The Darvel to Eaglesham weavers trail

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Eaglesham history articles

Eaglesham - the story of an 18th century planned villageExternal link
Vernacular Buildings of EagleshamExternal link

The Weavers' Trail

Silk and lace weaving was a main industry in parts of Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire following agricultural improvements in the eighteenth century. The New Statistical Account of Scotland notes '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'. Weavers from the Ayrshire villages of Darvel and Newmilns used to make a 16 mile journey along a trackway to Eaglesham transporting, on occassion, a piece of finished cloth by packhorse for the merchants of Glasgow and Paisley. The weavers would collect by return a new clue of yarn which would arrive with the carriers from Glasgow. Evidence of the Eaglesham weavers can still be seen in the village of Eaglesham to this day. A door lintel at a former weaver's cottageExternal link at 50 Montgomery Street is inscribed "James Kego & Jean Mitchell 1774". James Kego, a hand-loom weaver, was born in Eaglesham on 7th November 1731 and married Jean Mitchell from Carmunock on 14th June 1765. Hand-loom weaving carried on in the village for many years and came to an end around 1900. Jeanie Kego, Mary Wallace, elderly maiden ladies and old Thomas Waterson of Montgomery Square were the last hand-loom weavers in Eaglesham. The route that the weavers took still exists today. The development of a surfaced, all weather route between Myres Hill and Overmuir is a priority, forming part of the Weavers’ trail between Eaglesham and Darvel.

Montgomery Square, Eaglesham


NS5751 : Montgomery Square by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Montgomery Square by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Montgomery Square by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Cross Keys cottage by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Eaglesham Parish Church by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Covenanters' memorial by Kenneth Mallard 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

The trackway from Eaglesham to Darvel was an integral part of the countryside at one time. The trackway commences at Montgomery Square and the section bordering the Picketlaw ground is known locally as Gassy Brae in reference to the gas works that were once situated here. The gas works provided gas for public street lighting and domestic use and were situated in Gas Works Lane behind the garden ground of The Cross Keys Inn and house in Montgomery Street in what is now the house and grounds of Glenburn Cottage. Adjacent to Montgomery Square is Eaglesham Parish Church. It is likely that there has been a place of worship here since the fifth or sixth centuries. The present church was designed by Robert McLachlane and completed in 1790. The church was originally a small octagonal building and later extended. A memorial to Covenanters Robert Lockhart from near Kilbride parish and Gabriel Thomson of 'Haremire' or Hairmyres in Kilbride parish stands in the kirkyard. 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. 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.

Kirk Wynd


NS5751 : The Weavers' Trail at Kirk Wynd by Kenneth Mallard 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

There is evidence of rig and furrow cultivation, a pre-agricultural improvement farming practice, in a field above Beechlee House.

Brownmuir Holdings


NS5751 : The Weavers' Trail near Brownmuir Holdings, Picketlaw by Kenneth Mallard 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright NS5751 : The Weavers' Trail near Brownmuir Holdings by Kenneth Mallard 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Most of the area of Brownmuir Holdings was originally known as Brownmuir Plantation. The plantation appears on John Ainslie's plan of Picket Law from The Eglinton Plan Book (1789). The plantation was mostly felled in 1945 although some beech trees still survive on the southern perimeter. The Weaver's Trail leaves the metalled section and continues on the eastern side of Picketlaw as a turf trackway. Robert Paton, a native of Eaglesham who was fond of music and drama and probably formed the Eaglesham Musical Association, composed songs such as Brownmair. Brownmuir was known locally at one time as 'The Auld Broom Mair'.

Road to Park Farm


NS5750 : Road to Park Farm by Kenneth Mallard 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Park Farm


NS5750 : Park Farm by Kenneth Mallard 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Carrot


NS5748 : The Weavers' Trail at Carrot by Kenneth Mallard 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Whitelee Forest


NS5647 : Mid-afternoon mist, Whitelee Forest by Alec MacKinnon 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright NS5747 : The Weavers' Trail through Whitelee Forest by Kenneth Mallard 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Whitelee Forest, part of the Scottish Lowlands Forest District owned and managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, is a plantation of 14,621 acres of mainly Sitka spruce established between 1962 and 1992. Roe deer may be seen within the forest.

Myres Hill


NS5646 : Clouds over Whitelee Forest by Alec MacKinnon 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright NS5646 : The Weavers' Trail at Myres Hill by Kenneth Mallard 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Extensive views of the Whitelee WindfarmExternal link, the largest on-shore wind farm in Europe can be seen as the trail emerges from Whitelee Forest. Baryte veins intruded in carboniferous volcanic rocks were once exploited at a small mine 450 yards south and 35 degrees east of Myres Hill. The mine was originally opened by Lord Weir in 1945 and had its own narrow guage railway that ran for 220 yards transporting materials to and from the mine. The peatland of the Whitelee Plateau is mainly blanket bog overlying a gently undulating plateau of basalt and millstone grit and is inhabited by skylark, merlin and black grouse.

Crook Hill


NS5745 : Rough path through the Whitelee Forest to High Overmuir farm by Gordon Brown 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Passing Crook Hill, the path becomes rough and very wet.

High Overmuir


NS5744 : High Overmuir farm by Gordon Brown 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Auldhouse Burn


NS5743 : The Auldhouse Burn by Gordon Brown 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Low Overmuir Farm road end


NS5742 : Low Overmuir Farm road end by Gordon Brown 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Pogiven Bridge


NS5741 : Pogiven Bridge by Gordon Brown 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin, was born nearby at Lochfield Farm on 6th August 1881. Thomas Fleming, an ancestor of Sir Alexander Fleming was a Covenanter who died of wounds received at the Battle of Drumclog in 1679. A memorial to him stands in the old Loudoun kirkyard.

High Carlingcraig


NS5639 : The track to High Carlingcraig by Gordon Brown 1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Track to Darvel


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

No Geograph image available

Entering Darvel


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

No Geograph image available

Darvel Main Street


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

No Geograph image available


Weavers' Trail right of way route card


DescriptionExternal link
Route cardExternal link


Appendices


Appendix 1 - Bibliography


Online resources

Appendix 2 - Further reading


Other Geograph articles by Kenneth Mallard

Loch Lomond SteamersExternal link



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