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Glassford, Lanarkshire

Historical Description

GLASSFORD, a parish, in the Middle ward of the county of Lanark, 2½ miles (N. E.) from Strathaven; containing, with the villages of Westquarter and Chapelton, 1736 inhabitants. This parish, which is not distinguished by any events of historical importance, is bounded on the south by the river Avon. It is about eight miles in length, and of very irregular form,, varying in breadth from nearly four miles to two miles at its extremities, and to half a mile at the centre. Glassford comprises about 7000 acres, and, with the exception of about 550 acres, is generally arable and in a state of profitable cultivation. The surface is uniformly level, but having a gradual ascent to a considerable elevation; and consists partly of dale extending along the lower parts of the parish, towards the south, and partly of moor. The soil is various, being in different parts moss, clay, and light loam: some small portion of the moss has been improved, and of the remainder it is probable that, from the rapid advance of agriculture, the greater part will be brought into cultivation. The principal crops are oats, potatoes, and turnips; attempts have been made of late to raise wheat, and with tolerable success, but hitherto a small tract only has been sown for that purpose. A considerable portion of land is in pasture, and great attention is paid to the rearing of sheep and cattle, the latter mostly of the Ayrshire breed. There is but little wood, and what there is has been planted; it consists chiefly of beech, ash, and fir. In general the lands are well inclosed, except in the moorland districts: and the fences, which are usually of thorn and beech, have of late been much attended to, and are well kept up: the farm-houses, also, many of which are of recent erection, are for the most part substantial. The annual value of real property in the parish is £6700.

Freestone is found in different parts; near the village of Westquarter are three quarries of excellent quality, and there is also one at a place called Flatt, all of which are in operation, affording employment to several men, and supplying abundant material for building. Limestone is also prevalent, and lime-kilns on an extensive scale have been established in the moors, providing plenty of lime for agricultural use. Coal is found in some parts, and at Crutherland works have been opened on a limited scale, for the supply of that estate. Ironstone has also been lately discovered in different parts of the parish. A considerable number of females are employed in weaving, and on the bank of the river Avon are a flour-mill and a mill for oats, &c. Communication is maintained with Strathaven and other market-towns by means of good turnpike-roads, one of which, from that town to Glasgow, by East Kilbride, and also one to Hamilton, pass through the parish.

Glassford is in the presbytery of Hamilton, synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the patronage of Lady Mary Montgomerie: the minister's stipend is £256. 17. 11., with a manse, and a glebe of about nine acres of rich land. The parish church, situated in the village of Westquarter, nearly at one extremity of the parish, was erected in 1820, and is adapted for a congregation of 560 persons. A handsome church with a spire was erected on the church-extension principle in 1839, in the village of Chapelton, about three miles from the parish church. There is a place of worship in connexion with the Free Church. A female society for the promotion of religious objects was formed in 1835, and a parochial library has been established. The parochial school, situated at Westquarter, affords education to a considerable number; the salary of the master, a portion of which has been assigned to the masters of two branch schools, is £25. 13., with £35 fees, and a house and garden. The branch schools are at Chapelton and Millwell: the former is endowed with £5. 11.; and the latter with £2. 15. 6., a house and garden given by Lady Montgomerie, and the sum of £3 from the parish. About 300 children attend three Sabbath schools, held at Westquarter, Chapelton, and Millwell; and there is also a class of adults. On the lands of Avonholm are the remains of a cromlech, consisting of three upright stones. Near Hallhill House were some ruins of an ancient castle, which were removed by the late proprietor; it appears to have been a very strong fortress, capable of containing more than 100 men, and was probably a safe retreat in times of danger. There are still some remains of the original church and belfry, built in 1633: they stand in the grave-yard, where is a tombstone inscribed to William Gordon, of Earlston in Galloway, who was shot by a party of dragoons on his way to Bothwell Bridge, in the year 1679.

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