Monkland, New or East

   MONKLAND, NEW or EAST, a parish, in the Middle ward of the county of Lanark, 11 miles (E. by N.) from Glasgow; containing, with the market-town of Airdrie, the late quoad sacra parish of Clarkston, and the villages of Arden, Ballochney, Greengairs, Riggend, and Wattstown, 20,511 inhabitants, of whom 3567 are in the rural portions of the parish. This place originally formed part of an extensive district which, in the middle of the 12th century, was granted by Malcolm IV. to the abbey of Newbottle, and thence obtained the appellation of Monkland. The abbots held their courts for the barony in a chapel at Kipps, which was destroyed at the time of the Reformation, but of which there were some remains till the close of the last century, when they were obliterated by the plough. Towards the middle of the 17th century, the barony of Monkland was divided into two portions, of which that to the east was erected into a separate parish, and called New Monkland, to distinguish it from the western portion, which has the appellation of Old Monkland. New Monkland is bounded on the north by the river Luggie, and on the south by the Calder water; and is nearly ten miles in length and seven miles in extreme breadth; comprising about 35,000 acres, of which the greater portion is arable and in good cultivation, and the remainder pasture and waste. The surface, though not diversified with hills of any remarkable height, rises gradually from the shores of the Luggie and the Calder to an elevation of almost 700 feet above the level of the sea, forming a central ridge that extends throughout the whole length of the parish from east to west. The only rivers are, the Luggie, which has its source in Dumbartonshire, and, flowing westward along the boundary of the parish, falls into the Kelvin at Kirkintilloch; and the Calder, which, issuing from the Black loch, on the eastern border of the parish, forms its southern boundary, as already stated, and flows into the Clyde near Daldowie House, in the parish of Old Monkland. The spacious reservoir of the Monkland and the Forth and Clyde canals, is situated partly in this parish, and partly in the adjoining parish of Shotts; it is a large sheet of water, of very irregular form, and about 300 acres in extent. The Monkland canal, also, begun in 1770, and since greatly extended and improved, runs near the border of this parish. This canal, which is about twelve miles in length, thirty-five feet wide at the surface, but diminishing to twenty-six feet at the bottom, and six feet in depth, receives a considerable part of its supply from the river Calder, and, by means of two locks near Airdrie, and eight near Glasgow, is raised 113 feet above the level of the Forth and Clyde canal. Terminating at Glasgow, where it communicates by a cut with the Forth and Clyde line, it affords ample facilities of conveyance for the mineral and agricultural produce of the parish.
   The soil in the north and west is a strong rich clay, alternated with portions of lighter and drier quality, and in the central and eastern portions mossy, but not unfertile; the chief crops are, grain of all kinds, peas, beans, potatoes, and turnips, with the usual grasses. Flax was formerly raised in great abundance, but for some years has been little grown. The system of husbandry has been gradually advancing, and several tracts of waste land have been brought into profitable cultivation; ploughing matches take place annually, at which prizes are awarded to the successful competitors; and most of the more recent improvements in the construction of implements have been adopted. The cattle, of which considerable numbers are reared in the pastures, are chiefly of the Ayrshire breed, and great attention is paid to their improvement; but the principal source of prosperity to the parish is its mineral produce. There are scarcely any plantations, except around the houses of the landed proprietors; and the want of timber, both for ornament and shelter, is severely felt. Among the principal substrata are whinstone and sandstone, which are largely quarried for the roads and for building purposes; and limestone is also found in several places, but is not much wrought, lime from Cumbernauld, and dung from Airdrie, being almost exclusively used for manure. Coal and ironstone of excellent quality prevail almost in every part in great abundance, and are in most extensive operation. The seams of coal range from three to nine feet in thickness; the principal varieties are the Ell, the Pyotshaw, the Humph, the Main coal, and the splint; and smithy-coal and blind-coal are wrought in various parts. There are not less than forty different collieries at present in operation, the produce of which is conveyed partly by the Monkland canal or by railway to Glasgow, and thence to the Highlands and the coasts of Ireland; and partly by the Kirkintilloch railway to Kirkintilloch, and thence by the Forth and Clyde canal to Edinburgh. The ironstone, of very rich quality, occurs partly in balls, and partly in seams, of which the most usual are the muscle and the black-band; the black-band is by far the most valuable, and is generally found at fourteen fathoms below the seam of splint-coal. There are as many as ninety iron-mines in operation; the produce is sent to the works of the Carron Company, the Clyde, the Calder, the Gartsherrie, Chapel-Hall, and other foundries. The working of these mines and collieries affords constant employment to thousands of the industrious classes, and has contributed greatly to the increase of the population, and to the growing prosperity of the adjoining districts. To the mineral wealth of this parish may, indeed, be attributed the existence of the flourishing town of Airdrie, and of the numerous thriving villages that have recently sprung up within its limits, and of which all the inhabitants are more or less occupied either in the mines and collieries, or in the various works to which they have given rise. The rateable annual value of New Monkland now amounts to £35,967.
   The principal mansion-houses are, Airdrie House, the seat of Sir William Alexander, superior of the town of Airdrie; Monkland House, the property of the Hon. William Elphinstone; Rochsoles; the house of Auchingray; and Easter and Wester Moffat. The town of Airdrie, the village of Clarkston, and the villages of Greengairs, Riggend, Wattstown, and others, are all described under their respective heads. In addition to the great numbers of persons engaged in the collieries and mines, many of the inhabitants are employed in various branches of trade and manufacture; the principal is that of cotton, for which there are extensive mills at Airdrie and Clarkston. A considerable number of people are occupied in hand-loom weaving at their own dwellings, for the manufacturers of Glasgow; and there are also a brewery and a distillery, both conducted on a very extensive scale. There is a post-office at Airdrie, which has three deliveries daily; and two fairs, numerously attended, and amply supplied with cattle and with different kinds of merchandise, are held there annually, in May and November. Facility of communication is maintained by the turnpike-road from Edinburgh to Glasgow, which intersects the southern part of the parish from east to west; by the recently formed road from Stirling to Carlisle, which crosses it from north to south; by the Monkland canal; and by the Ballochney, the Garnkirk, Kirkintilloch, and Slamannan railways. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The minister's stipend is £265. 7. 11., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £11. 10. per annum; patrons, the heritors and elders. The church, situated on an eminence in the western district of the parish, was built in 1777, and substantially repaired in 1817, and is a neat plain structure containing 1200 sittings. Several additional churches have been erected within the last few years, in the burgh of Airdrie and at Clarkston; and to all of them quoad sacra districts were till lately annexed by act of the General Assembly. The members of the Free Church have places of worship; and there are some for members of the United Secession, a Relief congregation, Cameronians, Independents, Baptists, and Wesleyans, and a Roman Catholic chapel. The parochial school is attended by about fifty children; the master has a salary of £30, with a house and garden, and the fees average £30 per annum. Schoolrooms have been built by subscription at Airdrie, Clarkston, Greengairs, Coathill, &c.; but they have no endowment, and the masters only of Clarkston and Greengairs have dwelling-houses rent free. The New Monkland Orphan Society is supported by subscription, and affords clothing and instruction to eighty children. Near Airdrie is a mineral well, of which the water is strongly impregnated with iron and sulphur; it was once in high repute, but is at present little used.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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