Brian McGinley

Brian McGinlay (born 24 August 1945) is a retired football referee from Scotland, who officiated in 98 European club competition and international matches.

At the domestic level McGinlay has refereed 21 Old Firm derbies, during which he never sent off a player, but he considers his most nerve-racking match to be the Rangers–Aberdeen title decider match at the climax of the 1990–91 season. In European club football he judged his most exciting match to be the Real Madrid–Borussia Mönchengladbach third-round second-leg UEFA Cup match.

In international football he has taken charge of matches at the 1980 European Championships, the Home Championship and the 1984 Summer Olympics. He was placed on the referees’ list for the 1986 World Cup but was later removed from the SFA list due to personal reasons.

Since retirement as a referee McGinlay has been a director of Stenhousemuir Football Club, an after-dinner speaker, and a columnist for the Daily Mirror, the Daily Record and the Sunday Mail.

Brian Douglas Keighley MBE FRCGP FRCPE JP

Image result for Brian KeighleyDr. Brian Douglas Keighley MBE FRCGP FRCPE JP (21 May 1948 – 9 November 2015) was a Scottish medical doctor who worked as a general practitioner (GP) and was the chair of the Scottish Council of the British Medical Association (BMA) from 2009 to December 2014.

Keighley was born in 1948 and grew up in Bishopbriggs. His childhood holidays were spent on Inchmurrin, an island in Loch Lomond. He was educated at the Glasgow Academy, then studied at the University of Glasgow graduating with a medical degree in 1972.

In 1974, as a GP trainee, he joined a medical practice in Balfron, Stirlingshire. He became a partner at the practice the following year, then a trainer in 1978. He retired from clinical practice in November 2013. In his farewell speech at a party given to mark his retiral, Dr Keighley revealed only 11 doctors had ministered to the people of Balfron going back to 1875 and he had served 39 out of those 138 years.

He was also given credit for enticing Princess Anne to Balfron in 2006 to officially open the new surgery after it was rebuilt.

He was a member of representative bodies throughout his clinical career. He was an elected member of the Council of the General Medical Council (GMC) 1994−2008.

From 1997 to 2000 Keighley was Chairman of the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice (JCPTGP)- the organisation that regulated GP training in the UK. In 1998 amendments were introduced that he described as ”stiletto powers”, allowing remedial action at the correct level.

He was chair of the Scottish General Practitioners Committee (SGPC) 1995−1998. He was deputy chair of BMA’s Scottish council from July 2007, then elected as chair in August 2009. During his time in these positions he faced issues such as public sector pension reform and NHS contractual change. As the outgoing chair in 2014, Keighley delivered a speech to the BMA’s annual conference in which he directly confronted the issue of the level of taxation needed for adequate healthcare;[9] this generated much comment from politicians.

He was a champion of minimum pricing for alcohol.

He was member of the council of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) from 2000−2008. In 2010 he became the first chair of the RCGP’s Audit Committee.

In 1997 he published a book Guide to Postgraduate Medical Education with Stuart Murray.

He became a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners (FRCGP) in 1990, then became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (FRCPEd) in 2015.

In 2006, the BMA awarded Keighley their Association medal.[14] He received a MBE in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to healthcare.

His first marriage was to Ruth Maguire and they had two sons together.[16] After this was dissolved, his second marriage was to Lesley.[16] Away from medicine and politics, he enjoyed angling.


Andrew Dow Griffen

Plaque commemorating Andrew Dow Griffen, in the Donaldson Park. It was previously attached to a pavilion, donated by Andrew.

T.W. Dalgleish wrote:
Mr. Griffen was born and brought up in Balfron in Stirlingshire and thereafter completed his schooling at Vale of Leven, Dunbartonshire.

At an early age, he went to sea and his first trip was as a pantry boy on a ship going to Australia and he was paid the handsome sum of 7s 6d for his voyage. After four years at sea he returned to Glasgow where he worked with Malcolm Campbell, the Fruiterers, but again the wanderlust overtook him and he went to sea again, eventually settling in Auckland, New Zealand. During his early years, he tried many lines of business, the first being a fruit shop and thereafter purchasing land where he went into farming. He had a dairy of about 40 cows and sold his produce from a milk cart in and around Auckland. He was also a pioneer in the growing of strawberries and his strains are to be found all over the world.

He will be best known for his writings and his books Sailing Down the Clyde and No Wee Angel can be had from the main libraries throughout the British Isles.

Whilst in Auckland in January 1966, I had the pleasure of meeting ‘the wee doo’ and heard much of his good works in the land of his adoption. The memorial to his good lady, the Margaret Griffen Park, was the field where his cows grazed, and the facilities are of Olympic Standard and are known as the Margaret Griffen Memorial Park. I have heard recently that there is to be a drinking fountain erected to his memory at the entrance to the Margaret Griffen Park.

His ready Scots wit and couthy manner will be much missed by his friends in Auckland and it was a great joy for me to link up with him in January 1966.

Andrew Griffen is also commemorated by a street in Auckland, New Zealand – Balfron Avenue.

Plaque placed in Buchanan Street thanks to the generosity of Mr Griffen.

Balfron memories

A selection of Balfron memories by older residents.

More to come - I hope!

Robert Dunmore of Kelvinside

Robert Dunmore, merchant in Glasgow, was the only surviving son of Thomas Dunmore of Kelvinside, merchant in Glasgow who was credited with being one of the first Glasgow merchants to become involved in the Virginia tobacco trade, and Helen Wilson his wife. He was born 23rd November 1744.

Robert Dunmore was at one time a very rich man and besides possessing Kelvinside and Gilmorehill, which were made over to him by his father, he owned Bankeir, Newlands, Blairskaith, Bahvill, Ballindalloch, and other lands.

Among other involvements in slave-owership, Robert Dunmore and his partners (William Cunningham or Cuninghame, Thomas Crawford, Adam Lightbody and Patrick Dougall) were shown as in possession of the Hermon Hill estate in St Mary Jamaica 1782-1788 and as mortgagees-in-possession of Union estate in St Mary 1785-1792.

But here, Mr. Dunmore was perceived as a very public-spirited, excellent man, and Strathendrick is much indebted to him for many improvements. Through his means, public roads were made and bridges built, manufactures on a large scale set on foot, and an extensive system of planting introduced. In December 1792 the British Government, alarmed by the threatening attitude of the Revolutionary Government of France, called out the militia throughout the country and summoned Parliament. These proceedings were, unfortunately, the cause of a most severe commercial crisis in the spring of 1793, during which many of the banks and greatest mercantile houses in Scotland failed. Mr. Dunmore was involved in this widespread disaster, and the extensive estates which he held in his own right were sold. He was declared bankrupt in 1797.

In December 1792 the British Government, alarmed by the threatening attitude of the Revolutionary Government of France, called out the militia throughout the country and summoned Parliament. These proceedings were, unfortunately, the cause of a most severe commercial crisis in the spring of 1793, during which many of the banks and greatest mercantile houses in Scotland failed. Mr. Dunmore was involved in this widespread disaster, and the extensive estates which he held in his own right were sold.

He died in 1799. Janet Napier of Ballikinrain, his widow, whom he had married in 1776, died 1st May 1801 and was buried in Killearn churchyard on the 4th of the same month.

Janet Napier of Ballikinrain and her husband, Robert Dunmore, had a large family.

Balfron’s Dunmore Street is named in his memory.

Jean Kay of Edenbellie

A young woman named Jean Kay or Wright lived at Edenbellie, Balfron, in Stirling. She had been a widow for four months, and was possessed of some property. The young Macgregors were probably in desperate straits . Cattle-lifting and blackmailing were extinct callings. It occurred to one of them (you suspect James) that a marriage might be arranged between the widow and Robin.

Accordingly, on the 3rd of December 1 750, a band of them entered the house. Jean hid herself in a closet, but the terrific Gaelic curses were too much for the mother, and she produced the trembling girl, who pleaded in vain the sudden nature of the proposal.

Her request for time to consider was scornfully rejected. She was presently thrown over a horse and carried off from place to place in the Highlands, where, after about three months, a mock form of marriage was gone through. Robin had an almost childish faith in the efficacy of the ceremony. Jean was brought to Edinburgh, and there he lost grip of her. The poor thing speedily died from fright and fatigue, and proceedings against the three brothers for hamesucken, or forcible attack on a house, as well as various other Offences involved, were taken.

Again Robin could not be found, and was outlawed. But the other two were put on their trial . Robert was acquitted ; J ames was tried on the 5th August 1 752. The jury returned a special verdict . It seems they meant that he Should be punished, but not capitally. There was some doubt as to the legal effect of the verdict, so the case was adjourned for further consideration to the 20th of November of that year, when the Court was to fix the appropriate sentence, which there is reason to believe would have been capital . But on the 16th he escaped from the Castle, to which he had been removed, the Tolbooth not being considered sufficiently secure. The town was full of Highlanders, as caddies, chairmen, even City Guard itself . There were rumours of a rescue, for clan feeling was strong.

No doubt the authorities had in their mind the leading case of Captain Porteous .

Extracted from R.L.S. by Francis Watt, 1913

John Napier of Merchiston

A distinguished person connected with this parish, is the Inventor of Logarithms, Napier of Edinbelly and of Merchiston ; to whom, in the opinion of Hume the historian, the title of a great man is more justly due than to any other which his country ever produced.

He was born in the year 1550, and in the year 1617 he died, at Merchiston Castle, in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh. Of this latter fact there is, we believe, little doubt; but as to the place of his birth, this is involved in some obscurity, there being little else to guide us on this point than the tradition of the country; and upon this Balfron, in common with some other parishes, lays claim to having been the birth-place of this great man. It is quite certain that Edinbelly, in this parish, did belong to the Napiers, for many years; that the same family became the proprietors of Culcreuch; and that Sir William Napier of Milliken, as the representative of the Napiers of Culcreuch, was, in Edinburgh, in 1818, served heir and lineal representative of John Napier, the Inventor of the Logarithms.

Thus the two families are identified, namely, the Culcreuch Napiers, and the Edinbelly Napiers. Now, we believe that John Napier was born in Edinbelly, and not at Drumbeg, as is occasionally alleged; because, though the Napiers had property in Drymen parish, still there was no house on the property which could be supposed a mansion suitable to the consequence of the family. Drumbeg, the spot which local tradition assigns, is mentioned by authors as ” an obscure spot.”

In point of fact, it is a very common thatched farmhouse, whereas the remains of the mansion-house of Edinbelly, in Balfron parish, are still in existence; and the arms of the family are yet to be seen on the wall of what was part of the original house. This of itself is a circumstance which marks the character of the mansion, and assigns the status of the owner. But there is another circumstance in connection with this matter, that ought not to be forgotten.

In the year 1593, we find Napier publishing his Exposition on the Revelations; and in his preface addressed to the King, he shows very strongly his adherence to the strict Presbyterian principles of the time, his preference to which may be traced very naturally to his intimacy with the fifth Earl of Glencairn, whose seat, Ballindalloch, was within a mile and a-half of Edinbelly, the residence of his boyhood, if not his birth-place.

Otherwise, it is difficult to account for Napier’s predilection for these principles, seeing that the bias of his mind might naturally have been to the other side, when it is remembered that his father was Master of the Mint, to one who had no great partiality to the Presbyterian party. When it is stated besides, that, upon the Edinbelly property, not many years ago, there was a monument standing, raised to the memory of this great man in accordance with the tradition, which assigned this property as his birth-place, we are inclined to believe that, though at Gartness (In 1571, Napier, aged 21, returned to Scotland, and bought a castle at Gartness in 1574.) and Drumbeg he may have resided, yet at Edinbelly the Inventor of the Logarithms first saw the light.

Edinbelly, the place in question, is, at present (1845), the property of the much respected and deservedly esteemed Robert Dunmore Napier, Esq. of Ballikinrain.

Extracted from: 
The New Statistical Account of Scotland: Dunbarton, Stirling, Clackmannan

Richard Barnwell

Richard Barnwell was born in Canterbury on 13th October 1849 to wholesale provision merchant Richard Barnwell and Sarah Anne Barnwell. He underwent his early commercial training with the Union Bank of London Ltd and joined John Elder & Co., Fairfield Works, Govan in 1880 which by that time was under the control of Sir William Pearce (1833-1888).

He became a partner in 1885 and was appointed managing director when it became Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. Ltd in 1886. In addition to his position at Fairfields he was chairman of the Herne Bay Pier Co., managing partner of the Northern Pacific Steam Ship Co., director of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co., director of the Liverpool and North Wales Steam Ship Co., director of the Scottish Oriental Steam Ship Co., and a member of the local board of the Royal Insurance Co.

Richard Barnwell’s headstone in Craigton Cemetery

Richard married Ann Sowter and had two sons, Richard Harold Barnwell (born 1878) and Frank Sowter Barnwell (born November 23, 1880) whilst living in  Lewisham , Kent. They moved to Elcho House, Balfron in 1882 and added  Archibald Statham, (b. 29 Mar 1882, d. 1970, Christchurch, Hants), twin sisters Elizabeth and Amy (b. 1886) and the youngest Dora (b. 1891) to the family.

Richard Barnwell died on the 7th March 1898 at his home Elcho House, Balfron; he was aged 48.

John Robert Dunkeld

Colonel John Robert Dunkeld was born in 1898 in India, the son of Robert John Kerr Dunkeld (presumably of the Ballindaloch Hotel) and Mary Dunkeld. He had a sister, Janie Chrissie Alice Dunkeld.

John was the owner of the Ballindalloch Hotel.  In the picture, he is wearing the bowler hat.

He married Ada Maud Bruce and had two sons, Robert John Dunkeld and Stuart Dunkeld.

John joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, as myth has it, as a drummer boy. In the 1st World War, he was blinded in one eye and received shrapnel in the brain which gave him headaches for rest of life. Reports suggest he may have received his commission in the Labour Corps, served in the Cameronians and also in the Royal Artillery. He was promoted Lieutenant Colonel in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in January 1946 and retired in that rank.

I have been unable to verfiy a report that he was awarded an OBE for a secret mission for Eisenhower in the 2nd World War, but he was listed in the 1946 New Years Honours (Lieutenant-Colonel (temporary) John Robert Dunkeld (136168), The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise’s)).

John died in April 1965 of a heart attack in Balfron, where for many years he was the local councillor. Dunkeld Court was named c1985 after him