PRESBYTERY OF HAMILTON,
SYNOD OF GLASGOW AND AYR.
THE REV. GAVIN LANG, MINISTER.
I.—TOPOGRAPHY AND NATURAL
Boundaries.—THE parish of Glasford is about eight miles in length. Its
figure, as laid down in the map, resembles a sand-glass, three miles and
three-quarters at its broadest extreme, two miles in the opposite end,
and about one-half mile in the middle. It contains in all eleven square
miles, or 5598 Scots acres. It is bounded on the north-west by East
Kilbride and Blantyre; north, by hamilton; south, by Avondale ; and
cast, by Stonehouse.
Appearances.—The parish is separated into two grand divisions,—the moors
and the dales; the latter of which comprehend a beautiful strath of
land, that runs along the lower part of the parish, and is bounded on
the one side by the Avon. The aspect of the parish presents in some
places a gradual rise, but nothing that can be termed mountainous. The
district of the moors is in many parts bleak and barren. Owing to its
high position the air is keen, but the climate is considered healthy.
The soil may be reckoned of three kinds, moss, clay, and light loam.
chief land-owners are the Right Honourable Lady Montgomerie,
(Patroness;) George Alston, Esq. of Muirburn; John Marshall, Esq. of
Chapelton; John Jackson, Esq. of Hallhill; and William Semple, Esq. of
stones stand upright on a small eminence upon the lands of Avonholm,
respecting the origin of which there are various opinions. Some suppose
they mark the resting-place of martyrs, and others that they are the
tombs of noblemen; but more probably they are remnants of Druidical
superstition. Till within a few years the ruins of an ancient castle
were to be seen very near the mansion-house of Hallhill. The late
proprietor, John Millar, Esq. caused it to be taken down, when there
were found some specimens of beautiful china, unfortunately broken, and
a few other relics. It is said to have been a very strong fort,
containing one spacious arch, under which an hundred men could be drawn
up. The building was evidently more intended for defence than for a
place of residence.—There is a small enclosure at a place called
Shawtonhill, in the western part of the parish, which is appropriated as
a burying-ground by a few members of the Society of Friends in Glasgow.
It has not been used for a great length of time. The land is burdened
with the sum of 12s. 2d. annually, which is paid by two possessors of
the adjoining grounds. They are obliged to preserve the fence, which
surrounds a space of nine falls. The ruins of the former church and
belfry, built in 1633, are still standing in the grave yard, where also
the tomb of a martyr is to be seen inscribed, "To the memory of the very
worthy Pillar of the Church, Mr William Gordon of Earlston in Galloway,
shot by a party of dragoons on his way to Bothwell Bridge, 22d June
1679, aged 65; inscribed by his great-grandson, Sir John Gordon, Bart.
11th June 1772."
Isabella Graham was born in this parish. Her father, Mr J. Marshall, was
a small proprietor at a place called Heads, from which he removed to the
Abbey parish of Paisley. The piety and excellence of Mrs Graham require
no comment here. A memoir of her was first published at New York, and
reprinted in London 1816. In 1766, she left her native country for
America with her husband, and spent the greater part of her remaining
days in that foreign land. She died on the 27th July 1814.
principal of these are, Muirburn, Crutherland, Avonholm, Westquarter
House, Halihill, Craigthornhill, and Heads, &c.
Mills.—There are two upon
the Avon, one for oats, &c. and another for flour, erected in 1833.
earliest is dated 1692, when the Rev. Francis Borland was minister of
the parish. They are rather confused from the first, and have not been
regularly attended, to for the last thirty-seven years.
[The following account of
the sufferings of the people in the parish of Glasford for religion and
non-conformity to Prelacy, about the year 1660, appears to have been
appointed by the kirk- session of 1694, to be inserted in their records.
As exemplifying the persecutions of the time, it is thought not unworthy
of being presented here at length.
"Imprimis, Mr Williain
Hamilton, minister in Glasford, who had been ordained minister of this
parish about January 1644, and continued in the faithful and patient
exercise of his ministry here, till after the restoration of King
Charles II., was in the year 1666 most injuriously silenced and thrust
out of his charge by the then Bishop of Glasgow ; and when afterwards he
was indulged to preach the Gospel at Strathaven in the year 1669, he was
there confined within the bounds of that parish.
"Item, The parish of
Glasford was injuriously fined in the sum of eleven hundred merks Scots,
which they were forced to pay, Upon the account that the curate's house,
Mr Finlay, who was then incumbent of the said parish, was by robbers
broken up, about the year 1660, although no person of the said parish
was any ways guilty of the fact, being done by strangers, who were
afterwards apprehended and executed for the robbery; at their death
confessed the same, declaring that they had not done above two dollars
worth of damage to the said Mr Finlay, his house or goods.
Item, Robert Semple in
Craigthorn, William Semple Whiteraig, William Mar. shall in Four
Pennyland, having been at the rising in Pentland Hills, were there
either killed, or received their death wounds, in their testifying
against the corruption of their times.
Item, John Hart, in
Westquarter, who had been at the engagement at Pentland Hills, after his
return home, was apprehended, carried to Glasgow, and there executed on
the foresaid account.
Item, James Scoulcr and
Gavin Semple, having gone toward Hamilton to hear sermon, on the same
day on which Bothwell Bridge skirmish fell out, were on their way
thither both cruelly killed.
Item, John Semple in
Craigthorn, sometime after Bothwell Bridge, in the year 1684, was
apprehended and cruelly used by soldiers, then laid up in Hamilton
Tolbooth; afterwards carried to fiaresaid tolbooth, where he was
barbarously handled, his fingers driven into the thummeking, and his
legs driven into the bolts, and that both at one and the same time, for
the space of five hours together, to increase his torments, afterwards
they condemned him to die, passing sentence of death upon him in the
forenoon, and executing him in the afternoon of the same. The same John
Semple of good report, well versed in the Holy Scriptures, by the very
quoting of which he even dashed his persecutors. He bore sufferings with
Item, A sister of the
foresaid John Semple, coming to see him while he was a prisoner in
Edinburgh, and to put on his dead clothes, the persecutors made her a
prisoner, also first in Edinburgh, then in Donnoter Castle. Likewise the
mother of the said young woman named Janet Scott, going to see her
daughter at Donnoter, she was also made a prisoner there; afterwards
they were brought to Leith to be sent over sea to America, but it was so
ordered that both were reserved, and sent to Edinburgh Tolbooth, where
they lay in prison a long time. The whole time of the daughter's
imprisonment was about two years and three quarters of a year, and the
mother's imprisonment was near two years.
Item, Janet Scott
suffered in by the troopers coming at several times upon her, free
quartering, and destroying her corn, grass, and meal, and driving away
her horses and cattle, which she never after received, the said troopers
carrying themselves rudely and barbarously to them in the house.
Item, In 1683, Michael
Marshall and John Kay were both taken prisoners for their
non-conformity, and banished and sent over sea to New Jersay in America.
The said Michael Marshall staid several years in America. After the late
happy revolution, designing to come home, he was taken prisoner at sea,
and was carried to France, where he was kept one year and a-half in
prison, and endured great hardships before he was delivered.
"Item, About the said
year 1685, Alexander Hamilton and John Struthers in Shawtonhill, John
Semple in Shawton, John Fleeming in Chapelton, John Walker there, James
Scott there, John Paterson there, John Semple in Nethershields, William
Semple there, Gavin Paterson there, John Marshall, elder and younger,
Chapelton, and James Lowrie there, were sorely troubled and harassed by
the then Lord Glasford, who caused a troop of soldiers to search for and
apprehend them, upon pretence of conversing with, resetting and giving
entertainment to persons who had been in arms against the established
Government, and having been actually in arms themselves; upon which
allegencies, the said persons, were imprisoned fourteen days in
Edinburgh, and put to much expense in employing agents to defend them,
and although the said Lord Glasford summoned many witnesses to compear
against them, yet could he not get anything proven against them.
Item, The parish of
Glasford was much oppressed in the year before the rising at Bothwell
Bridge, by the free quartering of a company of the highland host, and by
paying besides to each of them sixpence by day, besides hardships and
robberies consumated by theist upon-the people of the said parish, while
they quartered them.
Item, John Alston in
Glasford Mill lay half a year in Glasgow Tolbooth for refusing the test.
Item, Joint Fleeming,
Elder, in Chapelton, was imprisoned thirty-four weeks, partly in
Glasgow, partly in Edinburgh, and partly in Burnthalin, for his refusing
to take the test, and had the sentence of banishment put upon him to
America, although providentially it was not executed.
Item, William Semple in
Nethershields was imprisoned in Stirling about three months, because of
his refusing the test.
Item. Thomas Fleeming in
Chapelton was, upon the account of his non-conformity, and gong to the
field preaching, much troubled by the Donnoter Hall-yards, who caused
take an inventory of his goods in order to seize them, which cost him
about 16 pounds Scots before he could get his goods set free, and
himself delivered from the said oppression. As also the said Thomas
Fleeming was apprehended by Laird Sym upon the foresaid account, and
forced to pay five pounds Scots before he could get out of his bands
Item, Alexander Hamilton
in Shawtonhill was taken prisoner by Gavin Muir, Laird of Sachopp and
his men, on pretence of having been at a conventicle, and carried to
Glasgow tolbooth, where he lay a month imprisoned.
Item, John Alston, Elder,
in Glasford, was fined in three dollars, because he did not baptize his
child by the curate Mr Davison, which he actually paid.
Item, John Marshall in
Heads was imprisoned fourteen days in Hamilton tolbooth, because of his
wife not hearing the curate Mr Davison.
Item. Gavin Paterson in
Nethershields was fined in three dollars, which he accordingly paid, for
his wife not hearing the curate.
Item, Ann Semple, spouse
to Thomas Watt in Croutherland, was imprisoned fourteen days in
Hamilton, for not hearing the curate.
Item, Thomas Watt,
foresaid, was fined in three dollars, and John Young in Flatt, was fined
in two dollars, which they both actually paid, upon the account of their
hearing a sermon at the Torrance House, preached by Mr Robert Muir.
Item, Adam Fleeming in
Shawton was imprisoned in Hamilton tolbooth, for lodging Mr Matthew
M'Koll two nights in his house, and was fined in fifty pounds Scots
This account of
sufferings within this parish, the session appointed to be insert in
their register, adjuturam vos memoriam."]
III. - POPULATION
The increase is chiefly
to be found in the manufacturing part of the community, and may be
attributed to the encouragement given to feuirig, by the proprietors of
land around the village.
The number of proprietors
of land is 50. Of these 17 are non-resident, and 36 stand above L.50 in
valuation. A considerable number of females are engaged at the loom, at
which they spend usually fourteen hours each working day. For some years
past the remuneration has not at all been adequate to their support, but
is now much improved. Such a mode of life is not beneficial to the
health or morality of females in particular.
at the commencement of this account, the number of Scots acres in the
parish is computed to be 5598. Of these 440 are reckoned not arable,
being chiefly a deep moss. It is probable, however, that, in the course
of a few years, the greater part of this waste will become cultivated
ground, if farming operations continue to improve as they have done of
late years. There is but little wood, and that little is planted. Beech,
ash, and fir trees prevail.
Rent of Land.—The average
rent of arable land is L. 1, 10s. per acre; that for grazing a good cow,
L. 3; sheep, 6s. per head. The breed of cattle is principally Ayrshire.
A good deal of attention has been paid to rearing them. Oats are mostly
cultivated here. More wheat, however, was sown during the last than in
any previous year. Potatoes are a prevalent crop. Nineteen years is the
general term of leases. Some of these are conditional, which implies a
liberty of resigning, provided that the parties are not satisfied at the
termination of such years as may be specified. The farm-houses may be
considered rather comfortable; a number of them have been recently
built. There are three freestone quarries near the village of
Westquarter, and one at a place called Flatt, from which most of the
buildings are supplied. A large lime-work is in operation in that
division of the parish, termed the Moors. Coal has also been found in
different parts, but not in abundance. At present there is one colliery
going on in the estate of Crutherland, for the use of the property
produce may be as follows:
There is no market-town in Glasford. Strathaven is the near- est,
distant about two and a half miles. The parish contains three villages,
Westquarter, Chapelton, and Heads. The population of Westquarter is 501;
of Chapelton, 558; of Heads, 68.
Communication.—Letters are conveyed to these villages from the post-town
Strathaven, by a runner who goes daily. The turnpike-road leading from
Strathaven to Glasgow, by east Kilbride, stretches four miles through
the parish; that from Strathaven to Hamilton, about two and a-half
miles. Two stage-coaches run in opposite directions, both from
Strathaven, one by east Ku- bride, and the other by Stonehouse, to which
there is easy access. The bridge over the Avon at Glasford mill is very
narrow, and not in good repair. It is proposed to have it widened. That
over the Calder at Crutherland is better. Thorn and beech hedges
prevail, which are now obtaining much more attention than in former
years. This is particularly visible in the moorland parts, where
enclosures of any kind are few.
parish church, built in 180, is situated in the village of Westquarter,
which is almost at one extremity of the parish, being distant from the
other end six miles. It is in good repair, and calculated to contain 560
sitters. The manse was built in 1804. An addition and offices were
erected in 1833, which render it very commodious. The glebe and garden,
&c. include between eight and nine acres of excellent soil. The stipend
allotted in 1822 is sixteen chalders, half meal and half barley. There
is no chapel or meeting-house here; but the number of families attending
Dissenting chapels in the neighbouring parishes is 130. Divine service
is occasionally performed at Chapelton, three miles from the stated
place of worship. The number of communicants amounts to 400. A female
society for religious purposes was instituted in January 1835, likewise
a parochial library for each division.
is one parochial school, in which are taught besides the common
branches, Greek and Latin. The salary is 300 merks, or L. 16, 13s. 4d.
with legal accommodation. The schoolmaster's fees amount to L. 32 'per
annum, and his emoluments from other sources to L 6 per annum. There are
two schools at Chapelton, one of which has a grant of 100 merks, or L.
5, 11s. 1d. and a school-house assigned to the teacher. Farther to the
west at Mill-well is another school, to which is attached 50 merks or L.
2, 15s. 6d. with a school-house and garden, from the Right Honourable
Lady Montgomerie, and L. 3 Sterling from the parish. These schools are
so situated as to be accessible to all the different parts of the
parish. In 1832 two Sabbath schools were opened, one at Westquarter, the
other at Chapelton, at which 300 children usually attend; and besides
these there is an adult female Sabbath evening class containing 30;
which institutions are supported by collections.
Poor and Parochial
Funds.—The number of paupers regularly receiving aid in 1832 was about
30, and the average sum calculated to each, L. 5, 10s. yearly. Besides
these, others receive assistance in various sums. The assessment of the
parish for that year was L. 170, 9s. 7d., and the collections at the
church door during 1833 were L. 15, 6s. 1d.
Institutions.—At Westquarter, one male Friendly Society, members, 112;
one Female do. 23; one Temperance do. 107. At Chapelton, three Friendly
Societies, in all 214; one Temperance do. members, 41.
These friendly societies
are of great benefit not only to the individuals connected with them,
but to the heritors of the parish. They are calculated both to promote
industry and excite a desire of independence.
Inns, &c.—There are six
houses in Westquarter and Chapelton that retail spirits. The
demoralizing effects of these places of resort are too evident.