Tayside, however, would seem to have fared better than most
parts of the Highlands. This was in large measure due to the
introduction of the flax crop with the resultant spinning and
weaving of the yarn. The land around the loch was fertile. Pennant
notes in 1769 that “a great deal of thread is manufactured
and at the four fairs held in Kenmore about £1,600 of
yarns is sold out of Breadalbane to merchants who sell it again
in Perth and Glasgow where it is made into cloth”.
population of the Parish in 1755 was 3,067. This had increased
to 3,465 by the close of that century. The trades practised
around the loch included 63 weavers, 30 tailors, 36 wrights,
10 smiths, 26 shoemakers, 20 flax dressers, 8 masons, 8 coopers,
4 hosiers and 1 dyer. While the standard of living was far lower
than anyone today can imagine, it must have taken a relatively
prosperous society to maintain such a number of trades people.
Loch Tayside actually gave a lead in the flax manufacturing
process. Ewan Cameron, a carpenter, invented a machine which
carried the flax through the initial stages of preparation.
This machine was taken up by Sir John Sinclair, a man interested
in the development of Scottish industry, who was instrumental
in getting Cameron to erect lint mills in different parts of
the country. James Campbell, the minister who had seen so many
changes during his ministry, died in 1780 and was buried in
the new churchyard.
To Kenmore Church History