Eaglesham - the story of an 18th century planned village

Text © Copyright Kenneth Mallard, October 2009
Images are under a separate Creative Commons Licence.

Other Eaglesham history articles on Geograph

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.

NS5751 : Eaglesham Fingerpost by Kenneth Mallard
The ancient seat of the Montgomeries, the village of Eaglesham - population of 3,114 in 2011 - is located 8½ miles south of Glasgow in East Renfrewshire. In the heart of the beautiful village is the 18th century planned village. Many of its buildings are grade 'B' or 'C' listed but, as a whole, the village is 'A' listed. In 1769 Alexander Montgomerie, 10th Earl of Eglinton, began the work of developing the old kirktoun of Eaglesham into an elegant planned village with two ranges of houses (Polnoon Street and Montgomery Street) built around the ¹Orry, an area of common land planted with trees and lawns and with a rivulet running down the middle, intended for the common good. Several masses of Osmond Stone occur in the Parish. The stone was much prized as an oven lining due to its ability to withstand a great heat without being fused or broken. Its use however went out of favour in the early 19th century; its variable density meant that not all stones had the same capacity for receiving and retaining heat. In the 19th century, the main industries were cotton spinning, weaving and farming. There were several cotton mills; one situated in the Orry employing 200 workers around 1840 and the other on the nearby Millhall Estate at Polnoon. The Orry cotton spinning mill which had one of the largest water wheels in the country burned down, was rebuilt and modified several times before destruction by fire in 1876 and was never re-built. With the main industry gone, workers drifted away and the population declined to around 1,000; a number similar to that at the time of the foundation of the new village in 1769. In the early 20th century, the village was a resort for summer visitors from Glasgow. Most of the 18th century buildings including beautiful houses; churches; Polnoon Lodge, a former hunting lodge of the Earls of Eglinton and former 19th century coaching house, the Eglinton Arms Hotel survive to this day.
¹Orry is from the Scots word, aurie meaning area

Origin of the name Eaglesham

NS5751 : Eaglesham Parish Church by Kenneth Mallard
There have been several suggestions as to the meaning of the name Eaglesham but the most likely explanation is that it means ‘Settlement with a church or belonging to a church’. As it stands it is an Old English name, containing Old English hām ‘a settlement’ (Scots hame, English home). The first element is ultimately a Brittonic word for ‘church’, a loan-word from Latin ecclesia. It is found on its own, in names such as Eccles on the Tweed, as well as in combination with other elements, such as Eccleston and Ecclesfield in England. It was also a Pictish word, and is found, often much changed, in names such as Clashbennie by Errol (Ecclesdouenanin 1202 x 1214; Egclisbanyn 1258). The nearest eccles-name to Eaglesham is the Brittonic name for Carluke, namely Eglismalesok 1321. It is likely that there was a place called *Eccles here when Eaglesham formed part of the Brittonic-speaking kingdom of Strathclyde. This therefore takes us back beyond the time of the Northumbrian occupation, and indicates an important place of Christian worship here probably going back to the 7th century or even earlier.
The Reverend Alexander Dobin writing in The Statistical Account of Scotland, suggested that one of the woods in the Parish was much frequented by eagles. However fifty years later his successor, Rev. William Colville was unimpressed by his predecessor's explanation and considered the statement as 'utterly unfounded and evidently proceeds on a vulgar mistake' since 'its [the golden eagle] habits of resort are not lowland woods, but remote mountainous districts'. This didn't stop the villagers however from adopting the eagle as an emblem which was used on the Eaglesham Covenanters' banner and Feuars' Association flags as well as on the weather vane atop the parish church steeple.

Early history to the Mediæval period

NS5452 : Carlin Craigs - cup and ring mark carvings by Kenneth Mallard
Little is known about Eaglesham before the Mediæval period however there is evidence of Neolithic and early Bronze Age activity within the Parish. Cairns and mounds thought to be of Bronze Age origin are to be found at North and South Kirktonmoor, East Revoch and Crosslees. Cup mark carvings found most notably at the Carlin Crags, Brownmuir, East Revoch and Comrigs were investigated by a team from the Association of Certificated Field Archaeologists in 2018 as part of Scotland's Rock Art Project and identified as being natural occlusions.

The Mediæval period 1057-1603

NS5851 : Polnoon Castle by Kenneth Mallard
The parish of Egglisham formed part of the district of Mearns and together with other lands were bestowed to Walter Fitz-Alan, the first Seneschal (High Steward) of Scotland and founder of the House of Stewart, by King David IExternal link (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 IIIExternal link (1241-1286) to meet the Norwegians under their king, Haakon IV (1204-1263) whom Alexander defeated at the Battle of LargsExternal link. 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 Justiciaries of Scotland and niece of King Robert IIExternal link (1316-1390). Sir John obtained the baronies of Eglinton and Ardrossan upon Sir Hugh's death in 1374. Afterwards the Montgomeries made EglintounExternal link their chief residence.

NS5751 : Montgomerie Armorial Arms Panel by Kenneth Mallard
On 6th August 1388 at the Battle of OtterburnExternal link, 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 IIExternal link (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 EglintonExternal link for services to King James IVExternal link (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 ScotsExternal link 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.

Seventeenth century

The Covenanting years

NS5751 : Covenanters' memorial by Kenneth Mallard
Following a period of relative peace and stability in Scotland during the reign of King James VIExternal link, religion continued to be a major issue. The Covenanter movement which resulted from an attempt by King Charles IExternal link (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 VIIExternal link (1622-1701), a Roman Catholic, succeeded Charles IIExternal link (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'External link. 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 IIIExternal link (1650-1702) to the throne in 1688. The Revolution Settlement of 1690 finally established the reformed, Presbyterian Church as the national Church of ScotlandExternal link.

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

Fairs and markets

NS5752 : Eaglesham Fair 2009 by Kenneth Mallard
Fairs and markets were important to the rural economy of Scotland in the 17th century and Alexander, 8th Earl of Eglinton obtained an Act of Parliament in 1672 for "ane yeirlie fair and weiklie mercat at the Kirktoun of Eagleshame". In his petition to Parliament, the Earl says that the village is "above six miles distant from any burgh royal or from any other place where markets or fairs are kept, and that lying on the King's highway, it is a most fit and convenient place for keeping markets". The act grants that the mercat be kept for "buying and selling of all sorts of merchandise and other commodities necessary and useful for the country". The fair was held on the last Thursday in August when horse-races took place. By the time the New Statistical Account for Scotland was published in 1845 the weekly market had long been discontinued and in place of fairs, a flower show was held in August. The fair was revived in 1961 and in recent years is held bi-annually in May or June and traditionally opens with a processionExternal link leaving from the school and parading through the village to the show ring. Leading the procession is the Fair QueenExternal link 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 bonnetExternal link 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.

Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Agricultural improvements

NS5751 : Picketlaw by Kenneth Mallard
In the mid-eighteenth century the inhabitants of the Parish subsisted mainly on a centuries’ old runrig system of subsistence farming. This form of land occupation was characterised by strips of land worked on a ridge (rig) and furrow (run) pattern. The land around the fermtoun or dwellings was intensely cultivated (infield) and beyond that an area used for pasture (outfield). Lands lying runrig were invariably associated with an area of rough ground or hill land that was also shared in common. In Eaglesham there were 70 acres of common land on the moors that the villagers had rights to graze animals and cast peat and turf. Some of the land was let as a small farm with the income received being used for facilities to improve village life. Typically leases were short and periodic runrig (re-assignment of strips) typical of lowland Scotland, meant that the tenant farmers would receive a different strip of land the following year. Not surprisingly there was little incentive for tenants to improve either the land or buildings. Landlords keen to increase their profits leased larger farms to individuals. New crops such as turnips for feeding cattle and sheep and of potatoes for feeding people were grown. Land was enclosed by hedges, ditches or stone dykes on high ground so that animals could be kept off the land when wet or during the growing season; the use of grass seed to improve pasture; crop rotation and the use of dung and lime to improve the soil. According to the Statistical Account of Scotland, "The principal object of the farmer is to produce butter and butter milk for the Glasgow market. The butter made here is preferable to any other".

NS5751 : The Orry by Kenneth Mallard
The 18th century was the age of the planned village and many in Scotland were founded between 1730 and 1830. Until then Scotland's villages were little more than settlements loosely organised around fermtouns. Settlements that had a church were known as kirktouns and those with mills were milltouns. In 1769 Alexander, 10th Earl of Eglinton, began the work of developing the old kirktoun of Eaglesham into a planned village. However it was his successor, Archibald, 11th Earl of Eglinton, who largely saw Alexander's plans through to completion as Alexander was shot on his estate near Ardrossan by excise officer ¹Mungo Campbell on 24th October 1769 following a dispute about Campbell's right to bear arms on the Earl's grounds. The Earl planned his new village with two ranges of houses built around the Orry, an area of common land intended for the common good, two furlongs and thirty falls (about one-third of a mile) in length, interspersed with trees and divided in the centre by the Linn Burn or Eaglesham or Kirkton Burn as it was also known. Tacks were offered on 900 year leases from Whitsunday 1770 on condition that a steading was built on a tack within two years otherwise a fine of five pounds, equivalent of eight to ten years rent was imposed, or eviction as a last resort. Those who could not afford to buy a tack could rent one from a tacksman. The Earl granted permission for tenants to quarry stone and were given sand from the Earl’s estate to assist with the building of houses. At the rear of the houses is approximately two roods (one half of an acre) of garden ground. Tenants were allowed to use the Linn Burn for washing and the green for bleaching but no cattle were allowed to graze or tread on the Orry. As a result of agricultural improvements, displaced workers became tradesmen or weavers in the village. At the time of his death, Alexander Montgomerie was engaged to be married to Jane, a daughter of Sir John Maxwell of Pollok, 3rd Baronet and widow of James Montgomery of Lainshaw.

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.

Corn mills

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
Polnoon Mill, later known as Millhall Mill, was the traditional Eaglesham Parish corn mill. The Mill dates to before 1574. In 1782, the Mill building was two storeys high and contained an engine for drying pease. Water was originally supplied from a dam which was situated at the confluence of the Ardoch and Enoch Burns. In 1820, Dunwan Dam was constructed to supply Eaglesham cotton mills. Water was diverted from its normal course however effectively controlled the flow of water down the Polnoon Burn to Millhall. Shortly afterwards a new corn mill was constructed at the Orry in Eaglesham replacing Millhall Mill as the Parish corn mill. Millhall Mill was used as a cotton mill, ropeworks and flock mill until the closure of the wool flock business sometime between 1901 and 1914. A grain mill was re-established between 1922 and 1930 by grain merchant, James B. Hyslop. Brown & Hislop, millers and grain merchants, purchased the mill, land and The Mill House in 1935. Later Bowie and Aram Ltd. purchased the mill, land and The Mill House continuing the milling and grain operations.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
Another water-powered corn mill operated at the nearby Mains FarmExternal link on Polnoon Water. After milling ceased the water wheel was used to power farm machinery.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
The Eaglesham Corn Mill with its dwelling house built in 1824, stood in the Orry near to the Eglinton Arms Inn. Operated by ¹John Steven, miller in 1837, about 3,000 bolls (18,000 bushels) of grain were ground annually at the mill which contained three pairs of millstones, a barley mill and kiln and girdle for drying pease. Water was supplied to the mill by a lade from a small dam on the Linn Burn. The mill fell into 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 StowExternal link was very much instrumental in establishing) in Glasgow and was a certified teacher at a time when educated women were not common.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
Ross Mill is shown on Blaeu's Atlas of 1654 as Rosmil and was situated near a linn at a bend on the Earn Water. A lade carried water to the mill from a dam built across the Earn Water above the linn. The mill was known to be in existence by 1574. It was advertised for let in 1825 but does not appear to have been let again. The buildings were cleared sometime after 1840. Earn Mill (Mearns Mill), another corn mill, was situated a short distance downstream near to Cobbie's Isle at the confluence of the Earn Water and the White Cart Water.

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

A water-powered mill, Langlee Rural Mill, was situated at Langlee Farm with machinery driven by a 10 foot diameter water wheel.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
Dripps MillExternal link 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.

NS5655 : Dripps Mill by Kenneth Mallard NS5655 : Dripps Mill by Kenneth Mallard NS5655 : The Old Bridge and Dripps Mill by Kenneth Mallard

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

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

Churning mills

Water power was also harnessed to power churning apparatus at West Revoch Farm by 1858.

Industrial improvements

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

NS5751 : Weavers' cottages, 50 Montgomery Street - inscribed lintel by Kenneth Mallard
¹Handloom weaving became the main industry in the village until the establishment of a water-powered cotton spinning mill in the village c.1790; 13 years after water-powered cotton spinning first took place in Renfrewshire at Busby Mill. The Earl disponed the land on which the mill was built in order that the Feuars could collect tack duty from the mill owners. The abundance and regularity of a water supply from lochs and reservoirs to power machinery was a major factor in the decision to establish cotton mills in Eaglesham. The mills had water rights from 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.

NS5651 : Eaglesham Old Mill by Kenneth Mallard
The first or Old Mill was established c.1790 by Strang & Lennox at Townhead of Eaglesham below Picketlaw Dam. The Mill building was 126 feet long and 28½ feet wide. In 1808 the Old Mill was purchased by a partnership of families: Gilchrists, McGrigors and Whites who rented the mill to Ludovic Gavin who produced cotton wicks for tallow lamps and train oil lamps. After Malcolm McGrigor, one of the partners of John White & Company died in 1822, John White established another cotton mill at Millhall Mill. When the Old Mill was advertised for sale later that year it appears that it was only partially occupied as a dwelling house. Picketlaw House partially occupies the site of the Old Mill.

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 MillExternal link 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 gaslight 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.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
NS5751 : The Orry Mill by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : The Orry Mill by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : The Orry Mill by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : The Orry Mill by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : The Orry Mill - mill wheel pit by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Upper mill dam by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Lower mill dam by Kenneth Mallard

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.
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

NS5851 : Millhall by Kenneth Mallard
John White established another cotton mill at Millhall Mill, a corn mill on the Millhall Estate, in 1822. This was a much smaller concern and mainly produced cotton wad for use in hospitals to bind wounds as well as spinning shuttle cord for power-looms and candle wicks at the two mills contained within the property. Ludovic Gavin who had rented the Millhall cotton mill since 1822 bought the mill from John White's creditors in 1837. The mill contained 620 spindles and employed 64 hands. The waterwheel was equivalent to the power of 24 horses. On 23 March 1851, a gable, chimney stack and boiler at the mill together with a bridge downstream were swept away after an embankment at the Dunwan Dam burst, fortunately with no loss of life. The water of Dunwan Dam which supplied the Eaglesham Mills was diverted from its normal course through a cut with surplus water flowing down the Polnoon Burn. Afterwards a weir was built across the burn at Millhall. The New Statistical Account of Scotland notes that the wad produced at Millhall is 'of the most approved sort. Persons ought to be aware of that purchased in the shops with a glazed surface, strengthened by glue, as it is manufactured with arsenic to preserve it from insects, and often proves hurtful when applied to open wounds.' Following Gavin's death in 1866, his sons took over the business and installed a carding machine and powerlooms for weaving blankets and tweeds in an attempt to keep-up with technology, however, this and the carding machine that was installed at the Orry Mill in 1871 reduced the need for labour. Alexander Jebb had established the Millhall Wool Flock Co. at Millhall by 1878 where rags were shredded for such purposes as stuffing mattresses. By 1889, Theophilus Newns, a partner in flock manufacturers, Newns and Corbett had taken up residence at Millhall. In 1898 the firm went into sequestration, however, operations continued till around 1901. The Enumerator's Schedule of 1901 records that Thomas Wallace, a local carpenter and Justice of the Peace, owned the Flock mill at Millhall. By 1914 the flock mill is empty and the building is in ruins by 1922.

After the decline of the Orry MillExternal link, 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

NS5353 : Hazelden Printworks by Kenneth Mallard
Bleachfields were an important part of textile production. Cotton needed to be washed and bleached due to impurities in the raw cotton. Cloth was laid out on open fields and watered several times a day to bleach in the sun. A large part of the Orry was used as a bleaching green by handloom weavers. The Eglinton Plan Book (1789) first shows bleachfields at Blackhouse and cotton produced at the Eaglesham Mills would likely have been bleached here. Charles Tenant, a weaver by trade, in partnership with Charles MacIntosh patented a new method to create a dry bleaching powder 1799. This method revolutionised the industry as bleaching could be carried out indoors and was no longer dependent upon the long process of bleaching cloth outdoors. In 1838 the Hazelden bleachfield was converted to a calico (cotton cloth) printing works possibly by John Hall of Wellmeadow. In 1852 the printing works were under the control of James McConnell and reverted back to a bleachworks. By 1895 silk printing was again being carried-out, however, work declined due to competition from the far east and the works closed.

Public lighting

NS5751 : Montgomery Square by Kenneth Mallard
Oil lamps were the prime source of street lighting in the village prior to the establishment of a gas works and the introduction of gas lamps. The oil lamps were placed on iron lamp brackets fixed to building frontages, some of which still survive in Polnoon Street and Montgomery Street. A gas works provided gas for public street lighting as well as domestic lighting and were situated in Gas Works Lane behind the garden ground of John Arneil's Cross Keys Inn and house in Montgomery Street. The 25 inch, 1st edition Ordnance Survey map surveyed in 1856 shows Gas Works Lane to be off Hill Crest Brae - also referred to as Kirk Wynd - which leads off Montgomery Square. Kirk Wynd is known locally as Gassy Brae in reference to the gas works that were once situated here.

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

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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 MannExternal link 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 forerunner of the modern kerosene and petrol lamps in use today.


NS5751 : The Old Schoolhouse by Kenneth Mallard
According to the New Statistical Account 'The encouragement for a schoolmaster is better than most country parishes. The salary is 100 pounds Scots and the number of scholars through the year may be rated at 60 or upwards'. The dominie (schoolmaster) was accommodated at the schoolhouse. In 1840 there were 'three schools in the parish besides the parish school. The number of scholars at the parish school was about 80 and still rising. At another school (Eaglesham Female Industrial School) 90 children are taught of whom 20 or 30 belong to the cotton factory; at a third 15; and a fourth about 9. A new schoolhouse was lately erected, capable of containing 150 scholars.' The 1863 Ordnance Survey map shows the 'new' schoolhouse to have been located off a narrow lane beside a two-storey house at 10 Polnoon Street. When a new school opened in 1901 in Strathaven Road, the old school was no longer required and was demolished. It was through the generosity of William Browning, the well beloved headmaster, that the lime trees that line each side of the Orry were planted. Money left over from the War Memorial on the Parish Church was used as he wished, as a token of remembrance to village lads who had given services to their country.

Associations, institutions and societies

The Feuars’ Association was founded in 1774 and which is still in existence today, helped shaped community life in the village.

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 AndersonExternal link 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 showExternal link 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

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 AssociationExternal link 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 ClubExternal link 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, Bonnyton Golf Club (1922) and Eaglesham Cricket Club.

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
two grains.
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


By 1826 there were two libraries in the parish: one was attached to John White's cotton mill at Millhall and another belonging to the village. It is recorded that the village library contained 240 volumes by 1840; entry money was 3s. and the annual contribution was also 3s. It was contemplated that the two libraries would be united and, by adding some books on science, it would be available to members of the Eaglesham Mechanics' Institution. The present library which opened in 1963 is located at the Montgomerie Halls on the site of the former Polnoon Lodge gardens.

Religious life

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 WillisExternal link 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 ChurchExternal link, Glasgow in 1921. When the church closed in 1976, the organ was dismantled and rebuilt in Eaglesham Parish Church by James McKenzie.

NS5751 : Eaglesham Parish Church by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Eaglesham Parish Church by Kenneth Mallard

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 may 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.

NS5751 : Carswell Halls by Kenneth Mallard NS5752 : Glendinning Place by Kenneth Mallard NS5752 : Coo Lane by Kenneth Mallard

Land ownership

Eaglesham Estate

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 CanalExternal link 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, 13th Earl of Eglinton and fourth Earl of Winton funded and organised the Eglinton TournamentExternal link 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 WatercoloursExternal link, 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 GilmourExternal link was a prominent Scottish-born lumber merchant and ship-owner and his brother James GilmourExternal link, 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 the elder's death in 1849, his nephew Allan Gilmour the younger took over the Eaglesham Estate and later the Polnoon Estate following his father's death in 1858. Although being a shareholder in a number of railway companies, Allan Gilmour the younger 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

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

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 RailwayExternal link 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 CompanyExternal link 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 LineExternal link 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.

Twentieth century

Bus Services

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 serviceExternal link during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Caledonian Motor Car Service operated a motor busExternal link service from 1905 connecting Cathcart and Clarkston Railway Stations with Eaglesham. In the 1920s small private bus companies such as Sanderson BrothersExternal link 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 Neilston and East Kilbride.

Tom Johnstone otherwise known as the 'Calton Barber Poet' wrote a song about The Eaglesham Bus in the late 19th century.

Scotland's first area of historic and architectural interest

In 1914, Allan Gilmour the younger's son, also named Allan Gilmour retired to Dunoon disposing the Eaglesham Estate to his son Captain Angus GilmourExternal link 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.

NS5752 : Eaglesham Bi-centenary memorial stone by Kenneth Mallard
By the 1930s many of the houses were lying empty and damp and in such a poor state of repair that a local councillor suggested that the village be entirely demolished and replaced with council housing. Fortunately the plans were shelved when hostilities in Europe broke out. In the late forties, two villagers, ¹Nina Davidson and Kathleen Whyte began to arouse interest in restoring the 18th century village. A letter-writing campaign was started and by the fifties, a worldwide appeal was launched for funds towards Eaglesham’s conservation. A Preservation Society was formed in 1956, then a Joint Restoration Committee of representatives of local associations, the Feuars Association included. The National Trust for Scotland gave its advice. The former weavers' cottage in Montgomery Street was the first house to be restored in the village. It was bequeathed to the National Trust for ScotlandExternal link by Nina Millar Davidson, artist and first Honorary Secretary of the Eaglesham Preservation Society after her death in 1957. On 12th August 1960 the Secretary of State for Scotland, John Maclay, later Lord Muirshiel set a president by listing all the old houses as a group in the highest category of buildings of historic and architectural interest under the Town and Country Act 1947. Fifty-one buildings of architectural and historical interest were included in the preservation order. The general amenities including street furniture and open spaces were later designated for preservation when in 1968 the village came under the Civic Amenities (Scotland) Act 1967. The provisions of the Act enabled Renfrewshire County council to prepare for the enhancements and improvement of the village as well as giving additional powers for the protection of the area. 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 stoneExternal link 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.

¹Nina Davidson, an accomplished artist and creator of stained glass windows. She completed the designs from original sketches by Douglas Hamilton for two stained-glass windows at St. Bride's Church of Scotland in Brodick, unveiled in April 1961. Other works included the creation of stained glass windows for St Peter’s Church, Morningside, Edinburgh; Pollokshields West Church, Glasgow and Merrylea Parish Church, Glasgow.

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.

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, LinkExternal link

Wartime events

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 Nuremberg. 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.

NS5452 : Long Wood by Kenneth Mallard
Anti-aircraft guns were deployed at Bonnyton Moor where there was also a Starfish decoyExternal link 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, firebreak 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.

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

Location of the Starfish decoy

The village today

NS5751 : View Across The Orry by Kenneth Mallard
Today Eaglesham still attracts visitors whether wishing to walk around the Orry or discover the Heritage Trail, enjoy fishing at the High Dam Trout Fishery, visiting the local gallery or enjoying a refreshment or meal at one of the tearooms, hotel or inn. The opening of the Glasgow Southern Orbital Road in 2005 has generated considerable environmental benefits by reducing through traffic and creating a cleaner, safer environment for the local community. In 2009 Eaglesham and Waterfoot Community Development Trust was set up to promote the community, to tackle local issues and to improve the quality of life in the Village. Eaglesham History Society was established in 2012 to encourage and promote research into the history and heritage of the village and parish.

Eaglesham Heritage Trail

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. Following the winding up of the Development Trust, ownership of the Heritage Trail transferred to Eaglesham History Society.

An online Trail Guide can be found at:


Videos about the Heritage Trail and of the opening event can be seen at:

Eaglesham Heritage Trail opening eventExternal link

White Cart Water Flood Prevention Scheme

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
Following years of numerous flooding events in the south of Glasgow, work began in March 2008 on a £53 million flood prevention scheme for the White Cart Water and its tributary, the Auldhouse Burn. One of three flood storage areas designed to temporarily hold back floodwater is located at the Kirkland Bridge close to Eaglesham at the boundary between East Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
Another flood storage area is located on the Earn Water at Blackhouse Farm.

NS5353 : White Cart Water flood prevention scheme - Blackhouse by Kenneth Mallard


Ardoch and Over Enoch (AOE) Windfarm

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
Ardoch and Over Enoch (AOE) Windfarm Ltd operates and owns the windfarm which lies approximately 1¼ miles from the village of Eaglesham. AOE Windfarm Ltd has agreed to make 25 annual payments to the Eaglesham Fair Charity (The Trust) with funds used exclusively within the Parish's of Eaglesham and Waterfoot supporting individuals, community bodies, groups and schools within these Parish's which support strong community involvement, improve local infrastructure, support local events, enhance the environment and protect local heritage.

Whitelee Windfarm

NS5349 : Whitelee Windfarm by Kenneth Mallard
Construction began on 9th October 2006 on Europe’s largest on-shore windfarm operated by Scottish Power Renewables. The initial 140 turbines covering approximately 13,590 acres at Whitelee WindfarmExternal link 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 added a further 140MW (39 turbines) and completed in 2012. The visitor centreExternal link which contains an exhibition room, learning hub, café with a viewing deck and also a shop is managed by Glasgow Science CentreExternal link. A network of 56 miles of paths gives walkers, cyclists and horse riders access to the local countryside.


Vernacular building

NS5751 : Pillar House by Kenneth Mallard
The survival and preservation of the 18th and 19th century buildings has ensured the village has retained its particularly unique character through its vernacular buildings. Numerous architectural features can be seen such as consoled, pilastered and pedimented doorpieces; round-headed doorways; nepus and timpany gabled buildings; raised and rusticated quoins; rolled and scrolled skewputs; dated, inscribed or sculptured lintels or wallhead chimneys. See Geograph article Vernacular Building in Eaglesham.

Brackenrig House

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
David BryceExternal link (1803-1876) designed Brackenrig HouseExternal link, in Scots Baronial style for Allan Gilmour 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.

Coronation Buildings

The Coronation BuildingsExternal link 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.

Polnoon Lodge

NS5752 : Polnoon Lodge by Kenneth Mallard
Polnoon Lodge was originally built as a hunting lodge in the early 18th century by Alexander, ninth Earl of Eglinton. During demolition of an outbuilding at the rear of the lodge, a door lintel bearing the inscription "W.F. 1733 A.D." was discovered. Following the sale of the Eaglesham Estate in 1844 to Allan and James Gilmour, James used the lodge for a short period of time as the estate office for his Polnoon Estate. Allan Gilmour's mother and sisters occupied the lodge for a time into the 1860s before being let again. In 1866 John McIntyre, surgeon, 74 Main Street, Bridgeton, Glasgow was residing in the Lodge. By the 1920s the lodge operated as a temperance hotel, boarding house and temporary dining room for the school. The Welfare Rooms in an annexe were used as a meeting place by local groups and societies. The lodge lay empty by the 1960s and was renovated by Renfrew County Council as housing for the elderly. The restoration work won a Civic Trust Award in 1971. One of the houses in Cheapside Street is a miniature of the lodge and was once occupied by the Eaglesham Estate factor. The Earls of Eglinton also owned Cleughearn Lodge, a hunting lodge on the Cleughearn Estate, Lanarkshire.

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

Royal Oak Inn

The Royal Oak InnExternal link was situated in Montgomery Street. The building was demolished in the 20th century and later replaced with a two-storey dwelling house.

Moor Road

NS5651 : Moor Road by Kenneth Mallard

Polnoon Street

NS5651 : Townhead, Polnoon Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5651 : Polnoon Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5651 : Quarry Lane from the Orry by Kenneth Mallard NS5651 : Polnoon Street at Glendinning Place by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Swan Inn by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Polnoon Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : The Old Bakehouse by Kenneth Mallard NS5752 : Polnoon Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5752 : Polnoon Street by Kenneth Mallard

Montgomery Street

NS5651 : Townhead, Montgomery Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5651 : Montgomery Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5651 : Montgomery Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Wishing Well Tea Room by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Montgomery Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Montgomery Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Weavers' cottages, 50 Montgomery Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Montgomery Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Pillar House by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Cross Keys Inn by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Eaglesham Parish Church by Kenneth Mallard

Montgomery Square

NS5751 : Montgomery Square by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Montgomery Square by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Cross Keys cottage by Kenneth Mallard

Mid Road

NS5751 : Mid Road by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Mid Road by Kenneth Mallard

Gilmour Street

NS5752 : Polnoon Lodge by Kenneth Mallard NS5752 : Gilmour Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5752 : Eglinton Arms Hotel by Kenneth Mallard NS5752 : Eglinton Arms Hotel by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Gilmour Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Kirkstyle by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Kirkstyle by Kenneth Mallard

Glasgow Road

NS5752 : Bell Craig and the Weary Tree by Kenneth Mallard

Cheapside Street

NS5751 : Cheapside Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Eaglesham Cross by Kenneth Mallard NS5752 : Cheapside Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5752 : Cheapside Street by Kenneth Mallard NS5752 : Cheapside Street by Kenneth Mallard

The Orry

NS5651 : The Orry by Kenneth Mallard NS5751 : Motte Hill by Kenneth Mallard

Lochs, reservoirs and watercourses

NS5551 : High Dam by Kenneth Mallard NS5651 : Mid Dam by Kenneth Mallard NS5651 : Picketlaw Reservoir by Kenneth Mallard NS5651 : Picketlaw Reservoir in Winter by Kenneth Mallard NS5753 : Hole Ford by Kenneth Mallard NS5753 : Hole Ford by Kenneth Mallard NS5754 : White Cart Water at Waterfoot by Kenneth Mallard


NS5452 : Long Wood by Kenneth Mallard NS5452 : Moor Yett Plantation by Kenneth Mallard NS5452 : Moor Yett Plantation by Kenneth Mallard NS5452 : Crowstone by Kenneth Mallard NS5651 : Bonnyton Moor by Kenneth Mallard

Whitelee Windfarm

NS5349 : Whitelee Windfarm by Kenneth Mallard NS5349 : Whitelee Windfarm by Kenneth Mallard


Notable families


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.

Local artists

William Gemmell

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. MaguireExternal link 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 paintingsExternal link, 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.

Robert Paton

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".

Local authors

Robert Pollok

Robert PollokExternal link 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.

NS5152 : Robert Pollok centenary memorial by Kenneth Mallard NS5152 : Robert Pollok centenary memorial by Kenneth Mallard
In 1815 he received admission into the University of Glasgow where the degree of Master of Arts was conferred upon him at the age of 22. In the autumn of 1822 he entered as a student of theology at the seminary of the United Sessions Church and obtained a licence to preach in May 1827 simultaneously with his brother, David Pollok. It is known that he formed a Literary Society of students in philosophy which met once a week in a schoolroom in Candlerigg Street, Glasgow for mutual improvement. Pollok wrote poems which centred around local people during the Covenanters' struggles of the 17th century and anonymously published three poems, Helen of the Glen, The Persecuted Family, and Ralph Gemmell. Suffering from tuberculosis, he left Scotland with the intention of travelling to Italy on the advice of doctors. However his health worsened and he died at Shirley near Southampton on 15th September 1827 and is buried in Millbrook churchyard, two miles from Southampton. A memorial built of Dalbeattie granite with a fine panel of the poet in bronze and sculpted by A.M. Shannon of Glasgow was inaugurated in front of several thousands of spectators on 24th September 1900 near North Moorhouse where the poet was born and Mid-Moorhouse where he lived. The gathering was presided over by John Wilson, chairman of the Glasgow and Paisley Joint-Committee and those attended included John Pollok, the poet's nephew and John Pollok, grand-nephew of the poet. The unveiling ceremony was performed by the Rev. James Mather.


Appendix I - Bibliography

Online resources

Appendix II - Further reading

Appendix III - Street names of Eaglesham

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 enclosed 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 slaughterhouse 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 Drive 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.

Appendix IV - The Montgomeries

Appendix V - The Soor Milk Cairt

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 cartExternal link 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’.

Tom Johnstone

Click on this linkExternal link to listen to 'The Soor Milk Cairt' sung by Adam McNaughtan.

Appendix VI - The Eaglesham Bus

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!

Appendix VII - Becky's Tree

Tom Johnstone's daughter, Mary M. Johnstone, wrote a song about Becky's TreeExternal link; 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.

"Becky's Tree"

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.

Appendix VIII - The Eaglesham Tournament

The following extract is an account of the Eaglesham Tournament held on 27th August 1868.

Eaglesham Tournament
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

Appendix IX - Population of Eaglesham Parish, 1801-2011

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) 3,114

* 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 and to Dr Simon Taylor of the University of Glasgow for the explanation of the origin of the name Eaglesham.

Other Geograph articles by Kenneth Mallard

Loch Lomond Steamers
Vernacular Building in Eaglesham
The Darvel to Eaglesham Weavers' Trail

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