Monkland, Old

   MONKLAND, OLD, a parish, in the Middle ward of the county of Lanark, 3 miles (S. W. by W.) from Airdrie; containing, with the late quoad sacra parishes of Crosshill and Gartsherrie, and numerous populous villages, 19,709 inhabitants, of whom 4022 are in the rural districts. This place was included in the district granted by charter of Malcolm IV. to the monks of Newbottle Abbey, and thence called Monkland, of which the greater portion, soon after the Reformation, became the property of Sir Thomas Hamilton, who was created Earl of Melrose, and subsequently Earl of Haddington. The lands passed from the Haddington family to the Clellands, from whom they were purchased in 1639 by James, Marquess of Hamilton; and in the reign of Charles II. they were sold by Anne, Duchess of Hamilton, to the college of Glasgow. Monkland was divided about the year 1650 into two distinct parishes,called respectively Old and New Monkland; the former comprehends the western, and the latter the eastern portion of the district. Old Monkland is bounded on the west by the river Clyde, and is about ten miles in length and four miles and a half in extreme breadth; but the number of acres has not been ascertained. The surface is generally level, in few parts attaining any considerable elevation; on the west it slopes gently towards the Clyde. There are several tracts of moss, in the aggregate nearly 1500 acres; and about 1200 acres in plantations. The principal rivers are, the Clyde, which forms the western boundary of the parish, but is not here navigable for vessels; and the North Calder, which rises in the adjoining parish of Shotts, and, bounding this parish on the south, flows between banks richly wooded into the Clyde at Daldowie. There are several burns that intersect the parish in various directions, forming tributaries to the Clyde; and also some lakes, of which Bishop loch, covering about eighty, Woodend loch fifty, and, Lochend forty acres of ground, are the most considerable. They all abound with pike, of which some are of very large size. The ancient bishops of Glasgow are supposed to have had their summer residence on the side of Bishop Loch, whence the name.
   The soil along the banks of the Clyde and Calder is a strong clay, by good management resembling loam, and producing luxuriant crops of wheat; towards the centre is a light sand, well adapted to oats and potatoes; and to the north the soil is mossy, though in some parts, greatly improved. The crops are, wheat, oats, potatoes, peas, beans, turnips, and flax, which last was formerly raised in much greater quantities than at present. The system of agriculture has been greatly improved under the auspices of the New Farming Society, established here about the year 1830; the farm houses and buildings are in general substantial and commodious, and the lands are well inclosed with fences of thorn. The cattle are of the Ayrshire, and the horses of the Clydesdale breed, and very great attention is paid to their improvement: numerous prizes have been awarded at the Highland Society's cattle-shows for specimens of live-stock reared in the parish. The substrata are, coal, ironstone, and various other minerals, of which there are extensive beds also in the adjoining parish of New Monkland; and the working of the several mines, and the establishment of iron-works, have led to the erection of numerous villages. Among the principal of these in this parish, are, Calderbank, containing 1064, Carmyle 238, Causeyside 367, Dundyvan 1298, New Dundyvan 2202, Faskine 408, Greenend 502, and Langloan, containing 1111 inhabitants. The late quoad sacra parishes of Crossbill and Gartsherrie contained, the former the villages of Baillieston, Barachnie, Craigend, West Merrystone, and Swinton; and the latter, Coatbridge, Coatdyke, Gartcloss, Gartsherrie, East Merrystone, and Summerlee. Some of the principal coal-works are at Gartsherrie, where five seams of coal are found, in beds varying from two to four feet in thickness. At Gartcloss are three seams, of which the lowest is thirty fathoms in depth; at Gartgill, three seams, at forty fathoms lowest depth; at Gunnie, seams of every kind, at depths varying from twenty-seven to fifty fathoms; and at Drumpellier, four seams, at nearly similar depths with the preceding. At the Calder iron-works are two mines, one forty and the other 100 fathoms deep, containing all the varieties. At Palace-Craig ironstone is found alternating with the coal, in seams from twelve to eighteen inches thick; at Faskine, where the first mine was opened, splint-coal was found in 1791, at a depth of seventy-five fathoms; and at Whiteflat, where are two pits at the depth of forty fathoms, black-band ironstone occurs in seams of eighteen inches. There are also coal-works at Netherhouse, Easterhouse, Mount Vernon, and Rosehall.
   The ironstone occurs in various parts of the parish, in seams of different thickness and quality. The black-band ironstone is found in the lands of Monkland House, and also at Faskine, Garturk, Lower Coates, and Dundyvan, in seams from fourteen to eighteen inches thick, yielding from thirty to forty per cent. of iron; these seams occupy an area of nearly ten square miles. At Palace-Craig, the upper black-band occurs in seams of eighteen inches, at sixteen fathoms below the splint-coal, and is of rather inferior quality. At Airdrie, in the parish of New Monkland, the seams of ironstone vary from two to four feet in thickness; the produce is chiefly wrought in the iron-works in this parish. Red freestone is quarried at Langloan; white freestone of very fine texture is wrought at Souterhouse, Garturk, Summerlee, Coatdyke, and other places, and is used chiefly in the manufacture of iron; and whinstone is quarried at Rawmone and Easterhill. There are considerable remains of ancient wood; and the numerous plantations, which are in a thriving condition, add much beauty to the scenery of the parish, and, combining with the high state of cultivation and the luxuriance of the meadows and pastures, give to it the appearance of an extensive garden. There are many handsome houses belonging to the proprietors, and to others connected with the mines and works in the parish and its immediate vicinity.
   The chief trade is the iron manufacture, for which several very extensive works have been established here, of which the number is progressively increasing, the abundant supply of coal and other facilities for the purpose having long since rendered this place the principal seat. The Gartsherrie works, belonging to Messrs. W. Baird and Co., till lately employed not more than eight blast furnaces for smelting ore; but that number is now doubled. The Dundyvan works, the property of Mr. J. Wilson, have seven furnaces; the works belonging to the Monkland Iron Company have five furnaces in operation; and the Clyde iron-works, the property of James Dunlop, Esq., have five furnaces, of which at present four are in operation. The Summerlee works, belonging to Messrs. Wilson and Co., employ five furnaces, to which two are about to be added. The Langloan works, the property of Messrs. Miller and Co., have five furnaces in operation throughout the whole year; and the Calder works, belonging to Messrs. W. Dixon and Co., situated on the border of Bothwell parish, have six furnaces in operation. The quantity of pig-iron manufactured annually in these several establishments is in the aggregate 270,000 tons, in the production of which nearly 800,000 tons of coal are consumed. The Monkland Iron Company are erecting mills and forges for the manufacture of bar-iron, on a scale sufficient for the making of 230 tons of malleable iron weekly; and the Dundyvan Company are carrying out similar arrangements on a still more extensive scale. The steam-engines used in these works are of very great power; and the introduction of the hot-blast instead of the cold-air in the management of the furnaces, by which the consumption of fuel is greatly diminished, is now generally adopted in the works. This important discovery, first made by Mr. Sadler, in 1798, was carried into partial effect by the Rev. Mr. Stirling, of Kilmarnock, who obtained a patent in 1816. Improvements were made in the process by J. B. Neilson, Esq., of Glasgow, in 1828. Mr. Dixon, of the Calder iron-works, subsequently discovered that, by the adoption of the hot-air blast, common pit-coal might be substituted for coke, previously used; and the Messrs. Baird, of Gartsherrie, by some improvements on Mr. Neilson's process, ultimately brought the invention into its present practical efficiency.
   The nearest market-town is Airdrie, on the confines of the parish; and facility of communication is afforded by excellent roads, of which the turnpike-road from Edinburgh, by Airdrie, to Glasgow, passes through the parish. There are also four railways for the conveyance of goods and passengers, the Monkland and Kirkintilloch, the Ballochney, the Garnkirk and Glasgow, and the Wishaw and Coltness. The Monkland and Kirkintilloch railway connects the rich coal districts in this parish and New Monkland, within ten miles of the city of Glasgow, with the Forth and Clyde canal near the town of Kirkintilloch: the act was obtained in 1824; and the original capital, £32,000, was increased by £20,000 under an act in 1833. In 1839, the capital of the company was further increased to £124,000, for the purpose of re-laying the line with heavy rails, and otherwise providing for the augmented traffic: the undertaking is now in full operation. By an act passed in July, 1843, additional lines are authorized to be completed, and the company empowered again to enlarge their capital to £210,000. The Wishaw and Coltness railway extends from the termination in this parish of the Monkland and Kirkintilloch railway, southward, to the estates of Wishaw, Coltness, and Allanton. The Monkland canal to Glasgow passes nearly through the whole length of the parish. This canal was begun in 1770, and since 1792 has undergone various improvements; its length, from Woodhall, about two miles south-east of Airdrie, to the basin at Glasgow, is twelve miles; and it communicates by a lateral cut with the Forth and Clyde canal at Port-Dundas. By means of eight double locks at Blackhill, near Glasgow, and two single locks, of eleven and a half feet each, near Airdrie, the canal is raised 113 feet above that of the Forth and Clyde, and 273 above the level of the sea; it is thirty-five feet wide at the surface, twenty-six at the bottom, and has six feet water. An extensive basin was lately formed at Dundyvan, for the shipment of coal and iron by the canal from the Wishaw and Coltness and the Monkland and Kirkintilloch railways; and boats to Glasgow take goods and passengers twice every day. The Garnkirk Railway Company, also, run trains of steam-carriages many times daily, affording conveyance for a part of the produce of the mines and iron-works; and at Coatbridge, within a mile and a half from the parish church, is a post-office. The revenue of the canal is estimated at £15,000, and that of the railways at £20,000 per annum.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The minister's stipend is about £300, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £16 per annum; patrons, the heritors and Kirk Session. The parish church, erected in 1790, is a plain substantial structure, containing 902 sittings. Churches, to which quoad sacra parishes were till lately annexed, have been erected at Crosshill and Gartsherrie; and there are places of worship for members of the Free Church and Relief. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £31, with a house and garden, in addition to the fees. Connected with the parochial school are three branch schools, of which the masters have each a salary of £6.15.11. per annum, with moderate fees; there are also schools supported exclusively by the fees. At Coatbridge is a very flourishing academy; and in the village of Langloan is a library of about 500 volumes. In digging the foundation for the buildings of the Clyde iron-works, great numbers of human bones were found covered with slabs of stone, and some earthen urns containing bones and ashes. Urns perfectly smooth, and of a red colour, were found in 1834, in a plantation near Blair-Tummock.
   See the articles on the several villages.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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