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Lanarkshire History and
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Auchengeich Mine Disaster
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Old Monkland & Kirkwood

The Early Years

Old Monkland a parish of the Middle Ward, North Lanarkshire. It contains the towns of Baillieston, Coatbridge, and Whifflet and Rosehall, with two-thirds of Calder, seven-eighths of Coatdyke, and one-seventh of Tollcross, as also the villages of Bargeddie and Dykehead, Braehead, Broomhouse, Calderbank, Carmyle, Clyde Iron-works, Faskine, Mount Vernon, Swinton, West Maryston, etc.

In shape resembling a rude triangle with northward apex, it is bounded NW by Shettleston, Cadder, and New Monkland, NE by New Monkland, and S by Bothwell, Blantyre, Cambuslang, and Rutherglen.

In 1161, King Malcolm IV of Scotland, granted to the Monks of Newbattle the land now called Monklands. The Monks soon established a farming grange at Drumpellier, cultivating the Western acres, which consisted of good, sandy soil e.g. Drumpark farm, and keeping the Eastern side for sheep grazing. Recently, pieces of medieval pottery and two stone spindle whorls found at Drumpellier have confirmed the area where the farming grange was situated.

Old Monkland Kirk

The church is believed to have been founded in 1170 A.D. by the Monks of Newbattle Abbey.  .
There is a tradition that, in very early times, a monk came from Newbattle Abbey, bearing a consecrated stone.  As a penance he was instructed to carry to a certain spot on the lands of Sidetonhaugh, or Sedgie Ha, with a view to its forming the foundation of a church in that locality

As he came past High Cross, being attracted by a cross believed to have stood there, and which gave the name to the lands, he inquired the name of the place.

Being told that it was High Cross, he said, " Then I am near my journey's end."
He sat down near a farm house to rest a little. He had not been long there when he heard the farmer call to the lad, bidding him to go to "Sedgie Ha'" (a field near by) and bring home the horse.

On hearing the name of the field the monk started to his feet, took up the stone, and went with the lad to the place indicated.  He set down the stone, said that his journey was ended and his penance accomplished. 
He was then within a few hundred yards of where the church of Old Monkland now stands. This became the site of the Old Monkland church.

The statue in the picture was erected on the corner of Woodside Road and Lismore Drive in 2005. 
The sculpture by Michael Snowden was commissioned by Old Monkland Housing Partnership.  It depicts the man who gave Old Monkland its name. The Coatbridge Coat of Arms adopted in 1892 depicts a Monk with the stone in his left hand.

This is the actual stone which is currently inside the church.

Mr. James Baird remembers seeing long ago a stone, said to have been the one brought by the monk. It was then inside the church. The name of the original church-the one founded by the monk-was Badermonoc, under which name it was confirmed to the see of Glasgow, among the bishop's mensal churches, by Pope Alexander III., in the year 1170.

The present is the third church which has been built at Old Monkland.  It was built in 1790 at a cost of only 500, and, as since enlarged, contains 902 sittings..
The name of Monkland as attached to the land, first occurs in a deed, by Walter the Steward, in favour of the monks, in 1323; but the name, as applied to the church, occurs for the first time in a deed by the vicar of Calder, who was also vicar of Monkland, in 1509.

In 1780, The Reverend John Bower, Minister of Old Monkland, received notice from "Sir John Sinclair," asking for details of his Parish, as did every Minister in Scotland. Collectively these were called "The Statistical Account of Scotland."
He described Old Monkland as an immense garden with its fields and orchards, and the rivers abounding with salmon and trout.  The stone is mentioned in his Account.

John Bower married Mr. and Mrs. Baird, the father and mother of the Gartsherrie family, and baptized all their ten children. He died in 1820, having been minister of the parish for about forty years.

Referring to the drawing of which the accompanying plate is a copy,
Mr. Baird writes,- "It represents Old Monkland Kirk, with the school house and Kirkstyle, very much as they were in the beginning of the present century.

The building in front of the church is what was the school house and teacher's house. At this school almost all the Baird family received a part of their education. The two story house on the right is the Kirkstyle then a sort of rustic inn, which was an appendage of every country church, and which was frequently the only inn in the parish.

This view is taken from the bottom of the hill at the old Kirkstyle cottages.  These cottages were named as such because of the proximity to the church Gate - Kirkstyle! C1860.

 These cottages are no longer there and the right side of the picture is now occupied by Forsyths Fruit & Veg Merchants. -The Old Monkland Cemetery is on the left.- note the old greenhouse.  Directly opposite the Old Monkland Church Gate is a more modern row of 4 Cottages (c1904) - also formally named Kirkstyle Cottages.

 

Recent photo 2008 - the Church is hidden by trees - note the cars at the entrance

"Old Monkland Kirk"

Not far from where the big wheel turned
The Luggie's old time mill
Along the road Old Monkland Kirk
Stands halfway down the hill


Where farmers's horses once were tied
To rings upon the wall
The Kirk' bells chimed, while people walked
Responding to their call.

The ministers with voices raised
Who guided us in prayer
Fulfilled their calling to the Lord
And preached his message there


Now Elders serve in many ways
And all the groups take part
The organ speaks in harmony
With music in our heart.

Here many generations lie
Within its hallowed ground
There on the stones the ageing names
Of bygone lives are found


Time marches on, these changes come
No power can halt its flight
We have our day, and walk this way
Then pass into the night.

Old Monkland Kirk bas stood so long
And weathered thro' the years
Embracing countless memories
Of joys, and hopes, and fears


And while its people sing his praise
And pray for everyone
The old grey steeple's westward gaze .
Still greets the setting sun

Douglas Longmuir

 

 

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