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Eastwood or Pollock, Renfrewshire

Historical Description

EASTWOOD, or POLLOCK, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Renfrew, 2½ miles (S. W.) from Glasgow; containing, with the incorporated town of Pollockshaws, the village of Thornliebank, and part of the late quoad sacra district of Levern, 7970 inhabitants. This parish derives the former of its names from the relative situation of an extensive wood which was a part of it, but which has long been converted into arable land; and the latter name from the circumstance of the chief lands being designated Pollock. It is about four miles in length from north to south, and three miles in breadth, forming an irregular area of 5000 acres, and bounded on the west by the parish of Paisley, of which a considerable portion is circumscribed by the lands of Eastwood. The surface is pleasingly undulated, intersected with tracts of level ground, and rising towards the south into a range of hills, the highest of which has an elevation of 300 feet above the level of the sea. In many parts the scenery is embellished with flourishing plantations, and watered by winding streams, which give to it an interesting and picturesque appearance. The river White Cart, rising in the moors of Eaglesham, flows for several miles through the parish in its course to the Clyde, receiving at Pollockshaws the waters of the Auldhouse burn, which issues from a lake in the adjoining parish of Mearns. The Brock burn, which also rises in Mearns, winds through Eastwood, and falls into the Levern, which skirts the western extremity of the parish, and joins the Cart near Cruickston Castle. In the hilly parts towards the south the soil is thin and light, but on the banks of the river and rivulets extremely rich and fertile; about one-half of the lands is arable and in profitable cultivation, and the remainder, with the exception of about 250 acres of natural wood and 100 of plantation, is good pasture land. The rotation system of husbandry is prevalent; the crops are oats, barley, and wheat, with potatoes and turnips. Some attention is paid to the rearing of cattle, which are generally of the Ayrshire breed; but the management of live stock forms only a secondary object with the farmer, and consequently few fine specimens are produced. Considerable progress has been made in reclaiming the waste, of which large portions have been brought into a state of cultivation, and great improvements have been effected in draining and fencing; the farm-houses and offices are substantial and commodious, and mostly roofed with slate. The plantations are of oak, elm, ash, sycamore, beech, larch, and Scotch, spruce, and silver firs. The annual value of real property in the parish is £21,061.

The substrata comprise sandstone and limestone, with occasional belts of ironstone. There are some valuable quarries of stone of excellent quality for building and various other purposes. The stone of one of the quarries is peculiarly adapted for pavements, hearths, and staircases, and, as it may be cut to any required size, is also employed for cisterns. Another of these quarries produces a very superior kind which is in great demand for the finer sorts of masonry, and is much admired for the uses of the sculptor and the statuary. Limestone is still worked at Arden, and was formerly wrought at Darnley and Cowglen; but it is of very inferior quality, unfit for burning into lime, and consequently applied chiefly to road-making, and for rough-casting the walls of houses, for which purpose it is well adapted from the hardness it acquires from exposure to the air. Coal abounds in the parish, and is wrought at Cowglen. There are several seams, varying in thickness, but none exceed three feet. Five of these have been worked with success: they are of good quality, and yield an ample supply of fuel; the pits vary from ten to forty fathoms, in depth, and the annual produce is estimated at nearly £4000. A considerable number of the inhabitants are employed in cotton spinning, weaving, bleaching, and calico-printing, for which large factories have been established in the town of Pollockshaws, the village of Thornliebank, and Auldhouse. In the bleachfields of the last, more than 200 persons are employed; the particulars of the two first will be found in the notices of those places under their respective heads. Pollock, the seat of Sir John Maxwell, Bart., is a handsome modern mansion pleasantly situated. Great facility of intercourse is afforded by the Glasgow and Barrhead railway, which intersects the parish.

Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery of Paisley, synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the gift of Sir John Maxwell; the minister's stipend is about £140, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £35 per annum. The old church was taken down, and a new edifice erected in 1781 near the western extremity of Pollockshaws; it is a neat building in good repair, and affords accommodation to 760 persons. A second church connected with the Establishment has been erected in Pollockshaws; and there are places of worship for members of the Free Church, the United Presbyterian Synod, and the Synod of Original Seceders: the Roman Catholics, who are numerous in the parish, attend the chapel at Glasgow. Eastwood parochial school affords instruction to about 100 scholars; the master has a salary of £34, with £36 fees, and a house and garden. There are no monuments of antiquity: the only memorials of olden times are some documents in the possession of the Maxwell family, comprising, among others, a precept from the lords of council of James V. to meet his queen when she came first to Scotland, dated 1527; a letter from the Regent-Queen Mary, 1559; a letter from Queen Mary before the battle of Langside; two letters from James VI.; and the original, with the subscriptions, of the first National Covenant, signed by the king and council, 1581. Among the ministers of Eastwood have been Wodrow, author of some writings on the antiquities of Scotland, of some lives of the most learned men who have flourished in the country, and of a history of the Scottish Church; and the Rev. Mr. Crawford, author of an unpublished history of the Church from the introduction of Christianity into Scotland till the year 16S0. Walter Stewart, of Pardovan, author of the Collections, died here, while on a visit to the Maxwells, and was interred in the aisle of the church appropriated as a place of sepulture for the members of that family, and in which a marble monument was erected to his memory.

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