Lanarkshire, Scotland


LANARKSHIRE, an extensive inland county, in the south of SCOTLAND, bounded on the north by the counties of Dumbarton and Stirling; on the east, by the counties of Linlithgow, Edinburgh, and Peebles; on the south, by Dumfriesshire; and on the west, by the counties of Renfrew, Ayr, and Dumfries. It lies between 55° 14' 42" and 55° 56' 10" (N. Lat.) and 3° 22' 51" and 4° 22' 51" (W. Long.), and is about fifty-two miles in length, and thirty-three miles in extreme breadth, comprising an area of 926 square miles, or 592,640 acres; 85,326 houses, of which 3868 are uninhabited; and containing a population of 426,972, of whom 208,312 are males and 218,660 females. This county, called also Clydesdale, from the valley of the Clyde, which forms its central portion, was at the time of the Roman invasion inhabited by the Damnii, and under the Roman yoke formed part of the province of Valentia. After the departure of the Romans, the original inhabitants appear to have extended their ancient limits, which they called Ystrad Cluyd, in the British language, signifying "the warm vale;" and to have acquired the sovereignty over Liddesdale, Teviotdale, Dumfriesshire, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, part of Peebles, the western part of Stirling, and the greater part of Dumbartonshire. This ample territory formed a kind of independent kingdom, including nearly all that portion of Scotland to the south of the Forth. It was peopled with subordinate British tribes, among whom were the Selgova, Attacotti, &.c., who had frequent wars with the Picts and others, but resolutely maintained their independence till their power began to decline from the union of the Pictish and Saxon forces, and their metropolis of Dumbarton was taken, in the eighth century.

After the subjugation of the Picts by Kenneth II., every exercise of independent power gave way to the authority of the Scottish monarchs; and the various British tribes of Strath-Cluyd, by degrees, intermingled with the Saxons, Normans, Gaelie Scots, and Irish from Cantyre, by whom successive encroachments were made. The descendants of the Damnii alone, when they could no longer retain their independence, rather than yield to the power by which their territories were assailed, resolved to emigrate, and, crossing the Solway and the Mersey, found a retreat in the mountains of Wales. In the twelfth century, numerous Flemish families settled in the Strath of Cluyd, many of whom obtained grants of land from the Abbot of Kelso; and with the exception of a few brief intervals, the county progressively advanced in prosperity till after the death of Alexander III., when the wars which arose on the disputed succession to the Scottish throne, involved it, in common with other parts of the kingdom, in frequent calamities. It was here that the celebrated hero, Wallace, performed his first exploit, in expelling the English from the town of Lanark. In the reign of James I., a portion of Strath-Cluyd was separated from the county of Lanark, and formed into the county of Renfrew. James II., exasperated by the turbulent ambition of the Douglas family, marched into Lanarkshire, and destroyed Douglas Castle, and all the lands of Douglas, including Douglasdale and Avondale, with the lands of the first Lord Hamilton. During the war in the reign of Charles I., and the attempts to re-establish episcopacy during that of Charles II., this part of the country suffered materially; but, since the Revolution, it has continued to make steady progress in agricultural improvement, and in manufacturing and commercial prosperity.

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