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Cathcart, Lanarkshire

Historical Description

CATHCART, a parish, partly in the Lower ward of the county of LANARK, but chiefly in the Upper ward of the county of RENFREW; including the villages of New and Old Cathcart, Clarkston, Crosshill, Crossmyloof, Hanginshaw, Langside, Millbridge, and Netherlee; and containing 2349 inhabitants, of whom 174 are in Old Cathcart, 3 miles (S.) from Glasgow. This place, which is supposed to have derived its name, of Celtic origin, from the situation of its castle on the river Cart, is of remote antiquity. It appears at an early period to have formed part of the possessions of Walter, lord high steward of Scotland, who in 1160 granted the church, together with all its dependencies, to the abbey of Paisley, which he had founded. The remainder of the lands became the property of the ancient family of Cathcart, of whom Sir Alan, in 1447, was raised to the peerage by James II. under the title of Lord Cathcart; the estates were alienated by Alan, the third lord, in 1546, and then belonged to the Semples for several generations. Of the Cathcart family, who have again become owners of the castle, three was killed in the battle of Flodden Field in 1513, and another in the battle of Pinkie in 1547; the fourth Lord Cathcart distinguished himself at the battle of Langside, and the eighth lord, as colonel of the Scots Greys, contributed to the victory obtained over the rebel army at Sheriffmuir. William, the tenth lord, who commanded the British forces at the taking of Copenhagen in 1807, was on that occasion created Viscount Cathcart, and in 1814 Earl Cathcart: he died in 1843.

The PARISH, which is about five miles in length, and from one and a half to two miles in breadth, is bounded on the north and east by the county of Lanark. Its surface is beautifully diversified with gentle undulations, and detached hills of greater elevation, cultivated to their summits; and the lands are intersected with the windings of the river Cart, in some parts flowing with gentle course through verdant meadows, and in others forcing its way between rugged and precipitous banks thickly wooded. The number of acres is 2950, of which, with the exception of about 90 in woodland and plantations, and about 60 in lawns and pleasure-grounds, the whole is arable and in cultivation. In general the soil is fertile: the system of agriculture has been greatly improved; the rotation plan of husbandry is prevalent, and the lands have been rendered more productive by furrow-draining. The chief crops are oats, potatoes, wheat, and hay, in regular succession, for which ready sale is found in the markets of Glasgow and other towns. The annual value of real property in the parish is £8925. The substratum is part of the coal basin which extends from the hills of Campsie, on the north, to those of Cathkin, on the south; there are several coal-mines in the parish, but none at present in operation. Limestone and freestone are also abundant, and a large quarry of the latter at Crosshill, is extensively wrought. In the channel of the Cart are numerous minerals, of which a valuable collection was presented by Lord Greenock, now Earl Cathcart, to the Hunterian museum of Glasgow. Cartside Cottage, the residence of Earl Cathcart, is a handsome seat, near the remains of the ancient castle, which, from its strength, has resisted all attempts to remove it, and still forms an interesting ruin, defended on two sides by the precipitous banks of the river. Aikenhead is also a handsome and spacious mansion, consisting of a centre and two wings, finely situated, and surrounded by a large demesne tastefully embellished with wood and plantations. The principal manufacture is hand-loom weaving, in which about one hundred families are employed at their own dwellings for the manufacturers of Glasgow and Paisley. On the river Cart is an extensive paper-mill, originally established by a French refugee in 1685, and on the same stream is a mill for the manufacture of snuff. There are also extensive corn-mills; and on the river, just before it enters the parish of Eastwood, is a bleachfield, at Newlands, but the persons employed in it mostly belong to Pollockshaws.

For ECCLESIASTICAL purposes the parish is within the bounds of the presbytery of Glasgow, synod of Glasgow and Ayr: the minister's stipend is £276, with a manse, built in 1818, and a glebe valued at £16. 10. per annum; patron, John Gordon, Esq. Cathcart old church, which contained only 150 sittings, and was greatly dilapidated, was taken down, and the present church erected, in the year 1838, at an expense of £2500, by the heritors; it is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, and contains 1000 sittings. The parochial school was built in 1830, at a cost of £500; the master has a salary of £30, with a house and garden, and the fees average about £15. The Cathcart Club, which holds its annual meetings in Glasgow, generally distributes about £25 per annum among such of the needy families in the parish as do not apply for parochial aid. On the hill of Langside are some remains of what is supposed to have been a Roman camp, and which, from its having been occupied by Mary, Queen of Scots, while an anxious spectator of the battle of Langside, is called by the people Queen Mary's camp. A Roman vase of elegant workmanship was discovered about the commencement of the present century, by the late minister of the parish, when digging for the foundation of a house at Wood-End, and is now in the Hunterian museum. On the farm of Overlee, on the north bank of the Cart, numerous subterranean buildings have been found; the sides were from four to five feet in length, faced with undressed stone, and in the floors, which were paved with thin flags, were excavations as if for fire-places, in which ashes were found. The Rev. Principal Carstairs was a native of the parish, of which his father was minister. See Clarkston, Langside, &c.

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