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The Hole and West Maryston
by Robert Murray
Although this dual named, 'lost' village was situated almost a mile north of Baillieston and a good quarter of a mile from Swinton it is relevant to both places as the vast majority of the people who lived there were, from the 1930's, de-camped to both Baillieston and Swinton and the remaining inhabitants in the 1950's re-housed in the new Easterhouse area.
The name 'Hole' dates from at least 1638 when it is recorded as "Hall" in the Parsonage Teinds of the Sub-Deanery of Glasgow (as transcribed from the Munimenta of the University of Glasgow).
In 1659, from "Ane Roole of Heritors of Monkland and Cadder" there is recorded, "John Baird, heritor, Jenett Woode and Agnes Witherspoone, liferentices of ane 20s. land callit Hoill".
In my opinion it may be that the origin of the name derives from either of the above; "Hall or Hoill" - which may have been pronounced phonetically as 'Hall' in those far off days and must surely (and) simply refer to a hole in the ground - which could have been a source of near surface coal, it is well known that the area abounded with exposed coal seems, I doubt there can be any other meaning of the name.
Thereafter, the earliest record is of two baptism entries in the old parish records of Old Monkland parish church on the 22nd. of December 1695 when "John, son to John Miller in the Hole" and "same day, Janett, daughter to James Black in the Hole". This fact that more than one family lived there indicates that the place consisted of more than one dwelling and may have been a small fermtoun at the time. It is the 30th. July 1713 before another decipherable entry is seen, and records the baptism of "John to Charles Jack in the Hole". It is interesting to note the prefix "The" before these entries and this strongly suggests that the place was really known to the local inhabitants as "The Hole" and not simply "Hole". Afterwards The Hole is recorded in the Cess Tax books of 1724 - "Thomas Baird in Hole" and consecutively up to the last known book of 1758.
I was always led to believe that 'the Hole' was local vernacular for West Maryston - but that West Maryston was the real name of the village and every account written and verbally - from my own mother and others supported that. The above facts prove otherwise.
It was Hole - or the Hole long before there ever was such a name as West Maryston.
William Forrest's map of 1815 - which is a reasonably accurate record of the day has no 'Hole' but a completely new name - 'Marys Town' has appeared in its place. It can be reasonably assumed that building of new houses for weavers or coal miners led the land owner to decide on a new name them and that this doomed the name 'Hole' (officially at least) to history.
Name changes in the locality of Baillieston and Lanarkshire in general wasn't an unusual occurrence (e.g. Windy Edge/Mount Vernon, Blackyairds/Calderbank etc.). Maybe Andrew Stirling or his heirs, who owned the land in these parts at that time, when the new houses west of the Hole were built, thought the old name 'Hole' a bit down market and decided to give the place a good 'Sunday' one, and invoking the local legend that Mary Queen of Scots had apparently drank from the well there decided that her name was a good one for the growing village. Hence MarysTown?
Maybe Ainslie didn't see Forrest's map and (very unlikely to be sure) was not actually in the vicinity of the place and asked a local what it was called, they of course (I'm sure) would have replied ...... 'Hole' or 'The Hole' - a natural answer as local folk wouldn't give much credence to what a landowner had decided about the name. However there is also one other important factor on these later maps that is worth mentioning and that is that there appears another 'MarysTown' along the canal to the east in the area to the west of Coatbridge Fountain. This was later corrupted by locals to Merryston. This begs the question - and answers another part of the puzzle, that 'Marystown' gained the prefix 'West' because of this other 'MarysTown' that was also located on the Monkland canal.
The first Ordnance Survey map published in 1860 (25ins.to 1mile scale) that still shows 'Maryston' without the 'West' preceding it.
So clears up another local mystery and now we'll relate some history of the place.
West Maryston/MarysTown/The Hole from the south side of the Monkland Canal with an idle barge lying alongside. not the high fence running along the bank which the houses faced onto. This contradicts previous claims that the houses backed onto the canal and that the canal was a hazard to children playing.
As previously stated, it is likely that Hole, or the Hole, having more than one family living there was a farming settlement, possibly a small fermtoun. This situation was static for a couple of hundred years until the late 18th. and early 19th. centuries when due to the influx of people from the land and with the increasing employment opportunities in the hand-loom weaving industry, a need for new dwellings occurred in the area. Consequently, houses were constructed a little to the west of the Hole to fill this demand and the land owner decided, as was common practise, to give a name to this development - and not just continue with the existing name (Hole), this distinguished between the two in effect, and was also common practise in those days when there seemed to be a tendancy for nice anglo-saxon names.
The hamlet or fermtoun that was the Hole was joined by the new dwellings built to the west around 1800-1805, the new area continued to be built at and soon dominated the once rural farming scene. Once the coal seems began to be mined on a commercial scale and the traffic on the Monkland canal increased through the enormous and rapid expansion of the iron industry in Coatbridge the new Marystown grew into a substantial village of some 500 hundred people by 1881. As weaving declined coal took over and more people were drawn to the village to work either as miners or boatmen on the canal.
By the 1930's however there was practically no traffic on the canal and few pits left in the area. The village went into a gentle decline which was officially 'helped' by Lanarkshire County Council who decided that it was one of the many former mining villages in the county that had no future. It was therefore marked down 'To disappear" (their terminology, not mine) and so, from the early 1930's a steady stream of folk from the Hole were moved into new houses built at Swinton and Baillieston. The remaining people left after the war were re-housed in the new Easterhouse as the area had by then been absorbed by Glasgow Corporation and was within the city boundary by then.