UK Genealogy Archives logo

Cambuslang, Lanarkshire

Historical Description

CAMBUSLANG, a parish, in the Middle ward of the county of LANARK, 4½ miles (S. by E.) from Glasgow; including the villages of Bushyhill, Chapelton, East and West Cotes, Cullochburn, Howieshill, Kirkhill, Lightburn, Sauchiebog, Silverbanks, and Vicarland; and containing 3022 inhabitants. This place is supposed to have derived its name from its situation on the banks of the Clyde, which here takes a circuitous course, and forms the northern boundary of the parish. Thc barony in which the greater portion is included, and which was anciently called Drumsargart, belonged in the reign of Alexander II. to Walter Olifard, justiciary of Lothian, and subsequently became the property of the Morays of Bothwell. It afterwards passed into the possession of the Earl of Douglas, who had married the daughter of Sir Thomas Moray, and remained in that family till 1452, when the property was transferred to James, Lord Hamilton, in the possession of whose descendants it still continues. Its name was changed in the seventeenth century from Drumsargart to Cambuslang, the name of the parish. There are no other remains of the ancient castle of Drumsargart than the mere site, from which it is supposed to have derived its name, significant of its situation on a circular mount at the extremity of a long ridge of ground about thirty feet above the surrounding plain. This plain, from its extent and undulating surface, has been said to bear a striking resemblance to the Field of Waterloo.

The PARISH is bounded on the east by the river Calder, which is a tributary of the Clyde; and comprises an area of 3507 acres, all arable and pasture land, with the exception of about 200 in plantations, roads, and waste. Its surface, though generally level, is varied with rising grounds and ridges, the principal of which are Turnlaw and Dechmont, in the south-west. The latter, having an elevation of 600 feet above the level of the sea, commands an extensive prospect, comprehending in the distance the Tweeddale and Pentland hills, Ben-Lomond, and several of the hills of Cowal and Breadalbane. The adjacent scenery is beautifully picturesque, embracing the windings of the Clyde in its course from Lanark to Dumbarton, with its richly-wooded banks interspersed with villages and gentlemen's seats, the plantations of Hamilton, the romantic ruins of Bothwell Castle, and the cathedral and city of Glasgow, which are here seen with peculiar and striking effect. Of the rivers, the Clyde is about 250 feet in breadth; and the Calder, the banks of which are ornamented with pleasing villas, and finely wooded, is about forty feet wide.

The soil is generally good, and, in the low lands near the Clyde, extremely rich and fertile. The principal crops are oats and wheat, of which latter the cultivation has been for some time progressively increasing under an improved system of agriculture; peas, beans, and potatoes are also raised in considerable quantities, and a small proportion of barley. There are several large dairy-farms, the produce of which is chiefly butter, of excellent quality, sent to the Glasgow market, where it finds a ready sale; the cows are the Ayrshire. The annual value of real property in the parish is £11,555. The substratum is mainly argillaceous freestone, limestone, ironstone, and coal, all of which are wrought, affording employment to many of the population. The freestone is of good quality, and much esteemed for ornamental building; and the limestone, which is peculiarly compact, and susceptible of a high polish, is wrought into mantel-pieces of great beauty under the appellation of Cambuslang marble. The ironstone is found in several places, but is worked only to a very limited extent. The coal lies at various depths, and in some few places rises nearly to the surface; the field in which it is found forms part of the coal district of the Clyde, and the seams vary from three to five feet in thickness: the mines in this parish are the property of the Duke of Hamilton, and are partly held on lease. The weaving of muslin for the Glasgow manufacturers, formerly carried on to a much greater extent, at present affords employment to about 500 males and females. There are corn-mills on the Clyde and Calder rivers. Great facility of intercourse is afforded by the lines of the Caledonian railway company. The principal seats are, Newton, a handsome modern mansion; Calder Grove, also lately erected; and Gilbertfield, an ancient turreted edifice.

Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; patron, the Duke of Hamilton: the minister's stipend is £281. 11. 11., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £10 per annum. The church, erected in 1743, a plain building much dilapidated, has been rebuilt on a larger scale, for a congregation of 1000 persons; it is a handsome structure in the Norman style, with a lofty spire. There are places of worship for members of the Congregational Union and the United Presbyterian Church. The parochial school affords education to nearly 100 pupils: the salary of the master is £34, with £40 fees, and a good house and garden. On the summit of Dechmont Hill, the foundations of ancient buildings have been discovered; and within the last fifty or sixty years considerable remains existed there, but they have been removed for the sake of the materials, which have been employed in repairing the roads, and for other purposes. Among them were the remains of a circular building about twenty-four feet in diameter, the site of which is supposed to have been occupied anciently as a signal station, and as a place of security in case of irruption from an enemy. At Kirkburn was formerly a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which appears to have subsisted till the Reformation; but the only memorial preserved of the building is the name of the land on which it stood, still called Chapelton. Spittal Hill was the site of an hospital that has long: since disappeared. Dr. Claudius Buchanan, author of Researches in India, was a native of the parish.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1851 by Samuel Lewis