LESMAHAGO, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Lanark, 6 miles (S. W. by W.) from Lanark, and 22 (S. S. E.) from Glasgow; including the villages of Abbey-Green and Turfholm, Boghead, Crossford, Hazelbank, Kirkfield-Bank, Kirkmuirhill, and New Trows; and containing 6902 inhabitants. This place is supposed to have derived its appellation from a Celtic term signifying "garden," and from the name of its tutelar saint, who is said to have had a cell here about the 6th century. In 1140, a monastery was founded by David I. for Tyronensian monks, wherein he placed brethren from his abbey of Kelso, to which it became subordinate: the last remains were removed on the erection of the present church. The Parish is about twelve miles in length and nearly eight in breadth; it is bounded on the north-east by the river Clyde, and comprises 42,840 acres, of which 26,900 are arable, 1500 woodland and plantations, 600 coppice, and the remainder moorland pasture, and waste. The surface is generally elevated, and towards the west and south-west rises into a range of hills, forming a boundary between the counties of Lanark and Ayr; the highest of these hills are 1200 feet above the level of the sea, and all afford excellent pasture for sheep. The chief rivers besides the Clyde are, the Poniel water, which has its source in the south-west of the parish, and, after a course of more than seven miles, falls into the Douglas; the Logan, Nethan, and Kype waters, which rise in the hills on the west, and, receiving numerous smaller streams, join the Clyde; and the Cander, which, traversing the parish for a few miles, flows into the Avon at the parish of Stonehouse. The banks of the Nethan are richly ornamented with plantations, and studded with handsome villas and neat farm-houses. The Kype displays little beauty in its course, and frequently, after rains, descending from the higher lands with impetuous violence, does much damage to the cultivated plains. There are springs of excellent water in various parts, several possessing medicinal properties; many of them issue in streams sufficiently powerful to give motion to mills and machinery. The falls of the Clyde are noticed in the account of the parish of Lanark, which is separated from this parish by the river.
   The soil is chiefly clay of a yellow colour, with tracts of lighter and more friable quality, and some portions of gravel and sand; the crops are, grain of all kinds, potatoes, and turnips. The system of husbandry is advanced; draining has been practised to a considerable extent; the lands have been inclosed, chiefly with hedges of thorn, &c., but partly with stone dykes; and the farmhouses have within the last few years been greatly improved. Much attention is paid to the management of the dairy and the breeding of cattle; the cheese made on the several dairy-farms is principally the Dunlop kind. The cattle are of the Ayrshire breed: the sheep, of which large numbers are fed in the hilly pastures, are the old black-faced, these being better adapted to the nature of the soil than the Cheviots. A moderate number of horses, chiefly for agricultural uses, are annually bred, and are in much repute for strength and agility. The woods are judiciously managed, and the plantations are also kept in good order, and are very flourishing; the annual produce from both is estimated at about £700 per annum. The substratum is principally coal, which is wrought in several parts. A fine kind of cannel coal is found at Auchinheath; it occurs in seams varying from ten to twenty inches in thickness, and is sent in considerable quantities to the gas-works in Glasgow and other places. The rocks are chiefly whinstone; limestone of good quality is also abundant, and is extensively worked. Ironstone occurs in several places, but not in such abundance as to have led to the establishment of any works; lead-ore, likewise, is supposed to exist, and several attempts have been made to procure it, but hitherto without success: few minerals, indeed, have been found. Petrified shells are thickly imbedded in the limestone, as well as the fossil remains of various animals. The rateable annual value of the parish is £27,056.
   Several handsome seats have been erected by heritors residing on their lands, and all of them are embellished with flourishing plantations: Stonebyres is a very splendid mansion, the oldest portion of which was built in 1398, and the most modern in 1844. The inhabitants of the parish are partly employed in the mines and quarries, and in Glasgow manufactures: many of them reside in the villages, which are all separately described. Fairs for hiring servants are held in March and October, and a cattle-fair in the spring. Facility of intercourse with Glasgow and other places is maintained by good roads, which have been greatly improved within the last few years, and of which the turnpike-road from Glasgow to Carlisle, and that from Glasgow to Lanark, pass, the former for eight, and the latter for about five, miles within the parish. A post has been established; and there is a small library, supported by subscription. The parish is in the presbytery of Lanark and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the patronage of the Duke of Hamilton. There are two ministers, the church having been made collegiate at the Reformation: the minister of the first charge has a stipend of £283.4.2., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum; the minister of the second charge has an equal stipend, with a manse, but no glebe. The church, built in 1804, is handsome and substantial, and is adapted for a congregation of 1330 persons. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and for Independents, the Reformed Presbytery, and the Relief. The parochial school affords a liberal education, and is well attended; the master has a salary of £34, with £45 fees, and a house and garden. A school for teaching girls to read and to sew is supported by subscription; it is situated in the village of Abbey-Green, and is attended by about thirty children. In different parts are several other schools, the masters of which receive annual donations from the heritors, in addition to the fees. The poor have the interest of various funded bequests yielding about £100 per annum; the principal is a bequest of £2600 by the late Dr. White, of Calcutta. There are three friendly societies; which have contributed greatly to reduce the number of applications to the parochial funds; and also a savings' bank, duly encouraged. Some slight remains exist of the ancient castle of Craignethen. Roman coins have been found near the site of a Roman road which has, within the last few years, been totally obliterated by the progress of cultivation; and many ancient cairns have been removed, to furnish materials for stone dykes. A Caledonian battle-axe, and about 100 silver coins of Edward I., were dug up in opening ground for laying down a drain.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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