BERTRAM-SHOTTS, a parish, in the Middle ward of the county of Lanark; including the villages of Harthill, Omoa-New-Town, Sallysburgh, and Shotts-Iron-Works; and containing 3861 inhabitants, of whom 751 are in the village of Shotts-Iron-Works, 5 miles (E. by S.) from Holytown. This place is generally supposed to have derived its name from a famous robber called Bartram de Shotts, who, in ancient times, signalized himself by his depredations, and was eventually killed near the site of the present church. The whole of this extensive parish, except Blair-mucks and Murdostown, belonged to the Hamilton family, from the year 1378 to 1630, when the Marquess of Hamilton disposed of the larger part of the barony. Not far from the mansion of Murdostown formerly stood the abbey of St. Bertram; but no portion of this ancient establishment is now to be seen. The Parish, which was once part of that of Bothwell, is nearly a parallelogram in form, and is ten miles long, and eight broad, and contains 25,434 acres; it is bounded on the north by the North Calder, which separates it from East Monkland and Torphichen, and on the south, by the South Calder, which divides it from the parish of Cambusnethan. The surface is tolerably level throughout, except in the middle quarter, where it is diversified by elevations, among which are, the Hirst, the Tilling, and the Cant hills. The climate is more than ordinarily salubrious, which induced the celebrated Dr. Cullen, who commenced practice in the parish, to say, that Bertram-Shotts was the Montpelier of Scotland. The rivers connected with the district are the North and South Calder, with a few small burns not of sufficient importance to demand notice; and there is a loch called the Lily, in which are found common trout and an excellent species of red char.
   The soil is for the most part clayey, except on the banks of the rivers, where the loamy kind prevails; nearly two-thirds of the land are arable, and the rest, with the exception of a small proportion of wood and common, is unsheltered moor, annually covered with the blossom of the heather-bell. About 1000 acres are under wood, consisting of Scotch fir, spruce, and larch, all which thrive well: formerly the Scotch fir was the only kind attended to. The cows are in great repute for their superior stock, the improvement of which has been greatly promoted by the establishment of an agricultural society; and the horses, which are of the Clydesdale breed, are famed for their strength and symmetry. Every kind of farming-stock has been greatly improved within the last thirty years; and much waste land has been reclaimed by means of draining and digging, for which two prizes, some time since, were awarded by the Highland Society of Scotland, to two gentlemen in the parish. The state of the farm-houses, however, is generally below that of buildings of this class in parishes where agricultural improvement has made much progress, although they are far better than formerly, and are undergoing a gradual change. The rateable annual value of the parish is £19,910. The parish forms a portion of the great coalfield of Lanarkshire, and its carboniferous and mineralogical productions are extensive and various, the two grand general divisions of its subterraneous contents being the igneous and sedimentary rocks. The northern half of the land consists almost entirely of the trap, or common greenstone; the other half is the coal-bed, which consists of the splint coal, the parrot or cannel coal, the smithy coal, and the Shotts-Iron-Works first and second coal. In some parts, is a very fine ironstone, above the coal, and in others, a considerable quantity of limestone, lying at a great depth beneath the coal, with a succession of 147 different strata between them. There is an abundant supply of fire-clay of various kinds, in the carboniferous division of the parish, lying over the coal, and large quantities of it are used, for making bricks for blast and air furnaces; one of the strata has been wrought for a considerable period, and is several feet in thickness, though the portion which is worked, in the middle of the stratum, is not more than about three feet deep.
   Among the principal residences are, Murdostown House, belonging to Sir T. Inglis Cochrane; Easter Moffat, a handsome modern edifice in the Elizabethan style; Craighead House, Fortissat, and Shotts House. Sub-post-offices have been established at the villages of Sallysburgh and Shotts-Works, and there are annual fairs, chiefly for the sale of horses and cattle, on the third Tuesday in June and November (O. S.), both of ancient date, being held by a warrant granted by James VII., in 1685, to the Duke of Hamilton. The parish contains two iron-works, of which one, in the south-eastern quarter, designated Shotts works, is not only adapted for the smelting of iron-ore, for which there are three furnaces, but has connected with it an extensive foundry, and a large establishment where steam-engines of a superior kind for both land and water are constructed. At the other establishment, called the Omoa iron-works, situated in the south-west part of the parish, three furnaces are also in effective operation. These works, which together employ about 1500 persons, have contributed to a large increase in the population; and by the circulation of several hundreds of pounds weekly, in the form of wages, great changes and improvements have taken place in the general appearance of the neighbourhood, particularly through the formation of roads and the cultivation of the land. The ecclesiastical affairs are subject to the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the patronage belongs to the Duke of Hamilton, and the minister's stipend is £267. 11., with a substantial and commodious manse, built in 1838, and a glebe of nearly 44 acres, in which are two seams of coal. The church, the position of which is central, and on an elevated site, was built in 1820, and has 1200 free sittings. There is a place of worship belonging to the Associate Synod; also a parochial school, in which the classics are taught, with the usual branches of education, and of which the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., about £28 fees, and a house. Belonging to the Shotts iron works, is also a school; another, called Murdostown school, has an endowment of £19 per annum, assigned by Sir Thomas Inglis; Harthill school was endowed by the late James Wilson, Esq., with £500; and another is supported by Mrs. Robert Haldane. There are two circulating libraries, in one of which, at the Shotts works, the collection of books is very superior; and the poor have the benefit of a bequest of £500, left by Thomas Mitchell, a native of the place. Gavin Hamilton, the historical painter; John Miller, professor of law in the university of Glasgow, well known to the public by several learned publications, and who was buried at Blantyre, not far from Shotts; and Dr. Matthew Baillie, physician to George III., and brother of Joanna Baillie, the authoress, were all natives of the parish. The Rev. James Baillie, father of the doctor, was minister of Shotts.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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