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South Lanarkshire
Douglas


Population 1676. Figures taken from 2001 Census.

Douglas sits in rolling hills and moorland to the south of Lesmahagow on the main Edinburgh to Ayr road.

It is a picturesque village with narrow, winding streets off the main road and many historic buildings. The Douglas Townscape Heritage Initiative was launched in June 2004 to assist with the restoration of buildings within the heart of the village. The project fund of 820,000, from South Lanarkshire Council, Heritage Lottery and Scottish Coal, will provide grants to local residents and businesses to restore their properties, over a five-year period, to their former glory.

Housing in Douglas ranges from country cottages, terraced houses and traditional sandstone villas to council properties and new builds.

There are three primary schools in Douglas and secondary pupils travel to Lanark Grammar which will be refurbished as part of South Lanarkshire Council's multi-million pound refurbishment programme.

With many villagers involved in the Healthy Valleys Project, the campaign is on to ensure people in Douglas and the surrounding area keep fit and well.

Douglas is served by the Lanark and Carluke Advertiser, the Lanark Gazette and the Lanarkshire Extra.

History

Although Douglas is an old village, most of its buildings are younger than 200 years old. The village grew to service nearby Douglas Castle, seat of the Douglas family. The first mention of Douglas Castle in historical documents is 1288 when Duncan, Earl of Fife's murderer was incarcerated there. The castle was fought over many times by the Scots and the English as well as by feuding Scottish nobility. Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed overnight at Douglas Castle on his way to defeat at Culloden. The castle was destroyed by fire in 1758 leaving nothing but one tower. A replacement, designed by Robert Adam was started but abandoned and later demolished. The remaining tower was immortalised by Sir Walter Scott in his novel Castle Dangerous and the grounds are open to the public. The Douglas family married into the Home family and the late earl, Alex Douglas-Home was prime minister from 1959-1964.

St Brides church was built in the 14th century, although it was probably a religious site in the previous 300 years. In the 1600s part of the building was converted to a court house and jail and proceedings were held there until the new St Brides church was built in 1781. The Earl of Home ordered renovations in 1880 and the clock tower today houses the oldest working clock in Scotland.

Douglas also has strong miltary connections. In 1689 a team of men was enrolled to support the new King William and as the men came mainly from the Douglas estates they were given the name the Angus Regiment, after the Earl of Angus, one of the sons of the Marquis of Douglas. The name was later changed in memory of the Covenanter Richard Cameron, to the Cameronian Regiment. The Lanarkshire Imperial Yeomanry regularly set up camp near Douglas at the turn of the 20th century, for training and as a recruitment drive. The site, with all the tents, stables and horses took on the feel a country fair and people would visit from miles around.

Douglas started life as a mainly agricultural village, along with a little weaving. With the discovery of a major coal seam in the Douglas valley in the latter part of the 19th century came an influx of workers, new housing and schools. Many of the mines worked well into the 1940s but have now closed.


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