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Parish of Shotts

(Calderhead)

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Bertram Shotts
1834-45: Bertram Shotts

Shotts, originally Bertramshotts, a parish on the E border of the Middle Ward of Lanarkshire. It is bounded N by the parish of New Monkland and by Linlithgowshire, NE and E by Linlithgowshire, SE and S by the parish of Cambusnethan, for ½ mile at the SW corner by the parish of Dalziel, and W by the parishes of Bothwell and New Monkland. The boundary is largely natural. On the NW and N the line follows North Calder Water from the mouth of Shotts Burn upwards to Hillend Reservoir, passes through the centre of the reservoir, and follows the feeding stream at the E end for 3 furlongs to the county boundary. It then passes south eastward along the county line, till, ¼ mile NE of Bauds, both reach Barbauchlaw Burn, the course of which is followed downward to a point 3 furlongs E of Barracks, whence it passes first E and then S till it reaches How Burn ¼ mile W of Balgornie. It follows this burn upwards for 1½ mile, and then strikes S by E across the l'olkemmet and Fauldhouse Moors to 21/8 miles S by E of Harthill, where, quitting the line of the county boundary, it passes W by S to the source of South Calder Water, which stream it follows all the way down to the junction of Tealing or Tillon Burn. Turning up this it follows it to a point 1 furlong N of Brownhill, whence it runs irregularly first north-westward and then north-eastward till, ¼ mile E of Fairybank, it reaches Shotts Burn, which it follows to its junction with North Calder Water. The greatest length of the parish, from the point on South Calder Water where the parishes of Shotts, Cambusnethan, and Dalziel meet, north-eastward to beyond Southrig, is 107/8 miles; the greatest breadth, from South Calder Water at Shotts Ironworks, north-westward to North Calder Water, is 67/8 miles; and the area is 25, 336 acres, of which 392 are water. The height above sea-level varies from 341 feet at the mouth of Shotts Burn on the W, to a t 1000 feet along the central ridge of high land which forms part of the watershed between the basins of the Forth and Clyde. By far the greater portion of the surface consists of undulating ridges from 7 00 to 900 feet high, from many points along which excellent views are to be obtained. Of the land area about 15, 000 acres are arable, 3000 moss, 1300 woodland, and the rest is occupied by buildings, roads, and rough pasture. The drainage is carried off, in the SE, by the upper waters of the river Almond which has its source within the parish, by the streams already mentioned in describing the boundary line, and by smaller streams flowing to them, of which the chief is Forrestburn Water, which traverses a great part of the length of the parish on its way to join Barbauchlaw Burn. Hillend Reservoir (1½ x 5/8 mile) on the northern border, formed for supplying the Forth and Clyde Canal, has an area of almost 300 acres, of which, however, only 172 acres are in Shotts. The rest being in New Monkland. Lily Loch (4 x 2 furl.), a little to the SW, receives its name from having formerly contained a large number of waterlilies, but these were destroyed in 1836 when the canal company converted the loch into a compensation reservoir and raised the level of the water. The area is about 49 acres. Roughrig Reservoir (6 x 2 furl.), 1¼ mile SSW of this and covering an area of 120 acres, was formed in 1848 in connection with the water supply of Airdrie and Coatbridge. The soil varies very much, but, considering the elevation, produces fair returns, so that in average seasons good crops of oats, hay, potatoes, and turnips may be seen, even at an elevation of nearly 900 feet above sea-level. In the northern part of the parish the underlying rocks are intrusive dolerites, but elsewhere they belong to the Coal-measures, and are rich in bands of coal, ironstone, sandstone, and fireclay, all the beds of economic value having been long extensively and vigorously worked. Coal seems to have been mined to considerable extent from at least the middle of last century, and the development of the ironstone dates from 1787, when the Omoa Ironworks, near the extreme SW of the parish, were established by Colonel William Dalrymple, who, having distinguished himself at the capture of Omoa in the West Indies, bestowed that name on his new establishment. The works changed hands several times, and were finally abandoned in 1866. Shotts Ironworks on the S E, established in 1802 by a private company, for which John Bird was long managing partner, carry on extensive smelting operations. The company was reconstituted in 1824, and became a limited liability company in 1874. Ironstone and coal pits are scattered all over the southern portion of the parish, from Benhar on the E to Gartness on the W; and the other industries are a paper-mill at Caldercruiz; tile, fireclay, and composition-brick works at Auchenlee, Greenhill, and Hareshaw in the SW, and quarries at Auchenlee and Greenside; while the Caldervale print-works, Moffat paper mill, and Gartness Iron. works are quite close to though beyond the western border, as are also the extensive collieries about Cleland.

The church of Bertramshotts is mentioned in a Bull of Pope Sixtus IV. in 1476, and the name was afterwards applied to the whole parish, but the first part of the name dropped off during the following century. The modern name-the latter part-seems to be from the Saxon Shot, a plot or division of ground, but who or whence the Bertram must remain doubtful. According to Hamilton of Wishaw, he was ` a great robber that infested all that part of the country [in the time of Robert II.} by violent outrages and depredations, which he carried to a very insufferable degree; so that, at length, the Government were obliged to take notice of him, and by a public Act notified, ` ` that whosoever should apprehend, kill him, or bring him to justice, should be rewarded with such and such lands.,, His name, tradition tells us, was Bartram de Shotts; he was a terror to everybody that resided near him, or who had occasion to pass east or west through those parts where he lurked and had his haunts the Laird of Muirhead at that time was a bold, daring, intrepid man; he did not surprise him in his lurking places, but with a few of his company whose courage he could well trust, came up, and in the daytime attacked him in that valley to the east side of the Kirk of Shotts, when, after a pretty smart encounter, the Goliah, Bartram, was slain on the place. The Laird of Muirhead cut the head off this robber, which he carried straight to the king, who, immediately in terms of the proclamation, ordered him a charter and infeftment of these lands, that were then, or soon after, called Lachop {see Lauchope}, and gave him as an additional honour to his arms the three acorns in the seed on the bend dexter; for the crest two hands supporting a sword, in pale, proper; and the motto Auxilio Dei. ' There is also an allusion to the incident in the fragment called `the Laird of Muirhead, ' published in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border:-

Afore the King in order stude
The stout Laird of Muirhcad,
Wi that sam twa hand muckle sword
That Bartram fell'd stark dead.'

The local tradition as now preserved differs from Hamilton as to the manner of the giant's death, which is stated to have been brought about by Muirhead alone, who, concealing himself among some heather near a well where the robber was in the habit of quenching his thirst, rushed out as Bartram lay on his face drinking, and rendered him powerless by cutting his hamstrings. There is no charter evidence as to when or how Lauchope came into possession of the Muirheads, as the older family papers seem to have been lost when Lauchope House was burned in 1570, because the owner had given shelter to Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh as he fled from Linlithgow after the assassination of the Earl of Murray. The ` stout ' laird of Muirhead of the ballad was John Muirhead of Lauchope and Bullis, who was killed at Flodden. The family is now represented by the Grosset-Muirheads of Bredisholm. As the parish is traversed near the centre by the southern of the old main lines of road from Edinburgh to Glasgow, it was during the troublous period of Scottish history visited by several of the armies that then marched and counter-marched through the land. The great Roman road from the S divided at Belstane in Carluke, and one branch passing through Cambusnethan crossed the South Calder Water near Allanton House, and passed through Shotts by Penty, Kirkgateknowes, Hareshaw, Moor, Salsburgh, Duntillan Hill, Mountcow, and Braco, and thence to Castlecary. Stuart in his Caledonia

Romana mentions that on Braco farm there were faint traces ` of what seems to have been an oblong enclosure, with rounded angles, about 300 feet long, by from 150 to 200 broad, ' but he says the marks of it were even in his time exceedingly indistinct, and they have now altogether vanished. Traces of an old line of road are visible at several points along the route given, and near Braco and at Duntillan Hill remains of a regularly constructed way roughly causewayed with whinstone boulders have been found. In 1845 a hoard of valuable Greek coins was found on Braco farm, and in 1856 one of Roman coins. In the beginning of the present century a large number of 16th century coins were found at the base of Middle Braco Craigs.

Originally in the barony of Bothwell, Shotts was separated therefrom in 1457 and formed into a distinct lordship with the name of Bothwell Moor, which was granted to the Hamiltons, in which family the superiority still remains. In consequence of this connection the inhabitants suffered severely during the reprisals that took place after the murder of the Earl of Murray, and in Nov. 1570, ` Captain Andro Cuningham and Captain Thomas Crawford, accompanied by certain men of weir, departit of Glasgow and passed in the night to Bothwell Moor, where they reft and spulyet all the inhabitants and tenants thereof; and because the Hamiltons was gathering to rescue the said guids, they fearit to return again to said toun of Glasgow, but came to Edinburgh with the same. They brocht to the said burgh of Edinburgh 400 kye and oxen, 600 sheep, and 60 marcs and staigs; this done they passed to my Lord Regent, and knew his mind, whether they should take ane composition from the poor tenants or not; but the matter was sae unmercifully handled, that the said guids were proclamit, by sound of drum and trumpet, to be sauld to whatsomever person wald buy the same. To heare the lamentable crying of the said poor tenants for the unmerciful robbery and oppression committit upon the said persons by the men of weir, it wald make ane stane-hartit man to greit and bewail. But cry what they wald cry, and lament as they pleasit, there was ane that obtainit comfort at their unmerciful hands; for when the said poor creatures made their complaint to the said Regent, he wald not hear them, till the oppression was cryit out upon by John Craig, minister. And then the regent and Lords of Secret Council ordainit that ane half of the guids be renderit again to the said poor tenants; but ere this time, the men of weir had sparfilit the best of them, and then the poor tenants were constrainit either to take again the ane half of the warst of the said guids that were left, or else they wald not have gotten naething. ' In 1630 Shotts was the scene of a great ` revival, ' which resulted mainly from a wonderful sermon preached by the Rev. John Livingstone, who was then living with the Earl of Wigtown at Cumbernauld, but there must have been a sad falling away afterwards, for in 1643-44 the session had to deal with a number of witches, and in 1683, according to Law in his Memorials, ` thirty men met betwixt the Kirk of Shotts and Cambusnethan who had beforehand forsaken the ordinances of God, and there did debate the authority of the Scriptures, and thereafter played at the football with them, and after that burned them; this was verified by two Ministers, Mr William Violent and Mr John Oliphant, who had certain information of it. ' In October 1650 Cromwell was here, having marched from Glasgow with all his ` horses and fute, by the muir-way and Kirk of the Shotts, whare they had much difficulty to carey their cannoun and gunns; ' and in July of 1651 his army encamped here for a night on the way from Linlithgow to Hamilton. The Shotts people were stout Covenanters, and many of them were concerned in the Pentland Rising as well as in the later affairs of Drumclog and Bothwell Bridge. The Duke of Monmouth's army on its way to the last battle encamped for ten days near Muirhead in the E end of the parish, and on their return march passed the same way, on both occasions making pretty free with the property of the inhabitants as the Highland Host had done before them. The moss in the extreme SE of the parish between Benhar and Starryshaw was the chief scene of the district conventicles, and it was here that Cargill preached the Sunday after Richard Cameron's death from the text, ` Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel. ' A large boulder to the S of Benhar farm-house is known as Peden's Stone, and to it is now attached an iron slab with the inscription ` This stone, according to tradition, is one of the places where Peden and others preached to the Covenanters, of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains and in dens and caves of the earth. -Erected by a Committee from proceeds of sermons, 1866. ' In the churchyard is an upright stone with the inscription, ` Here lyes the bones of William Smith, who lived in Moremellen, who, with others, appeared in arms at Pentland Hills in defence of Scotland's Covenanted work of Reformation, anno 1666, agreeable to the Word of God in opposition to Popery, Prelacy, and Perjury, and was murdered near this place. ' His death seems to have taken place, however, in a private quarrel just after his return from Pentland. Two of the Covenanters' flags were long preserved in a family in the E end of the parish, and though one has now disappeared the other still remains. The latter is made of linen 5 feet by 6, and bears the crown and Scottish thistle, an open Bible with the words Ver bum Dei across it, and the inscription in red letters: ` For the parish of Shotts, for Reformation in Church and State according to the Word of God and our Covenants.' In subsequent historical events the parish had but little share, though in 1745 part of the Highland army passed through it during their retreat from England, and levied contributions from many of the inhabitants.

A church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St Catherine of Sienna * existed at a `desert place' called Bertramshotts in the middle of Bothwell Moor prior to 1450. It was a dependency of the Collegiate church of Bothwell, and the site was about the E end of the present churchyard. It was repaired and partly rebuilt in 1640-48, and again in 1691, but having become unsafe it was removed and the present church erected in 1819-21 at a cost of nearly £3000. The spire was struck by lightning and destroyed in 1876, but a new one was at once erected and other repairs executed. After the Reformation, Bothwell, Shotts, and Monkland were all attended to by the minister of Bothwell, and afterwards this grouping was altered to Shotts, Bothwell, Cambusnethan, and Dalziel, while from 1571 to 1591 the parish had a' reader.' In 1588 the Synod of Glasgow ordered a minister to be appointed, and this was done in 1591. Distinguished natives have been John Miller (1735-1801), miscellaneous writer and professor of civil law in Glasgow University, whose father was minister of the parish; Dr Matthew Baillie (1761-1823), the famous London physician, whose father was minister of the parish, his mother being a sister of the celebrated anatomist, Dr William Hunter; Dr Baillie's sister, the well-known Joanna Baillie, was born at Bothwell only 9 days after her father's translation from Shotts to that parish; Janet Hamilton (1795-1873), the poetess; while Gavin Hamilton, the historical painter (1717 to 1776 or 1796), seems to have sprung from a Shotts family, but he was probably born in Edinburgh. Dr Cullen, the eminent Edinburgh physician, had his first practice at Shotts. The parish is traversed by one of the main roads from Edinburgh to Glasgow, which passes for 7 miles through the centre; another by Bathgate, Airdrie, and Coatbridge passes for 3 7/8 miles just inside the northern border, and there are, except in the moorland, good district roads. The northern border of the parish is traversed by the Coatbridge and Bathgate section of the North British railway system, with stations at Westcraigs and Forrestfield, while others farther W at Caldercruix and Clarkston are close to the parish boundary. The first is 23½ miles W by S of Edinburgh, and the second 26½, and from Westcraigs a branch passes through the eastern part of the parish, quitting it at Shotts Ironworks on its way to join the Bathgate and Morningside section at Blackhall. The Edinburgh and Glasgow section of the Caledonian railway passes along the S side, and has stations at Shotts Ironworks, 25½ miles from Edinburgh and 16½ from Glasgow; Omoa, 30 from Edinburgh and 12 from Glasgow; and Cleland, 30 from Edinburgh and 12 from Glasgow, the last being on a branch line from Newarthill to Morningside. There are also several mineral loops and branches. The lands of Hartwood and Bowhouse Bog, about 2 miles E of Omoa station, with two small adjoining properties, extending in all to about 600 acres, were, in 1883, acquired by the Lanarkshire Lunacy Board at a price of £26, 500 as a site for a new district asylum, which is to be built with accommodation for about 1000 patients, at a total coast of over £150,000.

The village, including Kirk of Shotts and Shottsburn, is about 2¾ miles NNW of Shotts station. It has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, and a branch office of the Commercial Bank. The Duke of Hamilton obtained in 1685' full power, liberty, and privilege to hold two free fairs yearly at the Church of Shotts. The one upon the.. day of June, the second upon the.. day of August, with a weekly mercat at the said Church of Shotts;' and annual fairs are still held on the third Tuesday of June and the last Tuesday of November-both o. s.-the latter having probably superseded the August fair, which was given up early in the present century. It was a yarn fair where home-spun cloth and yarn were disposed of. The balance on which the material was weighed hung at the Tron Knowe to the E of the present school. The parish also includes the villages of Dikehead (SE), Greenhill (SW), Harthill (E), Muirhead (SE), and Salsburgh (W), and the greater part of the villages of Cleland and Shotts Ironworks, all of which are separately noticed.

Shotts is in the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and the living is worth £593. The church, which has been already noticed, contains 1200 sittings. The parish contains also the quoad sacra churches of Calderhead, Harthill and Benhar, and Cleland, and embraces part of the quoad sacra parish of Clarkston. The Free church, built in 1848 and rebuilt in 1878, is at Dikehead; and there are also Free churches at Harthill and Cleland. The United Original Secession church at Shottsburn originated in an Associate Congregation formed in 1738 in consequence of the forced settlement of Rev. David Orr in that year, and afterwards greatly strengthened by the forced settlement of Rev. Laurence Wells in 1768. The church was erected in 1771, but has since been repaired. There is a Roman Catholic church at Cleland.- Under the school board Cleland, Greenhill, Greens, Harthill, and Shotts public schools, with accommodation for 300, 250, 63, 230, and 207 pupils respectively, had in 1884 attendances of 211, 116, 26, 268, and 129, and grants of £180, 12s., £105, 1 2is., £33, 12s., £208, 7s., and £115, 7s. Not under the school board Benhar Colliery and Cleland Roman Catholic schools, with accommodation for 373 and 254, had at the same date attendances of 290 and 116, and grants of £264, 13s. and £109, 11s. The mansions are Murdoston and Easter Moffat. Nineteen proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 or upwards, 25 hold each between £500 and £100, 22 between £100 and £50, and there are a number of smaller amount. Valuation (1860) £27,266, (1885) £76,494, 18s. Pop. (1801) 2127, (1831) 3220, (1861) 7343, (1871) 8353, (1881) 11, 214, of whom 6045 were males and 5169 females, while 4294 were in the ecclesiastical parish. Houses (1881) 2014 inhabited, 277 uninhabited, and 12 being built. See also Grossart's Historic Notices of the Parish of Shotts (Glasgow, 1880).—Ord. Sur., shs. 31, 23, 1867-65.

* A well near the church is still called Kate's Well, and in the neighbourhood are Kate's Park and Kate's Brae.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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