Wedding reception at Ballinkinrain

Rita Jolivet (born Marguerite Lucile Jolivet; 25 September 1884 – 2 March 1971) was an English actress of French descent in theatre and silent films in the early 20th century. She was known in private life as the Countess Marguerita de Cippico.

Jolivet was a passenger on the RMS Lusitania on 7 May 1915, when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland. She was saved with others when boats arrived from Ireland.

On 14 November 1908 Jolivet married Alfred Charles Stern, but the marriage soon failed. On 27 January 1916 she married her second husband, Italian nobleman Count Giuseppe de Cippico, in Kew Gardens, Surrey. Cippico and Jolivet had no children together, and the marriage ended in divorce.

After the divorce, Lady Marguerite Allan (the wife of Sir Hugh Montagu Allan of Ravenscrag, Montreal), another survivor of the Lusitania, introduced Rita to ‘Jimmy’, her husband’s immensely popular Scottish cousin, Bryce Allan of The Cliff, Wemyss Bay, Renfrewshire. He was the son of Captain Bryce Allan of Ballikinrain Castle, Stirlingshire, and his wife, daughter of Stewart Clark (1830–1907) MP, DL, of Dundas Castle, South Queensferry; and grandson of James Allan of Glasgow, older brother of Sir Hugh. Jimmy was a nephew of Sir John Stewart-Clark and Sir Thomas Dixon, 2nd Baronet.

Ballinkinrain Castle, from the north

Jimmy and Rita’s marriage at the Church of Scotland in Paris on 26 April 1928 was “celebrated with much fanfare”. The reception was held at Ballikinrain Castle (a 4,000-acre estate, which employed fifty servants), and which Jimmy subsequently leased. After the war the couple took up travelling again and sold Ballinkinrain, moving to a smaller castle in Scotland, where they threw parties with royalty, heads of state and many other famous people on their lengthy guest lists.

Ballikinrain is, in 2017, an independent residential school. It is run by CrossReach, a social care outreach arm of the Church of Scotland.

SS Balfron

On the 4th July 1941 when on passage from Southend-on-Sea to Grangemouth with a cargo of sand, the SS Balfron foundered and was lost off Hyburn Wyke, north of Scarborough. She was a British Steam Coaster of 362 tons built in 1920 by Scotts, of Bowling, for The South Shield Steamship Co Ltd, managed by Walker & Bain, Grangemouth.

The Balfron was bombed and sunk when 3 miles off Ravenscar, after being attacked by German aircraft. Four of her crew, including her Master, Angus Leitch, went missing, presumed killed, and are remembered at Tower Hill Memorial (panel below).

This un-named bell was found close by the wreck.

Community Council Meeting – 1st June 2017

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Here’s the agenda for Thursday’s Community Council meeting at 7.30 in the High School, which will be preceded by the AGM at 7pm. BCC also be discussing possible community uses for the ‘Bunker’ building below the shops at 151-159 Buchanan St.

The Chairman, Colin Cameron, be in Doyle’s on Thursday morning between 1030 and 1130 for anyone unable to make the evening meeting.

The Church Bells

Missing church bell, which used to hang from the tree at the church gates.
This photograph was taken in about 1947.

Not perhaps of immediate interest to most, but my interest was aroused when I read that one Balfron church bell was apparently cast in 1791, and the other in 1888.

The earlier (small) bell was cast by “John Wilfone & Co” of 73 Trongate, Glasgow.  The 43 inch bell was supplied by the Gorbals Brass and Bell Foundry in 1888. It was presented by Rev Alexander Slessor, who was minister here 1878-1904, and inscribed ‘Voco, Venite in Domini Temphum’.

Ranald Clouston’s “Church Bells of Stirling and Kinross” records that in the 1940s a 17 and 3/8th inches bell was preserved in the church. It was inscribed:

Gifted by Robert Dunmore of Ballindalloch 1791. (See image above)

The book notes that there was, before the church was rebuilt in 1832, a bell tree at the churchyard gate.

The bell is probably the work of John Wilson & Co of 73 Trongate, Glasgow. The manufacturers initials were inscribed inside the bell, which is, apparently a rarity.

So, where is this bell?

Any campanologists out there who might know something about our church bells?


Walks – in 1902

An extract from: “Buchanan’s popular illustrated guide to Strathendrick, Aberfoyle and district”


Moor Road
The Endrick: ‘Up the Dam’

One of the principal attractions of a holiday resort are its walks and its opportunities for getting off the beaten track — the hard high road. Of these Balfron can boast of not a few. In fact there are not many country villages where one’s choice is so rich, varied, and unrestrained. The finer beauties of the land are only to be found in such quiet nooks and lonely places that patience, time, and familiarity are required to discover and fully appreciate them.

Endless enjoyment may be found in wandering by the lovely banks of the Endrick, or angling in its limpid waters, tempting the tempting, wiling the wily trout, following those pleasant paths that lead by fragrant hedgerows and into romantic glens ; or keeping by the high road (on foot or wheel), to view from one or other of these points of vantage, easily accessible, the grand array of northern mountains and silver expanse of the Queen of Scottish Lakes ; or climbing the hills, where the whole beautiful Strath and wide expanse beyond may be seen spread out like a huge map at one’s feet.

See also:
•  Walks in and around Balfron

Saving the Balfron Oak

First published: May 2013

Clachan Oak, the ancient sessile oak at the entrance to Balfron. Known locally as the Hanging Tree, it originally stood on the central green of the hamlet known as The Clachan, which later grew to become the village of Balfron. It was recorded in 1867 as being in a “flourishing condition”, and at that time was thought to be 330 years old and to have been struck by lightning 40 years before. Its short, squat trunk is now completely hollow, and held together by three iron hoops. But the hoops were not originally intended as an early form of tree surgery – they had a much more sinister purpose. Until the end of the 18th century it was common practice to chain petty criminals to the tree where they were subjected to merciless public ridicule. An iron collar was attached around the neck and connected by a length of chain to the iron hoop encircling the tree. This was known locally as “the jougs”. The practice apparently ended after one unfortunate woman was left forgotten, presumably while the husband visited the local pub, and died after falling and being strangled by the iron collar.” Source: Heritage Trees of Scotland, by Donald Rodger


The tree has shown a marked decline in vigour over the past few years and live shoot growth is now very sparse. The treatment carried out on Wednesday 24th May 2013 involved the injection of compressed air to a depth of 1m, which lifts the soil and opens it up to allow better penetration of oxygen and moisture into the rootzone. At the same time, a seaweed compound is injected through the probe, which spreads throughout the soil and this expands when it wets, helping to maintain the soil porosity. The video shows the soil lifting as each blast of air is released, and you can see the operator adding the seaweed from the orange bucket. This treatment should help to encourage new feeding roots to develop and will hopefully create a marked improvement in the overall health and vigour. As a further treatment, it is planned to remove the grass over a large part of the rootzone and replace this with a woodchip mulch. This has the effect of reducing moisture and nutrient competition from the grass, and also encourages the development of beneficial fungi which help the tree to absorb nutrients. Hopefully, the combination of treatments will allow the tree to survive for a good few years yet.


Come and hear two bands in your local library. The Livewires are a young, versatile, three-piece hard rock band formed in the village of Balfron in mid/late 2015. Originally a four-piece band, the band now consists of bassist Grzegorz Kaszyński, drummer/vocalist Marcos Pires and guitarist Mackenzie Burns. The Livewires have been well received in both Glasgow and Stirling as well as hosting their own local gigs. The band are also excited to be in the planning stages of an E.P. release in early 2017.

Triptych are an alternative rock band from central Scotland that formed in 2012. After various line-up changes the members are Finn Hennessy (Guitar/Vocals), Jake Bhattacharyya (Lead Guitar), Matthew Cunningham (Drums) and Patrick Carranza (Bass Guitar).

Their first single Standby was released in November of 2015, and their debut EP In The Chaos was released in August 2016.

Event Info

Balfron Library

12 May

7:00 pm

Cost – £5