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The History of Glasgow
Chapter VIII - Landed Possessions of the Church


IN the beginning of the twelfth century most of the territory surrounding Glasgow, and extending over Rutherglen, Partick and Govan, formed part of the royal domain and was probably at the disposal of Prince David as ruler of the district. Even at that time a considerable population must have been gathered in the city and adjacent villages, and as these people would to a large extent depend on the produce of the soil for their maintenance, it may be assumed that all available land was cultivated by the class latterly designated Rentallers, from whom a share of the produce, in name of maul or rent, would be exacted by the prince and his officers. So much of this land as was by the inquest ascertained to belong to the church would be under the same system of management, the only difference being that the bishop instead of the prince would be overlord and entitled to the contribution exigible from the tillers of the soil. Split up into such divisions, the names of these holdings were apparently too numerous for insertion in the document specifying the result of the inquiry, and consequently only two or three leading territorial designations are given, and even these few cannot all be satisfactorily identified.

About "Pathelanenhc," the original name of Provan, there is no doubt. "Cunclut" has probably a survival in "Kinclayth," a piece of land now incorporated in Glasgow Green. In his Caledonia, Chalmers gives examples of many places, both in South and North Britain, having as a compound "Ken," "Cyn," or "Kin," signifying first or foremost part, the head, end or limit. In "Conclut" the second syllable probably indicates Clutha—the river Clyde—and the whole word, with its prefix of comprehensive meaning, may be applicable to a large extent of river frontage. Unless this be so, or unless Partick, bestowed on the church by a subsequent grant, extended a long way east of the River Kelvin, we have no certain knowledge how Glasgow Green and a wide stretch of land to the east and west of that space came into the possession of the bishopric. But, indeed, it is likely enough that the bishop obtained large tracts of royal territory without the formality of a written grant, and even if scrip of some kind passed through the hands of the prince's officers, the chances are that in many cases the transactions would neither be registered nor the bits of parchment preserved. The recorded charters relating to special lands within the area subsequently known as the Barony of Glasgow are renewals rather than original grants, and this confirms the impression that, simultaneously with the reconstitution of the diocese, the bishop was established as overlord of the city and the whole of its surrounding lands, both those which had formerly belonged to the church and the remaining portions from which Prince David, through his officers, had hitherto derived a share of the produce.

Of the system under which these barony lands were cultivated and put to the best avail, both for overlords and the working community, we have no contemporary evidence, but it may reasonably be surmised that it was not essentially different from that which was found in practice in the sixteenth century, the earliest date of any extant rental books or rent rolls. The crop-bearing lands would thus be regularly tilled by a class of rentallers to whom distinct areas would be assigned, while those lands more suitable for grazing purposes would be

possessed in common, the inhabitants being entitled to put on cattle or sheep stock in specified numbers and at prescribed rates. Even in the present day, after so long a course of drainage and cultivation, there are several small lochs throughout the barony, and in the twelfth century patches of stagnant water must have been much more numerous, and marshy land must have abounded. From such localities, and from the hilly and rocky ground, with their yield of brushwood, heath, timber and stone, fuel and building material would be. obtained. Coal, if used at all, would only be got by quarrying near the surface, and perhaps the bishops' rentallers would learn that art from their neighbours in the Monklands, the rentallers of those monks of Neubotle who have the credit of being the first coalworkers in Scotland. [Early Scotch History, p. 131.]

At this time, when the bishop was recognized as overlord of the barony lands, it is probable that these were subject to certain exactions for the upkeep of Prince David's establishment at Rutherglen castle. Such at least is the inference which may be drawn from the terms of an undated charter of King William (1165-1214) to the effect that after his accession to the throne King David erected his demesne vill of Rutherglen into a royal burgh, giving its officers authority to levy the customs and dues exigible over a wide district, including the Glasgow area. [A.P.S. i. p. 86. In a supplication to Parliament in 1661 it is stated that King David granted a charter to the burgh of Rutherglen in 1126 (A.P.S. vii. pp. 239-40).] It may accordingly be assumed that the bailies of the newly constituted burgh would continue the collection from the bishop's lands of the customs hitherto payable, though, as will afterwards be seen, the establishment of a burgh at Glasgow eventually led to these being gathered from a restricted area.


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