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Parish of Libberton

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: Libberton and Quothquan
1834-45: Libberton and Quothquan

Libberton, a village and a parish in the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire. The village, towards the NW corner of the parish, is 5 miles NW of Biggar and 2½ SSE of the post-town Carnwath.

The parish, containing also Quothquan village, 4 miles W by N of Biggar, since 1669 has comprehended the ancient parishes of Libberton and Quothquan. It is bounded N by Carnwath, E by Walston and Biggar, S by Symington and Covington, and W by Covington and Pettinain. Its utmost length, from N to S, is 51/8 miles; its breadth, from E to W, varies between ¾ mile and 4¼ miles; and its area is 8320 acres, of which 887/10 are water. The Clyde, here a beautiful river, 100 to 120 feet in width, and 2 to 15 in depth, flows 8 miles west-north-westward and north-by-westward along or close to all the Symington, Covington, and Pettinain boundaries; and the South medwin meanders 5¼ miles westward along all the northern border till it falls into the Clyde at the NW corner of the parish. Sinking here to 620 feet above sea-level, the surface rises to 1006 feet at Bellscraigs, 1141 near Huntfield, and 1097 at pointed, green Quothquan Law, an outcropping rock on whose summit bears the name of Wallace's Chair. A large extent of haughland, with a strong clay soil, extends along the Clyde; the tract thence inward rises in some places gently, in other places suddenly, to the height of 50 or 60 feet above the level of the stream, and extends, with a fine, early, fertile soil, to the distance of ½ mile or more; and the land further back becomes more elevated, later, and less productive in its arable parts, till it includes a considerable extent of uncultivated surface. The banks of the Medwin comprise some early fertile spots, but, in general, are poor and moorish. About 1076 acres are under wood; 61582/3 are in tillage; and the rest is either pastoral or waste. The largest landowner is Sir Simon Lockhart of Lee, Bart.; and the next is Chancellor of Quothquan and Shieldhill. This portion of the Lockhart estates was sold by the fourth Earl of Carnwath in 1676 to Sir George Lockhart, afterwards President of the Court of Session, who was assassinated in March 1689; and they have since remained in the family. The lands of Quothquan and Shieldhill have, however, been in possession of the Chancellor family for more than 400 years, a charter of 1432 being still extant, containing a grant of them by Lord Somerville to the ancestor of the Chancellor family. The proprietor of the estate in the time of Queen Mary took part with that princess, and was engaged at the battle of Langside; in consequence of which his mansion at Quothquan was burned down in 1568 by the adherents of the victorious Regent Murray. The family then removed to the old town of shieldhill.

A short way E of it is Huntfield, the mansion of another landowner; and two more are Cormiston Towers and Oggs Castle, the former at the SE, the latter at the NE, corner of the parish. From the 13th till the latter part of the 17th century Easter Gledstanes was the seat of the Gledstanes of that Ilk, the last of whom, William, removed to Biggar, and was the great-great-grandfather of Mr Gladstone, the Premier. (See Fasque; and Prof. Veitch's `Mr Gladstone's Ancestors' in Fraser's Magazine for June 1880.) Libberton is in the presbytery of Biggar and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the living is worth £345. The parish church, at Libberton village, was built in 1812, and contains 450 sittings. Quothquan church, at Quothquan village, having become ruinous, about 1780 was converted by John Chancellor of Shieldhill into a family burying-place. The cot on its W gable retains a fine-toned bell of 1641. Two public schools, Libberton and Quothquan, with respective accommodation for 72 and 56 children, had (1882) an average attendance of 53 and 31, and grants of £69, 10s. 6d. and £28, 8s. 6d. Valuation (1859) £5721, 7s. 11d., (1884) £8l05, 12s. Pop. (1801) 706, (1831) 773, (1861) 836, (1871) 691, (1881) 625.—Ord. Sur., shs. 23, 24, 1865-64.

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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