Population 1676. Figures
taken from 2001 Census.
Douglas sits in rolling hills and moorland
to the south of Lesmahagow on the main Edinburgh to Ayr road.
It is a picturesque village with narrow,
winding streets off the main road and many historic buildings. The
Douglas Townscape Heritage Initiative was launched in June 2004 to
assist with the restoration of buildings within the heart of the
village. The project fund of £820,000, from South Lanarkshire Council,
Heritage Lottery and Scottish Coal, will provide grants to local
residents and businesses to restore their properties, over a five-year
period, to their former glory.
Housing in Douglas ranges from country
cottages, terraced houses and traditional sandstone villas to council
properties and new builds.
There are three primary schools in Douglas
and secondary pupils travel to Lanark Grammar which will be refurbished
as part of South Lanarkshire Council's multi-million pound refurbishment
With many villagers involved in the Healthy
Valleys Project, the campaign is on to ensure people in Douglas and the
surrounding area keep fit and well.
Douglas is served by the Lanark and Carluke
Advertiser, the Lanark Gazette and the Lanarkshire Extra.
Although Douglas is an old village, most of
its buildings are younger than 200 years old. The village grew to
service nearby Douglas Castle, seat of the Douglas family. The first
mention of Douglas Castle in historical documents is 1288 when Duncan,
Earl of Fife's murderer was incarcerated there. The castle was fought
over many times by the Scots and the English as well as by feuding
Scottish nobility. Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed overnight at Douglas
Castle on his way to defeat at Culloden. The castle was destroyed by
fire in 1758 leaving nothing but one tower. A replacement, designed by
Robert Adam was started but abandoned and later demolished. The
remaining tower was immortalised by Sir Walter Scott in his novel Castle
Dangerous and the grounds are open to the public. The Douglas family
married into the Home family and the late earl, Alex Douglas-Home was
prime minister from 1959-1964.
St Brides church was built in the 14th
century, although it was probably a religious site in the previous 300
years. In the 1600s part of the building was converted to a court house
and jail and proceedings were held there until the new St Brides church
was built in 1781. The Earl of Home ordered renovations in 1880 and the
clock tower today houses the oldest working clock in Scotland.
Douglas also has strong miltary connections.
In 1689 a team of men was enrolled to support the new King William and
as the men came mainly from the Douglas estates they were given the name
the Angus Regiment, after the Earl of Angus, one of the sons of the
Marquis of Douglas. The name was later changed in memory of the
Covenanter Richard Cameron, to the Cameronian Regiment. The Lanarkshire
Imperial Yeomanry regularly set up camp near Douglas at the turn of the
20th century, for training and as a recruitment drive. The site, with
all the tents, stables and horses took on the feel a country fair and
people would visit from miles around.
Douglas started life as a mainly
agricultural village, along with a little weaving. With the discovery of
a major coal seam in the Douglas valley in the latter part of the 19th
century came an influx of workers, new housing and schools. Many of the
mines worked well into the 1940s but have now closed.