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Lanarkshire a history
including New and Old Monkland parishes
LANARKSHIRE, an extensive inland county, in the south of Scotland, bounded on the north by the counties of Dumbarton and Stirling; on the east, by the counties of Linlithgow, Edinburgh, and Peebles; on the south, by Dumfriesshire; and on the west, by the counties of Renfrew, Ayr, and Dumfries. It lies between 55 degrees 14 feet 42 inches and 55 degrees 56 feet 10 inches (N. Lat.) and 3 degrees 22 feet 51 inches (W. Long.), and is about fifty two miles in length, and thirty-three miles in extreme breadth, comprising an area of 926 square miles, or 592,640 acres; 85,326 houses, of which 3,868 are uninhabited; and containing a population of 426,972, of whom 208,312. are males and 218,660 females.
This county, called also Clydesdale, from the valley of the Clyde, which forms its central portion, was at the time of the Roman invasion inhabited by the Damnii, and under the Roman yoke formed part of the province of Valentia. After the departure of the Romans, the original inhabitants appear to have extended their ancient limits, which they called Ystrad Cluyd, in the British language, signifying "the warm vale;" and to have acquired the sovereignty over Liddesdale, Teviotdale, Dumfriesshire, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, part of Peebles, the western part of Stirling, and the greater part of Dumbartonshire.
This ample territory formed a kind of independent kingdom, including nearly all that portion of Scotland to the south of the Forth. It was peopled with subordinate British tribes, among whom were the Selgova, Attacotti, &c., who had frequent wars with the Picts and others, but resolutely maintained their independence till their power began to decline from the union of the Pictish and Saxon forces, and their metropolis of Dumbarton was taken, in the eighth century.
After the subjugation of the Picts by Kenneth 11., every exercise of independent power gave way to the authority of the Scottish monarchs; and the various British tribes of Strath-Cluyd, by degrees, intermingled with the Saxons, Normans, Gaelic Scots, and Irish from Cantyre, by whom successive encroachments were made. The descendants of the Damnii alone, when they could no longer retain their independence, rather than yield to the power by which their territories were assailed, resolved to emigrate, and, crossing the Solway and the Mersey, found a retreat in the mountains of Wales. In the twelfth century, numerous Flemish families settled in the Strath of Cluyd, many of whom obtained grants of land from the Abbot of Kelso; and with the exception of a few brief intervals, the county progressively advanced in prosperity till after the death of Alexander III., when the wars which arose on the disputed succession to the Scottish throne, involved it, in common with other parts of the kingdom, in frequent calamities.
It was here that the celebrated hero, Wallace, performed his first exploit, in expelling the English from the town of Lanark. In the reign of James I., a portion of Strath-Cluyd was separated from the county of Lanark, and formed into the county of Renfrew. James II., exasperated by the turbulent ambition of the Douglas family, marched into Lanarkshire, and destroyed Douglas Castle, and all the lands of Douglas, including Douglasdale and Avondale, with the lands of the first Lord Hamilton. During the war in the reign of Charles I., and the attempts to re-establish episcopacy during that of Charles II., this part of the country suffered materially; but, since the Revolution, it has continued to make steady progress in agricultural improvement, and in manufacturing and commercial prosperity.
In former times the county was included in the dioceses of Glasgow; it is at present in the synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and comprises several presbyteries, and fifty parishes. For civil purposes, the county is divided in the Upper, Middle, and Lower wards, under the jurisdiction of three sheriffs-substitute, who reside respectively at Lanark, Hamilton, and Glasgow. It comprising the royal burghs of Glasgow, Rutherglen, and Lanark the towns of Hamilton, Douglas Biggar, Strathaven Carnwath, Bothwell, Airdrie, and Lesmahagow; and numerous villages.
Under the act of the 2nd of William IV., the county returns one member to the imperial parliament. The surface is greatly varied. In the Upper ward, which is the largest division of the count it is principally mountainous, rising to the greatest height towards the confines of Dumfriesshire. The summit of one of the Lowther bills is 2,450 feet above the level of the sea; the Culter Fell has nearly the same height; and the hill of Tinto, the loftiest on the northern boundary of the mountain district, has an elevation of 2,236 feet. In the Middle ward the land may be average at only 300 feet above the level of the sea; but through out that district the surface is every where diversified with undulations, leaving little level ground except in the valleys of the river Clyde.
The principal river in the county is the Clyde, which has its source in numerous small rills issuing from the wastes and mountains that separate Lanarkshire from the counties of Peebles and Dumfries. It takes a northern course, receiving various tributaries in its progress, and making a curve towards Biggar, after which, being augmented by other streams in it's approach to Lanark, it's course is obstructed by projecting rocks and precipices.
Here it makes several picturesque and beautifully romantic cascades, the principal of these celebrated falls being Bonnington, Corra, and Stonebyres. the Clyde afterwards flows in gentle meanderings through a fertile vale, pleasingly embellished with woodlands, plantations, orchards, seats, and numerous features to Glasgow, and, running thence to Greenock, after a total course of I 00 miles disappears in the Firth of Clyde. Its tributaries connected with Lanarkshire are the Douglas water, the Moss, the Nethan, the Avon or Aven, the Calder, the North Calder, the Kelvin, and inferior streams.
There are numerous lakes in the county, but none of them are of sufficient extent or importance to require particular notice; they contain trout, pike, and perch. The soil, varying in different parts of the county, is in many places exuberantly fertile, and even in the higher lands is light, dry, and productive. In some of the uplands are tracts of spongy moor; in others, pastures richer than are found in some of the lower lands. The soil of the Middle ward generally, both in the arable and meadow lands, is luxuriant, but a very considerable portion of it is moss: this district abounds with orchards, gardens, and plantations, and is in the highest state of cultivation, constituting the chief agricultural district and the greater portion of the vale of the Clyde.
The crops of all kinds are abundant, the system of husbandry being in the most advanced state; the lands have been well drained and enclosed; the farm-buildings are substantial and commodious, and all the more recent improvements in the implements of agriculture have been adopted. The cattle are usually of the Ayrshire breed, and particular attention is paid to the rearing of cows for the dairy, of which a large number are pastured; the sheep, of which 120,000 are fed on the hills, are of the black-faced breed, with a few other varieties. In this county the substrata are freestone, limestone, and whinstone, of which last the hills generally consist. Under the freestone are seams of coal, which prevail throughout Clydesdale, and are extensively wrought; ironstone is largely worked, and there are quarries of limestone both for agricultural and building purposes.
Near the southern extremity of the county are extensive mines of lead. A vein of copper-ore was discovered in the same part of Lanarkshire, but it has not been wrought with any profitable success; antimony has also been found in the immediate neighbourhood. The ancient forests have long since disappeared; but there are numerous coppices, and some flourishing plantations, together occupying nearly 10,000 acres, the greater portion of which has been formed within the last thirty or forty years.
The seats are Hamilton Palace, Douglas and Bothwell Castles, Carstairs House, Bonnington House, Corehouse, Stonebyres, Lee House, Mauldshe Castle, Milton-Lockhart, Dalziel House, Cambusnethan Priory, Allanton House, Airdrie House, Newton House, Monkland House, Castlemilk, and numerous other elegant mansions. The principal manufactures are the cotton, the linen, the woollen, the lace, and the iron manufactures. Of these, the cotton manufacture is by far the most extensive; the principal seat of it is Glasgow, where there are numerous mills, and it gives employment also to great numbers of people throughout the county, who work for the Glasgow houses, at their own dwellings; there are likewise large cotton-mills at Blantyre and New Lanark.
The linen and woollen manufactures, though vastly inferior in extent to that of cotton, still afford occupation to a considerable number. A manufacture of lace forms the most flourishing trade of Hamilton. The Clyde and other iron-works are very important, and embrace every department of the iron manufacture; large chemical and other works are carried on, and the Iead-works at the village of Leadhills are also extensive. The annual value of real property in the county is 1,834,999 pounds, of which 902,992 pounds are returned for houses, a 341,122 for lands, 140,213 for railways, 129,827 for iron-works, :66,098 for canals, 58,303 for mines, 9,193 for quarries, and the remainder for other kinds of real property not comprised in the foregoing.
Facility of communication is afforded by good roads in almost every direction, the most important of them being the great road to England by Carlisle, a new line between Edinburgh and Ayr intersecting the county from Cambusnethan to Strathaven, and new lines of road from Glasgow to Dumfries by Lanark, and from Edinburgh by Biggar and Chesterhall. But the chief means of intercourse are those presented by the lines of the Caledonian, and the Edinburgh and Glasgow, railway companies. There are several remains of Roman roads, of which that from Carlisle to the wall of Antoninus is the most conspicuous; and near Cleghorn House, and on Lanark moor, are vestiges of Roman camps, of which the former is 600 yards in length and 420 in breadth, and the other, of less dimensions, is still more distinct. Roman vases, coins, and other relics have been found in the vicinity. There are also remains of British camps, numerous ruins of ancient castles, cairns, tumuli, Druidical circles, and remains of abbeys, priories, and other religious establishments.
Monkland, New or East
New Monkland is bounded on the north by the river Luggie, and on the south by the Calder water; and is nearly ten miles in length and seven miles in extreme breadth; comprising about 35,000 acres, of which the greater portion is arable and in good cultivation, and the remainder pasture and waste. The surface, though not diversified with hills of any remarkable height, rises gradually from the shores of the Luggie and the Calder to an elevation of almost 700 feet above the level of the sea, forming a central ridge that extends throughout the whole length of the parish from east to west.
The only rivers are, the Luggie, which has its source in Dumbartonshire, and, flowing westward along the boundary of the parish, falls into the Kelvin at Kirkintilloch; and the Calder, which, issuing from the Black loch, on the eastern border of the parish, forms its southern boundary, as already stated, and flows into the Clyde near Daldowie House, in the parish of Old Monkland. The spacious reservoir of the Monkland and the Forth and Clyde canals, is situated partly in this parish, and partly in the adjoining parish of Shotts; it is a large sheet of water, of very irregular form, and about 300 acres in extent.
The Monkland canal, also, begun in 1770, and since greatly extended and improved, runs near the border of this parish. This canal, which is about twelve miles in length, thirty-five feet wide at the surface, but diminishing to twenty-six feet at the bottom, and six feet in depth, receives a considerable part of its supply from the river Calder, and, by means of two locks near Airdrie, and eight near Glasgow, is raised 113 feet above the level of the Forth and Clyde canal. Terminating at Glasgow, where it communicates by a cut with the Forth and Clyde line, it affords ample facilities of conveyance for the mineral and agricultural produce of the parish.
The cattle, of which considerable numbers are reared in the pastures, are chiefly of the Ayrshire breed, and great attention is paid to their improvement; but the principal source of prosperity to the parish is its mineral produce. There are scarcely any plantations, except around the houses of the landed proprietors; and the want of timber, both for ornament and shelter, is severely felt. Among the principal substrata are whinstone and sandstone, which are largely quarried for the roads and for building purposes; and limestone is also found in several places, but is not much wrought, lime from Cumbernauld, and dung from Airdrie, being almost exclusively used for manure.
Coal and ironstone of excellent quality prevail almost in every part in great abundance, and are in most extensive operation. The seams of coal range from three to nine feet in thickness; the principal varieties are the Ell, the Pyotshaw, the Humph, the Main coal, and the splint; and smithy-coal and blind-coal are wrought in various parts. There are not less than forty different collieries at present in operation, the produce of which is conveyed partly by the Monkland canal or by railway to Glasgow, and thence to the Highlands and the coasts of Ireland; and partly by the Kirkintilloch railway to Kirkintilloch, and thence by the Forth and Clyde canal to Edinburgh.
The ironstone, of very rich quality, occurs partly in balls, and partly in seams, of which the most usual are the muscle and the black-band; the black-band is by far the most valuable, and is generally found at fourteen fathoms below the seam of splint-coal. There are as many as ninety iron-mines in operation; the produce is sent to the works of the Carron Company, the Clyde, the Calder, the Gartsherrie, Chapelhall, and other foundries. The working of these mines and collieries affords constant employment to thousands of the industrious classes, and has contributed greatly to the increase of the population, and to the growing prosperity of the adjoining districts. To the mineral wealth of this parish may, indeed, be attributed the existence of the flourishing town of Airdrie, and of the numerous thriving villages that have recently sprung up within its limits, and of which all the inhabitants are more or less occupied either in the mines and collieries, or in the various works to which they have given rise.
The rateable annual value of New Monkland now amounts to 35,967.
A considerable number of people are occupied in hand-loom weaving at their own dwellings, for the manufacturers of Glasgow; and there are also a brewery and a distillery, both conducted on a very extensive scale. There is a post-office at Airdrie, which has three deliveries daily; and two fairs, numerously attended, and amply supplied with cattle and with different kinds of merchandise, are held there annually, in May and November. Facility of communication is maintained by the turnpike-road from Edinburgh to Glasgow, which intersects the southern part of the parish from east to west; by the recently formed road from Stirling to Carlisle, which crosses it from north to south; by the Monkland canal; and by the Ballochney, the Garnkirk, Kirkintilloch, and Slamannan railways.
The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The minister's stipend is 265. 7. 11., with a manse, and a glebe valued at 11. 10. per annum; patrons, the heritors and elders. The church, situated on an eminence in the western district of the parish, was built in 1777, and substantially repaired in 1817, and is a neat plain structure containing 1200 sittings. Several additional churches have been erected within the last few years, in the burgh of Airdrie and at Clarkston; and to all of them quoad sacra districts were till lately annexed by act of the General Assembly. The members of the Free Church have places of worship; and there are some for members of the United Secession, a Relief congregation, Cameronians, Independents, Baptists, and Wesleyans, and a Roman Catholic chapel.
The parochial school is attended by about fifty children; the master has a salary of 30, with a house and garden, and the fees average 30 per annum. Schoolrooms have been built by subscription at Airdrie, Clarkston, Greengairs, Coathill, &c.; but they have no endowment, and the masters only of Clarkston and Greengairs have dwelling-houses rent free. The New Monkland Orphan Society is supported by subscription, and affords clothing and instruction to eighty children. Near Airdrie is a mineral well, of which the water is strongly impregnated with iron and sulphur; it was once in high repute, but is at present little used.
The lands passed from the Haddington family to the Clellands, from whom they were purchased in 1639 by James, Marquess of Hamilton; and in the reign of Charles II. they were sold by Anne, Duchess of Hamilton, to the college of Glasgow.
Monkland was divided about the year 1650 into two distinct parishes, called respectively Old and New Monkland; the former comprehends the western, and the latter the eastern portion of the district. Old Monkland is bounded on the west by the river Clyde, and is about ten miles in length and four miles and a half in extreme breadth; but the number of acres has not been ascertained. The surface is generally level, in few parts attaining any considerable elevation; on the west it slopes gently towards the Clyde. There are several tracts of moss, in the aggregate nearly 1500 acres; and about 1200 acres in plantations. The principal rivers are, the Clyde, which forms the western boundary of the parish, but is not here navigable for vessels; and the North Calder, which rises in the adjoining parish of Shotts, and, bounding this parish on the south, flows between banks richly wooded into the Clyde at Daldowie.
There are several burns that intersect the parish
in various directions, forming tributaries to the Clyde; and also
some lakes, of which Bishop loch, covering about eighty, Woodend
loch fifty, and, Lochend forty acres of ground, are the most
considerable. They all abound with pike, of which some are of very
large size. The ancient bishops of Glasgow are supposed to have had
their summer residence on the side of Bishop Loch, whence the name.
The cattle are of the Ayrshire, and the horses of the Clydesdale breed, and very great attention is paid to their improvement: numerous prizes have been awarded at the Highland Society's cattle-shows for specimens of live-stock reared in the parish. The substrata are, coal, ironstone, and various other minerals, of which there are extensive beds also in the adjoining parish of New Monkland; and the working of the several mines, and the establishment of iron-works, have led to the erection of numerous villages. Among the principal of these in this parish, are, Calderbank, containing 1064, Carmyle 238, Causeyside 367, Dundyvan 1298, New Dundyvan 2202, Faskine 408, Greenend 502, and Langloan, containing 1111 inhabitants. The late quoad sacra parishes of Crossbill and Gartsherrie contained, the former the villages of Baillieston, Barachnie, Craigend, West Merrystone, and Swinton; and the latter, Coatbridge, Coatdyke, Gartcloss, Gartsherrie, East Merrystone, and Summerlee. Some of the principal coal-works are at Gartsherrie, where five seams of coal are found, in beds varying from two to four feet in thickness.
At Gartcloss are three seams, of
which the lowest is thirty fathoms in depth; at Gartgill, three
seams, at forty fathoms lowest depth; at Gunnie, seams of every
kind, at depths varying from twenty-seven to fifty fathoms; and at
Drumpellier, four seams, at nearly similar depths with the
preceding. At the Calder iron-works are two mines, one forty and the
other 100 fathoms deep, containing all the varieties. At
Palace-Craig ironstone is found alternating with the coal, in seams
from twelve to eighteen inches thick; at Faskine, where the first
mine was opened, splint-coal was found in 1791, at a depth of
seventy-five fathoms; and at Whiteflat, where are two pits at the
depth of forty fathoms, black-band ironstone occurs in seams of
eighteen inches. There are also coal-works at Netherhouse,
Easterhouse, Mount Vernon, and Rosehall.
Red freestone is quarried at Langloan; white freestone of very fine texture is wrought at
Souterhouse, Garturk, Summerlee, Coatdyke, and other places, and is
used chiefly in the manufacture of iron; and whinstone is quarried
at Rawmone and Easterhill. There are considerable remains of ancient
wood; and the numerous plantations, which are in a thriving
condition, add much beauty to the scenery of the parish, and,
combining with the high state of cultivation and the luxuriance of
the meadows and pastures, give to it the appearance of an extensive
garden. There are many handsome houses belonging to the proprietors,
and to others connected with the mines and works in the parish and
its immediate vicinity.
The quantity of pig-iron manufactured annually in these several establishments is in the aggregate 270,000 tons, in the production of which nearly 800,000 tons of coal are consumed.
The Monkland Iron Company are erecting mills and forges for the manufacture of bar-iron, on a scale sufficient for the making of 230 tons of malleable iron weekly;
the Dundyvan Company are carrying out similar arrangements on a
still more extensive scale. The steam-engines used in these works
are of very great power; and the introduction of the hot-blast
instead of the cold-air in the management of the furnaces, by which
the consumption of fuel is greatly diminished, is now generally
adopted in the works. This important discovery, first made by Mr.
Sadler, in 1798, was carried into partial effect by the Rev. Mr.
Stirling, of Kilmarnock, who obtained a patent in 1816. Improvements
were made in the process by J. B. Neilson, Esq., of Glasgow, in
1828. Mr. Dixon, of the Calder iron-works, subsequently discovered
that, by the adoption of the hot-air blast, common pit-coal might be
substituted for coke, previously used; and the Messrs. Baird, of
Gartsherrie, by some improvements on Mr. Neilson's process,
ultimately brought the invention into its present practical
The Monkland canal to Glasgow passes nearly through the whole length of the parish. This canal was begun in 1770, and since 1792 has undergone various improvements; its length, from Woodhall, about two miles south-east of Airdrie, to the basin at Glasgow, is twelve miles; and it communicates by a lateral cut with the Forth and Clyde canal at Port-Dundas. By means of eight double locks at Blackhill, near Glasgow, and two single locks, of eleven and a half feet each, near Airdrie, the canal is raised 113 feet above that of the Forth and Clyde, and 273 above the level of the sea; it is thirty-five feet wide at the surface, twenty-six at the bottom, and has six feet water.
An extensive basin was lately
formed at Dundyvan, for the shipment of coal and iron by the canal
from the Wishaw and Coltness and the Monkland and Kirkintilloch
railways; and boats to Glasgow take goods and passengers twice every
day. The Garnkirk Railway Company, also, run trains of
steam-carriages many times daily, affording conveyance for a part of
the produce of the mines and iron-works; and at Coatbridge, within a
mile and a half from the parish church, is a post-office. The
revenue of the canal is estimated at 15,000, and that of the
railways at 20,000 per annum.
At Coatbridge is a very flourishing academy; and in the village of Langloan is a library of about 500 volumes. In digging the foundation for the buildings of the Clyde iron-works, great numbers of human bones were found covered with slabs of stone, and some earthen urns containing bones and ashes. Urns perfectly smooth, and of a red colour, were found in 1834, in a plantation near Blair-Tummock.
See the articles on the several villages.
From: 'Milngavie - Monteith, Port of', A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 255-72. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=45303. Date accessed: 27 August 2006.
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