A short statistical note about Lochwinnoch

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland cover,1791-1799 (the first ), and the period to 1845 (the second). Prepared by the ministers in the 938 parishes in Scotland, they are a wealth of information about each district, its geology, farming, history, industry and peoples. The Statistical Accounts are available on line at  http://edina.ac.uk/Index.shtml  

The First Account of Renfrew by the Rev James Steven runs to ten pages; the Second Account by the Rev Robert Smith runs to no less than 39 pages. They are well worth a read but for the casual visitor here are some statistics that help explain both the growth of Lochwinnoch and its eventual decline. The figures particularly reflect the growth of cotton working in the district.

Population:

1695   Families  290
1755                                          1589 Persons
1791                  557                   2613
1801                                           2955
1811                                           3514
1821                                           4130
1830                                           4500
1851                                           4515

Average annual births, marriages and deaths

1791   28 male  26 female  Total births 54  marriages 22
1845                                                      94                   31  deaths 77

Numbers of farmers in the district

1695       186
1791       148
1845       130

Occupations in the district in 1791 reflect a self dependent, still  largely agrarian society which has expanded (from ca 1750s) to light industries along its waterways. The first mills and bleach greens were set up in 1740 and 1752.

Farmers   148
Cotton mill workers  380.  wages  ca 2/6d a day
Weavers   135.  In 1791 15 working for local farms; 203 outworkers 
                            for Glasgow and Paisley factories.
Tailors   19
Shoemakers   14
Grocers   2
Bakers  2
Butchers   2
Wrights (artificers, wood/metal workers)  39  1/8d - 2/2d a day
Masons   27    2/-s to 2/2d a day
Smiths  31
Surgeons   2
Ministers   1
Writer (lawyer)   1
School masters   2
Ale sellers  14.

Men servants  10-12 a year
Maid servants  4 pa.
Day labourer 1/4d - 1/8d a day

Land rents depending on quality of land, were between 12/- to 2 an acre. But poor lands were as low as 5/-s an acre. Farms were let for usually 19 years from 15  to 110 a year. Not more than a third of the land was allowed to be tilled at one time and had to be manured. Crop rotation was  a requirement of most leases with ploughing for 2 years and resting for four. There is very good pasture land in the district which was used to good effect for fattening cattle and producing great quantities of milk and butter. In the early 1800s there was a move towards leases for 10-12 years, and for them to be granted perhaps two years before the current lease ran out. This encouraged farmers to keep the tenancies and reap the benefit of their labours.  The farms themselves were not large averaging around the 50 acres, with some much smaller. Few exceeded 100 acres and there was a move for the larger estates to be broken up into smaller farms thereby creating more rentals and income for the proprietors. Rents were normally due  at Martinmas and Whitsunday, Martinmas for arable lands and Whitsunday  for houses, yards and pasture land.

The Second Account does not give a similar breakdown of employment, but output  from the 9 mills in the area had grown until about 1820 when there was a change in trade and weaving practices to fine silks and cambrics. A major influence was the onset of the industrial revolution that saw steam power take over from water wheels and a consequent shift of the cotton industry. The observation is made that the mill workers were drawn and pale from their labours in the mills but nevertheless enjoyed a reasonable diet, including meat daily, and lived well for their times. Their working hours would frighten the modern employee - 12 hours a day Monday to Friday and 9 hours on Saturday for about 2/6d - 3/6d a day ( 12.1/2p - 17.1/2p today`s currency). The minister comments on the number of ale houses, which in 1791 was 14 and in 1845 risen to 24, 

" There are 24 inns in this parish, which are too many, and do an incalculable amount of mischief without being balance by almost any good. The institution of temperance societies led to an inquiry into the amount of ardent spirits and other liquors used here, and the melancholy and astounding fact was forced upon us, that in this, as in neighbouring parishes, three or four times more money is expended in this manner than is required to support both our churches and schools, and all our charitable and religious institutions."

Given they worked 12 hours a day one wonders when the populace had time, let alone money, to spend on carousing. 

An interesting consequence of the growing industrialisation, especially in the Clyde valley, was that wages for labourers began to increase.  Farm workers worked from 6am to 6pm in summer and from 8am to 4pm in winter. But invariably the hours were governed by the season and the weather, with indoor jobs such as threshing done in dark and wet days and extra hours put in during manuring, sowing and harvest.

Prices of labour and piece work rates in Renfrewshire.
 
(Wilsons Agricultural Survey of Renfrewshire (1810).

  1792 - 4 1804 1810    
  s d s s d
Men servants by the year
besides board in the 
masters house.
10 0 0 15 0 0 21 0 0
Women servants, do. 3 15 0 6 0 0 8 0 0
Labourers, per day 0 1 4 0 1 11 0 2 2
Carpenters, by the day 0 1 9 0 2 8 0 3 6
Masons by the day 0 2 0 0 2 10 0 3 6
Reaping, by the acre 0 8 0 0 12 0 0 14 0
Thrashing, per boll 0 1 0 0 1 3 0 1 6
Thrashing per quarter 0 1 11 0 2 11 0 3 6
Women in harvest,per day 0 1 1 0 1 8 0 2 6
 
  1795 1810
from to from to
s d s d s s
Ploughing & harrowing by acre 0 15 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 10
Mowing hay, per acre 0 1 10 0 2 6 0 4 0 5
Digging ground, per acre 2 0 0 4 0 0 4 0 6 0
Inclosing hedges, ditches with top rails, per fall of 18/1/2/ft 0 2 6 0 3 0 0 4 0 6
Days work, horse cart and driver 0 3 0 0 4 6 0 7 0 8

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