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
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
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.
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.
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
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.