Eaglesham - the story of an 18th century planned village
Text © Copyright Kenneth Mallard, October 2009
Great Britain 1:50 000 Scale Colour Raster Mapping Extracts © Crown copyright Ordnance Survey. All Rights Reserved. Educational licence 100045616.
- Eaglesham history articles
- Origin of the name Eaglesham
- Early history to the Mediæval period
- The Mediæval period 1057-1603
- Seventeenth century
- The Covenanting years
- Fairs and markets
- Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
- Agricultural improvements
- Industrial improvements
- Associations, institutions and societies
- Religious life
- Land ownership
- Twentieth century
- Bus Services
- Scotland's first outstanding conservation area
- Wartime events
- The village today
- Eaglesham Heritage Trail
- White Cart Water Flood Prevention Scheme
- Vernacular building
- Eaglesham House
- Coronation Buildings
- Polnoon Lodge
- Royal Oak Inn
- Moor Road
- Polnoon Street
- Montgomery Street
- Montgomery Square
- Mid Road
- Gilmour Street
- Glasgow Road
- Cheapside Street
- The Orry
- Lochs, reservoirs and watercourses
- Whitelee Windfarm
- Notable families
- Local artists
- Local authors
- Appendix I - Bibliography
- Appendix II - Further reading
- Appendix III - Street names of Eaglesham
- Appendix IV - The Montgomeries
- Appendix V - The Soor Milk Cairt
- Appendix VI - The Eaglesham Bus
- Appendix VII - Becky's Tree
- Appendix VIII - The Eaglesham Tournament
- Appendix IX - Population of Eaglesham Parish, 1801-2011
- Other Geograph articles by Kenneth Mallard
|Vernacular Buildings of Eaglesham|
|The Darvel to Eaglesham weavers trail|
|In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, statistical and topographical described Eaglesham like this: Eaglesham, par. and vil., SE. Renfrewshire -- par., 15,666 ac., pop. 1385; vil., 2½ miles SW. of Hairmyres sta. and 8½ S. of Glasgow, pop. 888; P.O., 1 Bank; in the 17th century E. was a small market town; the present vil. was founded in 1796 by the 12th Earl of Eglinton; it had at one time handloom weaving and a cotton-mill; it is now a resort for summer visitors from Glasgow; in vicinity is Eaglesham House.|
|¹Orry is from the Scots word, aurie meaning area|
King David I (1080-1153). Walter was the great-grandson of Alain Fitz-Alan, Dapifer (Steward) to the Archbishop of Dol in Brittany. During the 1160s Fitz-Alan began to distribute his lands amongst his Anglo-Saxon supporters and the lands of Egglisham were granted to Robert de Montgomerie, a knight descended from Arnulph de Montgomerie and fifth son of Roger de Montgomerie. Roger de Montgomerie accompanied William Duke of Normandy in his great expedition to England and supported him at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, for which he was later awarded the Earldom of Shrewsbury, Arundel and Chichester and soon afterwards properly the Earldom of Sussex. Robert de Montgomerie was witness to the endowment charter of Paisley by Walter Fitz-Alan between 1164 and 1174 and another charter between 1173 and 1177. Later in 1263, it is supposed that Robert de Montgomerie's great-grandson, Sir John de Montgomerie was in the army raised by Alexander III (1241-1286) to meet the Norwegians under their king, Haakon IV (1204-1263) whom Alexander defeated at the Battle of Largs. In 1361, Sir John de Montgomerie of Eaglesham and Eastwood married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Hugh de Eglinton of that Ilk, one of the two Justicaries of Scotland and niece of King Robert II (1316-1390). Sir John obtained the baronies of Eglinton and Ardrossan upon Sir Hugh's death in 1374. Afterwards the Montgomeries made Eglintoun their chief residence.
Battle of Otterburn, Sir John de Montgomerie captured Henry, Lord Percy also known as Hotspur. Percy had killed Sir John's uncle, James, second Earl of Douglas and mortally wounded the Earl of Moray. It is believed that Lord Percy built Polnoon Castle for Sir John in lieu of a ransom for his prisoner. After being released Lord Percy went to Calais in 1391 and served as Governor of Bordeaux from 1393 to 1395. Sir John's eldest son, Hugh was killed by an English archer at the battle in revenging the death of the Earl of Douglas. The Montgomerie armorial arms panel which can be seen above the entrance to Cross Keys House (formerly Cross Keys Inn) on Montgomery Street is thought to have originally been set in a recess above the entrance to Polnoon Castle. Sir John quartered with his own, the Eglinton arms which were "three gules, three rings or gemmed azure". Polnoon castle was refurbished for occupation in 1617 but was ruined by 1676. The other sites identified as being possible mottes are at the Orry in Eaglesham and at Dumflat at the confluence of the Ardoch and Dunwan Burns. The Moot Hill is a flat-topped mound situated on the north-west bank of the Linn Burn in the Orry which was used for judicial and local assemblies in medieval times. The south-east side was truncated in the late 18th century by the building of the Orry Mill which has resulted in the removal of probably about a third of the site.
There was a long-standing feud between the Montgomeries and the Cunninghames which began after King James II (1430-1460) granted the Bailliary of Cunninghame to Alexander, Master of Montgomerie, 1448-1449. Later in 1506 Hugh de Montgomerie, second Lord Montgomerie acquired the title of Earl of Eglinton for services to King James IV (1473-1513). During the second Earl's lifetime and much of his attention was taken up with the Cunningham feud. The quarrel with the Cunninghames became increasingly violent and in revenge for the murder of Cunninghame of Watterstoun by the Montgomeries, William, Master of Glencairn burned down and destroyed Eglinton Castle in 1528. Feelings ran high again that on 18th April 1586 while returning from a visit to his cousin, Sir Neil Montgomerie of Lainshaw, Hugh de Montgomerie, fourth Earl of Eglinton was shot by a party of the Cunninghames under the leadership of John Cunninghame of Ross. Hugh de Montgomerie, third Earl of Eglinton sided with Mary Queen of Scots and fought for her at the Battle of Langside in 1568. Following their defeat by troops commanded by Regent Moray, Mary fled south. The Queen's Seat near Ballageich Hill on the Eaglesham Moors is supposedly where the Queen's party rested on their way south. Parliament held by the Regent Moray on 19th August of the same year declared that the third Earl had committed treason. In April 1571, he submitted to the authority of King James VI and was sent to Doune Castle but, being released, he appeared in the Parliament held at Stirling in the month of September of that year.
The fourth Earl's son, also named Hugh, succeeded as fifth Earl. The Earl married his cousin Margaret, daughter of Robert Montgomerie of Giffen and died without issue in 1612. Being the last of the direct male line of the Montgomeries, his cousin, Sir Alexander Seton of Foulstruther, inherited the estates and assumed the name of Montgomerie and the title of Eglinton. On the fifth Earl of Eglinton's death, his brother, Sir Alexander Seton of Foulstruther, popularly called Greysteel, became 6th Earl of Eglinton and also took the surname of Montgomerie.
King James VI, religion continued to be a major issue. The Covenanter movement which resulted from an attempt by King Charles I (1600-1649) to impose a new prayer book and regulations on the Scottish Church became a powerful religious and political force. The Covenanters were Presbyterians who committed themselves to keeping their form of worship as the sole religion of Scotland and in a bid to prevent a new liturgy and the structures of the Anglican Church being forced on them, signed the National Covenant at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh in 1638. The population of Renfrewshire was predominantly in favour of the National Covenant and Alexander, 6th Earl of Eglinton (Greysteel) signed the covenant and later fought against Charles I at Marston Moor. Covenanters faced steep fines or even the threat of execution for expressing their faith and in response to ever increasing repressive laws, the Covenanters held their religious services (conventicles) in secret, often in out-of-the way or concealed places. One such location was Millhouse Glen on the Strang's Millhouse Estate near Eaglesham. The well-wooded Glen provided concealment for holding conventicles and had the advantage of a large grassy mound which allowed the congregation to see and hear the preachers. This mound was known as The Pulpit. A rock pool in the White Cart Water was used as a Christening font. When King James VII (1622-1701), a Roman Catholic, succeeded Charles II (1630-1685) in 1685 Covenanting was declared to be treason and punishable by death. This was one of the bloodiest periods in Scottish history and became known as 'The Killing Time'. Picketlaw took its name from an area where Covenanters kept watch for Government Troops during their conventicles on the moors. It is known that soldiers were garrisoned at the nearby Mearns Castle in 1675 to harass the Covenanters. A memorial to Covenanters Robert Lockhart from near Kilbride parish and Gabriel Thomson of 'Haremire' or Hairmyres in Kilbride parish stands in the kirkyard of Eaglesham Parish Church. Lockhart and Thomson were shot by Highlandmen and Dragoons under the command of Archibald MacAulay, laird of Ardincaple, for their adherence to the Solemn League and Covenant as they returned from a conventicle on 1st May 1685. They are thought to have been at a conventicle, and were on their way home, when they were overtaken by Ardincaple coming from the west. Tradition has it that they were shot at Cowplie not far from Hol-Hall Farmstead at the foot of Melowther Hill, about three miles to the south-west of Eaglesham. The inscription on the memorial erected in 1838 was transcribed from a more ancient flat gravestone erected ‘after the Revolution’ in the north-west corner of Eaglesham kirkyard to mark the martyrs’ grave. The text includes an initial reference to Psalms 112.6, which was the text for the sermon ‘preached on the occasion’ of the erection of the new monument. The persecution of the Covenanters ended on the succession of King William III (1650-1702) to the throne in 1688. The Revolution Settlement of 1690 finally established the reformed, Presbyterian Church as the national Church of Scotland.
Eaglesham Covenanters' Memorial
Psalm CXIL. The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance
Here lie Gabriel Thomson and Robert Lockhart,
who were killed for owning the covenanted testimony,
by a party of Highlanders and dragoons, under the
command of Ardincaple, 1st May, 1685.
Them men did search through moor and moss,
To find out all that had no pass;
These faithful witnesses were found,
And murdered upon the ground.
Their bodies in this grave do lie;
Their blood for vengeance yet doth cry;
This may a standing witness be
For Presbytery ‘gainst Prelacy.
Inscription from the Eaglesham Covenanters' Memorial
|ACT against Preachers at Conventicles, and Hearers|
|at Field Conventicles.|
|May 8 1685.|
|OUR SOVERAIGN LORD, Considering the Obstinacy of|
|the Fanatical Party, who notwithstanding all the|
|Laws formerly made against them, Preserve to keep|
|their House and Field Conventicles, which are the|
|Nurseries and Rendezvouzes of Rebellion. THEREFOR|
|His Majesty, with Consent of His Estates in|
|Parliament, Doth Statue and aed Ordain, That all|
|such as shall hereafter Preach at such Fanatical,|
|House or Field Conventicles; As also, such as shall|
|be present as Hearers at Field Conventicles, shall|
|be punished by Death and, Confiscation of their Goods.|
|Laws and Acts made in the First Parliament of our|
|most High and Dread Soveraign James VII|
procession leaving from the school and parading through the village to the show ring. Leading the procession is the Fair Queen and her attendant. The Kilmarnock Bunnet race originated as a riding of the marches but had become a race which involved stops at the local hostelry and houses for a dram and cake. The winner, if he survived, was presented with a decorated ¹Kilmarnock bonnet. Today the race is a much more sedate affair with competitors running round the lower part of the Orry. Appendix VII contains an account of the Eaglesham Tournament of 1868.
|On the 26th ult. the Lammas Fair was held at|
|Eaglesham, in Scotland, according to custom: the|
|feuars of the Earl of Eglinton passed through the|
|village on horseback; after which, both feuars and|
|tenants assembled at the Cross, where his Lordship|
|generously ordered them a handsome sum of money|
|to promote their festivity. After the healths of|
|Their Majesties, they drank the health of the|
|Earls and Countess of Eglinton, with three cheers|
|as also of Lord Montgomery|
|The Morning Post and Gazetteer, 8th September 1802|
¹A Kilmarnock bonnet is a famous piece of headwear, dating back at least to 1647 when the Kilmarnock Corporation of Bonnet Makers was incorporated, having obtained a charter from the Earl of Kilmarnock.
Water power became important to both agricultural and industrial improvements and was utilised to drive machinery such as corn mills, threshing mills or churning apparatus or for powering the cotton mills. Many farms had ponds or cuts that delivered water to power machinery.
¹Campbell was conducted to Saltcoats and, following the Earl's death from his wounds, was removed to Ayr Prison the next day before being taken to Edinburgh the following month in preparation for his trial before the High Court of Justiciary. The trial commenced on the 27th of February 1770, and the jury having found Campbell guilty he was sentenced to die. He was returned to prison but was found dead the next morning, hanging to the end of a form which he had set upright, with a silk handkerchief round his neck.
²The number of farmers in Eaglesham in 1695 was 135 compared with 63 in 1795 following agricultural and industrial improvements.
Mains Farm on Polnoon Water. After milling ceased the water wheel was used to power farm machinery.
small dam on the Linn Burn. The mill fell in to disuse in 1880 following a dispute about water rights and was subsequently demolished. The mill lade was filled in however the site of the small dam and pond which regulated the flow of water to the mill can still be seen today.
¹Jane Steven, daughter of miller John Steven, was the schoolmistress at Drochduil School, Dunragit in the Rhins of Galloway. Although orphaned at an early age, the extended family had looked after her and her sisters. Jane Steven studied at the Normal School (a teacher training college which David Stow was very much instrumental in establishing) in Glasgow and was a certified teacher at a time when educated women were not common.
A water-powered mill, Langlee Rural Mill, was situated at Langlee Farm with machinery driven by a 10 foot diameter water wheel.
Dripps Mill built in 1761 on the White Cart Water at Waterfoot also contained three pairs of millstones, barley mill and kiln and girdle for drying pease. The original miller was John Wark who devised the water powered pease kiln at Dripps Mill at some time before 1782. The kiln was adopted by several other millers at Millhall Mill, Eaglesham Mill and Kittochside Mill and further downstream at Cardonald Mill. William Semple in his revision to George Crawfurd's The History of the Shire of Renfrew, records that Wark built a 'kiln for drying peas, with an engine which goes by a water wheel, always stirring and turning peas, and will dry five pecks of peas in the space of one hour'. Milling of pease meal (Brose Meal) at Dripps Mill, with water powered machinery, continued for the next two centuries, only ending in 1985. Arthur Barclay was miller in 1824. William Burns was the predecessor to William Alexander who set up business at Dripps in 1858 signing a lease from the proprietor, Patrick Graham Barns on 16th April of that year. Shortly thereafter William Alexander replaced the two wooden water wheels with ones of cast iron construction. Later in the 19th century the mill was acquired by the Cunninghames of Craigends and subsequent leases were with them. In the early days, Alexander's business met the needs of the local farming community providing a milling service, the supply of animal feeds and milling of oatmeal and pease meal. Today Wm. Alexander & Son is an animal feed merchant specialising in equestrian, farm and pet supplies and carries out some milling, primarily feeding for horses. The Mill has grown in size with a couple of major extensions during the Alexander period. The last was in 1918 and hence the mill today is essentially the 1918 mill but with a 1761 core.
|CORN MILL TO BE LET|
|THE CORN MILL of DRIPPS, in the parish of Cathcart,|
|will be Let for such term of years as may be agreed|
|upon with entry at Whitsunday, 1858. The Mill|
|contains Three Pairs of Mill Stones, and a Barley|
|Mill, with Kiln and Girdle for Drying Pease. The|
|supply of Water is regular and abundant, and the|
|machinery is in good working condition.|
|About Eleven and a Half Acres of excellent LAND|
|will be Let along with the Mill.|
|David Leggat of Dripps will show the Mill and Lands.|
|Offers, in writing, will be received until the 10th|
|April, by the Proprietor, Patrick Graham Barns of|
|Kirkhill, Limekills, East Kilbride.|
|Limekills, 1st March, 1858|
|Glasgow Herald, 8th March 1858|
|CORN MILL TO LET|
|THE EAGLESHAM CORN MILL presently possessed by|
|Mr. Renfrew. Entry at Whitsunday, 1871. Robert|
|Fraser, Land Steward, Eaglesham will show the|
|Mill to intending offerers; and further particulars|
|will be given and Offers received, by John Steuart,|
|Writer, Pollokshaws, till 11th November next.|
|Glasgow Herald, 28th October 1870|
Water power was also harnessed to power churning apparatus at West Revoch Farm by 1858.
Eaglesham flourished during the age of agricultural and industrial improvements. Letters from Glasgow arrived every evening and despatched every morning from the receiving house at John Arneil's (Cross Keys Inn). A branch of the Paisley Commercial Bank opened sometime between its establishment in 1838 and February 1846 after which it was acquired by the Western Bank of Scotland (1832-1857). Following the Western Bank's collapse, a branch of the ¹Clydesdale Bank, manager J. Tassie, opened. Surgeons, shopkeepers and traders such as coopers; grocers; wrights; smiths; boot and shoe-makers; tailors and dress-makers, inn-keepers and vintners supplied the needs and demands of the increasing population. Churches met the religious needs of the inhabitants. Academies and schools provided education whilst a Mechanics' Institution was established to provide an opportunity for the working classes to learn literature, science and chemistry. Carriers such as Robert Dunlop, John Howie and Hugh Montgomery in 1837 and later Hunter transported goods to and from the markets at Glasgow and Paisley and a horse-drawn coach provided a means of transport to Glasgow, eight miles away. During the 19th century, labourers arrived from the Highlands and Ireland to work at the mills or on local farms. A telegraph office was inaugurated in January 1893 which enabled telegraphs to be received for transmission at the village Post Office. By April 1900 the village was part of the Glasgow Corporation Telephone area. Subscribers were accepted at £5 5s 9d per annum for an unlimited service which included installation, maintenance and Government royalty or £3 10s 0d per annum for a toll service.
¹The Eaglesham branch of the Clydesdale Bank was located at 10 Polnoon Street.
Weaving and cotton mills
lochs and reservoirs such as Picketlaw (Picket Loch), Mid Dam (Mid Loch) , High Dam (High Loch) and Dunwan situated above the village on Eaglesham Moor. The New Statistical Account of Scotland notes that 'About 1790, there were 63 silk-looms at work in Eaglesham; in a few years after they sunk down to 33; and at present that branch of the trade is extinct and has been entirely replaced by the weaving of cotton goods, the materials for which are furnished by the Glasgow and Paisley manufacturers'. Evidence of the weavers can still be seen in the village to this day. A lintel at a former weaver's cottage at 50 Montgomery Street is inscribed "James Kego & Jean Mitchell 1774". James Kego, a handloom weaver, was born in Eaglesham on 7th November 1731 and married Jean Mitchell from Carmunock on 14th June 1765. Weavers from the Ayrshire villages of Darvel and Newmilns used to make a 16 mile journey from Darvel to Eaglesham on occasion carrying a piece of finished cloth for the markets and collecting a new clue of yarn which would arrive with the carriers from Glasgow. The Weavers Trail still exists today as a public right of way.
¹The Poll Tax list of pollable persons in Renfrewshire in 1695 indicates that weaving was being carried during that time. John Bryson is a weaver in Kirktoun and Neil Clerk at Kirklands.
The second or 'new' mill was built shortly after the Old Mill at a better site in the Orry sometime between 1792 and 1796 by Strang and Lennox. The Orry Mill site had the advantage of being larger and could accommodate expansion as well as a larger fall of water giving more power to drive its machinery. The creation of reservoirs and the Revoch Cut together with the Kirktonmoor Cut made driving large mills possible. In 1816 James Gilchrist rebuilt the principal part of the mill extending in front to about 91 feet and four storeys high. The machinery was powered by two large water wheels, one of them cast iron, 20 and 22 feet in diameter. Around 1817 the mill was bought from James Gilchrist's creditors and in 1819 had been enlarged to 116 feet and five storeys high. New machinery containing 8,448 spindles was installed and driven by a 45 foot diameter cast iron water wheel equivalent to 50 horsepower on which about 740 cubic feet of water per minute fell on the wheel. The Mill was further enlarged in 1826 and 1833 new machinery containing 15,312 spindles and a carding machine was installed. The machinery was planned by James Dunlop and manufactured by Murdoch, Aitken & Company, Engineers, Glasgow. A gas works supplied the mill; lighting at night was by gas light and a steam boiler with the necessary apparatus and pipes for heating the mill. Despite the improvements the mill was advertised for sale by John White in August of that year. Around 1838 William MacLean and Company established business at the Orry Mill employing 150 workers. Further improvements were made and the number of spindles was increased to 18,024. In 1859 William MacLean advertised the mill for sale however it appears that a sale did not take place. The firm trading as The Eaglesham Cotton Spinning Company was dissolved in October 1860 after which more improvements took place. By 1870 the mill contained 18,680 spindles and carding preparation of 'the most recent and improved kind'. In 1872, William MacLean Jr. advertised the mill for sale again. On 22nd October 1876, the mill now belonging to Messrs Webster & Co. was destroyed by fire. A villager who happened to be out early between five and six o'clock on the Sabbath morning, discovered smoke issuing out of the new wing. He at once informed the watchman what he had seen and the church bells were set-a-ringing. The whole strength of the villagers was directed at saving the property. The mill was destroyed and all that remains of the Orry Mill today is the fragments of three buildings, wheel-pit and boundary wall. The small dams and ponds constructed on the Linn Burn however can still be seen today. Stone from the construction of the mill was used in the building of the dry stane wall which bounds the policies of the former Eaglesham House on the road to Waterfoot.
|COTTON MILLS AT EAGLESHAM|
|to be sold by public roup within the Lyceum Sale|
|Rooms, Glasgow on 31st July curt., at two o'clock|
|THE MILL with the WHOLE MACHINERY therein.|
|The building is five stories high, 116 feet long by 32|
|feet wide within the walls. The machinery consists of 32|
|Mule Jennies of 264 spindles each, with ample preparation,|
|all driven by water with a cast iron wheel of 45 feet|
|diameter. The machinery has only been working 2½ years.|
|The lower flat of the building has not been occupied,|
|and it is excellently adapted for Power Weaving.|
|The OLD MILL at the TOWNHEAD of EAGLE-|
|SHAM with a fall of upwards of 20 feet, but which might|
|be raised to 30 feet. The building is 126 feet long|
|and 28½ feet wide over all. Part of it is at present|
|occupied as a Dwelling-house. There is attached to the|
|property about five roods of Ground. From the number of|
|people in the village connected with weaving, and other|
|advantages, the situation would be suitable for Power|
|Weaving or a Spinning Mill, as the same water passes|
|through this property which drives the other Mill.|
|Glasgow Herald, 15th July 1822|
After the decline of the Orry Mill, Eaglesham was left without an industry. Without work many of the mill workers drifted away and their homes lay empty. The population of the village dropped from 2,428 in the mid-nineteenth century to 1,075 at the end of the century – a population similar to the level at the time of the village’s establishment.
Handloom weaving carried on in the Village. In 1851 there were 400 handlooms however this industry was in decline and 40 handlooms were already idle and the handloom industry came to an end around 1900. Christina Robertson Brown, a native of Eaglesham born in 1891 noted in her book 'Rural Eaglesham' that 'Jeanie Kego, Mary Wallace, elderly maiden ladies and old Thomas Waterson of Montgomery Square were the last handloom weavers in Eaglesham'.
Bleachfields and printworks
|Eaglesham - On Thursday the 6th current, the annual|
|meeting of the shareholders of the Eaglesham Gas Light|
|Company was held in the Cross Keys Inn – Mr John|
|Arneil in the chair. A statement of the affairs of the|
|company for the year was read, when there appeared,|
|after paying all expenses, upwards of 7 per cent. in the|
|hands of the treasurer; when it was agreed to pay a|
|dividend of 5 per cent., and put the balance into the sink-|
|ing fund. The meeting expressed their satisfaction at the|
|Glasgow Herald, 10th July 1844|
Location of the Eaglesham gas works
In 1896 the gas works closed, probably ceasing to be profitable as many of the mill workers had drifted away following the Orry mill fire and their homes lay empty. It was by the efforts of Rev. James Buchanan, Chairman of the Parish Council, that ¹Kitson lamps were installed in the streets; five in each street, two in Montgomery Square and one at the Toll House, Cheapside Street. Rev. Buchanan was impressed by the Kitson lamps that he had seen during a visit to the Glasgow Exhibition in 1901 at Kelvinside Park. The new lighting system was inaugurated by William Mann in 1902. The lamps gave a very bright light but were troublesome to keep going during winter. The lamps were eventually scrapped after electricity was installed in 1928. Paraffin was used in houses, shops and churches after the gas works closed.
¹Arthur Kitson designed and built a pressure driven vapour burning lamp in 1885 which is the fore-runner of the modern kerosene and petrol lamps in use today.
A number of mechanics in the village formed a Mechanics' Institution under the patronage and support of the Rev. Hugh Davidson, the minister of the Parish Kirk; Captain William Howie; John White, the proprietor of the cotton mill at Millhall and several other gentlemen to enable the working classes to learn literature, science and chemistry, amongst other subjects. It was noted that about 100 persons had enrolled in a short time. At the request of members, John Condie of ¹Anderson's Institution agreed to deliver a short course of lectures on chemistry and natural philosophy once a week. Experiments were conducted under the direction of Dr. Ure of the ²Glasgow Mechanics' Institution. Attendance increased weekly and by the concluding lecture, 300 people including women were present.
¹Anderson's Institution, one of the precursors of the University of Strathclyde, was founded by the executors of Professor John Anderson in 1796.
²The Glasgow Mechanics' Institution was formed on 3rd July 1823 as as a result of a dispute between the Mechanics' Class of Anderson's Institution and the managers of that Institution with the decision being taken to establish a separate Glasgow Mechanics' Institution. The Mechanics' students were granted a Seal of Cause by the magistrates giving formal recognition to their institution following a petition to Parliament.
The Eaglesham Temperance Society was established in 1830. The Eaglesham Union Society for the Diffusion of Political Knowledge, was in existence in the late 1830s. The society together with other inhabitants of the village and members of the Learnington Political Union, presented a petition to Parliament in July 1837 in favour of the Factories Regulations Bill.
The Eaglesham Farmers' Society was formed in 1831 with a view to the encouragement of agriculture in all its branches - the promotion of a fair spirit of emulation and honourable competition - and the improvement of the stock and produce of the parish of Eaglesham. Mathers of Bonnington and John Struthers of Revoch amongst others won prizes for their fine horses and exported Clydesdales to New Zealand where there was a big demand for horses. There were no canals and by the 1870's railway lines had only just started venturing out from the four major cities. The South and North Island gold rushes then started, in rough country that only horses could haul the machinery into. The society held an annual cattle show in the month of May and ploughing matches. On 21st August 1937, the Society celebrated the centenary cattle show. The 102nd show taking place in 1939 was to be the last; the show stopped during the Second World War and was never to resume. The Eaglesham Branch of the West of Scotland Dairy Farmers' Association was formed in 1900. Their interests were not confined to milk alone; the association had been formed not only in the interests of dairy farmers but of the farming industry in general.
|The Eaglesham Farmers' Society held their annual ploughing|
|match ploughing match, on Tuesday 18th instant, upon the|
|farms of Mains, Netherhill and Braidflat. Twenty-five|
|ploughmen competed. The work was well executed and marked|
|by a uniformity unequalled at any of their former meetings.|
|Messrs. Walter Muir, Stoneside, Cathcart; Andrew Aikenhead,|
|Murroes, Kilbride; and John Reid, Flender, Mearns awarded|
|the prizes in the senior classes...|
|Glasgow Herald, 28th February 1845|
|TO STAND THIS SEASON AT SEAWARD BUSH ON THE MATAURA,|
|THE Fine Imported Clydesdale Horse EGLINTON, out of a|
|Prize Mare, the property of Mr. Struthers of Eaglesham,|
|and by "Barrandra," for many years the best stallion in|
|Scotland. He is a bright bay with black points, 4 years|
|old, stands 17 hands high, with great power and compact|
|form, active and docile; he is now one of the largest of|
|his kind, and will be found to possess the good qualities|
|of that breed so celebrated. He was the winner of several|
|prizes as a yearling and two year old before leaving|
|Scotland. Weaned Foals by this horse out of good draught|
|mares will be taken by the owners of "EGLINTON" at £20|
|to £30 each if required.|
|Otago Witness, 1st September 1860|
Other societies and associations included the Eaglesham Gooseberry Association, Eaglesham Musical Association which met for rehearsals on a Saturday evening and finished their season with a grand concert and a dance in the Old Concert Hall and the Eaglesham Curling Club which was founded in 1821 often met at Mid Dam for curling when the dams were frozen. Sport continued to be popular and the twentieth century saw the establishment of Eaglesham Amateurs Football Club, Eaglesham Bowling Club (1912), Eaglesham Tennis Club and Bonnyton Golf Club (1922).
|On Saturday last, the Eaglesham Gooseberry Association|
|met for competition in the house of John Currie, innkeeper|
|there, when prizes were awarded to the following persons:-|
|1st. For the heaviest 12 berries, three of each colour, to|
|John Faulds, weaver, weight five ounces fourteen drops and|
|2nd. To Robert Jackson, weaver, weight five ounces twelve|
|drops and twenty-one grains.|
|3rd. To Andrew Nicholson, mason, weight five ounces seven|
|drops and twenty-one grains.|
|4th. For the heaviest single berry of any colour to John|
|Faulds, weaver, weight fourteen pennyweights and twelve|
|grains. - Crown Bob.|
|5th. For the heaviest yellow to Andrew Nicholson, mason,|
|weight eleven pennyweights and fourteen grains. - Viper.|
|6th. For the heaviest white to Robert Bryson, weaver, ten|
|pennyweights. - Whitesmith.|
|7th. For the heaviest green to Alexander Montgomerie, weaver,|
|eleven pennyweights and six grains. - Glory of Ratcliff.|
|Caledonian Mercury, 1st September 1821|
Places of worship
It is probable that there has been a place of worship in Eaglesham from the earliest Christian times, perhaps as early as the fifth or sixth centuries. In 1429 the parish church of Eaglisham was constituted a prebend of the cathedral church of Glasgow by Bishop Cameron, with consent of the patron, Sir Alexander Montgomery of Eaglisham; the patronage of the church, and prebend, continuing with him, and his heirs. The Reformation of the mid sixteenth century created massive changes in religious beliefs throughout Scotland and Eaglesham slowly followed by establishing a Presbyterian kirk in the village. Scotland's religious history is complex. The introduction of the patronage system whereby the local lord or laird was responsible for providing the building for worship and appointing the minister, gave rise to great contention and led to many secessions. In April 1767, the Presbytery of Glasgow was appointed to meet for the ordination of Thomas Clark. However on arrival at the village, Principal Leechman and a few others found a crowd was in waiting for them and every avenue to the Church was guarded by people armed with sticks. When they tried to enter the Church they were pelted with dirt and stones and had to seek refuge in a nearby house. Several ministers were present from other presbyteries but not the three needed from Glasgow; the court could not be constituted and Clark's ordination could not take place. Full of joy on learning that the ordination could not take place, Leechman and others upon leaving their refuge, were followed by a mob down the Bell Craig. It wasn't till the following June that Clark was ordained with the aid of a detachment of soldiers. The present church was designed by Robert McLachlane and completed in 1790 replacing an earlier pre-Reformation building which stood on the same site. The church was originally a small octagonal building and later extended with sittings for 550 worshippers, unsplit. Robert McLachlane also designed similar octagonal churches at Dreghorn in Ayrshire and Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire. On the rear wall of the Church, the succession of ministers from 1388 can be seen. A two-manual 'Father' Henry Willis organ is installed in the Church. Originally designed and built in the 1880's for a house in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, the organ was gifted to the Charles Rennie MacKintosh designed Queen's Cross Church, Glasgow in 1921. When the church closed in 1976, the organ was dismantled and rebuilt in Eaglesham Parish Church by James McKenzie.
In Eaglesham, the village was at one time much over populated with churches. The Secession Church broke away from the established church in 1733 and established a church of the Burgher Faction, the Cameronian Church in Glendinning Place. Sometime after the church closed, the meeting house became the Old Concert Hall for a time before being converted to a private residence. Eaglesham Old and Carswell Church and Session House were built in 1788 and contained 480 sittings. The building was formerly the Carswell United Presbyterian Church (the United Presbyterian Church was formed in 1847 following the union between the Secession Church and the Relief Church) before it merged in 1900 with the Free Kirk who had their church in what is the present church halls in Montgomery Street opposite Mid Road. In 1929, the united congregations became the Carswell Church of Scotland before finally merging with the Parish Church to form the present Eaglesham Parish Church. The Carswell church is now the Carswell Halls and takes its name after the Rev. William Carswell who was ordained in 1827. In 1857, a Roman Catholic church was established mainly for Irish immigrant workers in the cotton mill and farms. St. Bridget, born in 451 at Faughart near Dundalk is the patroness of the church. Archibald, 13th Earl of Eglinton and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland provided land behind 'Mayfield' in Polnoon Street for the church building which has sittings for 450 worshippers. Fr. Michael Cronin was the first Parish Priest from 1857-1882.
After seven centuries of ownership, the Montgomery family's finances floundered and Eaglesham Estate was put on the market in 1835. ¹Hugh, 12th Earl of Eglinton promoted and partially funded the Glasgow, Paisley and Ardrossan Canal and Ardrossan Harbour projects. The Earl wanted to connect the booming industrial towns of Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone to his new deep sea port at Ardrossan and his Ayrshire coal fields. However funds ran out and the canal, at a cost of £90,000, was only constructed from Port Eglinton in Glasgow to Johnstone via Paisley, a distance of 11 miles. ²Archibald, thirteenth Earl of Eglinton and fourth Earl of Winton funded and organised the Eglinton Tournament of 1839. The Tournament was a re-enactment of a Mediæval joust and revel which took place at Eglinton Castle. The event took years of planning, numerous training sessions and public promenading in Regent’s Park before and after the practices as well as the commissioning of many works of art. Many distinguished visitors took part including Prince Louis Napoleon, the future Napoleon III of France; 'Queen of Beauty', Lady Seymour; Archibald Kennedy, 1st Marquess of Ailsa and 12th Earl of Cassillis; Lord Shaftesbury and Viscount Glenlyon. The Tournament attracted 100,000 spectators and had a significant impact on attitudes to Gothic revival and brought a gigantic boost to the local economy. Unfortunately steady rain caused the postponement of the opening day of the Tournament. The event was re-scheduled for the following day which dawned clear and fine but at the moment that the opening parade finally began, there was a violent rainstorm which marred the whole event. James Henry Nixon depicted the Tournament in the Eglinton Tournament Watercolours, a set of 20 detailed watercolours. Eaglesham Estate was finally sold for £217,000 in 1844 to Allan and James Gilmour. The rental averages were £9,000 to £10,000 per annum. Allan Gilmour was a prominent Scottish-born lumber merchant and ship-owner and his brother James Gilmour, a prominent Scottish-born entrepreneur, farmer, school trustee, justice of the peace, militia officer, and co-founder of both Douglastown, New Brunswick, and Gilmour, Rankin & Co. The estate was divided into two parts shortly afterwards, roughly by value, in proportion to the money each contributed. The larger part was Eaglesham Estate which Allan ran from Hazelden House and the smaller being Polnoon Estate which James ran from Polnoon Lodge which was actually on the Eaglesham Estate, but leased, along with connected fields, from his brother. Following Allan Gilmour senior's death in 1849, his nephew Allan Gilmour took over the Eaglesham Estate and later the Polnoon Estate following his father's death in 1858. Although being a shareholder in the Glasgow and South-Western Railway Company, the second Allan Gilmour of Eaglesham and younger of Polnoon objected to allowing a railway to cross Eaglesham Estate and his other lands in Mearns. If the line were made, Eaglesham he believed, "would be much sought after for villa residences by the Glasgow people. The smell of the Clyde was so bad that people had to go 15 miles down the river to get out of it. The air on the Eaglesham hills would be much purer. No language could be too strong for the Clyde in hot summer weather." thus contributing to the survival of the original village.
Eaglesham Estate, as acquired by Allan Gilmour in 1844 consisted of:-
Town of Eagleshame (except that part thereof called Cheapside) including Polnoon Lodge; superiority of Kirkstile; superiority of Cotton Mill; Windhill; Brakenrig; Laigh Boreland; Holehouse; North Kirkland; parts of Kirkton lands; Corselees; superiority of one part of
Boreland; remaining parts of Boreland; South Floors; North Floors; Bogside; Bonnyton; Castlehill; West Tofts; East Tofts; Upper Boreland; Comrigs and Catrigs; Picketlaw; part of Lowhill; part of Broadflatt; Highhill; Woodhouse; Park; Netherton; Holhall; East Rivoch; West Rivoch; Kirkton Moor; South Kirkton Moor; North Kirkton Moor; Bonnyton Moor; Blackhouse; North and South (Mid) Moorhouse; Nether Boreland; Inches; North and South Longlee; part of Mearns Moor; Little Binend; West Lochcraig; East Lochcraig; Greenfield; Braehead; Blackwood; Blackwoodhill; Denwan; Polnoon Lodge; superiority of South Moorhouse.
¹Hugh Montgomerie, 12th Earl of Eglinton compiled a manuscript book for the flute in 1763 when he was a young soldier fighting the French in Quebec. Montgomerie was interested in the bagpipes and agreed to fund the village piper of Eaglesham in 1772.
²Archibald William Montgomerie, thirteenth Earl of Eglinton and first Earl of Winton was Rector of the University of Glasgow from 1852 to 1854 and Dean of Faculties from 1847 to 1849. He played an active role in public life and campaigned on a variety of issues in the House of Lords as well as serving as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1852 and in 1858-1859. The Earl was also a notable sportsman, leading office-holder and patron in relation to sport. An accomplished rider, racehorse owner and breeder, he established a racecourse at Eglinton Park won the Derby once and the St Leger three times. He also participated regularly and was a leading patron in archery, curling, bowls and golf and a founding member and captain of the North Berwick Golf Club, Royal Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. After a meeting in the Red Lion in Prestwick in 1851, the Earl funded the setting-up of Prestwick Golf Club on his land with the clubhouse close to the railway so that the golfers might get a good deal from the Glasgow and South Western Railway on both fares and train services.
Polnoon Estate as acquired by James Gilmour in 1844 consisted of:-
Parts of Kirkton lands; part of the Village of Eagleshame called Cheapside; part of Lowhill; Stepend; part of Broadflatt; Mains; Polnoon; Damhead; Nether Craig; Temples; North or East High Craig; South High Craig; West High Craig; Mid and Nether Enoch; Over Enoch and Enoch Lodge; West Ardoch; East Ardoch; Stonebyres; Nether Threepland; Upper Threepland; Drumduff; superiority of Millhall; Hareshaw; Myres; Carrot.
Millhall Estate did not constitute part of either the Eaglesham or Polnoon Estates.
Several proposals were drawn-up to extend a railway to Eaglesham. Plans were prepared in November 1852 for the Busby Railway Company by engineers, Neil Robson¹ and Edward Meikleham² for a proposed Glasgow, Eastwood, Busby and Eaglesham Railway from the Glasgow, Barrhead and Neilston Railway near Pollokshaws to Eaglesham. Plans were aborted however due in consequence of the company either not having lodged the necessary deposits with the Accountant General or other causes. The line to Busby opened on 1st January 1866 mainly in connection with quarrying then later extended to East Kilbride in 1868. In 1863-1864, the Caledonian Railway Company also prepared plans for a Glasgow, Mearns and Eaglesham railway. Later in November 1887, further plans were prepared by the architectural practice and engineers, Formans and McCall who were specialists in railway engineering for a proposed Glasgow, Mearns and Eaglesham Railway from the Glasgow and Kilmarnock Joint Line near Busby Junction via Newton Mearns to Eaglesham by the Caledonian Railway Company. In 1908, proposals were once again being made to extend the railway to Eaglesham however the railway never did cross the Gilmours' land.
¹Neil Robson practised on his own account at 19 Miller Street, Glasgow as a civil and mining engineer and land surveyor. His work was mainly concerned with the rapidly expanding railway network.
²Edward Meikleham was a Glasgow surveyor who produced a plan of the Glasgow area in 1852 and was elected a member of the Philosophical Society of Glasgow in December of that year with an address recorded as Victoria Place.
A horse-drawn coach, The Britannia, was already operating between Eaglesham and Glasgow via Cathcart in 1837: leaving the village every Wednesday and Saturday morning at 9 o'clock and departing from 44 Stockwell Street again at 5 o'clock on the return journey. In the mid 1860s, a regular horse bus service, connected Clarkston Railway Station with Eaglesham. Thomas Watt operated the horse bus service during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Caledonian Motor Car Service operated a motor bus service from 1905 connecting Cathcart and Clarkston Railway Stations with Eaglesham. In the 1920s small private bus companies such as Sanderson Brothers and Gemmell Brothers, later taken-over by the Midland Bus Company operated services on the Glasgow to Eaglesham route. The Road Traffic Act 1930 regulated and significantly changed the public road transport industry and the Western Scottish Motor Traction Company Ltd. was formed in June 1932 more or less as a direct result of the Act. The company ran many local routes radiating south-west from Glasgow including the No. 1 service from Glasgow to Eaglesham via Clarkston. The service continued till around the time of de-regulation in the mid 1980s when a succession of operators took over local services with today services connecting Eaglesham and Waterfoot to Glasgow as well as Uplawmoor and East Kilbride.
Tom Johnstone otherwise known as the 'Calton Barber Poet' wrote a song about The Eaglesham Bus in the late 19th century.
In 1914, Allan Gilmour retired to Dunoon disposing the Eaglesham Estate to his son Captain Angus Gilmour and retaining the Polnoon Estate. On his father's death in 1917, Angus inherited the already burdened Polnoon Estate. The Eaglesham Estates were heavily burdened and together with the considerable debts left by his father, Angus disburdened Polnoon to his father's trustees. From 1927 to 1930 the Residential, Sporting & Agricultural Estate of Eaglesham together with the Fingalton Estate near Newton Mearns was advertised for sale. It appears that £42,000 was owed to the Clydesdale Bank in addition to other large creditors. At his death, Angus Gilmour was chairman of Eaglesham Parish Council and this no doubt lay behind the transfer of the Common Area of the village of Eaglesham in 1929 to the Parish Council. The common area was further added to in 1944 when the trustees of the late James Laird gifted the site of the Orry Mill to the First District Council of Renfrewshire. A number of tenants took advantage of the chance to buy farms they were working. Builders also took advantage and purchased lots. John Smith junior of Ravenshall, Waterfoot bought some 423 acres, consisting in general terms, of the farms of Windhill, Low Borland and High Borland, with a large field known as the Front Park (Waterfoot Park). On parts of these lands were later built most of the houses in Eaglesham and Waterfoot north of Polbae Crescent, including those along Alexander Avenue, Barlae Avenue and Craighlaw Avenue.
weavers' cottage in Montgomery Street was the first house to be restored in the village. It was bequeathed to the National Trust for Scotland by Nina Millar Davidson, artist and first Honorary Secretary of the Eaglesham Preservation Society. Such was the success of the campaign, that the village was designated Scotland's first conservation area on 12th August 1960. Fifty-one buildings of architectural and historical interest were included in the preservation order. In 1969, two-hundred years after Alexander, 10th Earl of Eglinton, began the work of developing the old kirktoun of Eaglesham into a planned village, a bi-centenary memorial stone was erected by Renfrew County Council and Eaglesham Restoration Joint Committee in acknowledgement of the work of Sheriff James B.M. Young and Mr Geoffrey M. Rhodes; a former council member of The National Trust for Scotland towards the preservation of Eaglesham. The plaque was unveiled on 7th May 1972 by the Marquis of Bute. Many of the buildings are grade 'B' and 'C' listed but as a whole the village is 'A'-listed and of outstanding beauty.
Scottish Screen Archive - 1960s film clip of the old buildings of Eaglesham, around the time when it was listed as a conservation village in 1960, Link
¹Nina Davidson, an accomplished artist, completed the designs from original sketches by Douglas Hamilton for two stained-glass windows at St. Bride's Church of Scotland in Brodick. The windows were unveiled in April 1961.
²Kathleen Whyte MBE was Head of Embroidery and Weaving at Glasgow School of Art and presented a finely embroidered Pulpit Fall to Eaglesham Parish Church.
A remarkable event during World War II was the landing of Rudolf Hess at Eaglesham. Shortly after 11 p.m. on 10th May 1941, a Messerschmitt Bf-110 E-1/N aircraft crashed in a field belonging to Bonnyton Farm near to the junction of Bonnyton Moor Road and Humbie Road. The occupants of Floors Farm heard the sound of an aeroplane crashing nearby and a parachutist was seen to come down in the field nearby to the farmhouse. A slightly injured airman was helped to his feet and assisted back to the cottage of ploughman Davy McLean and his mother. The airman, a German officer, told McLean that he was Hauptmann (Captain) Alfred Horn and that he had an important message for the Duke of Hamilton. Within a few minutes members of the Royal Signals who were stationed at the nearby Eaglesham House had arrived as well as the Home Guard and soldiers from different directions. Horn was arrested and taken to the 3 Battalion Home Guard Headquarters at Busby Girls' Club halls (now Lodge St. John), Busby then briefly to the Home Guard Battalion Headquarters at Giffnock before being transferred to Maryhill Barracks in Glasgow and Buchanan Castle where he received treatment for his injuries sustained when parachuting. He was held briefly at the Tower of London then Mytchett Place for most of the war before finally being to transported to Maindiff Court Hospital, Abergavenny, South Wales. Horn turned-out to be the Deputy Reichsfuhrer, Rudolf Hess and claimed that he had flown to Britain with a message for the Duke of Hamilton in an attempt to persuade the British government to restore peace. Hess was diagnosed as having a "hysterical personality" and was tried as a war criminal at Nuremburg. The International Military Tribunal found him guilty on two counts of 'concerted plan or conspiracy' and 'crimes against peace'. Hess was imprisoned in Spandau Prison, Berlin where died on 17th August 1987.
Starfish decoy site (SF13e), part of the Clyde AA battery defences, located at Long Wood about two miles west of the village. The starfish had three distinctive groups of basket fires which would have been packed with pitch and fuel soaked materials, fire break trenches and a decoy control bunker and searchlight. Starfish was the codename given to a system of Special Fire or SF decoys. The SF codename denoted civil decoys.
Location of the Starfish decoy
A heritage trail opened in September 2011. The trail is an informative and educational attraction that encourages people to get outdoors and increases awareness of the village's historical past. It uses existing pathways and consists of twelve information panels at various key locations around the village revealing information that people may not have known before with the help of pictures and graphics. A guide is on display next to Polnoon Lodge, with a map of the route and also highlights other points of interest in the wider area. The trail, the first project of Eaglesham and Waterfoot Community Development Trust was funded by East Renfrewshire LEADER and The National Lottery Awards for All Scheme, is mostly centred on the Orry - including landmarks such as the mill ruins, church, Statue House and Mid Road.
Videos about the Heritage Trail and of the opening event can be seen at:
Eaglesham Heritage Trail opening event
Moorhouse Farmers Windfarm
Whitelee Windfarm are capable of producing up to 322MW of electricity. On the same day that the windfarm was officially switched-on, approval was granted by the Scottish Government to extend the site by another 130 MW (36 turbines). A second extension, which will add a further 140MW (39 turbines), has also been approved. Construction on both extensions will be carried out at the same time, starting in 2010, with completion expected in 2012. The visitor centre which contains an exhibition room, learning hub, café with a viewing deck and also a shop is managed by Glasgow Science Centre. A network of 56 miles of paths gives walkers, cyclists and horse riders access to the local countryside.
Vernacular Building in Eaglesham.
David Bryce (1803-1876) designed Eaglesham House, formerly Brackenridge House, in Scots Baronial style for the Gilmours as a residence in 1859 at a cost of £70,000. The house known locally as Eaglesham Castle was built on the site of Brackenrig Farm and had its own large walled garden with extensive glasshouses, gas house, curling pond and trout hatchery on the Brackenrig Burn. The policies extended to some 225 acres and were laid out and planted with trees in the 1860s. Bryce's other work includes Balfour Castle, on Shapinsay in the Orkney Isles; Glenapp Castle in Carrick; The Bank of Scotland headquarters at The Mound, Edinburgh and Fettes College, Edinburgh. Following the sale of the lands and estates by the trustees of Captain Angus Cecil Gilmour in 1930, Eaglesham House together with 'its gardens, cottages, lodge houses and farmland of 250 acres' were purchased by Matthew Dickie, a builder from Netherlee, Renfrewshire. Planning consent was obtained to develop the estate with a country club with golf course and surrounding housing built in a village form including a school, shops etc. In 1940 the house was requisitioned by the War Department (Scottish Command) and occupied until the end of the war in 1946 following which, planning consent was changed to make part of the estate a 'green belt'. This together with the cost of death duties following Matthew Dickie's death in 1944, persuaded Dickie's Trustees to sell the house and estate to the Polnoon Estate Co. which established a grass drying factory at the house. On 26th May 1954 the house was destroyed after 300 tons of grass caught fire in the adjoining drying shed. Firemen were handicapped by a shortage of water, supplies coming from a small stream and hydrants half-a-mile away. The only occupants of the house, Herbert Smith, an estate worker and his wife and child were awakened by smoke billowing through the house and got out safely before the building was destroyed. Only a shell remained of the buildings after firemen from Darnley, Paisley and Glasgow finally brought the blaze under control. Grass drying ceased in 1959 after which some of the ground was sold or let to adjoining farms. In 1984 Linn Products Ltd. were granted permission to construct a state-of-the-art hi-fi production facility on the site. Designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership between 1985 and 1987, the project was awarded Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) National and Regional awards in 1988.
The Coronation Buildings was a Glasgow style tenement block that was situated on the site of the Old School in Gilmour Street between the Old Schoolhouse and Eglinton Arms Hotel. The tenement was demolished during the restoration of the village as it was considered out-of-keeping with the character of the village.
|COUNTRY HOUSE FOR LET|
|Polnoon Lodge, Eaglesham, containing 3 public rooms, 5 bed rooms , bath room, kitchen and|
|accommodation for servants. The house is lighted with gas, and has an abundant supply of|
|excellent water. The offices are commodious and there is a gardener's house. The pleasure|
|grounds and garden extend to about three acres. The garden is surrounded by a high wall|
|and is stocked with fruit trees etc. There is omnibus communication with Glasgow daily.|
|Entry at Whitsunday.|
|Apply to John Stewart, writer Pollokshaws; who will grant orders for seeing the house on|
|Tuesdays or Fridays.|
|Glasgow Herald, 13th December 1867|
The Royal Oak Inn was situated in Montgomery Street. The building was demolished in the 20th century and later replaced with a two-storey dwelling house.
The Montgomeries had a connection with Eagleshan for seven centuries. Roger de Montgomerie accompanied his half-brother, William Duke of Normandy in his great expedition to England and supported him at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. During the 1160s Walter Fitz-Alan, the first Seneschal (High Steward) of Scotland distributed his lands amongst his Anglo-Saxon supporters and the lands of Egglisham were granted to Robert de Montgomerie. The estate of Eaglesham was put up for sale in 1835 and was finally sold to Allan and James Gilmour in 1844.
William Gemmell was a local joiner and self-taught sculptor who lived and worked in Eaglesham in the 19th century. A collection of his works is contained within Statue House museum situated in a lane off Montgomery Street.
John E. Maguire
John E. Maguire was an artist born in Beith, Ayrshire and who moved to Eaglesham with his wife Mary and son Russell. Working in oils and watercolours, his paintings are mainly of local areas in and around Eaglesham, scenes of the countryside, the River Clyde, Waterfoot, portraits and still lifes. As well as being an artist, John Maguire was also a freelance designer for the Thornliebank Printworks. A collection of his paintings, 33 oil paintings and 9 watercolours, was donated to East Renfrewshire’s heritage collection by the grandson of the artist, Mr Russell Maguire in the 1990’s.
Provost Paton (an honorary title) was a native of Eaglesham and a prominent member of the Parish Council and took a great interest in the village. He built and resided in 'Croft House', a fine ashlar two-storey house in Montgomery Street. At the back of the house was a beautifully laid out garden with a fountain and on the pavement in front of the house, was the Provost's lamp which had a small golden eagle on top. It was by Provost Paton's efforts that trees were planted along Mid Road.
Robert Paton was also very fond of music and drama and probably formed the Eaglesham Musical Association as well as organising a dramatic club in the village. He was known to have composed songs such as "Brownmair", the name of a local birch wood that once stood on the hillside behind Montgomery Street and "Curlers on the Picket Law". Provost Paton was a keen curler and in his song mentions one who was "aye victorious for the picture on the Slippery Picket Law".
Robert Pollok was a poet best known for The Course of Time published shortly before his death in Southampton in 1827. Pollok, a farmer's son, was born at North Moorhouse in the Parish of Eaglesham on 19th October 1798. At the age of seven, the family moved to Mid Moorhouse where Pollok was to pen his 'Ode to Moorhouse'. In the poem he lovingly dwells:
Tall trees they were
And old and had been old a century
Before my day. None living could say aught
About their youth; but they were goodly trees,
And oft I wandered as I sat and thought
Beneath their summer shade, or in the night
Of winter heard the spirits of the wind
Growling among their boughs, how they had grown
So high in a rough tempestuous place.
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Airyligg Drive. Land to the south side of Humbie Road belonging to Mid Borland Farm was acquired for housing. The derivation of the name is unknown however Airyligg is a farm situated in the parish of Kirkcowan, Wigtownshire. It is also a fishing beat on the Tarff Water in Wigtownshire.
Alexander Avenue. Land to the south of Longcraigbank Plantation also belonging to Mid Borland was acquired housing and developed by MacTaggart and Mickel Ltd. from 1963 to 1966. The name commemorates Alexander Montgomerie, 10th Earl of Eglinton who began the work of developing the old kirktoun of Eaglesham into a planned village.
Alnwick Drive borrows its name from Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, restored primarily as a fortress by the 1st Lord Percy of Alnwick in the early 14th century.
Barlae Avenue. Land belonging to Low Borland Farm was originally acquired for housing by John Smith junior, a builder from Giffnock. Following John Smith's death in 1948, the land was purchased by MacTaggart and Mickel Ltd. and developed from 1960 to 1966 . The derivation of the name is unknown however Barlae is a farm situated in the parish of Kirkinner, Wigtownshire.
Bartlands Place derives its name from Bartle Lands; arable fields and a meadow situated to the south of Montgomery Square and bounded by Strathaven Road.
Bell Craig. A stretch of Glasgow Road heading towards Eaglesham House is known locally as Bell Craig and takes its name from Bell Craig Croft, an enlosed arable field lying to the south of Laigh Borland. On top of a rock, overhanging the road, is the "Weary Tree". The tree was a landmark which passengers returning on the bus from Glasgow could see from a distance and would know that they were near home.
Bonnyton Drive. Borrows its name from the lands of South Muirhouse otherwise called Bonnyton.
Borland Crescent takes its name from the lands of Borland, a 40 acre property situated about half-a-mile north of Eaglesham.
Brakenrig Crescent build on land once belonging to Waterfoot Park. Takes its name from Brakenrig Farm. The Gilmours built Eaglesham House and its policies on the site of the farm in 1859.
Brownmuir Avenue takes its name from 'The Auld Broom Mair', the name of a local birch wood.
Cheapside Street. The name ‘Cheapside’ is of Saxon origin: ‘cheap’ meaning ‘a market’ is from ‘ceapan’ meaning to ‘buy’. Cheapside is derived from ceapside or marketplace.
Coo Lane. The name indicates a connection with cattle which were driven along the lane from the fields behind Polnoon Street to a slaughter house which was located at the lower end of Polnoon Street.
Craigbank Crescent. Land also once belonging to Mid Borland was developed for housing from 1963 to 1966.
Craighlaw Avenue: A residential development built by MacTaggart and Mickel from 1960 to 1966. The derivation of the name is unknown however Craighlaw is an estate situated in the parish of Kirkcowan, Wigtownshire. Craighlaw Loch is situated near to the Tarf Water in Wigtownshire.
Eglinton Drive commemorates the Earls of Eglinton, the owners of Eaglesham Estate.
Eglinton Gardens. See Eglinton Drive.
Eglinton Walk. See Eglinton Drive.
Gassy Brae. See Kirk Wynd.
Gilmour Street once known as Glasgow Road commemorates the Gilmours who purchased Eaglesham Estate in 1844.
Glasgow Road. The road to Glasgow: is a continuation of Gilmour Street.
Glendinning Place. Possibly commemorates Sir Adam Glendoning (Glendinning) who was a firm and faithful friend of King Robert Bruce and a constant companion of James, 2nd Earl of Douglas: Sir John de Montgomerie's uncle. Sir Adam's son, Sir Simon Glendoning was killed at the Battle of Otterburn by the side of his father.
Hillcrest Brae See also Kirk Wynd. Hillcrest Brae is a narrow lane that rises up from Montgomery Square beside the kirk to Brownmuir Holdings. Informally called Gassy Brae probably after the gas works that were located at the site of Glenburn Cottage.
Holehouse Road takes its name from Holehouse, a property situated near the White Cart Water.
Kirkton Avenue refers to the old kirktoun of Eaglesham that Alexander Montgomerie, 10th Earl of Eglinton, swept away in 1769 to develop Eaglesham into a planned village.
Kirk Wynd. See also Hillcrest Brae.
Lynn Drive. Residential development built by MacTaggart and Mickel from 1963 to 1966. The name is a possible reference to the Lynn or Linn (waterfall) on the Linn Burn which runs through the Orry.
Millhall Road runs through Millhall Estate from its junction with Strathaven Road. John White established a cotton mill at Millhall Mill, originally a corn mill, on the Polnoon Water in 1822. The mill produced cotton wad for use in hospitals to bind wounds as well as spinning shuttle cord for power-looms and candle wicks.
Montgomery Street once known as South Street commemorates the Montgomeries, the Earls of Eglinton and later Earls of Winton who owned Eaglesham Estate for seven centuries.
Montgomery Square was the High Street of the old village. It is referred to as Backrow by the census enumerator James B. Yuille although this appears to be an unofficial name. See Montgomery Street.
Moor Road leads across the Eaglesham Moors to Ayrshire.
Polbae Crescent. Residential development built mainly during the mid 1950s on land once belonging to Mid Borland Farm. The derivation of the name is unknown however Polbae is a farm situated in the parish of Kirkcowan, Wigtownshire. The Polbae Burn is a tributary of the River Bladnoch in Wigtownshire.
Pollock Avenue. The derivation of this name is not known: possible reference to Dr. John Pollock.
Polnoon Drive. See Polnoon Street.
Polnoon Mews. See Polnoon Street.
Polnoon Street once known as North Street borrows its name from Polnoon Estate. Sir John de Montgomerie built a castle at Polnoon with the poind money that he received for the release of Lord Percy following the Battle of Otterburn.
Quarry Lane once led to a quarry that was situated behind the houses on Polnoon Street.
Riverside Road A residential development situated near to the White Cart Water on land once belonging to Low Borland. Built by MacTaggart and Mickel from 1960 to 1966.
Roddans Lane. The derivation of this name is not known.
South Road. A road south-east of Eaglesham sometimes known as the Earl’s Road. Intended to connect Eaglesham with Cleughearn Hunting Lodge but only partially completed.
Statue Lane. Informal name for a narrow lane leading off Montgomery Street. Statue House, a museum owned by East Renfrewshire Council and dedicated to the work of local joiner and self-taught sculptor William Gemmell is located in a former workshop of Pillar House.
Strathaven Road is a continuation of Gilmour Street running in the direction of Strathaven.
Tarff Avenue. The derivation of the name is unknown however Tarff Water is a fishing area in Wigtownshire.
Winton Avenue commemorates the Earls of Winton. Alexander Montgomerie, 13th Earl of Eglinton was created Earl of Winton in 1859.
Woodland Crescent is associated with the nearby beech plantation, Topfaulds Plantation, sometimes referred to as Ned's Mount.
- Sir Alan de Montgomerie (d. before 1234)
- Sir Robert de Montgomerie (d. before 1261)
- Sir John de Montgomerie (d. about 1285)
- Sir John de Montgomerie
- Alexander de Montgomerie (d. before 1388)
- Sir John de Montgomerie (d. 1398)
- Sir John de Montgomerie (d. 1429)
- Alexander de Montgomerie, 1st Lord Montgomerie (d. 1465)
- Alexander de Montgomerie, 2nd Lord Montgomerie (d. 1485)
- Hugh de Montgomerie, 3rd Lord Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Eglinton (c. 1460-1545)
- Hugh de Montgomerie, 2nd Earl of Eglinton (d. 1546)
- Hugh de Montgomerie, 3rd Earl of Eglinton (d. 1585)
- Hugh de Montgomerie, 4th Earl of Eglinton (1563-1586)
- Hugh de Montgomerie, 5th Earl of Eglinton (d. 1612)
- Alexander Montgomery, 6th Earl of Eglinton (d. 1661)
- Hugh Montgomerie, 7th Earl of Eglinton (1613-1669)
- Alexander Montgomerie, 8th Earl of Eglinton (d. 1701)
- Alexander Montgomerie, 9th Earl of Eglinton (c. 1660-1729)
- Alexander Montgomerie, 10th Earl of Eglinton (1723-1769)
- Archibald Montgomerie, 11th Earl of Eglinton (1726-1796)
- Hugh Montgomerie, 12th Earl of Eglinton; Baron Ardrossan, of Ardrossan (1739-1819)
- Archibald Montgomerie, 13th Earl of Eglinton and 4th Earl of Winton; 2nd Baron Ardrossan, of Ardrossan; Baron Seton and Tranent (1812-1861)
- Archibald William Montgomerie, 14th Earl of Eglinton and 5th Earl of Winton; 3rd Baron Ardrossan, of Ardrossan; Baron Seton and Tranent (1841-1892)
- George Arnulph Montgomerie, 15th Earl of Eglinton and 6th Earl of Winton; 4th Baron Ardrossan; Baron Seton and Tranent (1848-1919)
- Archibald Seton Montgomerie, 16th Earl of Eglinton and 7th Earl of Winton; 5th Baron Ardrossan; Baron Seton and Tranent (1880-1945)
- Archibald William Alexander Montgomerie 17th Earl of Eglinton and 8th Earl of Winton; 6th Baron Ardrossan; Baron Seton and Tranent (1914-1966)
- Archibald George Montgomerie, 18th Earl of Eglinton and 9th Earl of Winton; 7th Baron Ardrossan; Baron Seton and Tranent (b. 1939)
The well known ballad was composed in the 1880s by Tom Johnstone (1847/48-1911) for popular music-hall comedian, J.C. MacDonald. The Johnstone family had a summer house in Eaglesham and Mr. Johnstone, a Glasgow barber, would travel to Eaglesham on Sunday mornings. Tom Johnstone otherwise known as the 'Calton Barber Poet' or 'Figaro' established a barber's shop in Abercromby Street, Calton, Glasgow during the early 1870s and it was around this time that he well-known as a songwriter. On Monday mornings he was in the habit of obtaining a lift into Glasgow on the milk-cart which left Eaglesham at three o'clock. Ewan McVicar, author of "One Glasgow One Song" explained that the sour milk cart was drawn at a reasonable pace by one horse, of a steady disposition and 'a certain age'. Giving the driver the chance of clicking with a lass. The sweet milk cart came at a spanking speed, pulled by two fiery young horses. The sweet milk needed to be in town early to get into the teacups of the well-off. The sour milk was used for baking.' The song was about a real blossoming romance between the driver of the cart, Dan Steele who was employed by Robert Munro of Polnoon Farm and Maggie Watt.
"The Soor Milk Cairt"
Oh I am a country chappie and I'm serving at Polnoon,
On a fairm near to Eaglesham, that fine auld-fashioned toon,
Whaur, wi' the milk each mornin', a little after three,
We tak the road richt merrily, my auld black horse and me.
Wi' her cheeks sae red and rosie, and e'en sae bonnie blue,
Dancin' and glancin' she pierced me through and through,
She fairly won ma fancy, and stole awa' ma hert,
Drivin' into Glesga in ma soor milk cairt.
The other mornin’ early, as the Borland I did pass
I happened tae foregaither wi a nice wee country lass.
Says I Ma bonnie lassie, if ye’re gangin ower that airt
All drive ye intae Glesga in ma soor milk cairt.
I raised her up beside me an we soon got on the crack
An wi a smile she told me that her name was Maggie Watt.
I telt the auld, auld story while the woods around us rang
Wi the whistlin’ o’ the mavis and the blackbird’s cheery sang.
I’ve heard o' lords and ladies making love in shady bowers.
An how they woo’d and won among the roses an’ the flowers.
But I’ll ne’er forget the mornin’ wee Cupid threw his dart
And made me pop the question in the soor milk cairt.
Since the lassie has consented gin next term-time comes roon
I mean tae buy a harness plaid an a bonnie silken goon.
We’re settlin’ to get mairret just aboot next August Fair
When a’ oor auld acquaintances we hope tae see them there.
She’d never had a hurl in a carriage a’ her days
An’ so I did propose tae hae a coach and pair o’ greys.
Bun ‘Na, Na’ quo she. ‘The siller’s scarce, ye ken we canna spare’t
An’ I’d raither hae a hurl in yer soor milk cairt’.
Click on this link to listen to 'The Soor Milk Cairt' sung by Adam McNaughtan.
Tom Johnstone wrote 'The Eaglesham Bus'. Apart from The Soor Milk Cairt, the horse-drawn bus was the only form of conveyance into Glasgow.
"The Eaglesham Bus"
Ye Eaglsham callans ye'll listen I'm shair,
Tae a sang frae a son o' the heath'ry muir,
Wha was born and bred in yon wee muirland toon,
That stan's near the auld ruined wa's o' Polnoon.
I canna boast the Montgomery line,
Nor a lang pedigree frae the days o' langsyne.
The siller I earn is the length o' my purse,
An' the carriage I ride in's – The Eaglesham Bus!
Ye maun ken that the beauties o' Eaglesham toon
Are becomin' quite famous the hale kintrae roon'd.
An tea escape frae the reekin' o' Tennant's big lum,
The folk oot o' Glesca' in dizzens they come.
Sae oor Provost and Cooncil, like men o' guid sense
O' the gran' Boolin' Green, they're providin' for us.
We will gladly subscribe on The Eaglesham Bus!
Orr passengers always are plenty 'tis true,
But they're vera select whune they chance to be few;
We carry the Baillies, the Cooncil as well,
An' gae often oor guid Provost Paton himsel'.
An' lots o' braw lassies, frae kintry an' toon,
Wha will mount o' the tap if we're scrimpt for room.
Od' the lads they like fine whune there comes a bit crush,
For they'll sit on ye're knee in The Eaglesham Bus!
Whune we come tae the Bell Craig, that wonderfu' brae,
The view frae the tap is unrivelled thet say;
Faur awa' tae the left is Argyll's Boolin green,
While in the front faur distant Ben Ledi us seen.
Then ower Dixon Blazes, the bleak Campsie Hills,
Can be seen through the reek o' St. Mungo's big mills,
While the sturdy Ben Lomon' an' hills abune Luss,
Ye can plainly discenr frae The Eaglesham Bus!.
O' the scenery's gran', but the bonniest bit
Is yon Haunt o' the Fairy's the sweet Water-fit,
whaur the Cart an' the Earn, they meet wi' a smile o' Cobbie's green isle.
Then they row-chow thegither doo the auld mill,
Like two happy bairns rantin' hame the lintie an' thrush;
Man! It's often admir'd frae The' Eaglesham Bus!
Gae 'wa wi' ye're railway 'awa wi' ye're train,
O' sic risky conveyance we dinna want nane,
The whustle we use is a merry gee'hup,
Trappie turns on the steam wi' a crack o' the whup,
Whune ye're trains in collision ye gang in the air,
O' ye're destination ye canna be shair,
But a bit o' ham twine pits and end tae the fuss,
Gin there's ony breakdoon on The Eaglesham Bus!
Tom Johnstone's daughter, Mary M. Johnstone, wrote a song about Becky's Tree; an Elm that once stood in the Orry. Christina Robertson Brown suggests in her book 'Rural Eaglesham' that Becky's Tree may have been called after a girl who worked half-time in the mill and half-time helping men to plant the trees that beautify the village.
O' Becky's Tree, O' Becky's Tree,
You were sae dear to a'.
Sweet memories o' childhood days,
An' noo you're faen awa.
Dear Becky's Tree.
The moot and auld mill by your side,
You watched wi' loving ee,
And with a guardian angel's pride.
You're branches fanned wi' glee.
Great Becky's Tree.
Your leaves mair green than ither trees
Sae erly in the spring,
They wafted music tae the breeze,
When birds their sang did sing.
Blyth Becky's Tree.
Tho' you are gane, we'll aye recall
The happy days we led,
At playing games wi' bat and ball
Aneath thy sheltering spread.
Glad Becky's Tree.
So woodman spare our grand old tree,
And only just their beauty see,
For aye remember you and me,
God only makes a tree.
Dear Becky's Tree.
The following extract is an account of the Eaglesham Tournament held on 27th August 1868.
The Eaglesham Tournament came off on Thursday the 27th, in a field adjoining the village, and although the day was rather unfavourable a large concourse of people assembled to witness the games, comprising many influential gentlemen and a sprinkling of the fair sex of the village and country; also nut-barrows, turners of the wheel-of-fortune, jugglers &c., who usually patronise occasions. The proceedings were started by the feuars of the village mounted on horseback and carrying the ancient flags, trophies &c. of the village, preceded by the band promenading round the village calling at the various ale-houses and partaking of a refreshment - the old annual custom after the promenade. The race round the area or village green was run, after which the band played up to the field, where the games commenced by the climbing of the greasy pole (which occasioned great mirth to the spectators at the various defeats of those who tried to gain its summit), putting the stone, throwing the hammer, tossing the caber, wrestling, tilting, running, and leaping, and all of which were keenly contested for, and so great was the excitement and interested manifested by the spectators that the police and committee had no effect on them whatever; hence the consequences - the ropes and stabs were flung down, and the people rushed in to be near the competitors; but good order was kept, and all passed off well to the satisfaction of the spectators. After the games, the committee and others, to about 50, met at the Cross Keys Inn, where the, after partaking of a substantial repast, the silver cup, the prize for wrestling, was filled with wines and brandies and passed round the company several times, when toasts and songs followed in due course.
Glasgow Herald, 31st August 1868
Pop. (1801) 1,176; (1811) 1,424; (1831) 2,372; (1851) 2,524; (1861) 2,328; (1871) 1,714; (1881) 1,382; (1911) 1,138; (1931) 1,671; (1951) 2,498*; (2001) 3,127; (2011) 3,134
* Eaglesham village, 1951, 1,906.
Grateful thanks are due to William Alexander, Tom Carslaw, Alistair Finlay and Richard Norman for information about local people and places.
Loch Lomond Steamers
Vernacular Building in Eaglesham
The Darvel to Eaglesham Weavers' Trail
Great Britain 1:50 000 Scale Colour Raster Mapping Extracts © Crown copyright Ordnance Survey. All Rights Reserved. Educational licence 100045616.