The launch of the Trail

The Moss, just on the other side of the Blane from the village has a long history. In 1484, Lord Graham of Mugdock granted a charter of the lands of the Moss to Thomas Buchanan of Bultoune. Thirty-two years later, George Buchanan (see Buchanan Monument) was born there. During the 17th century the land was rented to the Finlay family and the family then acquired it in 1751. At this point the house was an old timber-framed and thatched building.

A romantic 18th-centuryview of the Moss.

Robert Anderson visited the house with William Richardson of Croy Leckie and noted in 1820:

‘The Moss is now the property of Mr William Finlay. The proprietor, an old man of 90, remembers to have seen the house twice repaired in his time; and, in both reparations, an old beam in the west chamber, and part of the middle wall in the kitchen, believed to be coeval with the building, was preserved. When I visited the house, with classical reverence, in August 1804, in the company of my friend, the late Professor Richardson of Glasgow, Mr Finlay’s son, in the enthusiasm of the moment, cut off a small piece of the oak beam, which he presented to me, with some solemnity, as a memorial of the illustrious scholar.’

William Finlay’s brother, James, founded James Finlay and Company in 1750 as a textile merchant. On his death, his younger son, Kirkman Findlay, took over running the company and moved into cotton manufacture. It soon owned Ballindalloch Mill in Balfron, Deanston Mill by Doune and Catrine Mill in Ayrshire. It became one of Scotland’s largest cotton manufacturers. The company name continues to this day, now primarily known for its tea plantations in Bangladesh and East Africa.

In 1812, the old house was replaced by a neat Georgian building with a fine porch with much classical detail. In 1901 the house was inherited by Sir Archibald Lawrie. He had recently retired as a judge in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). He wished to expand the house and commissioned Charles Rennie Mackintosh to undertake the work in 1906. At that time Mackintosh was working on Auchenibert. The design was not a success, however (see the University of Glasgow Mackintosh Architecture website for more details). The additions were demolished in 1968–9.

The Moss was the site of celebrations in 1906 and 2006 of the 400th and 500th anniversary of George Buchanan’s birth in 1506.