Stirling Council Archives (I): Drymen parish records

Copyright © 2008 Iain Kennedy (revised 23.9.08)

This is a report from my first visit to Stirling Council Archives researching the Kennedy families of the area. Firstly remember that these are not the archives of historic Stirlingshire but the county after the reorganisation of 1975, so for example Campsie records are to be found at the East Dunbartonshire Archives in Kirkintilloch instead.

I examined a number of records relating to the parish of Drymen which lies on the border between Stirlingshire and Perthshire, just south of Gartmore House. The locality was dominated by the Cunningham-Grahams of Gartmore and the Duke of Montrose. It is also rich in the history of Rob Roy who featured in several historical events in the area.

Whilst not directly related to the Kennedys, there is also considerable material about the MacGregors here, including a full transcription of clan members who signed allegiance to the chief of the clan in 1789. This document was apparently written at Killichonan on Rannoch and features over 500 MacGregors, chief amongst whom were men at both Ardlarich and Aulich, which both also had Kennedys living there at the time.

Drymen parish Parochial Board Minute Book 1848-1890

Much of this book is taken up with rather dry proceedings of the roll of paupers, but from time to time the full list of them is shown which is of great interest. Here is a typical entry.

3d July 1849 Kirk session house, Drymen

In consequence of circular letters to the members of the committee of the parochial board. The quarterly meeting for the distribution of the poors funds and for any other computed business was held this day.

Present Thomas Graham Esq of Balfunning-Douglas Revd. Alexr. Lochore David Stewart Esq Mr Graham in the chair

The meeting proceeded to revise the Roll of Paupers and resolved to reduce the aliment for this quarter to

the family of the McIndoes to £3 10s - family McNeil £1 6s - Joseph McLuckie £0 10s Widow Andrew Stewart £2 0s Widow McGregor, Larochs £0 10s Agnes Kennedy, Chapelaroch £1 5s etc

signed Tho Graham, Chairman

The Kennedy individual is already known and we will now track her and the other Kennedys through the remaining records.

4 Apr 1854 Pauper roll lists Agnes Kennedy at Gartfarran on £1 5s. Since the last mention she has also appeared in the 1851 census, where she claimed to be a native of Fort William, a pauper formerly house servant

The 1855 roll lists her again. But by 1859 she is gone without mention, as she died in October 1858 at Gartfarran (about half a mile from Chapelaroch). As is often the case with pauper deaths with no relatives to contact, her parentage on the death certificate is blank. She is of the right age to be a sibling to John Kennedy who was born at Laroch (another half mile further south of Gartfarran) but the latter's family, if my trace is correct, was from Rannoch and not Fort William.

The other Kennedys to get a mention in this book come much later when in Oct 1888 Mr William Kennedy is present on the committee itself. Other entries from that year identify him further as William Kennedy of Allen, which is no surprise since this was a notable local family and the only significant Kennedy presence in the parish in the second half of the nineteenth century. William was a Wood Merchant. One time his son Daniel stood in for him at one of the meetings. This family including both William and Daniel are buried in Drymen parish churchyard.

The next document I examined was the Kirk Session Minute Book 1831-1904. The most useful records in it are the Communion Rolls which start in December 1834. Some of the later ones just list male heads of house (and so skip our friend Agnes) but the early ones list females too.

December 1834 Village of Drymen - 124 people listed but no Kennedys Country districts read, in part

Barnford - Walter McIndoe and fam Gartness - Hugh Campbell Broompark - John Kennedy, William Graham Ballachneck Gartinsharry Chapellaroch - Robert Rennie, Anne Miller Balluig Loir Milton of Chapellaroch - Walter Stewart etc, John McLaren, Janet McLaren, John Drummond (12 in all) Gartfarran - James McDonald +7, Malcolm McNaughton, William Graham (7 in all) Badden Wards - Mary McLeod, Agnes Kennedy Skiach - John McIntyre Larochs - Peter McGregor, John Dewar Gartlach etc

So two Kennedys listed, Agnes is at Badden Wards (she keeps moving but all her residences are within a very small area) and the other is John Kennedy at Broompark. Whilst I locate Broompark, note in sequence it follows on from Harpistone, Cashlie, Gow Stone and precedes Ballachneck and Gartinstarry, all are immediately west of Buchlyvie. It is interesting that there appears to be no mention of the family of William Kennedy of Allen (which is near Buchlyvie) unless William is of John's family and only John is listed as head, since William claimed on census that he and his family were all natives of the parish and should be in the roll of 1834. In the first general census of 1841, there is an elderly John Kennedy at Allen. There is a William Kennedy merchant of the same age in Drymen village but the first mentioned William (the parochial board man) is the one giving 1811 as year of birth who is at Gartinstarry in the census and a farmer. Of the 18 Kennedys in the Drymen census of 1841, only Agnes from 'Fort William' is from outside the county. 11 of the 18 are in the household of William at Gartinstarry.

In the 1835 communion roll only male heads of house are listed, John is still at Broompark and the only Kennedy mentioned. By the next roll in 1836 he no longer appears.

The 'Record of the Management of the Fund for maintaining the Poor of the Parish of Drumin' commencing 12th August 1743 was also examined, it is an interesting read but lacks information on individual paupers. It indicates that the fund was largely collected at the church door but smaller collections came in from Chapellaroch and Cashlie.

It is difficult to match up these individuals against those recorded in the parish registers. One intriguing couple is Angus Kennedy and Janet McGregor, both classic Rannoch names, who married in the parish in 1800; Angus was residing at Middle Gartfaran about 500m north of Laroch and Janet resided at nearby Wards. This could almost have been a late second marriage for the husband of Elizabeth McKay but this new couple had children in Drymen and Campsie up to 1817; so whilst it could just about be the same Angus, if they are connected he is more likely to be a previously unrecorded older brother to the John born at Laroch in 1791. They must surely have been connected in some way as Laroch, Gartfarran and Wards are each literally within shouting distance of each other. This Kennedy-McGregor marriage record makes 'Widow McGregor' at Larochs all the more interesting, but of course we already have Peter McGregor there in 1834. By the time of the 1841 census Angus Kennedy and his wife are gone, presumably deceased. The death register for Drymen only survives for the period up to 1784 so will not cover them. (There appears to be a McGregor family including an elderly Peter at Offerance Moss adjacent to Flanders Moss, about 1km NE of Gartfarran but the more likely one is still at 16 Larochs. Note that the other people listed at Larochs included a family of McKays.) These surnames found in this enumeration district - Campbell, Fletcher, McDonald and Kennedy - all coexisted in Rannoch and it is suspected came down here together.

These were by no means the earliest Kennedys to arrive in Drymen, as the name was present as far back as the 1720s. Although it is hard to be certain it would appear that the family later at Allan were first at Cashley and originally came to the parish from Dumbarton. The latter was the nearest market town and also one of the destinations for the cattle drovers from the Highlands. There was a marriage of a John Kennedy from Dumbarton to a Margaret Mitchell of this parish in 1743; earlier still a Donald Kennedy (likely a Highlander) married a Margaret Buchanan, both of Drymen parish (they had one son in 1733 across the county border in Kilmaronock just west of Drymen village). In the 1750s what look like two of Donald Kennedy's daughters married at Cashley, by the time of the second marriage in 1755 Donald was described as deceased. Clues as to occupations are rare but when William Kennedy married Margaret Macouate in 1805 he was a flax dresser/draper; Margaret's father was from Shandon on the northern outskirts of Drymen village. Baptisms at Cashley date back at least to the 1760s. It is unclear at this stage if the Cashley and Laroch/Gartfarran Kennedys are connected.

Allan can be seen on the same John Thompson map which shows Laroch; it can also be seen (as Allen) on the modern OS map but only at 1:25000 scale, immediately adjacent to Ballochneck and about 1km SW of Cashley.