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40 acres Scots.
10 261 320
More wheat, however, was sown during the last than in any pre
Potatoes are a prevalent crop. Nineteen years is the general term of leases. Some of these are conditional, which implies a liberty of resigning, provided that the parties are not satisfied at the termination of such years as may be specified. The farm-houses may be considered rather comfortable ; a number of them have been recently built. There are three freestone quarries near the village of Westquarter, and one at a place called Flatt, from which most of the buildings are supplied. A large lime-work is in operation in that division of the parish, termed the Moors. Coal has also been found in different parts, but not in abundance. At present there is one colliery going on in the estate of Crutherland, for the use of the property chiefly. Produce.— The annual produce may be as follows:
V.-PAROCHIAL ECONOMY. There is no market-town in Glasford. Strathaven is the nearest, distant about two and a half miles. The parish contains three villages, Westquarter, Chapelton, and Heads. The population of Westquarter is 501; of Chapelton, 558; of Heads, 68.
Means of Communication.—Letters are conveyed to these villages from the post-town Strathaven, by a runner who goes daily. The turnpike-road leading from Strathaven to Glasgow, by east Kilbride, stretches four miles through the parish; that from Strathaven to Hamilton, about two and a half miles. Two stage-coaches run in opposite directions, both from Strathaven, one by east Kilbride, and the other by Stonehouse, to which there is easy access. The bridge over the Avon at Glasford mill is very narrow, and not
good repair. It is proposed to have it widened. That over the Calder at Crutherland is better. Thorn and beech hedges prevail, which are now obtaining much more attention than in former years. This is particularly visible in the moorland parts, where enclosures of any kind are few.
Ecclesiastical State. The parish church, built in 1820, is situated in the village of Westquarter, which is almost at one extremity of the parish, being distant from the other end six miles. It is in good repair, and calculated to contain 560 sitters. The manse was built in 1804. An addition and offices were erected in 1833, which render it very commodious. The glebe and garden, &c. include between eight and nine acres of excellent soil. The
stipend allotted in 1822 is sixteen chalders, half meal and half barley. There is no chapel or meeting-house here; but the number of families attending Dissenting chapels in the neighbouring parishes is 130. Divine service is occasionally performed at Chapelton, three miles from the stated place of worship. The number of communicants amounts to 400. A female society for religious purposes was instituted in January 1835, likewise a parochial library for each division.
Education.—At Westquarter is one parochial school, in which are taught besides the common branches, Greek and Latin. The salary is 300 merks, or L. 16, 13s. 4d. with legal accommodation. The schoolmaster's fees amount to L. 32 per annum, and his emoluments from other sources to L. 6
There are two schools at Chapelton, one of which has a grant of 100 merks, or L. 5, Ils. Id. and a school-house assigned to the teacher. Farther to the west at Mill-well is another school, to which is attached 50 merks or L. 2, 15s. 6£d. with a school-house and garden, from the Right Honourable Lady Montgomerie, and L. 3 Sterling from the parish. These schools are so situated as to be accessible to all the different parts of the parish. In 1832 two Sabbath schools were opened, one at Westquarter, the other at Chapel ton, at which 300 children usually attend; and besides these there is an adult female Sabbath evening class containing 30; which institutions are supported by collections.
Poor and Parochial Funds. The number of paupers regularly receiving aid in 1832 was about 30, and the average sum calculated to each, L. 5, 10s. yearly. Besides these, others receive assistance in various sums. The assessment of the parish for that year was L. 170, 9s. 7d., and the collections at the church door during 1833 were L. 15, 6s. 1 d.
Charitable Institutions.- At Westquarter, one male Friendly Society, members, 112; one Female do. 23; one Temperance do. 107. At Chapelton, three Friendly Societies, in all 214; one Temperance do. members, 41.
These friendly societies are of great benefit not only to the individuals connected with them, but to the heritors of the parish. They are calculated both to promote industry and excite a desire of independence.
Inns, 8c.— There are six houses in Westquarter and Chapelton that retail spirits. The demoralizing effects of these places of resort are too evident.
PRESBYTERY OF HAMILTON, SYNOD OF GLASGOW AND AYR.
THE REV. WILLIAM PROUDFOOT, MINISTER.
1.-TOPOGRAPHY AND NATURAL HISTORY. Name. The parish is not unfrequently named Strathaven or Straven; but Avondale is the proper name.
Dale seems to be much more descriptive of the face of the country than Strath. There is a considerable town in the parish named Strathaven; so that now Strathaven is the name uniformly applied to the town, and Avondale to the parish. I shall speak of the town and parish separately.
Boundaries, Extent, &c.-Avondale is bounded on the north by the parishes of Glasford and Kilbride; on the west by Loudon and Galston and Sorn; on the south by Muirkirk and Lesmahagow; and on the east by Lesmahagow, Stonehouse, and part of Glasford. It contains nearly 64 square miles, (32,000 acres,) and yields a rental of nearly L. 20,000 a-year. The valued rent is L. 7650 Scots.
Topographical Appearances.— Though lying in rather a high district of the country, yet the lands are generally flat, rising gently from the banks of the river Avon, especially towards the west and south. There are several ridges and small hills in the parish, such as Kype's rigg, Hawkwood hill, Dungivel, and the hills on the boundaries of Ayrshire. There are also the interesting eminences called the Floors' hills, and the Kirkhill, but these are scarcely entitled to be named hills. None of these heights seem to rise more than 800 or 900 feet above the level of the sea.
Climate and Soil.— Upon the whole, the climate may be said to be rather moist; but it is at the same time healthy. The inhabitants are in general a long-lived race. Many of them at present living are above eighty years of age, and one is above ninety. Perhaps in few places is there a finer race of men than in Avondale. They are tall and stout, and well-formed. There are no particular diseases peculiar to the district. Throughout the greater part
of the parish the soil is light and dry, and susceptible of great improvement, especially in the higher districts.
Geology.— The rocks of this parish belong to the coal formation of the secondary class. The common whinstone or trap which is found in great abundance in every part of the parish, exhibits at its junctions with the coal formation many interesting phenomena. Clay ironstone abounds. Limestone is very plenty in various districts; and is wrought at three different places. There is also a sufficient supply of coal for burning the lime in the immediate vicinity of the kilns. But though perfectly fitted for burning the lime, this coal is not accounted sufficiently good for family use. Coal used for family purposes is brought from the works of Quarter, in the parish of Hamilton, and Marlage, in the parish of Dalserf. The distance to each is about five miles; and 14 cwt. can be laid down at Strathaven for 5s.
Hydrography.— The Avon is the principal stream in the parish, which it divides nearly into two equal parts. It rises on the confines of Ayrshire, and runs nearly east by north. It is a beautiful stream, with gently sloping banks; but which unfortunately are almost entirely destitute of wood. Indeed the want of wood is felt throughout the whole parish, especially in the upper district of it. There are several smaller streams which join the Avon in its progress through the parish. There are Cadder and Pomilion on the north;
and Givel, or Geil, Lochar, Lowhere, or Lockart, and Kype, on the south. On this last stream at Spectacle-eye-miln, about a mile to the south of Strathaven, there is a considerable waterfall. The waters of the Kype fall over a precipice of about fifty feet. The scenery in the neighbourhood has been much admired. Trouts abound in all these streams. Salmon used to be found at the
very source of the Avon, till some erections were raised lower down the river, which for some years has prevented them from ascending. Report says that arrangements are now making to permit the fish again to ascend; so that we are in the expectation of being once more visited by this delightful fish.
Zoology-Grouse, 8c.— Vast quantities of grouse are to be found on the moors in the higher districts of the parish. His Grace the Duke of Hamilton has some thousands of acres in sheep pasture, and kept for grouse shooting. Perhaps few places in the south of Scotland are more favourable for game than the Strathaven moors. Partridges abound in the low lands. Plovers and ducks, &c. are to be found everywhere.
Horses and Cows.— The real breed of Clydesdale horses is reared here in considerable numbers. Tradition states, that, at a remote period, one of the Dukes of Hamilton sent a superior breed of horses to Avondale. They were kept in the castle; and from these and the common mares of the country have sprung the real Lanarkshire or Clydesdale breed of horses. It has been alleged, that of late this breed has been injured by being too much crossed with lighter horses, intended more for coaches and the saddle. They are, however, still to be found here in great perfection and beauty. The cows kept here are of the Ayrshire kind. They are reared in great numbers. Indeed, it is said that this race of cattle can be obtained here as pure as in most places in Ayrshire. It has been alleged that the Ayrshire farmer, when tempted by a price, will part with the very best of his stock; while with us, the farmers retain the best, and part with those which are accounted not so valuable.
Strathaven veal has long been held in high estimation. It is reared here in great quantities, and sent both to Edinburgh and Glasgow; but chiefly to the Glasgow market. In preparing the animals for market, they are kept in a dark place, and fed with great care. The ordinary price of fed veal is from L. 3 to L. 5. But a much higher sum has been obtained for those particularly large and well fed.
Botany.--Hippuris vulgaris (rare) is found in Moss Malloch; Utricularia vulgaris, in Lochgate Loch; Eriophorum vaginatum, in the moors; Sherardia arvensis, in dry corn fields; Plantago maritima, near Drumclog; Parnassia palustris, in wet moors; Nasturtium terrestre, in the rivulet near the Relief manse; Ophioglossum vulgatum, in high wet pastures; Lycopodium selaginoides, moors in several places; Sphagnum cuspidatum, East Lochgate; Dicranum flexuosum, moss east of Hawkwood-hill; Bryum attenuatum, near the head of Unthankburn; Merulius crassipes, on the roots of decayed trees; Helvella mitra, Bonnanhill.
II.-Civil HISTORY. Antiquities.— A Roman road can be traced for a considerable distance in the parish. It runs along the south side of the Avon, and passes the farm of Walesley. On the farm of Gennerhill some shoes or sandals of Roman manufacture have been found, and also some small coins. A few years ago some coins were also discovered on the lands of Torfoot, near to Loudoun-hill, and on the very line by which the Romans when crossing the Caledonian forest, must have marched towards the west coast.