- CAMBUSNETHAN, a parish, in the Middle ward of the county of Lanark; including the villages of Bonkle, Stane, and Stewarton and Wishawton; the whole containing 5796 inhabitants, of whom 485 are in the village of Cambusnethan-Kirk, 4½ miles (N. W.) from Carluke. The name is derived from the Gaelic word Camus, signifying a "bay" or "curve," applicable to the remarkable windings of the river Clyde; and from Nethan, the name of the celebrated saint whom Archbishop Usher styles "religiosissimus et doctissimus Nethan," and to whom the church was dedicated. The history of the place is chiefly connected with the families of Stewart, Sommerville, Hamilton, and Lockhart, all of whom have been long located here, as large landed proprietors; the most remote occupation of the soil, however, of which we have any account, was by a family of the name of Baird, to whom the valuable barony of Cambusnethan belonged, at a very early period. The parish is about twelve miles long, from east to west, and a little more than four miles broad, and contains 26,000 acres. The surface is tolerably level in the western extremity, near the banks of the Clyde, but gradually rises eastward to about 120 feet, forming a tract about a mile in breadth, consisting of a rich and fertile soil, which is well cultivated, and celebrated for the number and quality of its hares. Another acclivity succeeds this, rising to a height of about 250 feet, the larger part of which is covered with orchards; and still further to the east, the lands, in many parts, rise to an elevation of 900 feet, and command some very extensive views of the surrounding country. The castle of Edinburgh, Loudon-hill, Dumbarton Castle, and the hills of Argyllshire may be distinctly seen from Knownowton; and from the church, the prospect embraces the cathedral of Glasgow, with at least fifteen country churches. Besides the Clyde, there are several streams running through the parish and upon its boundaries, the peculiar character and flexures of which greatly improve its interesting scenery. The South Calder, rising in Linlithgowshire, forms about nine miles of the boundary line between this parish and Shotts; and for some miles before its approach to the Clyde, into which it falls, its banks are steep, exhibiting specimens of highly ornamental scenery, and adorned with several beautiful varieties of wood and garden. The Water of Auchter, which rises in the parish of Carluke, after flowing for more than a mile, on the boundary of that parish and Cambusnethan, enters the latter, and, passing for about three miles in a meandering route, falls into the South Calder at Bridgend. Of these rivers, the Clyde is said to contain twelve different species of fish; the chief is the salmon, which latterly has been abundant.The prevailing soil is clayey, resting upon a stiff and tenacious subsoil of till; in the more elevated parts, it is much mixed with gravel and dark sand, and in the vicinity of the Clyde, the haughs are a moist alluvial compost, yielding, when well cultivated, fine crops. About 10,000 acres are cultivated, or occasionally in tillage; about 6000 are in woods, roads, quarries, &c.; 160 acres in orchards, and a very considerable quantity waste. Good grain of all kinds is raised, and fruit forms a prominent article in the produce; numerous improvements have been made in agriculture within the last few years, especially in draining, which is required to a large extent, on account of the wet clayey nature of the soil. Thriving hedges and plantations have also been raised in many parts; and dells and ravines, formerly the beds of broom, furze, and heath, have been planted with larch, or formed into orchards. The rateable annual value of the parish is £32,016. The subterraneous productions are chiefly iron-stone and coal, which may be procured in very large quantities; the district is included in the great coal-field of Lanarkshire, and the coal is extensively wrought. In the neighbourhood of Headlecross, in the eastern part of the parish, and on the grounds of Coltness and Allanton, the blackband iron-stone is found of superior quality, and, in various places, good sandstone is met with; in several directions, also, plentiful supplies are obtained of excellent clay, about ten feet in thickness, and used for the manufacture of drain and roof tiles.Among the principal seats is Cambusnethan House, an elegant structure on the model of a priory, erected about twenty years ago, upon the site of a mansion which had been accidentally destroyed by fire; it stands in a romantic situation, and the grounds have been much improved, within the last few years, especially the orchards. Wishaw House, in the north-west corner of the parish, upon the bank of the Calder, is an extensive structure in the castellated style; the front is noble and commanding, varied by a number of different-sized and well-proportioned towers. The apartments are enriched by several portraits, among which are, one of John, Lord Belhaven, who so zealously opposed the Union; and a very costly portrait, by Vandyke, of Sir James Balfour, Lord Lyon, king-of-arms in the reign of Charles I. The House of Coltness is an elegant and commodious building, between the dining and drawing room of which, runs a gallery nearly 200 feet long, hung round with ancient portraits of the family of Stewart; it stands in the midst of very extensive and well laid-out grounds. Allanton House is a majestic structure, wrought up, by various additions and improvements, from the old castle of Allanton; it is ornamented with an artificial lake of large dimensions, and containing several islands, so covered with wood that, from no part of it, is its extent capable of being seen. Muirhouse is also an old structure, in a commanding situation.The population are employed partly in manufactures; two tile-works are in operation upon the estate of Wishaw, and one at Coltness. The Shotts iron-works, on the borders of the parish, have caused an increase of population, to the amount of about 2000, one-third of whom reside at the village of Stane, and the rest in Shotts; and near Wishawton, in the westerly quarter of the parish, a very extensive distillery has lately been erected, by Lord Belhaven. A road from Edinburgh to Ayr traverses the parish. The monks of Kelso anciently held the tithes and other ecclesiastical rights of Cambusnethan, by grant, in the twelfth century, from William Finemund, lord of the manor; in the following century the church was transferred to the bishops of Glasgow, with whom it continued till the Reformation. The ecclesiastical affairs are now subject to the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; there is a manse, with a glebe of four acres, and the stipend is £278. 15. 1.; patron, Robert Lockhart, Esq. The church is a plain and uncomfortable building, erected in 1640, in lieu of a more ancient edifice, part of which is still standing: a third church, to supersede the present, was begun in June, 1839, and is a handsome edifice with a tower, but not yet completed or opened for public worship. There are places of worship for the Relief body, Reformed Presbyterians, and members of the United Secession; also a parochial school, at which are taught all the usual branches of education, the master receiving the maximum salary, and about £20 fees. Two subscription libraries are supported, the books in which are chiefly historical and religious.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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