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The New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Volume VI - Lanark
Parish of Glasford



Extent and 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.

Topographical 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.—The 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 Heads, &c.

Antiquities.---Three high 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."

Eminent Characters.—Mrs 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.

Mansion Houses.—The 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.

Parochial Registers.—The 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 much patience.

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 again.

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 besides.

This account of sufferings within this parish, the session appointed to be insert in their register, adjuturam vos memoriam."]


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.


Agriculture.—As mentioned 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 chiefly.

Produce.—The annual 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.

Means of 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.

Ecclesiastical State.—The 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.

Education.—At Westquarter 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.

Charitable 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.

July 1835.

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