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Rambles Round Glasgow
Blantyre and Bothwell


IN a letter to Mrs. Dunlop, the bard of Coila remarks that one of his dearest aims was the acquisition of sufficient meats to enable him "to make leisurely pilgrimages through Caledonia, to sit on the fields of her battles, to wander on the romantic banks of her rivers, and to muse by the stately towers or venerable ruins, once the honoured abodes of her heroes." Almost every individual of an imaginative temperament must have experienced a similar desire. The stream which has been ennobled by song, the field where freedom has been won in blood, and the gray ruin where in ages long past the great and the good have dwelt, will always attract the pensive wanderer, and by their associations awaken in his bosom emotions of sympathy and reverence. What Scotchman but has felt a yearning to visit the "banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon," or the green sylvan windings of Tweed, and to croon to himself amidst the scenes of their birth, the songs and ballads which have been linked to their names, and which lend unto them

"A music sweeter than their own?"

What patriot but has longed to muse on the spots where a Wallace and a Bruce have struggled and bled for the honour and independence of their native land, or by the shattered and "howlet-haunted higgins" which have been rendered sacred by their presence, or that of some of their gallant compeers? It is, indeed, a pleasant way of studying the history of one’s country, thus to wander up and down, deciphering its principal incidents, as they have been inscribed by the faithful and loving hand of hoar tradition on her own green breast; and to find that though the plough may have passed over the blood-stained soil of the battle-field, and though the defacing influences of centuries and, the elements may have banished comfort and security from the once proud and impregnable tower, leaving it lonely, picturesque, and desolate, still the memory of "what has been" lingers in living hearts, the cherished treasure of sire and son, shedding a halo of sentiment around each hallowed spot, which bids defiance alike to duration and to change.

Scotland is peculiarly rich in this interesting species of lore; but even in Scotland there are few localities wherein it exists more largely, or is associated with more beautiful objects, than in those through which in our present ramble we crave the company of our readers. In deference to the tropical weather which marks the close of June, we are fain to depart to some extent from our pedestrian rule, and take advantage of the means of transit afforded by the "rail." Taking our start, then, from the Caledonian terminus on the south side of the river, we are soon careering away in capital style from

"Gude Sanct Mungo’s toun sae smeeky,"

in a direction almost due east. There is something exceedingly exhilarating to us denizens of the city in a short railway excursion. The eye, relieved from the monotonous lines of street and their tumultuous streams of life, revels in the freshness and beauty of the ever changing scenery which seems in very gladness to go dancing past. One moment we have the winds playing over the wavy wheat; another brings us a group of jolly haymakers, with a gush of fragrance from the new-mown swaths; anon sweeps past a band of hoers, thumping away among the shaw-crowned ridges of the potato field, "that flits ere ye can mark its place," to be succeeded by a bloomy tract of beans, suggesting "odorous" comparisons. Now we have the mansion of wealth, with its green lawns and old ancestral trees; next a lowly cottage, with its kail-yard, its flower-plot, and its bee-hives—the guidewife, mayhap, nursing her baby at the door, and half-a-dozen early-headed younkers tumbling on the green. Here we have a bridge rushing dinsomely past, there a village with its picturesque spire, and ere the spectator ean learn its name from the venerable lady at his side, behold it is among "the things that were," and a landscape with cattle a la Cooper invites his inspection, and as rapidly disappears. Talk of a picture gallery! why there is none that for variety and richness can bear comparison, even for a moment, with the living panorama of the rail. We are much amused on the present occasion with the vagaries of a botanical friend, who attempts to exercise his vocation and exhibit his scientific acumen by enumerating the various species of plants which he detects growing along the line. While the train at starting moves slowly, he keeps calling our attention every now and again to what he calls "magnificent specimens" of his floral favourites; but when the increasing speed sends the daisy in rapid pursuit of the dandelion, the dock a-hurrying after the nettle, and the wild rose seems in danger of breaking her neck in an extremity of haste to escape from the threatened embraces of the stalwart and jaggy thistle, our friend’s head seems all at once to grow light, he appears fain to gaze at the more distant portions of the landscape; and to our infinite relief, we hear no more of his long-winded Latin names until we have arrived at our destination.

The line between Glasgow and Blantyre, a distance of some seven miles, passes through a delicious tract of country. There are two intervening stations, Rutherglen and Cambuslang, at both of which we stop, although we are somewhat surprised to observe that no passengers are either taken up or set down, while the booking-offices have rather a dreary do-little appearance. We should imagine, indeed, from the limited extent of these towns—the condition of their inhabitants, who are principally weavers, miners, or agricultural labourers—and the comparative shortness of their distances from the city, that the returns from either will cut but a shabby figure in the sum total of the company’s revenue. There are several fine views of the Cathkin and Dychmont hills from the line, looking southward; while the vale of Clyde, with occasional glimpses of its waters, forms the principal attraction to the north. In about half-an-hour after starting, we are set down at Low Blantyre, which we immediately proceed to inspect. This neat and cleanly little village is finely situated on a high bank which overlooks the Clyde, here a beautiful stream about eighty yards in width. The houses, which are arranged in squares and parallelograms, are the property, and entirely occupied by the operatives of Messrs. Henry Monteith & Co., whose extensive mills and dyeworks are immediately adjacent. Every attention seems to have been paid by this eminent firm to the moral and physical welfare of the inhabitants. They have erected a chapel in connection with the Established Church, capable of accommodating 400 sitters; and we understand that they annually contribute a handsome sum towards the maintenance of the clergyman. During the week the edifice is used as a schoolhouse, for the education of the village children; the teacher being partly supported at the expense of the Company. All the means and appliances of cleanliness, to boot, have been apparently provided for the population. An abundant supply of water, for culinary and other purposes, is furnished from the works; while an extensive building, with a spacious green attached, affords every facility for the necessary scrubbing and bleaching. Altogether this appears to be quite a model of a manufacturing village; everything in apple-pie order—the tenements comfortable and tidy-looking—and the inhabitants seemingly healthy and cheerful. The oldest of the Blantyre Mills was erected in 1785 by the late Mr. David Dale and his partner Mr. James Monteith. Another was built in 1791. Shortly thereafter, premises for the production of the beautiful Turkey-red dye, for which the firm has long been celebrated, were erected; and gradually, from time to time since that period, the establishment has been extending, until now, we believe, upwards of 210 horse-power is required for the propulsion of the machinery, and about 1,000 individuals are engaged in conducting the various operations.

Following the downward course of the river, we now direct our steps towards the ruins of the ancient Priory of Blantyre, which are situated in a beautiful and secluded spot, about three-quarters of a mile from the village. The footpath leading to the Priory lies along a finely wooded bank, the leafy luxuriance of which forms a delightful shade to protect us from the vertical radiance of the midsummer sun. Under the trees the earth is carpeted with a rich profusion of vegetation. We observe many of our most graceful uncultured grasses, with their drooping plumes and silken panicles, waving by the margin of the Clyde, which, from the impulse of the dam at the Blantyre Works, runs here with considerable velocity. In the deeper recesses of the wood, we find the elegant little melic grass (melica uniflora) intermingled with the glossy leaves of the wood-rush and other sylvan plants. We also observe the

"Stately foxglove fair to see,"

(digitalis purpurea) nodding its towering crest of crimson bells, the broad-leaved helleborine (epipactis latifolia), with its curiously plaited foliage, and those most beautiful of our indigenous geraniums, the wood crane’s-bill (geranium sylvaticum) and dusky crane’s-bill (geranium phoeum) growing in great abundance; while the pink-flowered woundwort, the purple-tufted vetch, the yellow bed-straw, and a bright profusion of kindred blooms are thickly strewn wherever an opening in the leafy canopy overhead permits an entrance to the solar beams. The time of the singing of birds is nearly past, but occasionally the joyous chant of the wood-warbler, or the merry trill of the wren resounds through the green gloamin’, and drowns for a time the hum of countless insects which seem to be enjoying their little hour of life with music and dance in the genial summer air.

After a pleasant ramble through the tangled mazes of the wood, we arrive at the Priory, which is situated on a precipitous rock rising to a considerable height above the Clyde. The building, which is of a fine-grained red sandstone, has apparently been at one period of great extent. It is now, however, a complete wreck. A portion of the walls and gables, with several windows and a fireplace, on the verge of the precipice, with a kind of vaulted chamber now threatening to fall in, are all that has been spared by the hand of Time. There are several trees growing among the ruins, and the walls are partly covered with the mournful ivy,

"Still freshly springing,
Where pride and pomp have passed away,
To mossy tomb and turret grey—
Like friendship clinging."

On the opposite bank are the extensive remains of Bothwell Castle; and the view of this lordly edifice, proud even in decay, as seen from the Priory window, with the murmuring Clyde between, forms altogether one of the most interesting and lovely landscapes imaginable. We well remember that, in a conversation which we had several years since with the late Professor Wilson of Edinburgh, who lived for some time at Haliside in this vicinity, he talked in the most enthusiastic terms of this scene, and stated his conviction that it surpassed anything of a similar character in Scotland. The eloquent Professor further remarked that many a summer evening hour he had spent in wandering about this interesting spot. Little is known of the history of the edifice. To it, in its utter desolation, the lines of the poet are peculiarly applicable,—

Lonely mansion of the dead,
who shall tell thy varied story?
All thy ancient line have fled,
Leaving thee in ruin hoary."

It seems from an old document to have been founded in 1296, and to have been a cell of the Abbacy of Jedburgh, the inmates of which are said to have found shelter here occasionally when the incursions of English marauders rendered the border counties insecure. The names of Friar Walter of Blantyre, and Frere William, Prior of Blantyre, are mentioned in ancient historical documents. At the Reformation the establishment was suppressed, and the benefice, which was of limited extent, bestowed in name of James VI. on Walter Stewart, a son of Lord Minto, who was first entitled Commendator of the Priory, and afterwards Lord Blantyre. At what period the structure was permitted to fall into decay is unknown, but from the Description of the Sheriffdom of Lanark, published by Hamilton of Wishaw about a century and a-half ago, it appears that at that time it was the occasional residence of Lord Blantyre. Such are almost the only incidents of an authentic nature which history furnishes regarding this ancient edifice and its former inhabitants.

Tradition says that a vaulted passage under the Clyde formerly existed between the Priory and the Castle of Bothwell; and Miss Jane Porter, in the Scottish Chiefs, has taken advantage of this alleged subaqueous way to heighten the dramatic effect of her story, the scene of which—as most novel readers are doubtless aware—is partly laid here. On our first visit to the Priory—a goodly number of years since—our guide, a school-boy from the adjacent village, told us that according to a winter evening tale current in the neighbourhood, the popular hero, Wallace, in a season of difficulty once found shelter from his foes among the cowled inmates of this establishment. By some means or other the usurping Southrons learning where their terrible opponent was concealed, a large party of them at the dead hour of night determined to secure him and earn the handsome reward offered for his apprehension. To effect this they surrounded the building, with the exception of that portion overhanging the precipice, which from its altitude they considered perfectly secure. While they were thundering at the portal, however, and demanding the surrender of the Knight of Ellerslie, that doughty chief, nothing daunted, flipped out by one of the windows, leaped at once over the rock, and fording the Clyde, made his escape undiscovered. As a convincing proof of the truthfulness of the legend, we were then taken to see an indentation in the solid rock below, which bore some resemblance to a gigantic footmark, and which we were seriously informed had been caused by the foot of Wallace on that eventful evening. A fine spring issues from the ground at this spot, the waters of which flow into the sacred footprint; and we need hardly say that it was with a deep feeling of reverence for "Scotia’s ill-requited chief" that, on the occasion alluded to, we knelt down and took a hearty draught from the alleged pedal mark. Our faith, we are sorry to say, is not now quite so strong. On our present visit we scarcely discern the resemblance to a footprint which was formerly so obvious; and although we dip our beard in the gratefully cold and crystalline water, the delicious awe which we experienced then comes not again over our spirit.

"Woe’s me, how knowledge makes forlorn!"

and how Time rubs the painted dust off the butterfly-wing of youthful fancy! How wofully defaced is now the creed of our sunny boyhood! The fairies are banished from the leafy solitude; no wandering ghost in the glimpses of the moon haunts the ruined tower of other days. Well indeed might the poet Campbell exclaim,—

"When Science from Creation’s face
Enchantment’s veil withdraws,
What lovely visions yield their place
To cold material laws!"

Had the royal Dane lived in our matter-of-fact age he would have found that there is nothing now in heaven or earth which is undreamed of in our philosophy; nothing to relieve the mind from a "Dryasdust" and stern reality. Whether we are happier in our dreary wisdom and prying scepticism than our ancestors were in their gorgeous ignorance and unsuspecting credulity, is to our mind somewhat problematical. Several of our poets besides the bard of Hope have expressed regret for the decay of the old spirit of belief. Wordsworth says in one of his finest Sonnets,-

"Great God! I’d rather be
A pagan, suckled in a creed outworn,
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less folorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea,
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn."

But to our tale. After lingering for a considerable time at the Priory, and about its picturesque environs, we retrace our steps to Blantyre, where we cross the Clyde by an elegant suspension bridge, and proceed to Bothwell, which is situated on a gentle eminence about half-a-mile to the north-east. By the way we pass a neat little United Presbyterian Church, recently erected by a congregation the members of which reside principally in the adjacent villages. Bothwell, like most other ancient Scottish towns, is somewhat irregular and scattered; but, unlike the majority of them, it is remarkable for a characteristic appearance of cleanliness and comfort. It is composed principally of plain one or two-storeyed edifices, built with a peculiar and somewhat highly-coloured red sandstone, which seems to be abundant in the neighbourhood. Most of the houses have garden-plots attached to them, and the neatness and luxuriance of these attest the general taste and industry of the inhabitants. A love for flowers, we are happy to observe, is becoming more common among our population generally; but it is evident, from the fine condition and profusion of rarer kinds around Bothwell, that this is no new love among her people. In the vicinity a considerable number of elegant villas and cottages have been built in tasteful situations. Many of these, we understand, are, during the summer months, occupied by the families of some of our most respectable citizens, and by invalids who find here the benefits to health which result from a genial atmosphere, and an exquisite series of walks amidst scenery of the loveliest description. Near the west end of the village is the parish church, a handsome structure in the Gothic style, which was erected in 1833. At the east end of this building, and attached to it, is the ancient church of Bothwell, a fine specimen of the ecclesiastical architecture of other days. This edifice, which is said to have been founded in 1398, by Archibald, Earl of Douglas, is 70 feet in length and 39 in breadth. The roof, which is arched and of considerable height, is covered with sandstone flags, hewn into a curved form resembling tiles. It has been lighted by a large window in the east end, and a range on either side. Inside we are shown carvings of the armorial bearings of the noble families of Hamilton and Douglas, and a stone which was taken from the base of the old spire, with the words "Magister Thomas Dron," or Tron, inscribed on it in Saxon letters. This is supposed to have been the name of the individual who built the church. We are sorry to observe that this time-worn edifice is at present in a shamefully neglected condition. The glass is out of the windows, permitting a free passage not only to the sparrows, which are flying thickly about the nave, but also to the winds and the rain, which have already wrought sad dilapidation on the mouldering walls. The heavy tiles, too, are beginning to manifest a tendency to obey the law of gravitation by tumbling inward. There has of late been but little care taken of this interesting relic of the past. It is to be hoped, however, for the credit of the neighbouring gentry, that measures may speedily be adopted for its preservation from the utter ruin which now seems impending over it. Leaving the dreary precincts of the old church, we next, with considerable labour, ascend the church tower, which is 120 feet in height, and which commands a prospect of great extent and beauty. At the spectator’s feet, looking eastward, is the village with its gardens and orchards, some of which are of great extent; beyond is the green expanse of Bothwell-haugh, the palace and town of Hamilton, with the finely wooded grounds of the Duke; while the fertile vale of Clyde stretches away in the distance,—

"To where vast Tintoc heaves his bulk on high,
His shoulders bearing clouds, his head the sky."

In the opposite direction are seen Blantyre and the leafy policies of Bothwell Castle, Dychmont, and the high grounds of Kilbride, with the spires of Glasgow towering amidst smoke, and the picturesque outlines of the Highland mountains bounding the misty horizon. After lingering on this commanding pinnacle, enjoying the splendid bird’s-eye view which it affords of the country round, until our head becomes somewhat light, and we begin to experience that peculiar yearning to take the shortest way down, which one is startled to feel when looking over a precipice, we descend from our elevated position to the quiet church-yard below. In glancing over the memorials of departed mortality, with which the rank sward is thickly studded, our attention is particularly directed to a headstone, with the following curious inscription, the perusal of which, we are afraid, would have ruffled the equanimity of a Lindley Murray, even amidst the solemnizing influences of the field of graves:— "Erected by Margaret Scott, in memory of her husband Robert Stobo, late smith and farrier, Goukthrapple, who died May, 1834, in the 70th year of his age:

"My sledge and hammer lies declined,
My bellows’ pipe have lost its wind;
My forge extinct, my fire’s decayed,
And in the dust my vice is laid;
My coal Is spent, my iron is gone,
My nails is drove, my work is done,"

Bothwell manse, which is immediately adjacent to the church, is, without-exception, the most delightful dwelling-place of its class which we have ever witnessed, and that is surely saying a great deal in its favour, as every one knows that, go where you will, "from Maidenkirk to John o’ Groats," the most pleasant of habitations in country or a town is almost invariably that of the clergyman. it is a neat and not overly large two-storied edifice, situated in a sweet sunny nook, embowered amongst fruit trees, and surrounded by gay parterres and green hedge-rows. It is just the sort of place that one could fancy a poet should be born in, and here accordingly the light of this world first dawned upon that most eminent of Scotland’s poetesses, Joanna Baillie, Her father, the Rev. James Baillie, D.D., was sometime minister of this parish. He had previously officiated in the Kirk of Shotts, and it is said that his gifted daughter narrowly escaped being born in that most bleak of parishes, as the flitting between the one locality and the other had just been effected when the little stranger made her appearance. The following record of her birth and baptism is extracted from the parish register of Bothwell, where we saw the original entry, on a page crowded with similar announcements regarding the debut of the sons and daughters of worthy farmers and weavers in the neighbourhood, the majority of whom will doubtless em now have gone to their final reckoning, without leaving the faintest

"Footprints on the sands of time."

"Joanna, daughter lawful to the reverend Mr. James Baillie, minister of the Gospell att Bothwell, and his spouse Dorrete Hunter, was born the eleventh day of September, and baptized in the Church of Bothwell upon the twelfth day of the said month by the Rev. Mr. James Miller, minister of the Gospell att Hamilton, 1762." From this it appears that the future poetess, who was born on the day after the flitting, was baptized in the open church when she was only one day old; Although Miss Baillie left her natal place at an early age, she seems even when far advanced in life to have recurred with peculiar pleasure to the happy days which, in the morning of her existence, she spent here. In a poetical address which she presented, when her long day of life was drawing near the gloamin’, to her sister Agnes, on the birthday of the latter, she says,—

"Dear Agnes, gleamed with joy and dashed with tears,
O’re us has glided almost sixty years
Since we on Bothwell’s, bonnie braes were seen,
By those whose eyes long closed in death have been.
Two tiny imps, who scarcely stooped to gather
The slender harebell ‘mong the purple heather,
No taller than the foxglove’s spiky stem,
That dew of morning studs with silvery gem.
Then every butterfly that crossed our view,
With joyful shout was greeted as it flew;
And moth, and ladybird, and beetle bright,
In sheeny gold were each a wondrous sight
Then as we paddled barefoot side by side
Among the sunny shallows of the Clyde,
Minnows or spotted par with twinkling fin,
Swimming in mazy rings the pool within,
A thrill of gladness through our bosoms sent,
Seen in the power of early wonderment"

Nor was the attachment of the poetess to the beautiful place of her birth a mere empty sentiment, as the following circumstance, which we learned from a friend in Bothwell, will abundantly testify. About a month previous to the demise of Miss Baillie, an old lady—the widow of a respectable inhabitant of Hamilton, and a former acquaintance of the Baillie family—was suddenly reduced to a state of abject penury by the burning of her house. Some of those who had known her in "better days" got up a subscription for the purpose of relieving her necessities, and amongst others the aged poetess was written to by a granddaughter of the clergyman by whom she had been baptized. Although in bad health at the time, she immediately sent an answer to the appeal, enclosing an order for £15, and expressing an earnest desire to be informed of any other cases of an urgent nature which might occur among the old town’s-folk. This was probably the last letter which the hand that had so ably delineated the passions of humanity ever penned; and thus, in the graceful performance of an act of charity, the curtain of time fell upon all that was mortal of this kind-hearted and unassuming woman of genius; We need hardly add that the memory of this last expression of her love for the "old familiar faces" is fondly cherished in the hearts of many; for, as she herself says—

"Words of affection, howsoe’er express’d,
The latest spoken still are deem’d the best"

Adjacent to the church of Bothwell is the parish school—a handsome edifice of modern erection, in front of which we are pleased to observe a neatly kept flower-plot. The schoolroom is a spacious apartment, hung round with maps and other "means and appliances" of a tuitional description. The avenge number of pupils in attendance is said to be somewhere about ninety. Attached to the establishment is the dwelling-house of the teacher, Mr. Hunter, and the place altogether has a look of "bienness" and comfort which to our imagination seems to indicate that the lines of this important functionary have, in Bothwell, fallen in an exceedingly pleasant place. Besides the parish school, we understand there are other two seminaries in the village—one in connection with the Free Church, and the other a private school which is under the superintendence of a lady; so that the shooting of the young idea in Bothwell would seem to be abundantly provided for.

After visiting some friends in the vicinity, and benefiting materially by their kind hospitality, we next wend our way to Bothwell Bridge, the scene of the Covenanters’ overthrow on the 22d of June, 1679. The particulars of this engagement are familiar to every reader of Scottish history. The Covenanters, driven to desperation by the cruelties of Claverhouse and his myrmidons, and encouraged by the victory which they had achieved at Drumclog a short time previously, assembled to the number of 4,000, determined to wrest by force of arms, from an unwilling government, the right of worshipping their Maker in the form which conscience dictated to be most in accordance with his Word. For the suppression of this "rising" a large army was immediately collected, the command of which was entrusted to the Duke of Monmouth, assisted by Claverhouse and Daiziel, both officers of great energy and experience. The army of the king advanced to Bothwell on the north side of the river, while the Covenanters were encamped on the southern bank, and held possession of the bridge, at that period a narrow and, in the middle, considerably elevated structure, which was defended by a fortified gateway. Immediately previous to the commencement of hostilities the spirit of insubordination broke out in the camp of the Covenanters. The house was divided against itself, and utter ruin was the necessary consequence. The moderate Presbyterians and those of extreme opinions differed as to the extent of the privileges which, in the event of success attending their efforts, they should demand of the government. In the midst of their wrangling and bickering, the Royalists attempted to force the bridge. After a determined struggle with a party of 800 men, under the gallant Hackston of Rathillet and Hall of Haughhead, to whom the defence of this important post was entrusted, the attacking party was ultimately successful. This object attained, they immediately passed over, with their cannon in front, and formed in order of battle on the south side of the river. Here the conflict was resumed, and for some time sustained with considerable warmth; but at length the Covenanters, dispirited by their repulse on the bridge, disadvantageously posted, and wanting that union so essential to success in arms, were thrown into confusion and totally routed; 400 were killed, principally in the retreat, by the merciless troopers of Claverhouse and Dalziel, and not fewer than 1,200 were taken prisoners, many of whom were afterwards executed. The author of the "Clyde" gives a graphic account of this disastrous action in the following lines:—

"where Bothwell Bridge connects the margin steep,
And Clyde below runs silent, strong, and deep,
The hardy peasant, by oppression driven
To battle, deemed his cause the cause of heaven;
Unskilled in arms, with useless courage stood
While gentle Monmouth grieved to shed his blood;
But fierce Dundee, inflamed with deadly hate,
In vengeance for the great Montrose’s fate,
Let loose the sword, and to the hero’s shade
A barbarous hecatomb of victims paid,
Clyde’s shining silver with their blood was stained,
His paradise with corpses red profaned."

This difference in the dispositions of Monmouth and Dundee or Claverhouse, as he was then called, is quite in accordance with history and tradition. The former is said to have on-joined on his soldiers mercy to their vanquished countrymen; and a pleasing story regarding him is current in Bothwell. An old house in the village, recently demolished, is said to have been the scene of a council held by the commanders of the royal army, previously to the attack on the bridge. While the council was sitting a little child, unobserved by its mother, had strayed into the house. After a lengthened search had been made by the anxious parent for her lost babe, she at last ventured to peep into the apartment where the military chiefs were assembled, and there, sure enough, she found it seated on the knee of the gentle Monmouth, who was fondly caressing it, and endeavouring to amuse it with the glittering hilt of his sword. The ferocity with which Claverhouse pursued and cut down the unfortunate Covenanters after their overthrow on this occasion, is well known; but we think the poet is wrong in supposing, as he does in the above lines, that it was caused by a feeling of revenge for the fate of the great Montrose. More probably it was the result of his own fiendish passions, stirred into extraordinary activity by shame at the recent defeat which he had sustained at the hands of a few undisciplined peasants.

The aspect of the bridge and the ground in its vicinity is completely altered since that period. The gateway has been removed; and, in 1826, the width of the original structure was increased by 22 feet. The banks of the river, which is here about 71 yards in breadth, are of great beauty, and retain no traces of the fierce and disastrous struggle which they once witnessed. Below the bridge, and above it on the south side, they are finely wooded, and brightened with a profusion of wild flowers, fully justifying the opening line of the old song,

"O Bothwell bank, thou bloomest fair."

Above the bridge, on the north side, is the spacious expanse of Bothwellhaugh, formerly the property of James Hamilton, who shot the Regent Murray at Linlithgow in 1569. Leaving the bridge, and taking an easterly direction, we proceed by a delightful path, through fields of waving grain, to the farm-steading which is situated where the dwelling-place of this dauntless individual once stood. The buildings are of modern erection, and nowise remarkable unless from associations connected with their site. Several exquisite views of the palace and pleasure grounds of Hamilton, however, are obtained from points in this vicinity, which are well worth visiting; and about a quarter of a-mile to the east of it there is a picturesque old bridge over the south Calder, which, according to popular opinion, is of Roman construction. It consists of a single arch of twenty feet span, high-backed, narrow, and without parapets. The pavement is composed of small round stones apparently taken from the channel of the rivulet, and the interstices are thickly studded with grass and

"Weeds of glorious feature."

This curious structure, now somewhat timeworn and dilapidated, has altogether a strange old world aspect, and taken in connection with the rippling dark brown water, and its appropriate sylvan accessories, would form an excellent subject for the landscape painter.

Returning to Bothwell, we now proceed in a direction westward from the village, to visit the celebrated ruins of Bothwell Castle, and the beautiful pleasure grounds of Lord Douglas. This nobleman, with a liberality which is in the highest degree commendable, permits strangers to have access to his extensive policies on certain days of the week. How favourably does such a generous attention to the wishes of his less favoured countrymen contrast with the exclusive spirit which is unfortunately so generally manifested by our modern lords of the soil, and how grateful should the tourist in search of the picturesque feel for the privilege which is thus considerately and handsomely accorded him! It is satisfactory to learn that his lordship’s confidence in the popular taste seems to be fully appreciated, and has been but seldom abused. Many hundreds annually traverse the beautiful enclosures, and enjoy the lovely sights around the ancient castle, yet the amenities of the place are but seldom violated.

A walk of about half-a-mile from the magnificent gateway, which is surmounted by a carving of the Douglas arms, along a pathway neatly fringed with verdure, in some places passing through lawns of closely-cropped velvet turf, in others beneath the shade of majestic trees, brings us to the front of the spacious mansion of Lord Douglas. The architecture of this edifice, which is of modern erection, is of the most unpretending description. It consists of a central compartment and two wings, the material of the walls being the fine red sandstone prevalent in the district. The principal apartments are said to be very extensive, and furnished in the most elegant and tasteful manner, and the walls of the various rooms hung with pictures by artists of eminence. At a short distance to the west of the house, on a bold green bank which slopes from the Clyde, are the stately ruins of Bothwell Castle, the most extensive and imposing relic of feudal architecture which our country can boast. Some idea of the former grandeur of this structure may be formed when we mention that its shattered remains cover a space which is in length 234 feet, and in breadth 99 feet. The walls are in some places 15 feet in solid thickness, and in height nearly 60 feet. The principal front looking towards the Clyde consists of a lengthened wall pierced irregularly with loopholes and windows, and flanked at either end by a lofty circular tower. The interior presents the appearance of a large court, at the cast end of which are the remains of certain windows, which seem to indicate that here stood the chapel of the establishment. There are also several rooms and vaults in a considerable state of preservation; but although specific names have been given to some of these places, nothing certain regarding them can now be known, and the visitor may therefore give his fancy free scope, and people them again as seemeth best to his own mind. The walls are in some places beautifully clad with ivy and other climbing plants, such as the clematis, the greater convolvulus, and the many-tendrilled hop, while the wall-flower and the nettle nod mournfully from the summits and the crevices of the walls; and the starling, the owl, and the daw have long had their homes in the mouldering towers. To quote again from the "Clyde :"—

"The tufted grass lines Bothwell’s ancient hall,
The fox peeps cautious from the creviced wall,
Where once proud Murray, Clydesdale’s ancient lord,
A mimic sovereign held the festal board"

With regard to the origin of this noble pile little is now known. In the reign of Alexander II. the barony and castle of Bothwell were held by Walter Olifard, the Justieiary of Lothian, who died in 1242. During the troublous period which followed the death of Alexander III. it fell into the hands of the usurper, Edward I. of England, who resided here for some time in the year 1301. In 1309 Aymer de Vallance was appointed governor, and it was while residing here that this individual negotiated the betrayal of Wallace with the ever-infamous Menteith. At the period when Bruce gained the battle of Bannoekburn, Bothwell Castle was held by a Sir Walter Fitzgilbert, as we learn from the following passage in Barbour :—

"The Earl of Herford frae the melle,
Departed with a great menay,
And straucht to Bothwell took the way,
That in the Inglis mennys fay
Was holden as a place of wer;
Sehyr Walter Gilbertson was ther
Capitaine," &c. -

After the above decisive victory, of course the Southrons were speedily relieved of their unjust possession, and Bruce conferred the barony and castle on Andrew Murray, Lord Bothwell, his own brother-in-law. It seems to have fallen again into the hands of the English, however, after the death of Bruce, when Scotland was again invaded by Edward III., as several documents, still in existence, written by that monarch, are dated at Bothwell. After passing in succession through the hands of the potent families of Douglas, Crichton, Hepburn, and Stewart, it was finally settled on the ancestors of the present possessor in 1715.

Bothwell Castle

The scenery in the vicinity of the castle is of the finest description, including several views of the reaches of the Clyde, with its wooded banks, above and below, of the most striking description. A fine feature in the landscape is the old Priory of Blantyre, which, as our readers are already aware, is situated on a rock of red sandstone immediately opposite. Wordsworth, the poet, who visited this delightful locality, truly remarks,—" It can scarcely be conceived what a grace the Castle and Priory impart to each other." He further adds,—"The river Clyde flows on, smooth and unruffled, below, seeming to my thoughts more in harmony with the sober and stately images of former times, than if it had roared over a rocky channel forcing its sound upon the ear."

Leaving the precincts of this magnificent and awe-inspiring relic of bygone pomp and power, we now proceed by a shady woodland path to visit the extensive gardens of Lord Douglas, which are situated a short distance to the eastward. Having through the kindness of a friend received an introduction to Mr. Turnbull, head-gardener to the establishment, we are received with the most obliging courtesy by that gentleman. Mr Turnbull, whose fame in his profession has, we believe, extended even beyond the Tweed, may well be somewhat vain of the flourishing condition of his numerous plants, indigenous and exotic. Fruits and flowers are equally abundant, and superior in quality. Such pines, grapes, and peaches, it has seldom been our fortune previously to witness; while in the floral departments, things "rich and rare" seem to be here collected from every country and clime. We are shown all imaginable vegetable curiosities and rarities, such as pitcher plants, sensitive plants, cacti of every possible shape, and many many others, which, but to name, would puzzle a Linnĉus. The collection of roses is very extensive, and our visit fortunately happens at the very nick of time to witness them in their hours of bloom. In one conservatory are no less than two hundred distinct species of heaths, many of which are exquisitely beautiful, and all are in the most healthy and luxuriant condition. Time would fail us, however, were we to attempt to indicate even the leading features of the bloomy wealth—the pansy, the pelargoniums, the calceolarias, the fuchsias, and the cacti, which in greenhouse and on lawn, are strewn profusely yet tastefully about. Suffice it to say, that to any individual of taste, a visit to this place alone would far more than repay a ramble to Bothwell. With many acknowledgments of his kindness, we take leave of our friend Mr. Turnbull, and by a pleasant, though somewhat tortuous route through the woods, return to Bothwell.

Feeling somewhat tired with our devious peregrinations and the sultriness of the day, we rest in the village for an hour or two, after which we pass over the river to Blantyre, and by the "last train" we are in a brief space safely deposited at the terminus, whence some dozen of hours ago we took our start.


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