John; Arrol Arrol.

The Arrol, Arroll and Arrell families online

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There are many Arrols and Arrolls living today who are descendents of John Arrol, bom
in Cashell, circa 1625/1640. It is not known if this is the same John Arrol who was the
counsel member. A facsimile of his signature is contained in The History of
E>umbartonshire published in I860 .

II Helensburgh . Parish of Row

The f)arish records for the Parish of Row (now Rhu) reveal a number of Arrol and Arroll
families living in the Parish in the late I600's and 1700's. For the most part the Arrols
and Arrolls lived in the community of Helensburgh, located along the Firth of Gareloch,
Dumbartonshire. The Gareloch is on one of the Lochs of the Clyde located opposite
Greenock. John Arroll, who was baptized 22 May 1709 in Killeam, became schoolmaster
in Row. He is believed to have been a grandson of John Arrol, the counsel member for
the burgh of Dumbartonshire between 1681 and 1689. In the 1700's there was a ferry
landing in Row.

The ferry was a busy scene for days when Carman fair was in the era of its glory.
Droves of cattle would come across from Argyllshire, by the way of Ardentinny and
Rosneath, and horses would cross at Row ferry, by the simple process of making
them swim over after the ferry boat. (5)

It was in this peaceful village that John Arrol, the schoolmaster, met a tragic end. John
was murdered in 1760 and his body thrown into the River Leven;

John Arrol was murdered by a man named Cunningham, who resided in Dumbarton.
The murderer afterwards confessed that he had paid Arrol the sum of thirty pounds,
a debt which he owed, and having got a receipt for the money, stabbed his victim
to the heart with a knife, and after hiding the body for some time in a disused
chimney, he took it one dark night to the Leven and sunk it in a stream.
Cunningham was suspected from the first to have murdered the poor schoolmaster,
and, after the body was recovered from the Leven, he was asked to undergo the trial


by touch, from the universal belief that if the murderer touched the body of his
victim, the wound would bleed afresh. Cunningham, however, declined the ordeal,
but his conscience gave him no rest, until he confessed his guilt. Arrol's grave is
in the southeast comer of the parish church in Dumbarton, with the inscription,
"Here Lyes the body of John Aroll, schoolmaster, at Ye Row, who Died Februaryi
the 2nd, 1760, aged 52 years," followed by a Latin inscription. (6)

The stone for Arrol's grave is mounted on the south wall of the churchyard, located near
where the south wall intersects with the east wall. (7)

The schoolmaster and his wife, Janet McAulay, had a son, James Arrol. James was bom
circa 1743/44 in the Parish of Row. He succeeded his father as parochial schoolmaster
in Row. James Arrol married Janet McKinley on 2 February 1778 in Row. This couple
had at least ten children all bom in Row between 1779 and 1803. James Arrol died 4
March 1823, age 79 years. He is buried in the Row Parish Churchyard. A table stone
marking his grace may be seen on the center of the far south side of the churchyard. The
stone is inscribed "Jas Arrol, parochial Schoolmaster Row succeeded his father in 1760
& died 4 March 1823." (8)

There is also a grave stone in the Row Churchyard marking the resting place of another
Arrol. This stone is located on the southeast side of the churchyard. It is inscribed, "Wm
Duncan fever Helensburgh 11,8, 1819 w. Isobell Ann Arrol 24, 12, 1819 da. Mary Ann
1 1, вАФ inf " (9) The churchyard in Row contains many markers for the period between
1600 to the 1800's. The grave of Henry Bell, an early pioneer of steam navigation, is
located in this churchyard.

Adjacent to the village of Row, and located within the Parish of Row, is the town of
Helensburgh. Helensburgh, pleasantly situated at the mouth of the Gareloch on a gently
sloping hill, is a model town. The town has wide streets and the houses are principally
villas with tasteful gardens. Helensburgh has no industries, but it is famous as the
birthplace of steam navigation in Europe. The jetty from which Henry Bell made his
early experiments is still to be seen. (10)

The Parish of Row, including the village of Row (now Rhu), and the town of
Helensburgh feature predominately in the Arrol and Arroll heritage. A comment in
regard to the pronunciation and spelling of the name may be of interest.

The sp>elling "Rhu" was introduced only in the 1920's because so many strangers
mispronounced Row, which is really the English form of the Gaelic word rudha,
pronounced "roo-a" and meaning "promontory." The form "Roo," suggested by
some, did not appeal at all to others; nor did the Gaelic "Rudha," which was also
likely to be mispronounced, prove more acceptable. Finally, it was decided to adopt
the hybrid Rhu, which was at least likely to be sounded in the right way. (1 1)


The Arrols flourished in Helensburgh, in the Parish of Row, well into the 19th Century,
A few of their descendents still reside in Helensburgh. The children of James Arrol and
Janet McKinley married in Row and Helensburgh and raised their families in this district.
Daniel Arroll, bom 20 August 1783, married Margaret Jardine on 20 December 1822 in
Row. Daniel was a labourer and he and his wife raised several children in Row, Their
children included James Arrol and Robert Arrol. James Arrol, bom 31 May 1816,
married Jessie Hood and lived at various times at 1 862 Charing Cross, 7 St, John Street,
and 23 James Street in Helensburgh. Robert Arrol, bom 10 December 1820 in Row, lived
at 65 West Princes Street in Helensburgh where he was a gardener. He died 6 July 1904
at 125 East King Street, Both James and Robert had large families who lived in
Helensburgh during the mid to late 1800's and early 1900's, This Arrol family earned
their livelihood in various occupations: there was a fisherman, a muslin weaver, several
house painters and gardeners, a dressmaker, a baker and a joiner.

Another son of James Arrol and Janet McKinley, James Arrol, bom 8 Febraary 1788,
migrated to Kirkintilloch, a few miles north of Glasgow. Peter Arrol, bom 2 April 1796
in the Parish of Row, married Isabella McFarlane. Peter and his family relocated to
Anderstown, Glasgow.

John Aroll, bom circa 1820/30's in Helensburgh, married Jane Howat on 18 Febmary
1855 in Helensburgh. John was a gardener in Helensburgh. He and Janet had five
children. One son, John Arroll, bom 13 December 1857 on East Clyde Street in
Helensburgh, emigrated to South Africa.

George Blake, who wrote about the communities along the Clyde in his book, "The Firth
of Clyde", had the following to say about the area which encompasses Rhu and
Helensburgh. He writes, "At the beginning of the 19th century the wealthy had built
country or seaside houses in clusters around the perimeter of the Gareloch from
Helensburgh to Garelochhead and down the southern shore to Clynder and Rosneath.
Perhaps nowhere else on the Firth of Clyde, and in few other places in the wide world,
did so much money decree a pleasure dome so solid if so peaceful." The area was a
"sweet enclave, along which the wealthy built high walls about the long gardens that
sloped to the waters on which their lovely yachts lay moored by the score." (12) Within
this environment, Archibald Theodore Arrol, a Company Director, and his wife, Winifred
Edith Bertha Hervey, had a son, Archibald Donald Bateman Arrol, bom 28 September
1911 at Torwood Hill, Helensburgh. Walter Arrol, a merchant and brewer, and his wife,
Margaret Reid Auehincloss, had a son, Colin Archibald Arrol, who was bom in
Helensburgh on 16 July 1916.

Other Arrols and ArroUs from the Parish of Row include Walter Arroll who was bom
circa 1813. He was a wood-carver and a shopkeeper of a fruit shop in Helensburgh. He
married Helen Deborah Hubbard. He was living at 33 West Clyde Street when he died.
This couple had ten children, all bom m Helensburgh. One son, Richard Hubbard Arroll,
bom 24 May 1858, became a master painter in oil, watercolour, and in pen and ink
works. He exhibited his works in Paris. Another son of Walter Arroll and Helen


Deborah Hubbard, Archibald Arroll, bom 20 May 1866 in Helensburgh, emigrated to
New Zealand.

Many Arrol and Arroll families living today, not only in Scotland but in countries around
the world, including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and the United States, can
trace their ancestrj' to the families who were living in and around Helensburgh in the
civil parish of Row (now Rhu) in the 16th and 17th centuries. Some of the families to
which the Arrol/Arrolls of today can trace their ancestry include; James Arroll and Janet
McKinley, Walter Arroll and Helen Deborah Hubbard, Peter Arroll and Isabella
McFarlane and John Arroll and Jane Howat. (The early records show various spellings
of the name in the 16th and 17th centuries, including Aroll, Arrol, Arroll, and other

There were Arrolls still living in Helensburgh in 1992. These Arrolls included James and
Jenny Arroll and their family. James operated a joiner and glazier business in
Helensburgh. James and Mar>' Arrol also were living in Helensburgh in 1992, as was
James sister, Jean Hamilton Arrol. Living in Helensburgh in 1987 was Jeanette Arroll
Niven, daughter of Albert and Joanna Arroll of Glasgow. Isobel Neilson Arroll
MacFarlane was in a nursing home in that city in 1987. Isobel was bom 12 Jul 1895.

By virtue of its geographical position, and because of its easy access to Glasgow by a
main road and later by rail, the Gareloch came into the suburban area of Glasgow and
Renfrewshire as early as the 18th century. (13) It was thus a simple matter for the Arrol,
Arrolls and Arrells to migrate from Helensburgh, and from Loch Lomondside, to the
developing industrial cities of Glasgow and Paisley and surrounding areas. In addition,
many emigrated to new frontiers abroad.

Ill Renfrewshire

There are many Arrol families who have resided in Renfrewshire for generations. A
romantic version of how many of these Arrols came to make Renfrewshire their home
is given in Sir Robert Purvis's biography of Sir William Arrol. He writes:

Sir William Arrol's great-grandfather was a Highlandman from Loch Lomond side.
He left that country of Rob Roy for reasons shared at the time in common with
many others from beyond the Highland Line. He had joined in that most gallant,
but, from the first, most desparate enterprise, the romantic rebellion under "Bonnie
Prince Charlie." After the final collapse of the Chevalier's cause in the battle of
Culloden, his remaining adherents were scattered far and wide. The Government
of the day, as a rule, aimed the penalties of high treason only at such of those
concerned as were of high rank; but it was far from safe even for the humblest to
return to their native glens and be exposed to what might be set going against them
by the prating tongue of every village gossip. Thus it was our "Lad wi' the
Philabeg" took care to put the broad waters of the Firth of Clyde between himself


and his banks and braes of Loch Lomond, a separation as effective or more so than
the English Channel between Great Britain and France in our day. (14)

Sir William's great-grandfather was Charles Arrol. Charles was christened 22 January
1759 in Aberfoyle, Perthshire. Charles Arrol, or Charlie' as he was known, worked as
a collier in Quarrelton Pits near where the Johnstone Railway Station is today. The
Arrols were soon raising families and working in Houston, Johnstone, Kilbarcan, Paisley,
Barrhead, Glasgow, and surrounding areas.


Johnstone is sometimes known as the "engineering burgh". It was founded in 1781 by
George Houston, laird of Johnstone, to take advantage of the introduction of the
manufacture of cotton yard by mill machinery. By 1837 there were eleven cotton mills
in the town. Before the age of ten, in order to get employment, William Arrol, later Sir
William, worked for half-a-crown a week as a thread boy, or "piecer", in a cotton mill
in Johnstone (1849-50). James Arrol married Mary Thomson on 2 November 1858 in
Johnstone. In 1840, James Arrol, a half-brother of William, bom circa 1810, was a
foreman in a textile mill in Johnstone. His daughter, Bethia Arrol, who lived on Rankin
Street in Johnstone, married John Robertson on the 13 December 1873 at Ludovic Square,
Johnstone. Mary Arrol married a Mr. Gamer on the 25th of June 1873 in Johnstone.


Kilbarchan, a small town near Paisley in Renfrewshire, has played a prominent role in
its two major industries of coal mining and weaving. A great wealth of coal has been
mined from the area. During the mid- 18th century there were over 1,000 hand looms
operating in Kilbarchan. The town's name is probably derived from three Gaelic words,
viz. Kil, a cell, Brae , a hill, and Chan , a vale or plain, and thus signify the "chapel of
the hill-bounded vale." A number of the early residents of Kilbarchan were Arrols. It
is difficult to be able to fully trace the line of descent of some of the early Arrols because
the parish register of proclamations and baptisms has been partly destroyed or mutilated.
Such as were in existence continued in a loose and confused state until the session-clerk
collected them, as far as possible, and transcribed them into one volume. The earliest
date of the register of baptisms is 14 June 1700. There are two or three interruptions of
which one of these extended twenty-six years from 1714 to 1740. Records have been
regularly kept since 1840. The record of baptisms is not complete, "as scarcely any of
the Dissenters register is included." In 1838 it was reported that in the population of
Kilbarchan, which exceeded "2,000 souls, there were only six Roman Catholics." (15)

John Arrol, an engineer, and half-brother of Sir William Arrol, married Barbara Mclnnes
of Kilbarchan in 1840. Records show that this is the first Arrol family to emigrate to the
United States. Another John Arrol, not known to be related to the above family, was b
19 November 1861 and married Mary Deans on the 27th of April 1888 at Steeple Square,
Kilbarchan. Mary lived at 13 Ewing Street, Kilbarchan. John had a shoemaker's shop


on Steeple Street in Kilbarchan. The couple raised their family in Kilbarchan, including
sons William, bom May of 1889, and Alexander, bom June of 1891, both in Kilbarchan.
The family lived near the tram tum around site in Kilbarchan.


For a number of generations, a great number of Arrols have called Paisley their home.
There can be little doubt that the Arrols have played an important part in this town's
history. Paisley owes its basic prosperity to the Coats family of thread mill fame. J. &
P. Coats had two large factories in the town which at one time employed 10,000 workers,
the majority of which were women. The firm expanded world wide, opening factories
in India, Peru, United States, and Spain as well as some underdeveloped countries. In
1990 the Paisley work force at the Coats works is about 2,000 in one factory. The
history of the shawl trade forms an important era in the history of the town. The
ingenious weavers of Paisley invented a shawl-loom which enabled the textile
manufacturers to make India imitations in soft silk, spun silk, cotton, and in mixtures of
all three. During the 1800's, silk striped scarfs and turbans were made which were called
zebras. The manufacturers in Paisley made imitations of India shawls and genuine
cashmere shawls. One of the chief staples of the shawl trade was the manufacture of the
fine soft feeling thibet shawl. In the period 1823-1840, crape dresses. Damask and
embroidered shawls were all manufactured in Paisley.

Thomas Arrol, the grandson of Charlie Arrol', moved his family to Paisley in 1850. His
son, William Arrol, bom 1839, was employed in the turning shop of Coats Cotton Thread
Manufacturing Co. in the work of making bobbins. In 1853 William Arrol was
apprenticed to a blacksmith in Paisley. One of William Arrol's tasks was to prepare
"singit sheep's head." In the biography of Sir William Arrol, when William was fourteen
years of age, we find the following description of his task:

...a national dish second only to the haggis itself is a "singit sheep's head." Before
the head is cooked it is necessary to singe off the wool carefully with a red-hot iron.
It is the privilege of the apprentice who performs this function, "the barber," as he
is called, to enjoy the perquisites arising therefrom. As might be expected of him,
Arrol became known as an operator of singular care and completeness. The good
people of Paisley were glad to secure his services by adequate remuneration,
whereby at the end of the week "Wullie" often found himself if not "rich beyond
the wealth of kings," ...yet at any rate with so much as four or five pennies in his
pocket to be added to his regular savings. (16)

John Arrol, bom circa 1783, was a handloom weaver who married Ann Tytler in May
1815 in Paisley. Their son, James Arrol, was bom in Paisley circa 1822-24. He married
Jean Butchert on 16 Jun 1843 in Paisley. They had several children bom in Paisley,
including Elizabeth, bom circa 1853/54; Jane bom 27 May 1857; James bom 26 August
1859; Agnes bom 16 January 1862; and George bom 31 March 1864.


Thomas Airol, bom 14 May 1816 in Paisley, was a cotton spinner in Johnstone early in
his career. He was a foreman in a thread mill at 8 Back Row, Ferguslie, Paisley and was
a manager of Coats' Thread Mill, Paisley. His son, Thomas Arrol, bom the 27th
September 1835 at Houston, was married in Paisley to Isabell Waddell on 26 December
1861. The couple raised their family in Paisley. James Arrol, baptized 27 May 1841 at
Paisley, married Ellen Arthur Young. James was a seagoing engineer. He later gave up
the sea to join his brother. Sir William Arrol, in Sir William's bridge and crane business.
Their daughter, Margaret Wilson Arrol, was bom in Paisley on 18 May 1869. Other
children of Thomas Arrol bom in Paisley included John Hodgart Arrol, bom 5 October
1844, a pattem maker; Charles Arrol, bom 13 October 1846, graduated from the
University of Glasgow in 1869, took his post graduate work at the University of Glasgow
and graduated as a medical doctor in 1885; Mary Arrol, bom 9 July 1854 in Paisley;
Bethia Arrol, bom 17 June 1840; Charles Arrol, bom 31 July 1842; Jean Arrol, bom 26
June 1844; William Arrol, bom 11 July 1846; Mary Arrol, bom 16 November 1848, a
milliner; and Margaret Arrol, bom 6 April 1852. All were bom in Paisley.


At the beginning of the 20th century Barrhead was a small country town. It is situated
about seven miles to the southwest of the Glasgow city centre, the nearest district of
which was Thomliebank which is four miles from Barrhead. At that time the four miles
were all green countryside except for the small village of Nitshill. These four miles have
now been completely built up primarily with housing schemes to take the overspill from
the Glasgow slums.

Barrhead was an industrial town and its main employer was Shanks & Co. Sanitary
Engineers. This company was known all over the world and now trades under the name
Armitage Shanks. The firm made the bathroom fixtures that were installed on the Queen
Mary. At the beginning of the 20th century they were pioneers in sewage disposal.
Representatives from all of the large cities and towns in the United Kingdom visited the
company as it was the foremnner of sewage disposal as it is known today. To this date
the firm remains the principal employer in the town.

Other industries in town at the time were iron foundries, brass foundries, and textile
printing works. The first two are now greatly reduced and the third, textile printing, no
longer exists.

There have been Arrolls in Barrhead as far back as the early 1800's. Peter Arroll
relocated from Helensburgh and eventually settled in Barrhead sometime between 1865
and 1870 when he lived in Anderston, Glasgow. Peter Arroll and his wife had three sons
bom in Barrhead: Anthony Miller Arrol in April 1870; James Arroll in January 1874; and
John Donald Arroll in April 1877.

Elizabeth "Lizzie' Arrol of Springbum, Glasgow married Thomas Kelly of Barrhead in
Barrhead in June 1906. Anthony Miller Arroll married Jessie Drysdale Carse in June


1907 and this couple had three childrbn bom in Barrhead. Jessie Mills Arroll was bom
in Barrhead in April 1908 and her brother, Robert Arroll, was bom in February 1911.
Robert was bom on the edge of town at Cross stobbs in a "But and Ben' attached to the
Cross Stobbs Inn.

Robert Arroll was raised in a four storied tenement housing twelve families. It had one
washhouse to serve everyone. Each family could use the washhouse only one day a
fortnight. A line was kept for anyone with a new baby. Friends often allowed each other
to go in after them so that two families often washed clothes in the same wash water.
That same wash water was then used to give baths afterwards. Each landing in the
tenement had a toilet shared by three families. Each home had a black lead stove and
was lit by gas lights.

Robert, who lived in Forfar in 1988, recalled a man who would stand on Paisley Road
outside his door with a green and red flag. His job was to direct the tramcars on the
single tramcar line that ran in the centre of the road. He also remembers that the streets
had gas lamps that were lit and put out by Jonny the Lerrie.'

IV Lanarkshire


A large number of Arrols and Arrolls have either lived, or still live, in Glasgow, or have
relatives who have lived there. The only other large city in Scotland that is claimed by
a large number of Arrols and Arrolls as their home is nearby Paisley. Towards the end
of the 19th century, Glasgow, which had a population of about 800,000 at that time,
proudly claimed itself to be the "Second City of the British Empire" and was the sixth
largest city in Europe. The city was a great industrial and commercial center. There
were shipbuilding yards along the Clyde as well as major manufacturing works in the
locomotive, iron, steel, bridge buildmg, textile and chemical industries.

Among the "new things" that came to Glasgow towards the end of the Victorian era were
electric trams, electric lights and telephones. In the 1890's the most important event was
the introduction of electric trains. In the mid-1800's transportation was by cabriolets,
omnibuses, noddies (with two wheels) and minibuses (with four wheels). All of these
vehicles were drawn with horses. It was dreadfully uncomfortable to travel in the
omnibuses. The passenger was exposed to the weather outside, and inside, where it was
assumed the ladies would travel, there was no ventilation.

On wet days the floor was covered with damp, smelly straw. For many decades a great
deal of the traveling was done on local railway lines. After 1884 there were a dozen
small twin-screw passenger steamers, called Cluthas after the Gaelic name for the Clyde,
that carried passengers for 3 1/2 miles along the Clyde for a penny. The Arrols living
in Partick and Govan made good use of these fondly recalled small ships.


After the electric tramcars were introduced in the late 1890's, spectacular reductions in
travel time took place. The first underground railways were started in 1896, but it was
not until some years following World War I, after the system was electrified, that the
public really accepted the system. (17)

In the evenings Glaswegians would go downtown to restaurants and pubs along
Sauchiehall Street. Late suppers of fish and pastries washed down with Chianti were
served. Sauchiehall Street was the Piccadilly of Glasgow. It was the brightest and gayest
street in Glasgow. The Sauchiehall Street of the turn of the century would be
unrecognizable today. The Arrols and ArroUs of the era would no doubt have patronized
the tea rooms of the city. Glasgow was famous for its tea-rooms. Scones and cakes were
set on tables and the customer would tell the waitress what they had eaten when she
wrote out the bill.

At the turn of the century Argyle Street was the street of Glasgow. It was the most
cosmopolitan street in the city. Although it contained several large stores, one held a
predominate position - Anderson's Royal Polytechnic. (18)

The Arrols and Arrolls of that era lived in tenement buildings as did the majority of
Glaswegians. Both the middle-class and the working-class lived in these four story
buildings that covered the city. The early tenements had stone walls that were two or
more feet m thickness. Because of the great thickness the walls acted as monumental
sponges for the city's rainfall. The middle-class residents lived in fiats that contained

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