Stonehouse

   STONEHOUSE, a parish, in the Middle ward of the county of Lanark; containing 2471 inhabitants, of whom 1794 are in the village, 7 miles (S. S. E.) from Hamilton. This place is said to have derived its name from the residence of the principal proprietor, a mansion of stone and lime, situated near the site of the present village, and which, being at that time a kind of building of rare occurrence in this part of the country, was considered of sufficient interest to give name to the parish. The parish is about six miles in length and three in breadth, and is bounded on the east by the Cander stream, on the west and on the north by the river Avon, and on the south by the Kype; it comprises 7560 acres, of which 300 are woodland and plantation, and the remainder chiefly arable land. The surface is tolerably even, though gradually rising from the centre towards the north and south; its appearance has been greatly improved by numerous plantations of modern growth, which in some parts, and more especially on the lands of Mr. Lockhart, of Castle Hill, include much ornamental timber. There are also some few remains of ancient trees of venerable aspect, though the greater portion has long since been cut down for various purposes; and around the churchyard are some fine planetrees of luxuriant growth. The soil is generally rich and fertile; considerable improvements have taken place in draining, and a moss of considerable extent has been reclaimed and brought into profitable cultivation, producing abundant crops of oats, barley, wheat, ryegrass, and clover. There was also a considerable extent of marsh at Gozlington, which has been improved, and converted into meadow land. The Avon, in its course by the parish, formerly abounded with salmon; but few have been found of late, their passage being intercepted by the increased elevation of a mill-dam. This river flows with great impetuosity, being obstructed in its progress by huge masses of stone, which, falling from its precipitous and rocky banks, have in some parts choked up its channel: after receiving the waters of the Kype and Cander, it takes a northern direction, and falls into the Clyde near Hamilton. The crops raised in the parish include oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, and turnips, with a small portion of flax; the lands are well inclosed, partly with stone, and partly with hedges of thorn and beech. Freestone abounds in the parish, as well as whinstone of sufficient quality for mending the roads; limestone of a good description is also prevalent, and is worked for manure. In the fissures of the vein of limestone are fine specimens of mica, interspersed with globular particles of a bright yellow colour. Ironstone has been discovered in thin beds above the limestone, in detached nodules of good quality, but not in quantity sufficient for working; and coal is also found, but is worked only for burning the limestone. The rateable annual value of Stonehouse is £7079.
   The village, which is situated nearly in the centre of the parish, and to which the approach is facilitated by a handsome bridge over the Cander water, consists chiefly of one principal street about a mile in length, and some smaller streets, which are macadamized, and kept in neat order. The houses are mostly but one story high, and covered with thatch; but several of larger dimensions, and roofed with slate, have been recently erected, and two new streets have been formed, adding materially to the appearance of the place, which is rapidly increasing in population and importance. The weaving of silk, cotton, &c., is carried on to a considerable extent, affording employment to about 500 persons, who work with hand-looms at their own dwellings; and there are a large mill for a coarse kind of cotton yarn, and three establishments for making draining-tiles. A number of persons are also employed in the line and coal works. The new turnpike-road from Edinburgh to Ayr passes through the village, and, communicating with the road from Glasgow, affords great facility of intercourse with places in the vicinity. Fairs, chiefly for black-cattle and wool, are held at Martinmas, in May, and in July, which are numerously attended; and a post-office has been established. The parish is in the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and patronage of Robert Lockhart, Esq.: the minister's stipend is £250. 5. 2., with a manse, and the glebe is valued at £20 per annum. The church, a handsome modern structure, surmounted by a well-proportioned spire, is situated in the centre of the village, and is adapted for a congregation of 900 persons. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and a congregation of the United Secession. The parochial school affords a liberal education to the children of the parish; the master has a salary of £28 per annum, with £18 fees, and a house and garden. Mr. Thomas Hamilton, of London, bequeathed £4. 10. per annum to be distributed in prizes to the most forward of the scholars. There are two other schools in the village, and two at Sandford, which are chiefly supported by subscription, the masters having only the schoolrooms rent free. On the banks of the Avon are the remains of two ancient castles, situated on the summits of steep rocks which overhang the river; they are called respectively Coat or Cat Castle, and Ringsdale Castle, but nothing of their history has been preserved. At the junction of the Avon and Cander waters, are the remains of an encampment called the "Double Dykes;" it comprises an area of nearly four acres, completely surrounded by masses of perpendicular rock, except in one point between the channels of the rivers, which approach within fifty yards of each other, where the narrow interval was artificially fortified by three lofty dykes, of which some parts are still entire. Near the banks of the Avon, also, a Roman tumulus was discovered, in which were found numerous urns containing burnt bones and ashes; several of them were in good preservation, and ornamented with flowers elegantly carved, and various other devices. Not far from the same spot are remains of the Roman road from Ayr to Castle-Cary, which in some places is still entire, and is formed of large stones rudely placed. Roman urns have also been found in tumuli that have been opened in other parts of the parish.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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