- EAGLESHAM, a parish, in the county of Renfrew, 9 miles (S.) from Glasgow; containing 2428 inhabitants, of whom 1801 are in the village. This place, which is of considerable antiquity, is supposed to have derived its name, of Celtic origin, from the erection of its ancient church. It formed part of the district of Mearns, and, together with other lands, was granted by David I., King of Scotland, to Walter, son of Alan, the first of the Stuarts, from whom Robert de Montgomerie, of Oswestry, in England, procured the manor of Eaglesham about the middle of the twelfth century. After the accession of the Stuarts to the Scottish throne, it was held by Robert's descendant, John de Montgomerie, who also obtained the baronies of Eglinton and Ardrossan, by marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Hugh Eglinton by Egidia, sister of Robert II.; and this John de Montgomerie, with the ransom of Harry Percy, surnamed Hotspur, whom he had taken prisoner at the battle of Otterburn in 1388, erected here the castle of Polnoon, of which there are still some vestiges remaining. The Parish, which was almost exclusively the property of the Montgomerie family, is situated in the south-east angle of the county, and is about six miles from north to south, and five and a half from east to west. It is bounded on the north by the river Earn, which separates it from the parish of Mearns; on the south by the parish of Loudon; on the east by the river White Cart, which divides it from the parishes of East Kilbride and Carmunnock; and on the west by the parish of Fenwick. The surface is generally elevated, and is intersected from east to west by a ridge of hills, of which the highest vary from 1000 to 1200 feet above the level of the sea, and which, with the exception of a hill in Lochwinnoch, are the highest in the county. The sources of the river Cart and its numerous tributaries are within the parish: this river, which flows in a northern course to Cathcart and Langside, then takes a western direction toward Paisley, whence it deviates towards the north, and receives the waters of the Black Cart at Inchinnan Bridge previously to its influx into the Clyde. The surface is also diversified with lakes, and with reservoirs for the supply of different mills, which latter cover nearly 240 acres of ground, and are frequented by various species of aquatic fowl.The whole number of acres is estimated at 15,500, of which about 6100 are arable, nearly 4000 meadow and pasture, about 60 woodland and plantations, and the remainder moorland pasture and moss. The soil along the banks of the Cart, and towards the west, though light, is fertile; but many of the inhabitants rely more on the pasturage of sheep and the rearing of cattle than on the cultivation of the lands. The principal crops are, oats, barley, and potatoes; the system of agriculture has been improved; much progress has been made in draining, and considerable quantities of waste have been reclaimed. Many of the farm-houses and offices have been rebuilt on a more commodious plan, and the more recent improvements in husbandry have been adopted; the dairy-farms are in general well managed, and the produce finds a ready sale in the market of Glasgow. The cows are chiefly of the Ayrshire breed, of which about 1000 are pastured on the farms, and 4000 sheep are maintained on the moorland pastures; few horses are reared, the greater number being purchased in the spring for agricultural purposes, and sold again in the autumn. The rateable annual value of the parish is £11,800. The moors abound with grouse and other species of game, and afford a fine field of sport to the members of the Clydesdale Coursing Club, the hares being numerous and swift, and requiring greater energy and perseverance in the chase than those in the more lowland countries. Trout and various other kinds of fish abound in the lakes, and a peculiar species found in the Clyde and the Avon was originally introduced by Lady Anne Hamilton from this vicinity. The plantations are chiefly the common Scotch fir, which thrives admirably, and larch, for which the soil is better adapted than for many other sorts; hard-woods of different kinds are found in the lower grounds and more sheltered situations. The rocks in the higher lands are generally of the trap species, intermixed in some places with porphyritic claystone, and abounding in others with jasper, chalcedony, blue quartz, calcareous spar, and felspar containing beautiful crystals.Alexander, the eighth earl of Eglinton, obtained for the inhabitants a charter for a weekly market and an annual fair, in 1672; the market has been discontinued, as well as the fair, which was mostly for cattle, and was on the 24th of April, O. S.; but there is still a fair on the last Thursday in August, when horse-races take place. The village, which was laid out on a new plan by the tenth earl, is about one-third of a mile in length, and consists of two ranges of houses, between which is a spacious green, varying from 100 to 250 yards in breadth, disposed in lawns, interspersed with trees, and divided in the centre by a streamlet of clear water. In the rear of each of the houses is a rood of garden; the inhabitants have also seventy acres of ground rent free, which are laid out in meadows and plantations. The manufacture of silk was formerly considerable, employing sixty-three looms in the village; but that branch of trade has been superseded by the weaving of cotton goods, for which materials are provided by the manufacturers of Glasgow and Paisley, and afford employment to nearly 400 persons, resident in the village. At the higher extremity of the rivulet that flows through the green is an extentive cotton-mill, the property of Messrs. Mc Lean and Brodie, of Glasgow, in which are 15,312 spindles, set in motion by a water-wheel of castiron forty-five feet in diameter, and equivalent to the power of fifty horses; it gives occupation to 200 persons, of whom more than one-half are females. There is also a mill at Mill-hall, employing 620 spindles and nearly seventy persons, of whom about one-third are females; this establishment is chiefly engaged in spinning shuttle-cord for power-looms, and wicks for candles, and the machinery is impelled by a water-wheel of 24-horse power. The parish likewise contains a corn-mill in which about 3000 bolls of grain are ground annually. There is a post-office, with a good delivery; and facility of intercourse with Glasgow, Paisley, Hamilton, and other towns is maintained by excellent roads, of which seven miles of turnpike pass through the parish. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Glasgow and synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the minister's stipend is £278. 14., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £25 per annum; patron, Allan Gilmour, Esq. The church, erected in 1788, is a neat structure of octagonal form, containing 550 sittings, most of which are free. There are places of worship for members of the United Secession and a Reformed Presbyterian Congregation. The parochial school is attended by about 120 scholars; the master has a salary of £30, with a house and garden, and the fees average £50 per annum. There is another school, in which sixty children are taught. Robert Pollok, author of the Course of Time, was a native of the parish.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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