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South Lanarkshire
Bothwell


Population 6379. Figures taken from 2001 Census.

Bothwell is a pleasant, picturesque village centred on a conservation area, located between Hamilton and Glasgow, on the north east boundary of the River Clyde, with easy access to the M74 motorway.

Complete with Scotland's largest and finest 13th century castle and oldest collegiate church in Scotland still in use, the village is popular with commuters to Glasgow, Hamilton and East Kilbride. Its red sandstone villas and modern houses have attracted a number of affluent residents from premier league footballers to Lottery winners. The village has a number of category 'A' listed buildings including Bothwell Castle, Bothwell Bridge and Bothwell Parish Church.

The village has many fine restaurants and the Cricklewood and Bothwell Bridge hotels are popular wedding venues.

Although Bothwell feels like a village it has many industrial employers on its periphery. The main employers in the area include civil engineers WJ Harte and janitorial suppliers Greenham Trading.

Housing ranges from traditional sandstone villas to executive new build houses and flats. There is private housing available for let but there is high demand for the few council houses that become vacant from time to time.

Bothwell has two primary schools which feed into Uddingston Grammar or Holy Cross High School in Hamilton.

The local newspapers are the Hamilton Advertiser, Bellshill Speaker and the Lanarkshire Extra.

Shopping

Bothwell has a good sprinkling of specialist, niche, designer and craft shops as well as some of the usual high street names. It also has a selection of cafes, pubs and takeaways.

How to get there

Bothwell is easily accessible from the M74. From Hamilton and Uddingston take the B7071 and from East Kilbride and Coatbridge the A725. Bothwell has a bus service to surrounding towns and Glasgow.

History

Bothwell's name comes from the Gaelic for either "dwelling by the river" or "castle on the outcrop".

It cannot really claim Bothwell Castle as its own as the main entrance is actually in Uddingston. The Bothwell Estate was passed by marriage from David Olifard to Walter de Moravia or Moray in the early 13th century who then built the castle in the latter part of the century. His tomb lies in Bothwell Parish Church. The castle changed hands between the Scots and the English many times in the 14th century, falling into disrepair. The third Earl of Douglas, Archibald "The Grim" restored the castle in 1362 but it was passed to the Crown in 1455 and then to the Red Douglas family in 1492. In 1669 the first Earl of Forfar, Archibald Douglas built a Palladian-style mansion in the castle grounds using stone from the castle. It was demolished in 1930. Overlooking the Raith roundabout is Bothwell Castle Mansion, built in 1750 as a dower house. It may have been designed by one of the Adams brothers as it shows their style but this is unproven.

In 1398 Archibald the Grim also built the Collegiate Church of St Bride, on the foundations of an old Norman church, although the site was an early Celtic place of worship. The church's choir was dedicated to St Bride, patron saint of the Black Douglas family. Built in the emerging Gothic style it has stone barrel vaults rather than wood to utilise the area's abundance of stone.

Nearby Hamilton has a strong Covenanting tradition and on 22 June 1679 there was a bloody battle between the Covenanters and Charles II's army. Four hundred Covenanters were killed and more than 1200 prisoners were taken. A monument to commemorate the battle was erected at Bothwell Bridge in 1903.

Bothwell's history lies in agriculture with rich soil and clement weather. The worst parts of the Industrial Revolution bypassed the village. Weaving was popular in the 18th century and most was done at home. Merchants from Glasgow would bring the weavers the raw materials then pick up the piece work when ready. Bothwell Mill operated 90 power looms and brought about the demise of the home weavers. A new, bigger mill at Blantyre forced the Bothwell mill to close and the Bothwell workers either crossed the Clyde to work in Blantyre or were employed building a wall round the Bothwell Castle estate in an attempt to keep poverty away from the area.

With the growth of Glasgow, based on tobacco, molasses and manufacturing, many merchants saw Bothwell as a greener, healthier place to live and they began to build houses. Bothwell was easily reached by coach as it lay on the main Glasgow to Carlisle route. There was also a train station in nearby Blantyre and a regular tram service from Glasgow to Bothwell. In 1877 Bothwell opened its own passenger train station and the influx of commuters and holiday makers began in earnest.

A large coal seam was discovered in Bothwell in the middle of the 19th century and miners came from all over Scotland and Ireland looking for work. Two miles away Bothwellhaugh was a sleepy dairy farming community until coal was discovered. Two pits were opened and two phases of colliery houses were built. Both pits were open until 1959 and the final villagers left in 1965. The houses were demolished and the area became part of Strathclyde Park in the early '70s.

The Great War caused a heavy death toll in Bothwell and every family was affected. The Woodlands estate was built in 1919 as part of the nationwide "homes for heroes" scheme and was the first county council housing estate in the area. Wooddean followed in the Depression to house the unemployed.


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