- CRAWFORD, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Lanark; including the village of Leadhills, and containing 1684 inhabitants, of whom 236 are in the village of Crawford, 3 miles (S. E.) from Abington. This place has claims to a considerable degree of antiquity. In 943, or about that time, a church was founded here, and dedicated to Constantine, King of Scotland; and the lands appears to have been subsequently divided into two portions, of which the larger was bestowed on the abbey of Newbattle, and the smaller on the monastery of Holyrood. It seems to have been exposed to incessant attacks during the border warfare and the feuds of rival clans; and many of the ancient farm-houses were constructed as well for the purpose of defence against an assailing foe as for domestic use. The population was formerly much greater than at present, and the lands were divided among a larger number of tenants, the practice of joining together several small farms having, for the last century, been very prevalent in this part of the county. The parish is situated in the south-east portion of the county; it is about eighteen miles in length, and from fourteen to fifteen in breadth, and comprises 75,500 acres, of which 74,150 are pasture, chiefly sheep-walks, 1200 arable, and 150 woods and plantations. The surface is mountainous, and broken into glens and spreading valleys in almost every direction; among the highest of the mountains are those of Lowther, which are chiefly in this parish, and have an average elevation of about 2500 feet above the sea. The hills in general rise gradually from their bases, and afford good pasturage for sheep; and the valleys between them, especially such as have been improved by draining, are fertile. The river Clyde has its source in the parish, on a hill 1400 feet above the level of the sea, and flows in a gentle stream till it receives the river Daer and numerous other tributaries in its course through the parish. There are springs of excellent water, affording an abundant supply.The soil of the arable land is rich on the banks of the Clyde, and also near the streams which fall into that river, especially at their influx; but in the other parts of the parish it is very various, though great improvements have been made by the use of lime and the introduction of green crops. The chief crops are oats, which thrive well, and the dairy-farms, though few, are profitably managed, affording, besides the produce of the dairy, excellent opportunities of rearing young cattle, of which, however, not many are raised here. The sheep are mostly of the Cheviot breed, to which the former stock of short and black faced sheep has given place, and which has been very much improved. Wood does not thrive well, though there are several trees of great age, which are supposed to be the remains of an ancient forest; and a charter in the possession of the Marquess of Lothian is still extant, in which the inhabitants of the parish of Crawford are invested with liberty to cut wood in the forest of Glengonar. The substratum of the soil is partially transition rock, and greywacke in all its various formations is prevalent. Slate, though not of very good quality, is found, and a quarry has been opened on the lands of the Earl of Hopetoun, which gives employment to a few men throughout the year. The mining district of the parish is extensive, comprising an area of three miles in length, and of nearly equal breadth, and is rich in a great variety of produce: a populous village has been erected within this district, which is described under the appellation of Leadhills. The rateable annual value of the parish is £12,341. The principal mansion-houses are, the Hall, belonging to the earl, and Newton House, the seat of the late Lord Newton, by whom it was erected, in a substantial and handsome style.The village of Crawford is of considerable antiquity, and formerly enjoyed numerous privileges, being governed by a bailie, and having, till lately, a court called a Birley court; it is situated on the road to Glasgow, and the inhabitants are chiefly employed in agriculture. A handsome chain-bridge was constructed over the Clyde at this place, in 1831, at the expense of the heritors; and an elegant stone bridge was erected over the same river, at Newton, in 1824, affording a facility of communication with the neighbouring towns. The parish is in the presbytery of Lanark and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The minister's stipend is £233. 13., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £13. 10. per annum; patron, the Crown. The church, an ancient structure in good repair, is conveniently situated, and affords accommodation to about 300 persons. There is a chapel in connexion with the Established Church at Leadhills, the minister of which has a stipend of £70, with a house, provided by the Earl of Hopetoun and the Mining Company. The parochial school affords a good education; the master has a salary of £34, with £16 fees, and a house and garden. There are several mineral springs, two of which, in their properties, resemble those of Moffat; and near the boundary of the parish, at Campshead, is a petrifying spring, in which many beautiful specimens are found. Among the principal remains of antiquity is the castle of Crawford, which was surrounded by a moat, and strongly fortified; and there are still preserved memorials of ecclesiastical edifices formerly existing in the parish, of which one is an ancient cemetery on the banks of a stream called Chapel Burn. There are also several Roman camps, of which the most perfect are, one on Boadsberry hill, and another on a farm called Whitecamp; the two Roman roads by Moffat and Dumfries united in this parish, and formed one great road towards Lamington. An urn of baked earth, containing fragments of bones, was discovered some years since on the castle farm. The celebrated poet, Allan Ramsay, was born at Leadhills, where he resided till his removal to Edinburgh; and James Taylor, to whom is attributed the first discovery of the application of steam to the propelling of vessels on the sea, and who assisted Mr. Miller of Dalswinton in making some successful experiments in 1788, was the son of one of the overseers in the mines at Leadhills.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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