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The New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Volume VI - Lanark
Parish of Carnwath



Name, Extent, &c.—THE parish of Carnwath is situated in the upper ward of Lanarkshire, 27 miles S. E. of Glasgow, and 25 miles S. W. of Edinburgh. In some of the old writings belonging to the family of Lockhart of Lee, who is now the proprietor of the estate, I find it frequently written Cairnwath. The name is descriptive of the situation of the place, as there is a cairn immediately west of the house and village of Carnwath, (which will be noticed more particularly afterwards,) and near the bottom of that cairn there is a wath, which, as my predecessor remarks, means in the Saxon language a ford. Such is probably the derivation of the name. The oldest people in the place report, that the wath or ford at the cairn was almost the only pass across the burn of Carnwath at all practicable before it was confined by a cut being made within a narrower space, and bridges thrown over it. The parish is very extensive, being 12 miles from south to north, and 8 from east to west. Its form is pretty regular, (an oblong square,) and it is bounded on the west by the parish of Carstairs; on the east by Dunsyre; on the south by the parishes of Libberton and Pettinain; and on the north by West Calder.

Topographical Appearances.—There are no mountains, or even hills, which deserve the name, though there are two ranges of high ground which run through the parish, but which, even at their highest point, do not exceed 1200 feet above the level of the sea. The low and flat lands consist either of flow-moss, of which we have still a large extent, or holm, which stretches along the banks of Clyde and Medwin, marking the south boundary of the parish. The climate is such as is experienced throughout Scotland at the same altitude above the level of the sea,—about 600 feet being the lowest elevation of any part of the parish; and though there are still cases of rheumatism to be found among the inhabitants, they are certainly fewer than they were, owing, no doubt, to the drainings which have been executed to a great extent in every part of the parish within the last forty years. [I have observed more cases of cancer in the lip than of any other disease; but these are not to be ascribed to any thing peculiar to the climate, but to the smoking of tobacco, and, especially, to the manner which I have seen that done. I once went into a house where a man was in the last stage of a disease of the kind. He was still able to take his pipe, and, to my horror, I saw him hand it, when done, to one of his friends, who again handed it to another; and both seemed to enjoy it as much as if it had never come in contact with such a disease.] No distemper, indeed, seems to prevail more than another, or can be attributed to the influence of the climate.

Hydrography.—There are several mineral springs in different parts of the parish, but I am not aware that any of them have been analyzed, or have attracted particular notice.—The only loch worthy of notice is what is called the White Loch, immediately west of the village of Carnwath. It covers about 30 acres, is of considerable .depth in some places, and finely wooded on the south and west sides. It is more than a mile in circumference. A small kind of perch is the only fish found in it, and it is chiefly remarkable as the great rendezvous of the curlers of the district around. Besides eight or nine rinks, as they are called, each rink consisting of eight individuals, whom the parish supplies, and who are to be seen contending with each other in generous rivalship, the curlers from other parishes also frequently meet here to decide the contest, and sometimes upwards of 200 combatants have been arrayed against each other on the slippery bosom of the loch. [In the end of the year 1832, a curling club was founded in the parish, under the auspices of Alexander Macdonald Lockhart, Esq. It consists of sixteen members, all resident; or born within the barony of Carnwath. The club can, by means of its members, have two games going on at once, each member playing two stones. This is not the common way of playing the game in this country, where each player appears upon the ice with only one stone. Sixteen people are thus brought into close contact; but the noise and confusion thus created are far from adding to the beauty or interest of the game.]

Mineralogy.—On the north side of Dippool, coal, iron, and lime-stone are all to be found. The ridge of ground immediately north of its banks is chiefly filled with limestone, which is wrought extensively, and is the great depot from which this useful manure is supplied to the surrounding country for many miles. It rises gradually from the moss on the north bank of the above rivulet, and which is generally improved to the extent of half a mile; and the whole of the south acclivity from Westshiel to Eastsidewood has been partially wrought. The metals on this side are disposed as under: After a tirring, as it is called, of from 20 to 27 feet, comes the limestone, generally about 6 feet in thickness,—and under it, again, is found a seam of coal of 18 inches, which is generally sufficient for burning the limestone. All these dip towards the north or top of the ridge, while on the opposite, or north side, from the top of the ridge to Cleughburn, where the limestone shows itself; in great abundance, the dip is to the south. Troubles, as they are here called, frequently show themselves in the limestone, and add greatly to the expense of working it. These troubles are from 4 to 6 feet in thickness, imbedded in the limestone, and they frequently cut it off altogether, but make no change in the coal or sandstone: and when cut out, which is done with great labour and expense, the limestone is found of equal quality with what was formerly obtained. They are formed of a substance here called Sklut, which, though unable to withstand the influence of the sun or the action of the atmosphere, which soon crumbles it to pieces, resists the operation of fire: hence they are generally employed for building the sides of the kilns in which the lime is burned. To give some idea of the disadvantage arising from these troubles, it may be mentioned, that the range of working at one of the most extensive lime-works on the south side of the ridge is about forty yards, and in that space one or more of these troubles are always met with.

On the north side of the ridge above-mentioned, down to Cleughburn, presenting an extent of ground greater than the south side, the limestone is equally abundant, but, being unaccompanied with coal, has probably from this cause never been wrought to the same extent.

On crossing Cleugh-burn, an immense field of coal presents itself, and from thence to the northern boundary of the parish, it is believed that an inexhaustible store of this, as well as oilier minerals, is laid up. The coal has been wrought for time immemorial, but only partially, till about fifty years ago, when two brothers of the name of Wilson, Swedish merchants in London, commenced an iron foundry near a place called Forkens, and in a few years Wilsontown rose into existence.

Wilsontown Iron-works.—In the year 1779 the Messrs Wilsons commenced their preparatory operations for the iron-works; and, in 1780-81, began the manufacture of pig iron. The difficulties they had to contend with were numerous, and various. The coal, where previously wrought, was found not well adapted to their purpose; and though they had a sufficient supply at a greater depth of the very best kind, yet, from the quantity of water in the pits opened, and which (from the direction of the strata and the nature of the surface rendering it impossible to obtain a level) could only be cleared away by means of horses, they were forced to give up the attempt, and to return to the coal where they first started. With the supply which this field afforded, the work went on with varied success, till in 1787 another furnace was built, and another blowing-engine of greater power was set agoing. In 1788-89, a steam-engine was erected to draw off the water from the minerals, and a large field of coal, extending both ways along the bearing of the strata, was thus obtained. The work was now carried on with spirit, the weekly produce of the furnace increased, and, occasionally, a second furnace was set to work not only pig-iron, but great quantities of ballast for ships, and of shot, from 4 to 18 pounders inclusive. Pipes of various kinds, &c. were made. In 1790-91, an extensive forge for the manufacture of blooms was erected; but this had not been at work above one year, when, unhappily, a misunderstanding arose among the partners, and a law-suit took place, the issue of which was a dissolution of the copartnery; and, under the authority of the Court of Session, there was a sale of the works, lands, &c. which belonged to the Company. John Wilson Senior, of London, one of the former partners, became the purchaser. During the dispute the forge had been stopt, and only one furnace was kept going; but after the sale in 1798, the forge was again put to work with an addition of two hammers, and the two furnaces again brought into full operation. In a little time, too, a rolling-mill, on a most extensive scale, and fitted to roll and slit all kinds and sizes of iron, was built, and set to .work; a powerful blowing engine was erected; and the weekly produce of the furnaces, which before this seldom exceeded twenty, was now increased to forty tons. A lease of Climpy coal was also at this time obtained, and a village built there, for the accommodation of the workmen. A chapel, connected with the Relief, was built in the middle of that village, and a minister ordained by the Relief presbytery; in a word, in every department prosperity seemed to smile. The coal and iron-stone mines, the furnaces, the forges, the rolling-mill, the shops of smiths, carpenters, engineers, and mill-wrights, all were crowded with workmen. At the census taken in 1807, there were depending on the work for their support upwards of 2000 souls, and the monthly payments to the various work-people were not less than L.3000.

This seeming prosperity, however, soon vanished; for in 1807-8 the company became embarrassed, a severe depression in the iron trade increased this embarrassment, and made it fatal; and, in 1812, the works were stopt, and the whole population turned adrift upon the world. From that period, till 1821, they continued unoccupied, the machinery, of course, rusting, and the houses falling into ruins, when they were purchased by Mr Dixon of the Calder ironworks, whose son, Mr William Dixon, is now the proprietor.

The failure of the Wilsontown iron-works gave a dreadful blow to the prosperity of that part of the country in which they are situated, and was felt not only in this parish, but in all the parishes around. It closed a market to the proprietors and tenants for almost every kind of produce they had for sale, and which they found ever ready and convenient. Many of the labourers, too, had all their hard-earned savings embarked with the company, and were in a moment reduced to a state of beggary; and of the old and infirm, many who hoped to spend their old age in comfort and independence; were added to the paupers' roll. Even to this day, indeed, the parish feels, in this way, the effect produced by the failure; for though many of those who were thus ruined in their circumstances are dead, yet not a few still remain to swell our assessment. In a word, it may fairly be questioned whether the erection of Wilsontown iron-works was advantageous to the parish or the contrary. They no doubt gave an impetus, while they flourished, to improvements, which probably otherwise would never have been made; but there can be as little doubt that they-have brought burdens on the heritors which they would never have been called to bear. As happens in most cases, where such a population has been collected, the morals of the people have also suffered severely, and the religious character of the former inhabitants has been exchanged for indifference and lukewarmness. But of this hereafter.

The advantageous situation of Wilsontown as an iron work will best appear from a sketch of the minerals connected with, and belonging to it.

The Wilsontown coal-field lies in the form of an elliptical bason or trough, bearing east of north to west of south about three miles. The dip is at right angles to the bearing, and is in general about one to seven or eight.

The main coal, called the "four feet coal," is the lowest; above it are several thinner seams,—one of which, resting on a stratum of fire-clay, is about two feet in thickness, and has been wrought occasionally, both for. the use of the works and for sale. The accompanying strata are numerous and various,—sandstone or freestone of different texture and hardness, fakes of various colours, blaes, (bituminous shale and slate-clay,) fire-clay, small ribs of ironstone, &c. Above these, and about thirty fathoms above the main coal, there is a stratum of limestone of excellent quality. It is five feet thick, and from it has been taken the whole supply for the use of the furnaces, and all the numerous and various erections since the commencement of the works. About fourteen fathoms below the major coal are strata of blaes, varying in thickness from fourteen to twenty feet, while on the top of these lies the great freestone rock, from which have been taken all the stones for furnace hearths, and for building both works and village. A few feet under this rock are several strata of ironstone about three or four inches thick, which, when stript of the blaes, are to be seen lying in the form of parallelograms and squares, and which, though in close contact with each other, do not adhere; and, though of different sizes, present the appearance of a regular laid pavement. In the lowest part of the blaes are several strata of ironstone, all wrought together in one mine. The uppermost of these, seldom exceeding three inches thick, is called the "spotted stone," from its being mixed with small shells of a yellowish colour. Next is the ball stone, which do not always lie in close or even continued succession, are sometimes large and sometimes small, and have sometimes gone out altogether, but are generally, in this case, succeeded by a close stratum of spotted stone. Two feet below this, there is a thin stratum, called from its colour the black band; and two feet, or little more, below it, lie the great bands. This is the strongest of them all, being six or seven inches thick, lying also in the form of pavement. In some of the hitches or leaps of this stratum pieces of lead have been found. Ten or twelve fathoms below this, is a stratum of excellent light or candle coal, which, in the old company's time, was wrought to some extent. It varies in thickness, being on the north-east border of the field, near the boundary of the county, not above sixteen inches, while on the south-east, at Tashy-burn, it is two feet thick.

The Climpy field of coal lies on the west side of the Wilsontowh,—the crop of the one nearly approaching the other. It is undoubtedly of great extent. Its general bearing is the same as Wilsontown,—stretching to the south-west into the lands of Birnie-hall and Abbey, in the parish of Carstairs; and to the north into the lands of Muldren, in the parish of West Calder. There can be little doubt but the Wilsontown, Cleugh, and Climpy fields of minerals are only successive continuations of the same strata; and it may be worthy of remark here, that the same strata make their appearance a great way to the east. On the farm of Mosshatburn-foot, they are to be seen cropping out, apparently stretching away towards the lands of Wester and Easter Mosshat. At Mosshatburn-foot, indeed, the Wilsontown company wrought a considerable quantity of the same kind of stone, with the spotted stone at Wilsontown; and it is not unlikely that the 'limestone formerly wrought at Easter Mosshat and Urates (or Wolfrod) may be the same with the Climpy and Wilsontown, though perhaps differently modified.

There are no dikes, properly so called, in the Wilsontown coal field, but there are several slips or hitches, as they are here called, of some consequence. The second, from the south-west, may be distinctly seen in the Burn, a few yards above the bridge at Cleugh. It throws the strata a long way down to the north-east; and a section of the strata between the main coal and the Wilsontown spotted stone is at the above place finely displayed. At a considerable distance farther east, another slip or hitch up shows itself to from eighteen to twenty feet, and here may be seen an instance how slips sometimes derange the strata; for while on the south-west, or low side, the distance betwixt the main coal and the craw coal, next above, is in general about. fourteen feet; on the north-east, or upper side, the space is only about two feet. Still farther east, a fourth slip throws the strata again up, perhaps even more than the last; and here another instance of derangement presents itself, and that in the stratum of coal itself. Throughout the field to the south-west of this, there is a thin stratum of black stone in the coal, about eight or ten inches above the pavement, on the top of what is called the ground coal. This ground coal differs in appearance from the coal above it, called the wall coal. It is of a clear shining black, of a loose texture, and breaks into small cubes; whereas the wall coal is of a much firmer texture, of a splint) nature, and much of it of a rough fracture. Besides these, there is betwixt the two slips a very little above the black stone, a stratum of very good candle coal, from four to five inches thick; but after passing the last mentioned slip, none of these are to be seen, while a stratum of blackish stone, of a foot to eighteen inches, shows itself, dividing the bed or seam of coal into strata of nearly equal thickness, and without increase or diminution of quantity upon the whole.

The fissures or veins are not what practical men call direct, but sometimes incline to the right, and sometimes to the left. The second and third formerly mentioned incline to each other, and will at last meet, unless, indeed, they are partially deranged, or cut off altogether by the twisting and bending of the strata at the hollow of the trough, which, indeed, there is reason to suspect, as they have not been seen in the Climpy field.

From what has thus been stated respecting the minerals laid up at Wilsontown and in the neighbourhood, it will readily be seen how advantageous the situation is for an iron-work. Every thing required is here brought together; and in such quantities too, that I find it reported by a person employed in 1797 to examine the state of the minerals, that, "from what he had explored, 40,000 tons of iron might be made annually for the space of ninety years! that the supply of ironstone is inexhaustible," &c. [The above was communicated to me, in so far as the minerals of Wilsontown are concerned, by Mr James Meason, formerly a clerk at the works, and now teaching a small school in the village of Forth. The distance of Wilsontown from the sea is no doubt a great drawback on the works,—the iron having to be conveyed to Borrowstounness, a distance of eighteen miles. This the Union Canal will, perhaps, in some measure remedy.]


Antiquities.---There are few antiquities in the parish worthy of notice. The cairn or moat at the west end of the village, to which reference has been already made, is evidently artificial, but at what time it was raised, or for what purpose, I have been unable to ascertain. It is of a form somewhat elliptical, the diameter from east to west being longer than from north to south. There is a hollow on the top, where, it is said, there was the entrance to a rude stair that reached to the bottom. This has suggested the idea, that the moat was intended as a burying-place, though tradition speaks of it as a place of concealment for the plate, &c. belonging to the family of Carnwath, in the troublous times of Bruce and Baliol. It has evidently been a place of strength, as it is surrounded by a deep ditch, and large mound, [The Sommerville papers mention this mound as a memorial of the first Baron SommervilIe's firm adherence to the "Brucean interest," in opposition to the "Balliol faction." Thus, after stating, that "during all the days of his Iife he was a constant follower of King Robert Bruce, and ane adherer to his sane King David's interest when it was in the most desperate condition," they thus proceed: "Witnes his casting up a quantitie of earth, of his lands upon the south-west of Carnwath toune, which makeing a little hill, 'tis called yet, omnis terra. This was the custome of these tymes, by which homage they that held the King of Scotland supreme under God wer distinguished from the BalIiol party, or such as owed any homage to he King of England." Of such a custom we have no trace, so far as I know, in Scottish history—and the name omnis terra, I never heard applied to the mound in question—and perhaps, After all, it may be regarded only as a look-out station, connected with Couthalley castle, as it commands an extensive view of the country around, and is distinctly seen from the opposite side of the moss, where the remains of the castle stand.] though for what purpose it was raised must remain unknown. The present proprietor, Sir N. Macdonald Lockhart, Bart., has, during the last season, encircled it with a ditch and hedge, and planted it with hard wood, the Scotch fir never having thriven well upon it. These trees ,a colony of crows has now taken possession of, and seems determined to destroy, by the load of nests,—having, it is worthy of remark, returned only lately, after an absence of forty or fifty years.

North and west from the cairn, on the other side of the moss, are the ruins of Couthalley Castle, formerly the residence of the ancient family of Sommerville, one of the most opulent and powerful families in this part of the country, about the middle of the twelfth century. Hither James the Sixth seems frequently to have repaired, perhaps to enjoy his favourite sport of hunting, and here he seems also to have sometime spent a considerable portion of his time, 'as some of the charters granted by him are dated at Couthalley. [The castle of Couthalley, according to the Sommerville papers, was burned down in 1320, and there is no record, so far as I have been able to ascertain, when or by whom it was rebuilt. It was burned, no doubt, during some of the inroads of the English, which were so frequent at the time, and led to the building of what is called in the above-mentioned papers "the double tour in Carrtwath towne." Of this "double tour" not a vestige remains, though the situation of it is marked out by certain lands being still called Castle Sommerville.] The castle is now a complete ruin, though its extent may yet be marked; and, from its situation, surrounded on every side by a deep ditch and earthen mound, with a drawbridge on the west, it must have been a place of very great strength. It is situated on the property of John Wilson of Westsidewood, but Sir N. Macdonald Lockhart, I3art. is the hereditary Keeper of it.

But the most perfect piece of antiquity which is presented in the parish is the aisle which we have already mentioned, and which, though built in 1424, retains much of its original beauty and grandeur. It is a Gothic structure, covered with freestone flags; and the north window especially appears to have been a beautiful piece of workmanship. It has, successively, been the burying place of the Sommerville family, of the Dalziels, Earls of Carnwath, and now of a branch of the Lockhart family. The church, to which, no doubt, it was attached, and of which it formed a part, was founded in 1386, and endowed by the existing Lord Sommerville in 1424, with some lands, which the relict of one of his successors in vain endeavoured to resume. It was founded for a provost and six prebendaries, and there was at the same time, and by the same person, provision made for the maintenance of eight poor old men; but when or how this provision ceased is now unknown.


The number of uninhabited houses arises from the breaking up of the Wilsontown iron-works, which, though begun again, are carried on upon a very different scale.


Agriculture and Rural Economy.—According to Forrest's map, there are 25193 acres Scotch measure in the parish. Of these not more than one-third are in cultivation.

Husbandry.—Irrigation is carried on to a considerable extent in many parts of the parish, though in very few scientifically,—most of the farmers and proprietors seeming to imagine that there is no difficulty in laying out and managing a water meadow. The general duration of leases is nineteen years. The state of farm-buildings is improving": the byre, the stable, and the barn all seem to occupy the chief attention in rearing a steading in this country; and though on the estate of Carnwath there are now a number of excellent dwelling-houses, yet, generally, the accommodation of the farmer's family seems to have been only a secondary consideration.

The systems of agriculture pursued in the parish are different in different situations. On one side there is strong and wet clay, and on another a light gravelly soil ; in one part a deep black loam, and in another little else but moss. The same rotation, therefore, and the same mode of management cannot be pursued. From Dippool, a small rivulet which divides the parish into nearly equal portions, to the north boundary, clay and moss generally prevail ; and though great improvements have been made on both, the close retentive bottom of the one, and the immense depth of the other, baffle the attempts of the husbandman. South from Dippool to the Clyde and Medwin, the soil and climate are very different; and though there are in this part also immense fields of moss, yet the most approved systems of agriculture are generally followed. Little wheat is, indeed, sown, but there is a great extent of turnips and potatoes, barley and oats, hay and pasture on every farm.

The rotation followed in this part of the parish is generally as follows:-1st, Oats after hay, or two years' pasture. 2d, Turnips or potatoes, the turnips either shaved and rooted, and carried home to the feeding stock and cows, or ate off by sheep. 3d, Barley or oats, sown down with grasses of various kinds, viz. ryegrass, .red, white, and yellow clover. The four-course shift, as it has been called by agriculturists, was followed here for a course of years, and is in some cases still retained, but it has been found by our experienced farmers far too severe, and has been given up. The introduction of bone dust for raising turnip forms a new era in the history of the agriculture of this district, and promises to be of essential consequence to the farmer. It was introduced only about five years ago by one of our oldest and most enterprising farmers, and there is hardly any one of capital on this south side of the parish who does not use it. The turnips raised by it are generally ate off by sheep, and thus, while the sheep pay well, the field is left in the very best order for barley, with grass seeds. By the use of it, too, the manure made at the steading by the cattle fed there, and the cows kept, which are both numerous, can be applied to other grounds, or the farmer is enabled to extend his quantity of green crop. The bone dust has been confined here chiefly to the raising of turnip ; but Sir Norman Macdonald Lockhart, Bart. when factor on the estate of Carnwath, applied it to top-dressing, and with every promise of success. A very different mode of culture is followed in the northern part of the parish. Oats are chiefly raised; and only as many turnips as will keep a few cows giving milk through the winter, while the quantity of potatoes is generally restricted to what is necessary for family use. This is caused by the nature of the soil, which is generally a wet clay, lying on a close bottom of till. Some most successful attempts have been made, however, of late to introduce a much greater extent of green crop into this part of the parish; and in a few years as great a change may be expected on the clayey, as has already been made on the mossy grounds.

The latter, however, have occupied the chief attention of the farmer in this quarter for a number of years back; and I may state, that within the last thirty years there has been taken out of moss, and brought into crop, from 800 to 1000 acres. The greater part of this ground was unproductive, being saturated with moisture, and incapable of being pastured. Where any thing like grass was produced, it was generally cut in the month of August, and converted into a kind of meadow hay, but of so coarse a kind that it was of little use, except for litter. In places, however, where this used to be the only produce, we have now most luxuriant crops of oats and hay, and even of rich pasture. The mode followed in operating this wonderful change has generally been the following: The field is first laid dry, dug, limed, and dunged, and two crops of oats taken. It is then sown down with rye-grass, Yorkshire fog, and white clover, and left to lie some years in grass. At the end of this period it is taken up again, and one or two crops, as before, are received from it, when it is again laid down, dung being applied with the crop, among which the grass-seeds are sown, and, if well enough broken, the field is left to be as permanent pasture. The great expense of digging has prevented "many additional acres within the bounds of the parish from being cultivated in the same way; but an improvement has been introduced of late years which promises to obviate in some measure this difficulty. Wedge-draining has been followed in some places to a considerable extent, and with complete success. By the use of it fields of moss, which, in common language, would not carry a sparrow, have been so completely dried, that the plough has been introduced, and done its work as successfully as on any other part of the farm. In almost every corner of the parish improvements of the above descriptions have been in progress, within the last twenty years especially, and most successfully on the properties which lie on the banks of Dippool, Medwin, and Cleughburn.

Dairy System.—The dairy system is carried on almost on every farm to a great extent, and with great success. Some of the farmers keep twenty cows, and the prizes awarded by the Highland Society to the district for the best managed dairy, and the best made cheese, have, in almost every instance, found their way to this parish. The cheese is of the kind called Dunlop, and most of it is carried to Edinburgh, where it is sold at from L. 2 to L. 3 per cwt.

Rent of Land.—The rent of land per acre is very different, according to circumstances and situation. Thus, immediately around the village of Carnwath, L. 4, and even L. 5 are paid for an acre, and four guineas is the common grass mail for a milk cow, while not much more than a mile from the same village, a hundred acres will not bring much more than any of these sums. In the upper part of the parish the same disparity prevails, but it may be mentioned, that, after the most minute investigation, the present incumbent, in 1822, gave in the rental to the Court of Teinds at L. 14,000 a-year. Since that period lie has no reason to think that it is lessened, though the liberality of Sir C. Macdonald Lock-hart's deductions to his tenants have been such as to reduce it somewhat, so far as he was concerned.

Rate of Wages.—The wages of a good ploughman are from L. 6 to L. 8 a half year; of a female servant, from L. 3 to L. 4 for the same time; of a labourer, from 1s. 6d. to 2s. a day, in summer; of a shearer (man) L. 2, of a woman 35s.

Breeds of Live Stock.—It can hardly be said that there is a flock of sheep in the parish, though we have them of all kinds, as black-faced, Leicester, and Cheviot. The first are bred on the moorland and high part of the parish; the second fattened on some of our best farms; and the third only are bought in, to eat off the turnip in winter. The breed of cattle is chiefly what is called the Ayrshire. The cows are almost. universally Ayrshire, as these are accounted best for the dairy; and while - the quey calves are reared in numbers, and with the utmost care, the bulls are fattened and sent as veal to the Edinburgh market.


Village.—The village of Carnwath is much changed for the better, within the last twenty years. Formerly its streets were encumbered with dung-hills and peat-stacks, which are now all swept away ; and even the old houses now present an appearance of comfort and cleanliness. Many of the new houses are handsome; and should Sir Norman Macdonald Lockhart, Bart. succeed in his plans of feuing, which he has already done to a considerable extent, the next. twenty years will do more for its improvement than even the last.

Means of Communication.--The roads throughout the parish are in a far better state than formerly; and there is one change which deserves to be particularly marked, as by it the neighbouring parishes are in a manner brought nearer to each other, and a new thoroughfare is opened to the country at large. The Clyde, which is the boundary of the parish on the south and south-west, often overflows its banks, and even long before it does so becomes impassable by the fords. For at least nine months in the year the parishes of Pettinain and Carnwath were thus separated by 8 or 9 miles. To this I have been exposed even in the month of July, while the distance betwixt the one place and the other was not above 22 miles. This led the proprietors on both sides to think of some means of communication more direct and convenient ; and about five years ago a boat or float was erected, and has ever since continued to ply on the river, to the immense comfort and accommodation of the inhabitants on both sides, as well as of the country in general. The float is large, running upon a chain, and two or even three loaded carts can pass on it at a time. Thus a new outlet for the lime and coal of the parish is opened up, and were the roads on each side more improved, they would obtain a sale much more extended than ever they have yet done. The Clyde is, indeed, still impassable during some of the winter floods, the holms on each side being so extensive ; but this continues only for a few hours, and were the south pier raised a few feet, which the proprietors talk of doing, the river will be impassable for even a shorter period.

Ecclesiastical State.—The parish church is most inconveniently situated for the great body of the parishioners, being placed at the south and west end of the parish. There are, indeed, only two families immediately to the west, and not above ten or twelve on the south of the church. Many families are thus placed six and seven miles from the enjoyment of public ordinances, and in a high country such as this is, it is not to be expected that in winter the inhabitants of the upper districts are to attend regularly. Of them in general, however, I am happy to speak in terms of high commendation, and many a day their pews may be seen filled, while many who are within hearing of the Sabbath bell obey not the summons which it sends forth. The church was built in 1798, and is neither elegant nor commodious. [The church was last year very much improved, both internally and externally. The ceiling, which was very much broken, was completely renewed; the whole interior white-washed, and a stove erected. I have little doubt, but in a few years, this last improvement will repay itself, for in addition to the comfort which it yields to the congregation, it has extracted all the damp from the wood and walls, which must have otherwise accelerated their ruin.] Being set down close beside the aisle of the old one, which, though built in 1424, still remains a handsome Gothic structure ; the contrast only serves to indicate the different spirit in which these things were gone about in the fifteenth and in the eighteenth century.

It is seated for 1100 people, and is, of course, too small for our population, and were it not for the accommodation afforded by dissenters, many of the parishioners would have no opportunity of receiving religious instruction. At our communion, indeed, a large body of the communicants are obliged to be without doors altogether. The seats erected for the communion table were, till within these few years, appropriated to the use of the poor, but one of them is now occupied by an heritor and his family, of course, with the consent of the other heritors.

The manse was built in 1817, and is, upon the whole, substantial and convenient. The glebe consists of ten acres, lying immediately round the manse, and since the improvements made upon it, by ditching, draining, and levelling, is not unproductive. It is worth L. 2 per acre, though the land in the crofts around the village brings a much higher price, people paying for convenience, rather than going to market for every thing they need. The amount. of stipend is 16 chalders, 8 of meal, and 8 of barley, and L. 10 for communion elements.

There are no chapels of ease, though, from what has already been stated respecting distance, and considering that the population of Wilsontown, [The villages are Carnwath, containing upwards of 800 inhabitants, the great body of whom are employed in weaving, and dependent on Glasgow for employment; Newbigging 200, entirely weavers;—Braehead a mixed population of 120, weavers and labourers;—Forth 300, chiefly miners, as being close upon Wilsontown;—and Wilsontown 400, miners and labourers of all kinds belonging to the works.] Forth, and the corner of the parish beyond them, amounts to nearly 1000, there is certainly much need for a chapel of some kind. In former years this was in some measure remedied by the Relief chapel already mentioned at Climpy, and by means of a chaplain in communion with the Established church, kept and paid by the Wilsontown Company, when in its prosperity. Climpy chapel, however, like the houses around it, is fast falling into ruins, and Wilsontown chapel, though in good order, is seldom opened for divine, service. [One of these chapels might easily be procured, could a stipend be obtained for a minister. Climpy is, indeed, now at a distance from the great body of the population, while Wilsontown is almost in the centre, of course the latter would be by much the more desirable situation. If Government, therefore, would allow even L. 50, so as to procure a preacher there, it would be of immense consequence, not only to the parish, but to•the outskirts of West Calder, and Carstairs. Since the above was written, I am happy to find, that the present company at Wilsontown have resolved to employ a preacher of the Establishment to teach and preach at the works. They intend to carry on the works to a much greater extent than they have been wrought for many years, which necessarily implies a great addition to the population, and renders the appointment of a chaplain the more necessary.]

About three miles north from this, on the road to Wilsontown, there is a Burgher New Light chapel, which has been of considerable service in providing accommodation for our redundant population; and there is no other dissenting house in the parish. The minister has for stipend, L. 90, with a house and a few acres of land. The chapel was built and seated for 400 people, but was contracted some years ago, and there are now betwixt 200 and 300 joined members. [Since the above was written, a schism has taken place in this congregation, which has led to the building of another chapel, in the village of Carnwath, in connection with the same body. The consequence of this has been increased difficulties to each of the congregations. The portion of hearers in the village of Carnwath, being perhaps the wealthiest, brought the former minister from Braehead to labour among them; but, on what account I know not, he soon found it necessary to embark for America with his family. The minister at Drachead, I am told, has now only L. 60, and his congregation is, of course, minus, by the portion belonging to this village.]

The attendance on the Established church is highly creditable to the parishioners ; for on an average there are upwards of 1100 communicants. This, with the accommodation originally provided, rendered our service at the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper very protracted, there being fifteen tables. For two years back, however, we have contrived to shorten the service, by obtaining accommodation for forty additional communicants, at each table, by means of pews at each end of the church, and joining there to the original communion table. We have thus reduced our number of tables to ten.

The amount of collections in the church has fallen off very much within the last seven years,—in consequence, chiefly, of the increase of assessments laid on the parish for the support of the poor. This falling off has been from L. 80 a year to no more than L. 40. The heritors have now to provide from L. 144 to L. 186 of assessment.

Education.—There are at present eight schools in the parish ; ,even besides the parochial school, which, like the church, is most inconveniently situated for the general population of the parish. The parochial teacher has the maximum salary, and is otherwise well provided with an excellent school and dwelling-house; but the others have no salary, and in some cases have even to provide a school-house for themselves. The parochial teacher receives yearly from school fees about L. 37; and his other emoluments amount to L. 14.

The people are in general anxious to obtain education for their children, and the heritors laudably pay for the families of paupers ; perhaps there are no persons in the parish who are unable to read.

Poor and Parochial Funds.—There are 46 regularly enrolled poor, and 16 occasional. The average sum allotted to each i from L. 2, 1Os. to L. 3 per annum.

Library.—There is a subscription library in the village of Carnwath.

Fairs, &c.—There are five fairs in this village in the year, and a weekly market, which is devoted solely to the sale of meal and barley. One of these fairs, which is held in July, is chiefly for hiring shearers, and for the sale of cows and young horses. In another, about the middle of August, lambs form the staple commodity, though there are a great number of young horses also; and on the day after the fair a foot race is run, which deserves mention, as it is one of the tenures by which the property of Carnwath is held by the Lockhart family. The prize is a pair of red hose, which are regularly contended for, and the old people in the village tell me, that, fifty years ago, the laird used to have a messenger ready, whenever the race was finished, to communicate the intelligence to the Lord Advocate of Scotland. This prompt information is now, I suppose, dispensed with ; but I can testify that the race has been regularly run for the last twenty-five years. The day is indeed regarded as a holiday by the people for many miles round, and the scene has been made still more attractive by the -present proprietor, Sir N. Macdonald Lockhart, Bart. who, in addition to the red Bose, gives prizes for leaping, throwing the hammer, putting the stone, playing quoits, &c. The day is finished with a steeple chase on foot. Other two of the fairs, one in February, and the other in October, are hiring fairs, as they are called,—than which, a worse system for obtaining servants never was introduced into a country. The evil, however, will, I believe, soon cure itself, for as masters have already begun to feel the consequences of hiring servants, without knowing any thing of their character, so few servants of character will go to a fair for the purpose of being hired.

Alehouses, &c.---The number of alehouses or rather whisky-houses is by far too great; and, of course, they have the most deteriorating effect on the morals of the people. This is an evil, however, which it must be difficult to remedy, so long as the trustees on roads have the power of granting licenses; because each is anxious to secure to his own particular toll-house that by which the rent is augmented. Hence there are six tolls in the parish, and to the keeper of each a license is granted,—and that in some instances within a very short distance of a licensed inn.

Fuel.-- Our fuel, though peats are in abundance, consists chiefly of coal, which we have at a very reasonable rate; a cart load of 12 cwt. costing about 2s. 6d. Reasonable as this rate is, however, many of the people still lay in a store of peats, which every householder has a right to cast in some one of the mosses which are so abundant in the parish.

May 1834.

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