collieries. A chapel-of ease was erected here in 1841. The colliery of South Sauchie comprises an area of 26 acres, and has a 9 feet seam of coal. In the early part of the present century this pit fired, and was accordingly designated the "burning waste," and to prevent it from spreading a wall was built round at an outlay of £16,000. In 1851 the fire was finally extinguished by means of a jet of steam, thus reclaiming property valued at near £200,000. The district also abounds in limestone and iron-ore, for the working of which latter extensive works were established in 1792 on the banks of the Devon."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]