- CATHCART, a parish, partly in the Lower ward of the county of Lanark, but chiefly in the Upper ward of the county of Renfrew; including the villages of New and Old Cathcart, Clarkston, Crosshill, Crossmy-loof, Hanginshaw, Langside, Millbridge, and Netherlee; and containing 2349 inhabitants, of whom 174 are in Old Cathcart, 3 miles (S.) from Glasgow. This place, which is supposed to have derived its name, of Celtic origin, from the situation of its castle on the river Cart, is of remote antiquity. It appears, at an early period, to have formed part of the possessions of Walter, lord high steward of Scotland, who, in 1160, granted its church, together with all its dependencies, to the abbey of Paisley, which he had founded. The remainder of the lands became the property of the ancient family of Cathcart, of whom Sir Alan, in 1447, was raised to the peerage by James II., under the title of Lord Cathcart; the estates were alienated by Alan, the third lord, in 1546, and then belonged to the Semples for several generations. Of the Cathcart family, who have again become owners of the castle, three were killed in the battle of Flodden Field, in 1513, and another in the battle of Pinkie, in 1547; the fourth lord Cathcart distinguished himself at the battle of Langside, and the eighth lord, as colonel of the Scots Greys, contributed to the victory obtained over the rebel army at Sheriffmuir. William, the tenth lord, who commanded the British forces at the taking of Copenhagen, in 1807, was, on that occasion, created viscount, and, in 1814, Earl Cathcart.The Parish, which is about five miles in length, and from one and a half to two miles in breadth, is bounded on the north and east by the county of Lanark. The surface is beautifully diversified with gentle undulations, and detached hills of greater elevation, cultivated to their summits; and is intersected with the windings of the river Cart, in some parts flowing with gentle course, through verdant meadows, and in others forcing its way between rugged and precipitous banks, thickly wooded. The number of acres is 2950, of which, with the exception of about 90 in woodland and plantations, and about 60 in lawns and pleasure-grounds, the whole is arable, and in cultivation. The soil is generally fertile, and the system of agriculture has been greatly improved; the rotation plan of husbandry is prevalent, and the lands have been rendered more productive by furrow-draining. The chief crops are, oats, potatoes, wheat, and hay, in regular succession, for which ready sale is found in the markets of Glasgow and other towns. The rateable annual value of the parish is £8925. The substratum is part of the coal basin which extends from the hills of Campsie, on the north, to those of Cathkin, on the south; there are several coalmines in the parish, but none at present in operation. Limestone and freestone are also abundant, and a large quarry of the latter, at Crosshill, is extensively wrought; in the channel of the Cart, are numerous minerals, of which a valuable collection has been presented, by Lord Greenock, to the Hunterian museum of Glasgow. Cartside Cottage, the residence of Earl Cathcart, is a handsome seat, near the remains of the ancient castle, which, from its strength, has resisted all attempts to remove it, and still forms an interesting ruin, defended on two sides by the precipitous banks of the river. Aikenhead is also a handsome and spacious mansion, consisting of a centre and two wings, finely situated, and surrounded by a large demesne tastefully embellished with wood and plantations. The principal manufacture is that of handloom weaving, in which about one hundred families are employed, at their own dwellings, for the manufacturers of Glasgow and Paisley; on the river Cart, is an extensive paper-mill, originally established by a French refugee, in 1685, and on the same stream, is a mill for the manufacture of snuff. There are also extensive cornmills; and on the river, just before it enters the parish of Eastwood, is a bleachfield, at Newlands, but the persons employed in it mostly belong to Pollockshaws.The Ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Glasgow and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the minister's stipend is £276, with a manse, built in 1818, and a glebe valued at £16. 10. per annum; patron, John Gordon, Esq. The old church, which contained only 150 sittings, and was greatly dilapidated, was taken down, and the present church erected, in 1832, at an expense of £2500, by the heritors; it is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, and contains 1000 sittings. The parochial school was built in 1830, at a cost of £500; the master has a salary of £30, with a house and garden, and the fees average about £15. The Cathcart Club, which holds its annual meetings in Glasgow, generally distributes about £25 per annum among such of the needy families in the parish as do not apply for parochial aid. On the hill of Langside are some remains of what is supposed to have been a Roman camp, and which, from its having been occupied by Mary, Queen of Scots, while an anxious spectator of the battle of Langside, is called by the people Queen Mary's camp. A Roman vase, of elegant workmanship, was discovered about the commencement of the present century, by the late minister of the parish, while digging for the foundation of a house at Wood-End, and is now in the Hunterian museum. On the farm of Overlee, on the north bank of the Cart, numerous subterranean buildings have been found; the sides were from four to five feet in length, faced with undressed stone, and in the floors, which were paved with thin flags, were excavations as if for fire-places, in which ashes were found. The Rev. Principal Carstairs was a native of the parish, of which his father was minister.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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