On November 7th 1833, a few years after the new church was opened, an appointed committee resolved to have the ground that was to form the new graveyard, laid out in lots for sale. The committee decided to present No 1 Lair to a local minister, Dr Macleod, in recognition of his public service, especially in matters of the new church and churchyard. Dr Macleod expressed his willingness to pay the regular price for the lair, but the committee thought it would be 'unbecoming' to accept any price from him. In accepting the gift from the heritors, Dr Macleod promised to make it the burying place of his family, and that his own remains would be brought back to Lennoxtown for burial. Rev. MacLeod was born in Campbeltown in 1812. (but raised in Campsie)
Dr MacLeod was a Gaelic speaking highlander who was a prodigious author and social reformer. During the 10 years of his ministry in Lennoxtown, he worked steadily on a Gaelic dictionary, which he published in conjunction with a colleague. In 1851, he accepted the charge of the Barony Church in Glasgow. He was horrified by the poverty in this parish and worked hard to improve conditions for the parishioners. He extended the local school, began evening classes for adults, set up a savings bank, a clothing society and 'refreshment rooms' to provide good-value food for his parishioners.
He was also deeply interested in the Celtic population of Ireland, and went to Ulster to assist the Presbyterian Church to form and extend churches in the synod of Ulster. He made a metrical version of the Psalms in Irish Gaelic, for the Irish Presbyterian Church.
It was said of him that if his heart could be seen, it would surely be wearing a kilt.
The lair is in the North West corner of the graveyard, and is marked by a tall, graceful, Ionic cross, erected to the memory of four Drs named Macleod, father, sons and their relatives. The funeral of Dr McLeod senior, in November 1862, was a public one. It was twenty five years after he left the parish, and yet, in a town of nearly 3000 people, such was the respect that every shop was shut spontaneously. Various memorials were erected in his honour, including two windows in Crathie Church, gifted by an admirer, Queen Victoria
Rev. McLeod dictated his autobiography to his daughter, but this finished before his stay in Campsie. His daughter however, managed to compile an account of the times using letters and other resources. The following is a condensed version of her account.
Rev. Norman McLeod transferred from the quiet burgh of Campbeltown to Campsie on August 11th, 1825, when he was 42 years old. There was a marked contrast between Campbeltown with its invigorating sea breezes, and his new inland locality of Campsie with a climate somewhat trying, where public works, chemical manufacturers, collieries, bleach-works with their tall chimney's, darkened the air with smoke and polluted the fields and streams with filth. The employees at those works were collected from all parts of the kingdom ---Irish (numerous), English, Highland, and Lowland -- mostly regardless of the ordinances of religion. and many holding the wildest and most extreme political opinions. Labour quarrels and strikes occurred at times, culminating in one subsequent instance in a serious riot requiring the intervention of the military See: Strike
The old native population consisted chiefly of handloom weavers, clever and intelligent men, but given more to politics and scandal than to theology and church attendance. The elderly weavers wore knee breeches, long 'rig-and-fur' stockings and bonnets of 'Kilmarnock' night caps, and resided mainly at the old Clachan and village of Haughhead.
During the first year of Norman McLeod's service, there was great poverty and suffering quietly borne among this worthy class. An appeal was made to the Government for aid and clothing. A grant of old stores came from Stirling Castle to the manse for distribution, and a lot of utterly useless articles (such as knapsacks) were sent at the same time. But soldiers jackets and trousers were given out, and thankfully received by the poor weavers. They got the red jackets dyed black and wore them.
A fortunate change in the style of work came soon afterwards, when the 'Harness looms' came into use. These required a boy to assist as a 'drawer'. Thereafter trade again became prosperous. The population of Campsie was them upward of 6000. All belonged to, and worshipped regularly in the Parish Church; there was no ecclesiastical division, no social distance between the Laird and the people. Miss Lennox, a stately old lady of the old school, was the principal heritor, and resided at Woodhead, then a fine old Scottish baronial mansion.
The church, manse, and parochial school were all situated at the Clachan of Campsie, far removed from the centre of the parish. The church was a small, quaint, dilapidated building, with low galleries. Interments took place within the walls, and the manse pew had for flooring the gravestones covering the remains of the Stirling's of Glorat. The church finally closed because it couldn't accommodate the number of worshippers, crowds coming to the Clachan from neighbouring parishes, making it an excuse for a holiday, but not a holy day.
When communion was administered in the church there needed to be thirteen separate services or 'tables', and several clergymen were required to assist. A tent had to be erected in the churchyard, and the people gathered around it, sitting on the gravestones or in chairs carried in from the neighbouring houses, clergymen by turns conducting services from the tent.
The interior of the church was dingy, and this was added to by one side wall being painted jet black and daubed with white spots, representing the tears of mourning for the late Princess Charlotte of Wales. The manse stood in a low situation, often enveloped in thick fog, when it would be clear on higher ground. It was the old stereotyped Scottish manse - front door without a porch, and the usual five windows at the front, no water supply; this had to be carried by servants in 'stoups' from a far off spring. ( During the later years of Rev. McLeod's time in Campsie, the water was said to have been 'brought in'. Maybe water was run from the stoups to nearer the dwelling houses, or even inside the houses -unclear on this!)
The parish school was taught by Mr. John McFarlane, a noble specimen of a class of teachers, then not uncommon in Scotland. He was a thoroughly good classical scholar, a pious man who had been educated for the ministry. He was a sharp disciplinarian, ruled in the old fashioned way, occasionally with liberal use of the 'tawse'. (Could this be McFarlan of Balencleroch?) The spelling is slightly different, but it could be him.
In the immediate vicinity of the parish the scenery was picturesque in the extreme. Close by was the romantic Glen, also Finglen, visited by crowds of strangers. The ascent to 'Crichton's Cairn', the Earls seat, and the old thorn tree, rising from a mass of weather beaten stones, which in the old covenanting days had been used as a pulpit by the minister, was always pointed out.
There were many old fashioned 'auld warld' characters in the Clachan, and most had appropriate nicknames to distinguish them. A couple of these were 'hand-me-down Bob', and 'Earl'. County asylums didn't exist at the time, though there was scarcely a parish without its innocent fool. Davie 'The Earl' was widely known. He attended church regularly, although sometimes his movements provoked a titter or smile among the congregation. He was a great coward in the dark, and not having the capacity to whistle to keep his spirits up, got some boy to 'cry him up' as he called it. When starting for home, the friendly voice would shout, "Are you there, Davie!" or something else, and Davie would reply. "Cry me up man, cry me up." This continued until he reached home.
Although the Parish was only 10 miles from Glasgow, it was, in 1825, comparatively isolated as regards communication. There was no public conveyance until a year or two later. Johns Greys 'Noddy' drawn by a single horse, was usually hired for the day, other people sharing the cost with the hirer. On returning from town, passengers were dropped off at their respective stops, closest to where they lived. MacFarlane the carrier, had a broken kneed horse, but journeyed twice a week bringing goods and money from the bank, required for paying wages at works. See: Coach Company
Track boats on the Forth and Clyde Canal could be joined near Torrance for Edinburgh or Glasgow. They progressed at the rate of four miles an hour. There was a cabin and stewards pantry, and eating and drinking went on, as in a sea going vessel: there was the constant rattle of dice from the backgammon players, and an old fiddler, scraping away merrily, broke the quiet movement of the boat, as it glided dreamily along, no one in a the least hurried or flustered. When fast boats began to ply in the canal, it was considered a surprising feat to accomplish the journey from Glasgow to Edinburgh in seven and a half hours.
In a letter to his father-in-law, Mr. Maxwell, Dr McLeod describes his feelings at the closing of the old Clachan church, and the opening of the new church in Lennoxtown.
"Have been attending meetings, writing funeral sermons for one church, and consecration services for another. The closing of the old church was more solemn than I anticipated. There was a large attendance of parishioners, and I had the prudence to prepare a sermon suitable to the occasion. You will find my text in St. Matthew, xxiv. 35 - Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away; the instability of all earthly things, and the permanence of the Gospel."
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