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To anyone living outside these two villages
Muirhead is the best known.
However it wasn't always that way. Chryston (or Christianston) is mentioned in the rent book of Peter Colquhoun, who collected rents on behalf of the Bishops of Glasgow. It is recorded that on "6th Day of May 1510 Walter Anderson rentallit 17/- and 18/- lands of Christianston by consent of his muder"
In 1535 the village has various names
Chrystinsone, Christinston, Crysterstown, Criston, Crystown. The village
appears to have been named Christs Town at one time and probably indicated
a connection with the Church.
Around 1760 Bedlay well came into use as the main supply of water for the villagers. The site today, about 50 yards past the burn bridge - approaching from Chryston on the Well Brae path, is marked by a large flagstone next to the right hand wall. There is also a sign "Bedlay Well" with a large hand cut into the stone! Some eerie stories are told about this hand but it has been said on good authority that it was the hand of the local builder - he put his hand on the wet cement as he refurbished the well head.
Around 1790 a new turnpike road was constructed just south of the village which followed the line of the present Cumbernauld Road and passed through Muirhead. This new road by-passed Chryston - so eventually Muirhead became the best known village.
A five barred
toll barrier and a toll house were erected
at the junction of Kirkintilloch Road and
the new road - ensuring that travellers from
all directions paid their tolls!
The Toll House c1992
Muirhead hardly existed before the start of the 19th century. Its name came from the "Muir" or Moor" at the crossroads. This was used as a resting place for farmers and drovers taking their cattle to markets in Glasgow and Falkirk. Conveniently there was a pond nearby. By 1831 nine families (40 persons) lived in Muirhead. The opening of Garnkirk & Glasgow railway attracted new industries and by 1861 there were 120 persons in Muirhead. In the 1890s the village had grown to 73 houses.
Bedlay Castle or Bedlay House, is said to have been gifted to the Church in the twelfth century by King Williarn the Lion. The estate of Bedlay and Mollins passed from the Cathedral Church of Glasgow in the early sixteenth century to the Boyd family and then to the Robertsons, who lived there for some 150 years to 1786. Later the Dunlops, who owned Garnkirk House, also owned Bedlay. The estate was inherited by Tbomas Craig Christie in 1854 and passed from him to his son Walter in 1910. The earliest parts of the castle have barrel-vaulted ceilings and a wheelstair with solid stone newel posts, which probably go back to the twelfth century.
Embedded in the wall surrounding the house is the old Bedlay Well with the imprint of a hand cut into the stone. There are many stories about this hand but it has been identified as being that of Robert Allen - a local builder.
Gamkirk House. The Dunlop family lived
in Garnkirk House for many years before selling
it to the Sprots in 1811. Mark
Sprot, had it rebuilt about 1820 to the design of David Hamilton, was one of the directors of the company responsible for building the Garnkirk & Glasgow Railway. He was also connected with Garnkirk Fire Clay Works,
where good quality garden ornaments, such as Florentine urns and vases, were made and exported, causing the name of Garnkirk to he known as far away as New Zealand.
In 1832 the
Garnkirk Fireclay Company, owned by Mark
Sprot of Garnkirk House, was set
up. It was reputed to be the largest
and most complex works in the United
Fireclay was closed in 1901and part of the
area was taken over by Henry Bros of saracen
for the manufacture of Tubes. This
company was later bought by Stewarts &
Lloyds Ltd. who continued production until
1933 before transferring the work to Corby.
Mossvale. A row of two-storey terraced houses running along the south side of Drumcavel Road from Station Road was named Mossvale. One part was Alexandra Parade and another Edward Place. A number of colliery and fireclay workers lived in these houses, most of which were owned for a time by James Nimmo & Co Ltd., who also owned Auchengeich Colliery. In the foreground is the entrance to the last house in Neuk Avenue, which runs off the opposite side of Station Road. Mossvale has now been demolished.