THAT the sirnames of Torrance and Calderwood originated in this parish, is not improbable. Concerning the latter, the following story is handed down, by tradition, among the family of Calderwoods in the shire of Ayr. They say, “that, at a remote period, there lived at Calderwood, in Kilbride, a family of the name of Calderwood, whose forefathers had, for time immemorial, possessed that place. this family, at last, consisted of three sons and a daughter. The sons having unhappily quarrelled with the priest of the parish, and finding it not safe to remain any longer in Calderwood, fled for protection to the Earl of Cassils, who gave them three separate farms; namely, Peacockbank, and Moss-side in the parish of Stewarton; and the Fortyacre lands in Kyle. These brothers had numerous families, which, in a short time, spread the name of Calderwood through the county. The sister, who was left in Kilbride, was married to a gentleman of the name of Maxwell, who got, by the marriage, the whole of her father’s estate.” If this story (which I had from one of the descendents of the brother who settled in Peacockbank) is true, it is probable that Calderwood anciently belonged to a family, bearing the name of the lands they possessed.
THE name of Flakefield, took its rise from a place called Flakefield in the upper part of the parish. About the middle of the last century two young men of the name of Wilson, the one from Flakefield and the other from the neighbourhood, went to Glasgow and commenced merchants. The sameness of the name had occasioned frequent mistakes in the way of their business. To prevent this, the one was, for the sake of distinction, in a short time, known from the other by the cognomen Flakefield, the place of his birth. His real sirname soon became obsolete, and he was afterwards called by the name of Flakefield, which, in place of Wilson, has descended to his posterity.
TO this man’s son the city of Glasgow, is, in a great measure, indebted for her present opulence and trade. I hope it will be thought not altogether foreign to our design, to mention the circumstance by which this was brought about. Wilson, Alias Flakefield, put one of his sons to the weaving trade. The lad, after having learned his business, enlisted, about the year 1670, in the regiment of the Cameronians, but was afterwards draughted into the Scottish Guards. He was, during the course of the wars, sent to the continent, where he procured a blue and white checked handkerchief, that had been woven in Germany. A thought struck Flakefield, that, were it his good fortune to return to Glasgow, he would attempt to manufacture cloth of the same kind. Accordingly he preserved, with great care, a fragment sufficient for his purpose. Being disbanded, in the year 1700, he returned to his native city, with a fixed resolution to accomplish his laudable design. Happy would it be for mankind, were travellers into foreign countries to pick up what might be useful in their own; and, like this praise-worthy soldier, return home possessed of some valuable acquisition. A few spindles of yarn, fit for his purpose, was all, at that time, William Flakefield could collect: the white was but ill bleached, and the blue not very dark; they were, however, the best that could be found in Glasgow. About two dozen of handkerchiefs composed the first web. When the half was woven he cut out the cloth and took it to the merchants, who, at that time, traded in Salmon, Scottish plaiding, Hollands and other thick linens. They were pleased with the novelty of the blue and white stripes, and especially with the delicate texture of the cloth which was thin set in comparison of the Hollands. The new adventurer asked no more for his web than the neat price of the materials, and the ordinary wages for his work. All he asked was readily paid him, and he went home rejoicing that his attempts were not unsuccessful. This dozen of handkerchiefs, the first of the kind ever made in Britain, were disposed of in a few hours. Fresh demands were daily made on the exulting artist for more of his cloth; and the remaining half of his little web was bespoken before it was woven. More yarn was procured with all speed, and several looms were immediately filled with handkerchiefs of the same pattern. The demands increased in proportion to the quantity of cloth that was manufactured. Some English merchants, who resorted to Glasgow for thick linens, were highly pleased with the new manufacture, and carried, for a trial, a few of the handkerchiefs to England. The goods met with universal approbation. The number of looms daily increased, so that, in a few years, Glasgow became famous for that branch of the linen trade. A variety of patterns and colours was soon introduced. the weavers in Paisley, and the neighbouring towns, engaged in the business; and the trade was at length carried on to a great extent. Thus, from a small beginning, a very lucrative and useful branch of business took its rise; and which has been the means of introducing others still more extensive. The Checks were followed by the Blunks, or linen cloth for printing; and to these is now added the Muslin-trade, which, at present, extends to the amazing sum of nearly two millions sterl. per ann. and Glasgow is universally acknowledged to be the first city in Scotland for manufactures. But neither William Flakefield, nor any of his descendents, ever received any reward, or mark of approbation, for the good services done, not only to Glasgow, but to the nation at large. Flakefield, however, having, during his service in the army, learned to beat the drum, was, in his old age, promoted to the office of town-drummer; in which office he continued till his death.
WHAT is the most ancient sirname in Kilbride cannot now be known. From the following rhyme, which is sometimes repeated by old people, it would appear that some names are of considerable antiquity.
Since snow was snow, and grass was grass,
There were Craigs in the Park, and Flemings in Knowglass:
watts in the Claddans, and Struthers in the Skioch.
These places, since they became the property of the Earl of Eglinton, have changed their ancient inhabitants. The Strangs, Wilsons, and Reids, are names that have long prevailed in this part of the country. The Hamiltons have, for many years, been considerably numerous. The most conspicuous were the Lairds of Torrance. From them descended the Hamiltons of Westburn, Ladyland, Aitkenhead, Daichmont, Woodhall, and several other families of distinction.
TO know the rise of sirnames in Scotland, and where these names have, at different times, chiefly prevailed, would be of considerable advantage. Thereby the connections that have been formed between ancient families might, in some measure, be traced out: and the migration of names from one part of the country to another laid open to our view. An accurate account of sirnames, in separate parishes, would, in this respect, be of considerable utility. I have, therefore, drawn up the following list of the names of heads of families in Kilbride; to which is subjoined, the number of families belonging to each name. The names of widows, although they may keep house, are not included.
Containing the Sirnames of the Male Heads of Families in KILBRIDE,
with the number of Families belonging to each Name, Anno 1790.
|Aiton, 1||Gault, 1||Pedie, 4|
|Alexander, 6||Gilmour, 4||Pettigrew, 1|
|Allan, 4||Graham, 5||Pollock, 7|
|Allison, 7||Granger, 7||Rankin, 3|
|Anderson, 2||Grisbey, 1||Reid, 12|
|Arbuckle, 1||Guthrie, 1||Riddell, 9|
|Arniel, 3||Hamilton, 21||Robertson, 2|
|Baird, 4||Hart, 1||Russel, 4|
|Banantyne, 1||Hunter, 1||Sawers, 2|
|Barclay, 2||Jackson, 7||Scott, 5|
|Barr, 2||Jamieson, 2||Scouller, 1|
|Barrie, 1||Johnson, 1||Semple, 2|
|Barter, 1||Kirkland, 4||Shaw, 1|
|Bowman, 1||Knox, 1||Simpson, 1|
|Brown, 7||Kyle, 1||Sinclair, 1|
|Brouning, 4||Lambie, 1||Smith, 13|
|Brounlie, 2||Lammond, 1||Spiers, 2|
|Bryce, 2||Law, 1||Stark, 1|
|Bryson, 1||Lawson, 2||Steel, 3|
|Buchanan, 1||Leggat, 4||Steven, 6|
|Burns, 4||Leitch, 1||Stevenson, 2|
|Burnside, 2||Lennox, 1||Stirling, 3|
|Cairns, 1||Liddel, 1||Strang, 8|
|Calder, 1||Lindsay, 12||Struthers, 15|
|Caldwell, 2||Logan, 1||Stuart, 1|
|Campbell, 4||Lyon, 3||Sutherland, 1|
|Christie, 2||McAuley, 1||Syme, 2|
|Coats, 4||McKey, 1||Symours, 1|
|Connell, 1||McLean, 1||Tassie, 1|
|Cook, 4||McMath, 2||Thomson, 6|
|Craig, 7||Mair, 1||Torrance, 1|
|Crawford, 4||Marrow, 1||Turnbull, 1|
|Criechton, 1||Marshall, 2||Turner, 1|
|Cuthbertson, 1||Mauchlane, 2||Walker, 1|
|Cutter, 1||Maxwell, 1||Wallace, 6|
|Davidson, 1||Millar, 3||Warnock, 4|
|Denham, 1||Mitchell, 1||Watson, 14|
|Douglass, 1||Montgomery, 3||Watt, 9|
|Drummond, 1||Morrison, 1||Wilkie, 2|
|Duncan, 1||Morton, 1||Wilson, 19|
|Dykes, 2||Muirhead, 1||Woddrow, 1|
|Edmeston, 1||Murray, 1||Wood, 1|
|Fleming, 10||Orr, 5||Whyte, 1|
|Forrest, 1||Park, 5||Yates, 1|
|Foster, 1||Paterson, 10||Youll, 2|
|Fram, 1||Peden, 1||Young, 18|
BUT the parish of Kilbride is honoured, not only with several ancient and extensive families, but with a considerable number of individuals, who have added to the credit of their families, and splendour of their names. The camp and the court are indebted to the MAXWELLS of Calderwood, and STUARTS of Torrance for men of distinguished abilities, who honourably supported leading characters in their several departments. An extensive benevolence to mankindm valour and courage untainted by meanness, with a deep penetration into the affairs of state, shine with the brightest lustre on their names. To mention particular instances, in which their abilities and humane dispositions were remarkably displayed, would be to write a history of their lives. Let it suffice to observe, that the enterprizes in which many of them acted a conspicuous part, not only in Europe, but in the East and West Indies, will celebrate their memory, whilst the annals of our nation exist.
NOR will the name of HUNTER ever be forgotten by the Literati of Europe. The late Dr. William Hunter,* and John his brother, who are among the first in the list of men of science, in the present age, were born at Long-Calderwood, about a mile and a half from the village of Kilbride. The former is so well known, that it will be needless here to mention particulars. I shall only observe, that, for great abilities and uncommon success, he is distinguished as a physician: and that his name is immortalized, when he is considered as a careful enquirer into the works of nature and art. His collection of antiquities and natural curiosities is not equalled, perhaps, by any private museum in Europe.
His brother, Dr. John Hunter,** who has arrived at the head of his profession in London, is, by his medical investigations, &c. &c. daily adding honour to his name, and place of nativity.
BUT characters of great worth are not confined to distinguished birth, or liberal education. The parish can boast of several individuals, in the inferior stations of life, whose conduct, on some occasions, would do honour to nobility itself.
THE people, in general, are sober, industrious, and frugal. They possess from their forefathers a courageous and independent spirit, which, as it enables them, on the one hand, to bear misfortunes with magnanimity; so it forbids them, on the other, to receive, with impunity, the affronts that may be offered them. Being easy in their circumstances, they know not what it is to cringe or to flatter: they have suffered but few encroachments on their liberty, either civil or religious; of course their spirits are not broken by means hostile to the rights of men, or of christians.
I shall conclude this chapter with a Table of the names of the most remarkable places in the parish.
Containing the Names of the most remarkable Places in the Parish.