Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Avondale

Avondale, a parish at the south-western extremity of the middle ward of Lanarkshire, containing towards its north-eastern angle the post-town of Strathaven, with a station on the Caledonian, 9½ miles S by W of Hamilton, and 19¼ (15 by road) SSE of Glasgow. Bounded NW by East Kilbride, N and NE by Glassford, E by Stonehouse and Lesmahagow, S by Muirkirk in Ayrshire, and W by the Ayrshire parishes of Sorn, Galston, and Loudoun, it has a length from N to S of from 6¼ to 9½ miles, a width from E to W of from 4¼ to 8 miles, and an area of 37,666¾ acres, of which 133½ are water. The Avon, rising in the extreme SW, takes a north-eastward course of 13 miles, first on the boundary with Galston, next through the whole interior, and then on the Stonehouse border, quitting the parish at 2 miles E by N of Strathaven. During this course its principal affluents are Glengarel Water on the right, flowing 5 miles NNW; Calder Water on the left, curving 5½ miles E by N, and tracing, with its sub-affluent the Little Calder, great part of the boundary with East Kilbride; Lochar Water on the right, flowing 3½ miles NNW; Kype Water on the right, curving 8½ miles, first NE, then NNW along the Lesmahagow and the Stonehouse border; and Powmillan Burn on the left, curving 7 miles SE through Strathaven, and tracing, with its Sub-affluent the Black Burn, the rest of the boundary with East Kilbride. The surface follows the channels of these streams, but has a general south-westward rise, attaining to the left or N of the Avon 805 feet above sea-level at High Coldstream, 624 near Netherfield, 846 near High Hook, 837 near Undergreen, and 933 at Hairshawhill. To the right or S of the Avon are the following eminences, of which those marked with an asterisk culminate on the southern boundary-Craigmuir (632 feet), Burnhead (783), Kypes Rig (1134), Middle Rig (1173), Martinside (1206), Berry Moss (1161), Hawkwood (1251), Side Hill (1411), Harting Rig (1475), Auchengilloch (1511), *Goodbush Hill(1556), Dungavel Hill (1502), Long Bank (1272), Regal Hill (1328), Millstone Rig (1212), Avonside (711), Mill Rig (1096), *Bibblon Hill (1412), *Backend Rig (1122), *Twopenny Knowe (973), Anderside Hill (1033), *Burnt Hill (1109), Little Hartmidden (1152), and Hart Hill (1294). The rocks are mainly trap or carboniferous, presenting many interesting phenomena at the junctions of the erupted masses with the strata- There are several limestone quarries, and clay is found for the manufacture of drain tiles; but a shaft that was opened some years ago to a seam of inferior coal, employed in the limekilns, has been abandoned. The uplands consist of stretch upon stretch of boggy grouse-moor, all naked now, but anciently clothed with the great Caledonian Forest, trunks of whose giant oaks are found from time to time among the mosses near the head of the Avon. The central and north-eastern parts, however, are relatively level and well-cultivated; and Hamilton of Wishaw must have referred to their light, dry soils, when, about 1710, he described this ` great paroch ' as ` a plentiful country, especially in grain, and no want of corns ' (Sheriffdoms of Lanark and Renfrew, new ed- 1878). Somewhat more than one-half of the entire area is arable; but it is by its dairy-farming that Avondale has long won most celebrity, the farmers of the Strath being scarcely equalled in fattening calves for the butcher. A Roman road, running parallel to the Avon, is traceable for 2¾ miles, from Lochar Mill to Sandford; Auchengilloch in the S, and Drumclog in the W, make Avondale famous in the annals of the Covenanters. Its local annals are thus epitomised by Hamilton:-'This baronie did anciently [temp. Alexander III., 1249-86] belong to the Bairds, and thereafter came to Sinclair, and from them to the Earl of Douglas, with whom it continued several ages, and after his fatal forfaulture, in anno 1455, it was given by King James the Third to Andrew Stewart, whom he created Lord Avendale [1457], and it continued with him and his heirs until 1538 or thereby, that he exchanged it with Sir James Hamilton for the baronie of Ochiltree, in the parliament 1543. From which tyme it continued with the successors of Sir James Hamilton until it was acquired by James, first of that name, Marquess of Hamilton [1533-1604]; and continueth with his successors since- There are many small vassals in this parish, besyde three or four gentlemen,-Overtoun, Netherfield, Rylandsyde, Lethem, and Kype; but all of them hold of the familie of Hamilton- ' To-day the chief mansions are Netherfield House, 1½ mile ENE, and Lethame House, 1¼ mile W, of Strathaven; and the Duke of Hamilton owns about one-fourth of all the lands in the parish, with Superiority over the rest, these being shared among 5 proprietors holding each £500 annual value and upwards, 60 between £100 and £500, 51 between £50 and £100, and 88 between £20 and £50. In the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, this parish is divided, quoad sacra, into Avondale (pop. 3259 in 1871) and the chapelry of East Strathaven (pop. 2201). The living is worth £473; and both churches, being situated at Strathaven, will be noticed in the article thereon, along with the Free church, three U.P. churches, and Roman Catholic church. Under the school-board there are 5 public and 3 denominational schools, viz., Barnock, Chapel, Crosshill, Drumclog, Gilmourton, Glengivel (Gen. As.), Strathaven (Free Ch.), and Strathaven (R. Cath.). With total accommodation for 946 children, these had (1879) an average attendance of 766, and grants amounting to £681, 18s. 5d. Valuation (1881) £39,947, 12s. Pop. (1831) 5761, (1861) 6125, (1871) 5460, (1881) 5466, of whom 3812 belonged to Strathaven.—Ord. Sur., sh. 23, 1865.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 4th order divisions")
Administrative units: Avondale ScoP       Lanarkshire ScoCnty
Place: Avondale

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