- LANARK, a burgh, market-town, and parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Lanark; containing, with the villages of Cartland and New Lanark. 7679 inhabitants, of whom 4831 are within the burgh, 25 miles (S. E.) from Glasgow, and 32 (S. W. by W.) from Edinburgh. This place, the name of which is of uncertain derivation, is of very remote antiquity, and from the traces of a Roman road leading to the site of its ancient castle, is supposed to have been a Roman station. By some writers, indeed, it is identified with the Colænia of Ptolemy. It appears to have attained to great importance at an early period; and Kenneth II. is said to have assembled here, in 978, the first parliament of which there is any record in the history of the country. It is referred to as a royal burgh in one of the charters of Malcolm IV., by which a portion of its lands was granted to the monks of Dryburgh; and a charter bestowed by William the Lion upon the inhabitants of the town of Ayr, in 1197, is dated from a royal castle at this place, the foundation of which is attributed to David I. The town was burned to the ground in 1244, the houses being chiefly built of wood; but it was soon restored, and not long afterwards it became the scene of a battle between Sir William Wallace and Sir William Heslerigg, the English sheriff, in which the latter, with the forces under his command, was defeated, and driven from the town. The castle of Lanark, with all its dependencies, was given as security for the dower of the niece of Philip, of France, in the treaty negotiating for her marriage to the son of John Baliol, in 1298. It seems to have been garrisoned by the English in 1310, when it was, together with Dumfries, Ayr, and the Isle of Bute, surrendered to Robert Bruce, King of Scotland.The town is beautifully situated on a gentle acclivity rising to the height of nearly 300 feet above the level of the river Clyde, and consists of five principal streets, with a few others of less note; most of the houses have been rebuilt, and many of them in a handsome style, by which the appearance of the town has been greatly improved. It is paved, lighted, and amply supplied with water at the expense of the corporation; and though there is no regular police establishment, it is watched by constables appointed by the magistrates of the burgh. There are two bridges over the Clyde, affording facility of access to the town. Of these, one, about a mile below Lanark, was erected in the middle of the seventeenth century, and displays no features of architectural importance; the other, two miles from the town, is remarkable for the elegance of its structure. The inhabitants are partly occupied in weaving for the manufacturers of Glasgow and Paisley at their own homes, not only in the town, but in several other parts of the parish: more than 1000 persons, of whom nearly 900 are in the town, derive support from this work, the wages, however, being now greatly reduced. The manufacture of shoes is also carried on to a considerable extent, giving occupation to about 100 persons: the making of lace employs 120 females; there are three breweries upon a moderate scale, and several flourmills. The principal manufacture of the parish, however, is cotton-spinning and weaving, introduced at New Lanark, a handsome village on the side of the river, by Mr. Dale, who, in 1784, erected mills on a very extensive scale, which, till 1827, were conducted with great success by Robert Owen, and are now the property of Messrs. Walker and Company. In these extensive and flourishing works, nearly 1200 persons are regularly engaged. A branch of the Commercial Bank of Scotland is established here, for which a handsome house has been built of freestone. There is also a branch of the Western Bank; and a spacious and commodious inn has been opened for the accommodation of the visiters who resort to this place during the season for visiting the falls of the Clyde, which are much frequented for the beauty and grandeur of the scenery that the river displays in this part of its course. Elegant assembly-rooms have been added to the hotel within the last few years, at an expense of £2400. The markets are on Tuesday and Saturday; the former, which is the chief, is abundantly supplied and numerously attended. Fairs are held on the last Wednesday in May, O. S., for black-cattle; the last Wednesday in July, for horses and lambs; and the last Wednesday in October, and the Friday after Falkirk tryst, for black-cattle and horses. There are also three fairs for the sale of various goods, the hiring of servants, and for pleasure.Lanark, by charter of Alexander I., was constituted a royal burgh; and the inhabitants, at various times, received charters from his successors, conferring different privileges, down to the reign of Charles I. of England. An act of parliament of 1617 records that, from a very early date, the standards of weights and measures had been preserved here, for the adjustment of all the weights and measures in the kingdom; and these continued to be used till, by the act of 1826, they were superseded by the introduction of the imperial standard. The government of the burgh is vested in a provost, three bailies, a treasurer, and fourteen councillors, assisted by a town-clerk and other officers; they are chosen under the authority, and are subject to the provisions, of the act of the 3rd and 4th of William IV. There are six incorporated trades, the smiths, wrights and masons, tailors, shoemakers, weavers, and dyers, who are under the direction of a dean of guild, appointed by the deacons of the several trades: none but burgesses are eligible as members. The freedom of the burgh is inherited by birth, acquired by servitude, or obtained by purchase or gift of the corporation; the only privilege, however, now enjoyed by the burgesses is that of pasturing cattle on the common lands. The provost and bailies are magistrates within the limits of the burgh, and exercise jurisdiction in both civil and criminal matters; but their power is chiefly limited to holding a bailies' court, for the determination of civil pleas, and to the summary punishment of petty offences against the peace, the townclerk acting as assessor in the bailies' court. All cases of importance are referred to the sessions for the county, which are held here as being the county town. The election of a member for the shire is held here, and Lanark is one of the Falkirk district of burghs: the right of election for the burgh member, previously vested in the burgesses, is, under the Reform act, restricted to the resident freemen, and extended to the occupiers of houses of the value of £10 per annum. The number of registered voters is 160, of whom eightyeight are burgesses, and seventy-two are £10 householders. The county-hall, to which a prison is attached, was erected in 1834; it is well adapted to the purpose, containing good accommodation for holding the courts, and for transacting the business of the county and the burgh.The parish, which is nearly in the centre of the county, extends from six to seven miles in length, along the bank of the Clyde, and from three to five miles in breadth; it is bounded on the north by the parish of Carluke, on the south by Pettinain and Carmichael, on the east by Carstairs, and on the west by Lesmahago. The surface, though generally elevated, is almost uniformly flat, scarcely rising into hills, though in some parts sloping and undulated. It is intersected by the valley of the Mouss, in a direction from east to west, between the two level tracts of Lee moor on the north and Lanark moor on the south, both of which are nearly 700 feet above the sea. Along this valley the river Mouss flows with a very devious course; and within about a mile of its union with the Clyde, it seems to have worn for itself a channel through the hill of Cartlane, forming a deep ravine about half a mile in length, composed of cragged and lofty masses of precipitous rock, rising on the one side to the height of 300, and on the other of 400, feet above the bed of the river. The Mouss has its source in the northern portion of Carnwath moor, and, though it receives numerous tributary streams in its progress, is but very inconsiderable till, after issuing from the Cleghorn rocks, it spreads into a wide channel between banks which on one side are precipitously lofty, and on the other more gently acclivous, and both crowned with wood. Passing through the Cartlane Craigs, it falls into the river Clyde opposite to the village of Kirkfield Bank. The Craigs abound with prominent features of romantic beauty and majestic grandeur; and the chasm, which in itself is of sufficiently impressive appearance, derives additional interest when regarded as having afforded security, as a place of refuge, to Sir William Wallace in his unwearied efforts to maintain the integrity of his country. Near the lower extremity, an elegant bridge of three arches has been thrown over the chasm, harmonizing with the prevailing character of the spot, and adding much to the beauty of the scenery.The river Clyde washes the parish on the south and west. Entering from the east, it flows with silent course through a rich and fertile tract of level land, which it occasionally overflows; and deflecting slightly to the south and south-west, it becomes narrower in its channel, and more rapid in its progress, passing over a rocky and irregular bed, between rugged and precipitous banks, till it reaches the bridge of Hyndford. Beyond this it is greatly increased by the influx of the Douglas water, and, proceeding northward, and dividing its stream at Bonnington, is precipitated over a ledge of rocks about thirty feet high, forming a picturesque cascade. After continuing its progress for half a mile, between rocks nearly 100 feet in height, it exhibits another beautiful scene at Corehouse, where its waters descend in a perpendicular fall of eighty-four feet; and advancing with greater tranquillity through the low land at the base, for about a quarter of a mile, it presents a small but picturesque cascade called Dundaf Lin. From this point, the river flows between gently-sloping banks, richly wooded, and in some parts cultivated to the margin of the stream, and for three or four miles pursues an equable and noiseless course to Stonebyres. Here, passing through a ridge of rocks, its waters descend in three successive falls, from a height of eighty feet, into the plain below, along which, for the remainder of its course in the parish, it flows in a tranquil stream, amid lands highly cultivated, and between banks pleasingly embellished with natural wood and luxuriant plantations. Among the chief points of attraction to persons visiting the falls of the Clyde, is the Bonnington fall, about two miles distant from the town, and to which the approach is, for the greater part of the way, through the grounds of Bonnington House: these grounds are tastefully laid out in walks, with seats at all the points from which the finest views of the scenery are to be had, and are open to the public on every day in the week except Sunday. A bridge has been thrown across the northern branch of the stream by the proprietor of the mansion, whence the best prospect of the fall is obtained, with the richly-varied scenery by which it is surrounded. But the Corra Lin or Corehouse fall is the most interesting of the whole. Till lately it was difficult to gain anything like a good view of it; but a flight of steps has been excavated along the face of the opposite rock, leading to a spacious amphitheatre on a level with the bottom of the fall, from which it is seen in all its beauty, combining every characteristic of sublimity and grandeur. The fall at Stonebyres closely resembles that of Corra Lin in all its leading features.The soil in the western portion of the parish is a stiff clay; along the banks of the rivers, light and gravelly; in some parts, wet and clayey; and in the moors of Cartlane and Lanark, of a hard tilly nature, with some tracts of moss. The whole number of acres has not been ascertained; about 6500 Scotch acres are arable, 600 in common belonging to the burgh, 600 in woods and plantations, 1200 in pasture and waste land, and about forty or fifty in orchards. The crops are, oats, wheat, barley, potatoes, and turnips: the system of agriculture is improved; much of the land has been drained, and irrigation has been practised to some extent. The farm-buildings, however, are indifferent, and the lands but very partially inclosed. Considerable attention is paid to the dairy and the improvement of the cattle, to which the distribution of premiums by the various agricultural societies has greatly contributed; the cows are all of the Ayrshire breed. Horses, chiefly for draught, are reared for the use of the parish and neighbouring districts. The woods consist of oak, ash, birch, hazel, mountain-ash, alder, and hawthorn; the plantations are of Scotch fir, larch, and spruce fir. On the lands of Lee is a fine old oak of extraordinary size, supposed to be a relic of the ancient Caledonian forest; also a larch of very stately growth, thought to have been one of the first trees of that kind introduced into the country. The substratum is chiefly the old red sandstone, traversed in some parts with whinstone. On the lands of Jerviswood, a vein of quartz alternated with small seams of iron-ore has been found, but not in sufficient quantity to encourage any attempt to render it available. Carboniferous limestone, also, in which petrified shells are found, occurs in some places, and is extensively quarried at Craigend hill: freestone was wrought formerly, but the works have been abandoned. The rateable annual value of the parish is £17,780. Lee, the seat of Sir Norman Macdonald Lockhart, is a handsome castellated mansion, situated in a well-planted demense containing some stately timber; Bonnington House is a modern mansion, also in a highly-picturesque demesne. Smyllum and Cleghorn are spacious antique mansions, and Sunnyside Lodge an elegant villa on the steep bank of the Clyde, about a mile and a half from the town.The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Lanark and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The stipend of the incumbent is £315; the manse is a comfortable residence, and the glebe comprises about four acres, valued at £16 per annum. The church, situated in the centre of the town, was built in 1777, and has been thoroughly repaired within the last ten years; it is a neat and substantial edifice, and is adapted for a congregation of 2300 persons. There are places of worship in the town for members of the Free Church, the Relief, Independents, and Burghers. The grammar school is supported by the corporation, who appoint the master, to whom they pay a salary of £40, and to an assistant £20 per annum. Connected with this school are twenty-eight bursaries, of which nine were endowed in 1648 by Mr. Carmichael, commissary of Lanark, and the others by one of the earls of Hyndford, by the Mauldslie family, and by Chamberlain Thompson; they are of different values, and, after the payment of the school fees, leave a remainder of £2 or £3 to the holders. A free school in the town was founded by Mrs. Wilson, who endowed it with £1200, for the instruction of fifty children. There is a school supported by subscription; and at Nemphlar and Cartlane are schools of which the masters receive £5 per annum from the heritors, in addition to the school fees. A school at New Lanark is supported by the proprietors of the cotton-works, and attended by about 500 children. The poor have the rents of hospital lands producing £70 annually: Mr. Wilson bequeathed property yielding £32 a year, and the late Mr. Howison, of Hyndford, £700, of which the interest is distributed among the poor not receiving parochial relief. There are several benevolent and friendly societies in the parish, and a savings' bank in the town. The Castle hill near the town, is supposed to have been the site of a Roman fort or station, and a silver Faustina is said to have been found there; but nothing remains either of the Roman fort, or of the royal castle which formerly existed. The site has been ploughed up, and converted into a bowlinggreen. There are some remains of two Roman camps in the vicinity, of which the larger, near Cleghorn House, including an area 600 yards in length and 420 in breadth, is said to have been constructed by Agricola; the smaller, situated on Lanark moor, is still more distinctly to be traced. The Roman road from Carlisle to the wall of Antoninus passed through the area of this camp. Upon an eminence on the bank of the river Mouss are the remains of a lofty tower, of which nothing, however, is known; it gives title to the Lockharts, of Cambusnethan. On a prominent part of the Cartland Craigs are the small vestiges of an ancient stronghold called Castle Quaw; but nothing of the history is recorded. About a quarter of a mile from the town are the venerable remains of the old parish church, displaying traces of an elegant structure, of which a series of six arches that separated the aisle from the nave is in good preservation. The cemetery, also, is still used as the parish churchyard; but the effect of these fine ruins, which had been suffered for a long time to fall into dilapidation, has been destroyed by the erection of an unsightly square tower in the centre, for the purpose of watching the graves. The area has, however, been surrounded with a wall to prevent further dilapidation; and some steps have been taken to restore part of the ruins. Lanark gives the title of Earl to the Duke of Hamilton.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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