Population 3685. Figures
taken from 2001 Census.
Lesmahagow sits on high ground overlooking
the Clyde Valley and although it is now a quiet rural location, it was
once a bustling mining community. Lesmahagow still retains a strong
sense of community with many clubs and societies. The Lesmahagow
Highland Games and the crowning of the Tartan Queen take place in June.
The town's proximity to the M74 makes it an
ideal base for commuters to Hamilton, Motherwell and Glasgow whilst
retaining its country feel.
Lesmahagow has the usual mix of village
shops and pubs and its most unusual claim to fame is probably that it is
the Scottish headquarters for the International Society for Krishna
There is some light industry in the area
including chemical manufacturers, hydraulics engineers, engineering
testing and estate management.
Housing in the Lesmahagow area ranges from
council properties to houses on established estates, country cottages
and new builds. And 40 of the 78 new houses and four flats to be built
at Balgray Road will be set aside for the Clyde Valley Housing
Association as part of the council's New Housing Partnership programme
to create affordable new homes for rent.
There are two primary schools in Lesmahagow
and Lesmahagow High will be completely refurbished as part of South
Lanarkshire Council's multi-million pound schools modernisation
Lesmahagow is served by the Carluke and
Lanark Gazette and the Lanark and Carluke Advertiser.
Following a major consultation exercise in
November 2004 where residents in and around the village had their say on
what they would like to see changed to reinvigorate the area, a series
of projects were agreed including upgrading the footpath between the
village centre and Woodpark, improving the car parks at Abbeygreen and
Langdykeside and the junction at Abbeygreen and New Trows Road the
creation of a public space in the centre.
There is great dispute over the definite
meaning of Lesmahagow's name but it is certainly derived from its patron
saint St Machutus, a sixth century Welsh monk.
The area grew with the founding of a priory
in 1144 and its monks were responsible for planting fruit trees in the
Clyde Valley. Although the priory was destroyed in the Reformation there
are remains near the present parish church which was built in 1803.
As was common in the area in the 17th
century, the inhabitants of Lesmahagow and its environs were fervant
Covenanters. Many were imprisoned for their beliefs. The Covenanter
David Steele fought at Bothwell Bridge but was later hunted down and
shot in front of his wife and child. He was buried in Lesmahagow
churchyard where his gravestone can still be read and a small memorial
was erected in Skellyhill where he fell.
Lesmahagow was always a busy coaching stop
on the main road south but it really came into its own with the arrival
of the railway and the discovery of coal seams. However the rail line
was closed in the 1960s and the coal has been exhausted.
Annals of the
Parish of Lesmahagow
By J. B. Greenshields, Advocate (1864) (pdf)