CROSSMYLOOF, now a part of Greater
Glasgow, is located on and near the Pollokshaws Road. The singular name of
Crossmyloof is accounted for by a popular myth which is yet current. It is
said that, immediately before the battle of Langside, the forces of Queen
Mary were drawn up on the site of the village.
A council of war was meanwhile held,
at which it was debated whether they should, under the circumstances in
which they were placed, risk a collision with the troops of Regent Murray.
The Queen, always impetuous, was urgent that an attack should at once be
From this resolution several of her
adherents attempted to dissuade her, representing to her the advantages
likely to result from delay. Tired at last of their importunities, and
eager to decide her fate, the Queen pulled an ebony crucifix from her
breast, and laid it on her snowy palm, saying at the same time,— "As
surely as that cross lies on my loof, I will this day fight the Regent."
From this circumstance, it is said,
the spot received its name. Tradition in this, as in other instances that
might be mentioned, has taken sad liberties with geography. The story is a
pretty one nevertheless, and will continue, we daresay, to obtain credence
at the winter evening hearth, in spite of the sneers of the prying student
Such is the tradition as recorded by
that prince of local writers, Hugh Macdonald, but in spite of his
sceptical comment, the story may be true in all its main particulars,
except as regards the alleged site of the encampment and Council of war.
This probability is strengthened by the fact that Miss Agnes Strickland,
who records this interesting incident in her Life of Mary, omits
these tainly erroneous details. As her historical rendering from oral
chroniclers is brief, it may be both pleasing and instructive to quote it
here for comparison with the purely traditionary account given above.
This lady puts it on record that
Maxwell, Laird of Pollok, one of Mary’s adherents, was created a baronet
in the course of the eventful day the Queen spent in his vicinity, and
that this was the last exercise of her power. She then relates as follows
Queen Mary, on being assured by the
gentlemen about her—
"‘That in consequence of the
position occupied by the rebel force, it would be impossible for her to
get to Dumbarton,’ she placed her crucifix in the palm of her hand, and
passionately exclaimed— "‘By the cross in my loof, I will be there
to-night in spite of you traitors!
The explanation seems palpable by
simply tracing the movements of the rival forces, as given by Hugh
Macdonald, who writes :—
"Marching from Hamilton with the
intention of proceeding to Dumbarton by the north-east side of Glasgow,
the Queen’s troops were confronted at Dalmarnock ford by the army of the
Regent Murray, which was drawn up in order of battle in the vicinity of
Barrowfield. Desirous of avoiding the impending engagement, Mary’s
adherents altered their route, and, passing by Ruthergien and Hangingshaw,
endeavoured to accomplish their purpose of reaching Dumbarton by a forced
march to the south-west of the city. Their course, however, was
necessarily a circuitous one, and Murray having become aware of the
alteration in their plans, at once pushed across Glasgow Green, forded the
Clyde, and as we can see from the relative position of the places, was
without difficulty able to intercept them in their progress." The council
of war, and the dramatic incident recorded would, therefore, take place to
the eastward of Langside, and immediately before the battle.