RUTHERGLEN, a parish, burgh, and market-town, in the Lower ward of the county of Lanark, 2½ miles (S. by E.) from Glasgow, and 43 (W. by S.) from Edinburgh; containing, with the West late quoad sacra district, 6513 inhabitants, of whom 5623 are in the burgh. This place is popularly supposed to have derived its name from Reutherus, King of Scotland, the fifth in descent from Fergus I., founder of the Scottish monarchy, and who, after a retirement of some years, during which time he greatly augmented and concentrated his forces, made a successful attack upon the Britons, from whom he wrested a considerable portion of his territories, of which they had gained possession. From the reign of this monarch, about two centuries before the Christian era, little is recorded of the history of the place till the year 1126, when the inhabitants obtained from David I. a charter conferring upon the town the privileges of a royal burgh. It appears to have been at that time superior in importance to Glasgow as a place of trade, and to have included within its limits the ecclesiastical demesnes of that city till the year 1226, when Alexander II. granted to the Bishop of Glasgow a charter of exemption from certain services due to the corporation of Rutherglen. From this period its trade and consequent prosperity continued to decline, and that of Glasgow to increase, till in 1692 the business was almost wholly transferred to the latter place, which has since been progressively advancing in population and wealth. The castle of Rutherglen was remarkable for its strength, and in 1306 was seized by Edward I., King of England, who had taken upon him to arbitrate between Bruce and Baliol, then competitors for the Scottish crown; but it was retaken by Bruce in 1313, and continued to exist as a fortress of importance till after the battle of Langside, when it was burned by the Regent of Scotland. The building was however afterwards repaired and enlarged, and became the seat of the Hamiltons, of Elistoun, on whose decline it was suffered to fall into decay; and it has by subsequent dilapidations been levelled with the ground. During the disturbances in the reign of Charles I., considerable excitement prevailed in this place; and on the celebration of the restoration of Charles II., a party of the inhabitants, in resentment of the severities practised on the Covenanters, committed some excesses, which appear to have originated the battle of Bothwell-Bridge, when they were defeated by the Duke of Monmouth.
   The town is pleasantly situated on the Clyde, over which is a stone bridge of five arches, communicating with the suburbs of Glasgow on the opposite shore, and towards the erection of which the inhabitants contributed £1000, in consideration of its being tollfree. Over the same river, a bridge of timber has recently been constructed, opening a new line of road from the collieries in the parish, and facilitating the conveyance of the produce to Glasgow. The town consists chiefly of one spacious street extending in a direction from east to west, regularly formed and wellpaved, and of a smaller range of buildings parallel with the former, and called the Back-row, from both of which diverge several lanes leading to the principal farms in the parish. Towards the east are vestiges of ancient foundations, from which it is supposed that the town was once of greater extent than at present. The trade formerly consisted, to a considerable extent, in the supply of salmon for the French ports, in exchange for which brandy was received; but this branch has declined in consequence of the construction of a weir lower down the river, which interrupts the navigation above the bridge of Glasgow. The principal trade at present is in coal, from the several mines in the parish; in cotton spinning, weaving, and printing; and the weaving of muslins for the Glasgow manufacturers. The market is on Saturday; and fairs are held on the first Friday after March 11th, first Friday after May 4th, first Tuesday after June 4th, first Friday after July 25th, and first Friday after August 25th; the Wednesday before the first Friday in November, and on that Friday; and the first Friday after November 25th. The charter bestowed on the inhabitants by David I. in 1126 is recited by several grants of his successors down to the reign of James VI., who in 1617 confirmed all previous gifts, and clearly defined the boundaries and the privileges of the burgh. The government was vested by these charters in a provost, two bailies, a treasurer, and a council of eleven, to which last an addition of thirty others, to be elected by the council, was prescribed by an act in 1670, all of whom should vote in the election of the magistrates. The town is now subject to the provisions of the Municipal act, and the number of councillors is eighteen: the provost and bailies are chosen annually by the council; and the town-clerk is appointed in the same manner, but holds his office for life, and acts likewise as assessor. The magistrates exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction; and during the last twenty years, the average has been annually about fifty cases of the former, and twenty of the latter. There are four incorporated trades, the smiths, wrights and masons, tailors, and weavers; and all of them have the privilege of exacting a fee on the admission of a member. The burgh at the Union was allowed to send one member to the English parliament, in conjunction with those of Glasgow, Renfrew, and Dumbarton; but on the passing of the Reform act, Glasgow was separated from the number, and Kilmarnock and Port-Glasgow added. The right of election is vested in the persons occupying houses of the annual value of £10 and upwards; the number of voters is 180.
   The parish extends for about three miles along the southern bank of the Clyde, and is something more than a mile and a quarter in average breadth; the surface towards the river is generally level, forming plains of very considerable fertility, but in other parts is intersected with hills and narrow glens. The soil is on the whole good, and the system of agriculture improved; manure is plentifully used, and the lands are chiefly arable, but there are some extensive dairyfarms, and much attention is paid to the breed of livestock. Considerable progress has been made in draining and inclosing the lands, which are divided among numerous proprietors, whose handsome mansions and grounds add greatly to the scenery and interest of the parish. Of these, Farme, the residence of Mr. Farie, once the property of some of the earls of Selkirk, and subsequently that of the Flemings, and Hamiltons, is a very ancient castle of much strength, the embattled walls of which still remain as a memorial of the baronial castles of former times; it has been recently enlarged by its proprietor, who has raised an embankment to preserve his land from the inundation of the Clyde. Coal is abundant in the parish, and eleven mines have been opened, of which one is wrought by Mr. Farie on his estate at Farme, two at Eastfield, one at Stonelaw, and one at Hamilton-Farme; together they afford employment to more than 500 persons. Ironstone, but in very small quantities, is found in some of these mines; and there are also some quarries of good freestone, in which nearly a hundred persons are engaged. About 200 persons are employed in printing cotton, for which there are two establishments, one in the town, and one at Shawfield, at which latter place, also, is a bleachfield that became the property of Messrs. Gowdie, who converted it into an establishment for dyeing Turkey-red; it is now occupied by Messrs. White as a chemical laboratory. A cotton-mill was erected in 1800, which has been enlarged, and is now conducted by Mr. Mc Naughton; and on the lands of Farme are two extensive concerns for dyeing Turkey-red, conducted with much success. In addition to those employed in the several works, about 300 of the inhabitants are occupied in weaving muslin for the Glasgow manufacturers at hand-looms in their own dwellings. The rateable annual value of the parish is £21,295. It is within the presbytery of Glasgow and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and in the patronage of the Corporation and certain heritors and feuars. The minister's stipend is £280. 8. 5., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £14 per annum. The old church was of great antiquity, and prior to the year 1199 was, together with the churches of Cathcart and Mearns, given to the abbey of Paisley by Jocelyne, Bishop of Glasgow. It was connected with some transactions of importance in Scottish history, being celebrated as the scene of a negotiation of peace between England and Scotland, concluded within its walls in 1297, and also as the place in which Sir John Monteith entered into a convention for betraying Sir William Wallace into the power of the English. Of this building, however, nothing remains but the tower, near which is the present church, erected in 1794, in good repair, and adapted for a congregation of 800 persons. There is a chapel of ease also containing 800 sittings, to which an ecclesiastical district was till lately annexed called West Church, having a population of 2483: the minister receives a salary of £100 per annum. In the town are likewise a Free and a Relief church, the latter capable of receiving a congregation of 950. The burgh school affords a liberal education to the children of the parish; the master, who is appointed by the town-council, has a house and garden rent-free, and a salary of £16. 13. 4. from the funds of the burgh, in addition to the fees. There are also Sabbath schools, in which nearly 400 children are instructed; and several benefit societies. Traces may be seen of a tumulus at Gallowflat, which was anciently surrounded by a ditch, and to the summit of which was an ascent by a paved road about six feet wide. Near it were found two copper vessels, on the handles of which was inscribed the word "Congallus;" a stone coffin was also found in a tumulus on Hamilton-Farme, long since levelled with the ground. The cross of the burgh, ornamented with sculptured devices, of which the most conspicuous was one of our Saviour riding upon an ass, was demolished by a mob during the reign of Charles I. Rutherglen gives the title of earl to the ducal family of Hamilton.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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