[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]
LANARK, a parish in the Upper Ward of the county of the same name, and situation nearly in the centre of that shire. It lies along the eastern bank of the Clyde, which divides it from Pittenain and Carmichael on the south, and from Lesmahago on the west. Carluke bounds it on the north, and Carstairs on the east. It is of an irregular form, is fully 6 miles in length, and varies from 3 to 5 in breadth. With the exception of the precipitous and highly romantic banks of the Clyde and the Mouse, the land of the parish generally consists of an elevated level, the highest parts being the moors of Lanark and Lee, which are about 760 feet above the sea-level. There are no hills in the parish which deserve the name. The soil, which lies upon a substratum of old red sandstone, of different degrees of thickness, is very variable in quality. The orchard husbandry is practised in this parish, but not extensively; and terms of late years have been so unremunerating, that this branch of industry is more likely to decline in future than to increase. The total amount of produce in the parish has been estimated at about £25,000 per annum. The country is beautifully diversified with timber, consisting both of old natural wood, and of modern plantation; and in the former respect the estates of Lee, Bonnington, and Cleghorn, are richly ornamented. The banks, too, of the Clyde and Mouse, are beautifully fringed with natural wood and plantation. In the vicinity of the mansion of Lee, are two trees, which are celebrated in the district alike for their age and size. The first is a majestic oak, understood to be one of the few remains of the olden Caledonian forest; it is called the Pease tree, is 60 feet in height, 30 in circumference, and though it still continues to bourgeon and blossom, the effects of time have carved out such a hollow in the trunk, that ten persons have been able to squeeze themselves into the cavity. The other is a splendid larch, whose branches tower to the height of 100 feet, with a circumference of trunk of 18 feet, and is altogether one of the most gigantic specimens of the kind in the country. Regarding the salubrity of Lanark, the following statement, made half-a-century ago by Mr. William Lockhart of Baronald, in the Old Statistical Account, is still perfectly applicable. He says:- “This parish, from its high, dry, and airy situation, is perhaps as healthy a one as in Scotland. Being situated in the centre of the island, it is equally free from the eastern fogs and the violence of the western rains, so that the air is always pure and clear. The climate, although drier than about Glasgow, or even Hamilton, is certainly somewhat wetter than about Edinburgh, but is more than compensated by the absence of the eastern fogs, so disagreeable in the neighbourhood of that city. Spring droughts frequently retard the crops very considerably, and sometimes spring frosts. Heavy rains in July and August, which are pretty common here, have a similar effect in keeping back the harvest; but in general the crops are earlier than in the neighbouring parishes, and even more so than those lying much lower and further down the Clyde.” Although in the immediate vicinity of the great western coal-field, Lanark may be said to be entirely destitute of the more valuable kind of minerals. There is a post-office situated in the town of Lanark, and the parish enjoys the most ample means of communication, possessing 15 miles of turnpike-road. There are stage-coaches to and from Edinburgh and Glasgow daily in summer, and less frequently in winter. There are here two bridges over the Clyde, one of them called the Old bridge, about a mile below the town, and a very middling structure, built in the 17th century; the other called the Hyndford bridge, fully 2 miles from the town, is a modern erection of great lightness and elegance. There are five bridges over the Mouse; and one of these, the Cartlane bridge, which was constructed about 18 years ago by the celebrated Telford, is remarkable for its beauty and boldness of design. It has three arches, of 52 feet span each; the height from the channel of the stream to the parapet is 125 feet, and to the spring of the arch it is 84. The parish contains the ancient royal burgh of LANARK, and the large and thriving manufacturing village of NEW-LANARK, which will be found noticed under their respective heads. The gross population of the parish was, in 1801, 4,692; in 1811, 6,067; in 1821, 7,085; in 1831, 7,672; and in 1841, 7,666. Assessed property, £9,715. Houses, in 1831, 824.
This parish contains some of the most beautiful objects of river scenery in the kingdom, viz., the falls of Bonnington, Corra Linn, and Stonebyres, which, when “summer days are prime,” court and receive the visits of tourists from many lands; but for a full description of these, the reader is referred to the article CLYDE. Cartland Crags form a very beautiful feature in the natural phenomena of the parish of Lanark, and are nearly as much visited by tourists as the falls themselves: see CARTLAND CRAGS. A few years ago, the elegant bridge already noticed, of three arches, was erected, and spans the chasm at its lower extremity. The architecture is entirely in keeping with the scenery around, and adds the ornament of art to the majesty and beauty of nature. The parish is situated in the presbytery of Lanark, and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. Patron, the Crown. Further particulars regarding its ecclesiastical state will be found in the next article.
There are few historical details connected with the parish which do not more properly belong to the town. The old Roman road passes through it, and the remains of a Roman station are still visible in a park in the neighbourhood of Cleghorn-house. The ingenious General Roy conceives that this camp was the work of Agricola. It extended 600 yards in length, by 420 in breadth, and would afford accommodation for two legions on the Polybian establishment, or 10,500 men. On Lanark moor, on the side of the Mouse opposite to Cleghorn, another small exploratory camp of the Romans is situated. The great Roman road alluded to, and well-known by the name of Watling-street, traverses this moor; from thence it passes the Mouse a little to the east of Cleghorn bridge, then through the enclosures at Cleghorn, leaving Agricola’s camp on the right, and from thence by Collylaw, Kilcadzow, Coldstream, and Zuilshields, to Balstane, near Carluke. About a mile north of the burgh, and perched upon the very brink of Cartlane Craigs, 200 feet above the bed of the stream, are seen the remains of a curious old stronghold, called by some Castledykes, and by others the castle of the Quaw. Nothing is known of the date of its erection, or of its object. The picturesque ruins of a lofty tower occupy a prominent situation on the banks of the Mouse. It is called Castlehill, and the Lockharts of Cambusnethan take their title from it. The most ancient families in the parish are those of Lee and Cleghorn; but the names of many eminent and remarkable men have been associated with it. Sir William Wallace resided in it, after his marriage with the heiress of Lamington. The Rosses of Lamington are the representatives, in the female line, of this olden family, and in their mansion-house at Bonnington, in the parish of Lanark, are preserved some interesting relics of the patriot, which were brought from the old castle of Lamington. There is a portrait of the hero, which is averred by tradition to be a very correct likeness. There is also a heavy oaken seat, which has been known for many generations by the name of ‘Wallace’s chair;’ and the large posts which compose its frame-work have a sufficiently ancient appearance so far as to justify the tradition. The third relic is an ancient drinking cup, composed of oak, with a silver hoop round the rim, and one of the oldest known to exist in the country. It is called ‘Wallace’s quaich.’1 Sir William Lockhart of Lee, a great statesman and general under the Protector Cromwell, and under Charles II., and who was at the same time Lord-justice-clerk, was born in the parish, and received the rudiments of his education in Lanark school. Dr. William Smellie, the celebrated accoucheur, and author of the treatise on Midwifery, was born in the neighbouring parish of Lesmahago, but educated at Lanark; and the learned and ingenious General Roy, who was born in the neighbouring parish of Carluke, was also educated here. Dr. Smellie bequeathed to the school his valuable library, with £200 to provide a room for its accommodation. William Lithgow, the noted traveller, was born in the parish, and set out from it in early life, returning to it after a lapse of many years, frightfully maimed and disfigured in body, and shattered in constitution, the result of cruel treatment in those foreign countries in which he had travelled. He died here, and was buried in Lanark churchyard, but no vestige of his tomb can now be traced. Robert Macqueen, the late Lord-justice-clerk of Scotland, better remembered for brutality and heartlessness on the bench than for his ability, was born, and received his early education in the parish. He took his senatorial title of Lord Braxfield from his estate of that name in the neighbourhood of Lanark. The estate of Jerviswood, the patrimonial inheritance of Baillie the martyr, is situated here, and it is recorded that he found concealment in a recess in the mansion-house from the ruthless soldiery who pursued him. Sir John Lockhart Ross, so justly distinguished for his naval exploits, was born in Carstairs, but became connected with this parish by his marriage with Lady Ross Baillie, by whom he acquired the charming property of Bonnington. He built the present mansion-house, and frequently resided in it. The pious David Dale, who deserves an honourable niche in the historical annals of the parish, from his having founded the village and cotton manufactory of New-Lanark. He is still spoken of with much affection by the elders of the village. His son-in-law, Robert Owen, the founder of the new code called the “Social System,” is also well-known in the parish, from his having been the manager and part proprietor of the New-Lanark works, which he finally left in 1827, not, however, until he had made an abortive attempt to introduce the practice of that system which he promulgated for the renovation of society.
The celebrated Lee Penny is deposited at Lee-house, a fine old mansion, modernized within the last few years in the castellated form, and the seat of Sir Norman Macdonald Lockhart, baronet, the representative of a long and illustrious line of ancestors. In the olden time, this stone or penny was held in great repute from the medicinal virtues which were attributed to it, not only for healing the diseases of bestial, but for its effects in restoring the human species from disease and danger. This ancient relic is a small triangularly shaped stone, of what kind lapidaries are unable to determine, and is set in a silver coin, which from the appearance of a cross upon it, is supposed to be a shilling of Edward I. The way of applying the remedy was by drawing the stone once round and dipping it three times in a goblet of water, of which the patient drank, or applied the liquid to the wound. This process was known by the phrase of three dips and a sweil. This talisman has been in the family of the Lockharts of Lee ever since the days of Robert the Bruce, and according to well-authenticated tradition it came into their possession in the following manner: – Sir Simon Locard of Lee accompanied the good Sir James Douglas in his mission to deposit the heart of the Bruce in the Holy Land; and to defray his expenses, a deed still in existence, dated 1323, shows that he borrowed a sum of money from Sir William de Lindsay, prior of Ayre, to whom he gave an annuity bond for £10 over his lands of Lee. From Sir Simon’s services in this mission, the name of Locard was changed to Lock-heart or Lockhart, and the armorial bearings of the family show a heart within a lock, and the motto, Corda serata pando [I lay open locked hearts]. Although the good Sir James Douglas was killed fighting with the infidels in Spain, Sir Simon made his way to the Holy Land, and in the course of his encounters there took prisoner a Saracen chief, for whose liberty a large sum of money was offered by his lady. In counting out the amount of the ransom-money, the lady dropped this gem from amongst it, and evincing great eagerness to pick it up, the Scottish knight made inquiry regarding it, and reluctantly these Were explained, upon which Sir Simon declared that it must form part of the ransom, otherwise the Saracen chief would remain in his fetters. Her affection for her husband being stronger than her regard for the talisman, the lady yielded it up, and it has ever since remained the property of the Lockhart family. The house of Lee used often to be resorted to by the diseased to be healed by its virtues, and more than once the Lee penny has been lent to individuals or public bodies for the same purpose, but always for a short period, and upon due security being given for its safe return. In the reign of Charles I., when the plague was raging in Newcastle, the corporation obtained the loan of the Lee penny, and gave a bond of £6,000 in security. Its effects seem to have been extremely beneficial, for the corporation were disposed to forfeit the bond, and retain the stone; but the laird of Lee would not agree to this appropriation, and his penny was accordingly returned. On another occasion, about the beginning of last century, it was applied for by the husband of a Lady Baird of Saughtonhill, near Edinburgh, and was exhibited in her case with great efficacy. The lady had been bitten by a rabid dog, and symptoms of hydrophobia are said to have commenced before the magic stone arrived; but by drinking the water in which it had been dipped, and by bathing her in it, Lady Baird was completely restored! The coin, to which a small silver chain is attached, is preserved in a gold box, the gift of the Empress Maria Theresa to the father of the celebrated Count Lockhart. The Lee penny has been beautifully introduced by Sir Walter Scott in his novel of ‘The Talisman.’ Up to a very late period, the supposed virtues of this ancient relic were occasionally called into requisition, especially by the peasantry, and its effects were often those which have been ascribed to it; but it is now well known that where a cure was performed the patient was more indebted for it to his imagination than to the Lee penny.2
LANARK, a royal burgh, and capital of the parish and of the upper ward of the county of the same name, is beautifully situated upon a rising slope of ground, about 300 feet above the level of the Clyde, adjacent to the town, and about 650 feet above the level of the same river at Glasgow. It is situated in 55° 34′ of N. latitude, and 3° 5′ of W. longitude. It is nearly in the centre of the Lowlands, being 25 miles distant from Glasgow, 31 from Edinburgh, 35 from Stirling, and 47 from Ayr. It is one of the most ancient burghs in Scotland, and was in the days of our fathers a place of much greater importance than at the present time, as may be learned from the fact of which we are informed by Buchanan, that, in 978, Kenneth II. held a parliament or assembly at Lanark, which is the first mentioned in history. At a very early date, but when no record exists to tell, it was accorded the importance of a royal town, and Malcolm IV., in granting a toft in Lanark, mentions it as in burgo meo; and his successor, William, speaks of it in the same terms. According to the best authority, however, Lanark was erected into a royal burgh as early as the reign of Robert I., who, in the fourth year of his reign, granted it a charter, which is confirmed by the latest charter in favour of the burgh, granted by Charles I. The burgh had obtained charters from monarchs subsequent to Robert, containing special privileges, and these are also confirmed in the charter of Charles I. In the reign of David II., Lanark had attained such importance that it was enacted by a parliament held at Perth in 1348, that while the burghs of Berwick and Roxburgh continued in the possession of the English, the burghs of Lanark and Linlithgow should be admitted in their place, as members of the court of four burghs. The charter of Charles I. is not now in existence, but the instrument of sasine is among the records of the town. From the precept of sasine the charter appears to have conveyed or confirmed to the burgh large landed property, which is particularly described. A considerable portion of this property is alienated, but a large portion still remains. By the charter – besides the usual privileges of a royal burgh in regard to fairs and customs – there is granted a right of sheriffship within the territory of the burgh. There is also specially renewed a grant of Queen Mary made to the royal burghs, and each of them, “Pro auxilio suorum burgorum et sustentatione eorum ministrorum, et pauperum,” of the rents, altarages, and chapels within the liberties of the burghs. Further, there are granted to the provost, bailies, councillors, and community of the burgh certain lands, gardens, houses, tofts, &c. within the burgh, which had belonged to the preaching friars, and certain altarages, named and described, with the right and patronage and presentation of the hospital of St. Leonard, for the benefit of the poor within the burgh. Lanark, too, lays claim to having been at one time a royal residence, though it is long since all traces of its site have passed away. Upon a small hill between the town and the river, the royal castle is said to have stood; and that such did exist within the precincts of the town is not to be doubted, from the fact of William the Lion having dated from it, in 1197, the charter to the burgh of Ayr; and further, history informs us that the castle or castelany of Lanark was mortgaged as part of the security for the jointure of the niece of Philip of France in the marriage negotiated between her and the son and heir of John Baliol. We also learn that, in the 13th century, the stronghold of Lanark was in the possession of the English. It is long, however, since Lanark has ceased to be regarded otherwise than as a pretty, quiet, healthful, rural town, attracting, in summer, many tourists, from its proximity to the romantic Falls of Clyde, and whose inhabitants are supported principally by a small share of manufactures, and the trade of the surrounding country population.
It consists principally of one main line of street, bearing respectively the names of the High-street and Westport, with several lanes diverging on either side, and the parish-church occupying a prominent position nearly in the centre of the town, in the niche over the eastern door of which is placed a colossal statue of the patriot Wallace, cut by the sculptor Forrest. Although they may be snug enough within, there are few of the houses which have any pretensions to elegance of appearance without, and many of them are still covered with thatch, according to the custom generally prevalent in the old Scottish towns in the last century. Many of the shops in the principal street, however, have a polished and tasteful appearance; but the most tasteful erections within it are, the Clydesdale hotel, the principal inn, and the property of a company of share-holders; the beautiful building erected a few years ago by the Commercial bank for the accommodation of their branch here; and the county-buildings, containing the county-offices in front, and the jail for the upper ward behind. The latter is a very chaste and graceful structure, built in the Grecian style, the foundation-stone of which was laid in March, 1834, and the erection completed in 1836. Previous to this, the old prison of Lanark excited the derision of every one, from its being such an exact representation of a small Scotch burghal prison of the olden time, where neither criminal nor debtor was found to remain longer within its walls than suited their own convenience. The town is lighted with gas prepared at a work erected in 1832, at a place called Steel’s cross in the western outskirts of the town. The principal industrial occupation is hand-loom weaving, at which about 800 persons are employed within the town, and when this is mentioned, it may be at the same time understood that their circumstances are of the poorest kind, from the recent painful depression of this once flourishing and vigorous, but now wretchedly depressed branch of trade. The writer of the New Statistical Account says: “The misery they have suffered has had the unhappy, but too common effect of plunging some of them [the weavers] into careless and dissipated habits; but the majority are well-behaved and intelligent men, and bear their hardships with commendable patience.” As a proof of the downhill course of this unfortunate profession, he adds the following facts: “On Martinmas fair day, 1812, a general strike took place and continued for nine weeks, because a certain description of work, 1200 pullicates, fell from 8d. to 6d. per yard. For the last three years the same description of work has been, upon an average, at 1½d. Accustomed at the former period to better days, the weaver believed that 6d. was too low a rate to afford him a livelihood, and it is only because it came upon them gradually that they have been able to survive the present depression. Forced by the pressure of immediate wants, they are accustomed to put their children of both sexes upon the loom at the early age of nine or twelve, by which means their numbers are continually augmenting, and the evil is increased.” Shoe-making is a much more thriving branch of business, at which about 100 persons are engaged in the town, chiefly for the supply of the Glasgow market, and a few are also made for foreign export. There are three breweries, in which business is done to some extent; and there are also three mills, two of them for grinding flour, chiefly for the supply of the town and neighbourhood. Upwards of 100 females are employed in flowering or embroidering lace, for which the remuneration is very small; but nevertheless it contributes materially to enable the humbler classes to eke out a scanty subsistence. There are none of the other trades sufficiently extensive, or characteristic of the place, to require notice. There are two markets held weekly in the town, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and there are seven fairs annually, for the sale of black cattle, lambs, and horses. By the census returns of 1841, the population of the burgh of Lanark, exclusive of the parish, is 4,818.
The inhabitants are in general an orderly and most respectable class of people, and from the excellence of the seminaries amongst them, their mental status is much more elevated than their worldly position. Annually, numbers of the younger inhabitants hive off to Glasgow and elsewhere in search of a wider and more remunerative field for their industry, and in their new professions it has been generally found that they exercise all the probity and industry of a semi-rural life. Within the town there is a savings’ bank established in 1815, religious societies, benevolent societies, and a library. The amusements of the inhabitants are generally of a very innocent and primitive kind, and in cases where crime has been perpetrated within the town or parish, it most generally happens that the guilty party is not a native. These amusements consist of following the old custom of riding the marches, which is done annually upon the day after Whitsunday fair, by the magistrates, burgesses, and inhabitants generally. It is called here the Lanemar, Landsmark, or Langemark day, probably from the Saxon word langemark. At all events the custom is of Saxon origin, and is believed to have been established in Lanark in the reign of, or somewhat posterior to the reign of, Malcolm I. One of the march or boundary stones is placed within the channel of the river Mouse, and for the purpose of impressing the boundaries of the burgh on the minds of those who attend the procession for the first time, it is not unusual to duck them, or at least as many as will submit to the immersion, in the stream. The day is generally observed as a gala, and horse and foot races, with other rustic sports, are held on the moor. Until within these last thirty years, another great annual festivity in the town of Lanark, and which had been observed from time immemorial, was the Candlemas procession of the scholars of the grammar-school. On this occasion the youth who presented the teacher with the largest gratuity or offering was called the king, and upon the Saturday before Palm Sunday, he walked through the town surrounded by his guards and other school-fellows, bearing large and small branches of a willow kind, ornamented with daffodils, mezereon, and box tree.
The sheriff-substitute for the upper ward holds his court at Lanark, and here the member of parliament for the county is nominated, and the return made. The town itself, which is governed by a provost and bailies, aided by the council, joins with Falkirk, Hamilton, Airdrie, and Linlithgow, in choosing a burgh representative. According to the recent report of the Parliamentary commissioners, the property of the burgh amounted in gross value to £25,784 1s. 2d., consisting of lands, houses, a mill, feu-duties, a common of 500 acres, an extensive plantation, six shares in the Clydesdale hotel, &c.; and at the same period, in 1831, the yearly revenue amounted to £927 18s. 8½d. In 1839, it had increased to £1,158. At the time of the report the debt amounted to £8,027, and the commissioners do not give much credit to the parties under whose management it was contracted. It has almost all grown into existence since the beginning of the present century.3 Since that period, however, the affairs of the burgh have been placed under a more judicious management, and they have improved accordingly. For more than two centuries, the keeping of the weights and measures for Scotland was committed to the care of the town of Lanark. The old act of the 20th June, 1617, bears, “in respect that the keeping and outgiving of the weights of old to the burrows and others, &c. was committed to the burgh of Lanark,” the “care of the weights” should be again intrusted to it. These olden national standards are still preserved, and bear the arms of the burgh, viz. a spread eagle with two heads. They were measured by Professor Robison in 1790, and again a few years afterwards, for the purpose of adjusting the standards of Edinburgh. The pound weight was then discovered to have lost about 7 grains English troy, giving 7,613 grains instead of 7,620 grains, which it should have contained by the act of parliament. Even with this error, however, the Lanark standard was better ascertained than any in Europe, with the exception of that at Brussels. A new set of standard weights were transmitted from London to Lanark at the time of the Union, and are of very beautiful workmanship, bearing the following date: “Primo Maii Anno Dom. 1707. – A. R. – An. Regni VI.” The act of 1826, by legalizing the Imperial standard, has superseded the old national weights committed to the keeping of Lanark, and they are now only retained as relics which the burgh would be sorry to part with.
The early ecclesiastical history of Lanark is not devoid of interest. The ancient parish-church was dedicated to Kentigern, the founder of the episcopate of Glasgow, and the patron saint; but it does not appear at what time, or by whom, it was erected, although it is known to have been in existence at the beginning of the 12th century. The large bell, which swung in it for centuries, and was afterwards removed to the present parochial church, had upon it three several dates, showing the various periods at which it had been refounded, one of them so far back as 1110. This old church, the ruins of which, now sadly dilapidated, stand about a quarter of a mile south-east from the town, has been an elegant Gothic building of hewn stone, divided in the middle from end to end, by a wall supported upon pillars, forming five or six fine arches, and around it is the burial-ground and cemetery where the “rude forefathers” of the town and parish for many generations repose. From Blind Harry’s Metrical history of the exploits of Sir William Wallace, it would appear that in these days this was the only church in the town; for in 1297, he makes his hero pass
“On from the kirk that was without the town.”
This church, with its tithes and pertinents, was granted by David I. in 1150 to the monastery which he had previously founded at Dryburgh. At Cleghorn, in the same parish, there existed in the 12th century, a chapel, which the canons of Dryburgh claimed as belonging to the church of St. Kentigern at Lanark, and their right to it was affirmed by ecclesiastical commissioners appointed by the Pope to decide the question. This parish-church, with all its pertinents, &c. was retained by the canons of Dryburgh till the Reformation, and till then they enjoyed the rectorial revenues, a vicarage having been established for serving the cure. Besides the chapel at Cleghorn, there were various others in the parish. The Templars possessed some lands at East Nemphlar, and erected a chapel there, the ruins of which recently stood about a mile and half north-west from the burgh. Within the town a chapel was dedicated to St. Nicholas, which at one time contained four different altars. One of these was dedicated to the Virgin, and called ‘Our Lady’s altar;’ another was consecrated to the holy blood of our Saviour, and called the ‘Haly bluid altar;’ a third was dedicated to St. Catherine; and a fourth to St. Michael. About half-a-mile east from the town stood St. Leonard’s hospital, in connexion with which a chapel was also founded, which served not only the hospital, but the people upon the estates which supported it. Several of these chapels were well-endowed; and among others it may he mentioned that Stephen Lockhart of Cleghorn, granted in mortmain the place of Clydesholm, with the profits arising from the passage-boat upon the Clyde, for the support of a chaplain at the altar of St. Catherine, in St. Nicholas chapel, at Lanark, and this grant was confirmed by the king in 1491. The lands attached to St. Leonard’s were, after the Reformation, formed into a parish of the same name; but by act of parliament in 1609, St. Leonard’s kirk, with the greater portion of the territory belonging to it, was incorporated with the parish of Lanark, and the edifice fell into ruins. Almost all the chapels in the parish having been ruined by the ferment of the Reformation, and the lands and tithes having passed into various hands, the old parish-church of St. Kentigern remained the principal, if not the only place of worship in the parish, after, however, having been stripped of all the relics of its former priests. In February, 1589-90, the presbytery taking this matter into consideration, resolved that “the kirk of Lanark should be removed from the auld place to a situation within the town;” but notwithstanding of this resolution, the kirk, or its ruins at least, still remain in the ‘auld place;’ and continued to be regarded as the parish-church till 1777, when the present edifice was built in the centre of the town. Before this period, however, the church of St. Kentigern had become ruinous, and the inhabitants of the town attended worship in the chapel of St. Nicholas, which had passed into the hands of the magistrates at the time of the Reformation. From the time of Charles II. till 1750, the patronage of the parish was claimed and exercised by the Lockharts of Lee; but about that time a contest took place concerning the right of patronage, which was now claimed not only by Lockhart of Lee but by the Crown, the town of Lanark, and Lockhart of Cleghorn. Presentees were simultaneously presented by the Crown, and the Laird of Lee, and as the populace favoured the claims of the Crown, some unruly tumults took place, and several of the rioters were tried by the court-of-justiciary, and punished. The question of the right of patronage came before the Court-of-session, which decided it in favour of Lockhart of Lee; but upon being appealed to the House of Lords, the decision of the lower court was reversed, and the patronage has since been exercised by the Crown. The parish-church, as has been stated, was built in 1777, and it underwent an extensive repair in 1834. At the period of its erection it was contracted that it should be seated for 2,300 sitters; that number, however, cannot be accommodated. The stipend, paid by 199 heritors, amounts to £305 8s. 10d.; glebe £15. Unappropriated teinds £585 1s. 2d. Anciently very elegant silver communion-cups were presented to the parish-church by the Laird of Lee; and Lady Ross Baillie also gifted to it a handsome baptismal bason, a clock, a pair of stoves, &c. Previous to the institution of a quoad sacra church and parish within the bounds of Lanark, a missionary in connection with the Establishment used generally to officiate at New Lanark. – The United Secession congregation was formed in 1791, in which year the church was built, to accommodate 690 sitters. The minister has £100 per annum, with a manse and garden. – The first Relief congregation was formed in 1794, and in the following year a church, which now accommodates 1,085 sitters, was built at an expense of more than £1,200. It has, however, been since repaired, and is considered to be worth £1,400. Stipend £150 per annum, with an advance of 7½ per cent. on every £100 of the congregational debt which is paid off. – The second Relief congregation was established in 1836, when a church, to accommodate about 800 persons, was built at an expense of about £1,000. Stipend £120 per annum. – The Original Burgher congregation was established about 1827; and the church, for the accommodation of 275 sitters, was built in 1829, at an expense of nearly £400. – An Old Independent congregation was established at New Lanark more than 50 years since, but the numbers are still, and have always been, inconsiderable. – There are altogether 12 schools in the parish, at which the ordinary branches are taught. Formerly the principal, or grammar-school of Lanark, enjoyed considerable reputation, and attracted scholars from parts far beyond the bounds of the parish, but although it has fallen off somewhat in this respect, it is still a most respectable and well-conducted seminary. The salary of the rector is £40 per annum, with about the same amount accruing from school-fees, and £20 annually arising from the office of session-clerk. The salary of the usher or assistant is £20. There are 28 bursaries connected with this school, of various degrees of value, but after the school-fees are paid, they may generally leave from £2 to £3 each for the benefit and support of the boys who enjoy them. The magistrates are the patrons. Nine of them were founded in 1648, by Mr. John Carmichael, commissary of Lanark, who mortgaged the lands of Batiesmains for their endowment. The others were endowed at various times by the family of Mauldslie, one of the Earls of Hyndford, and a chamberlain named Thomson. A free-school for the education of 50 poor children was founded in the town some years ago by a lady named Wilson, who mortgaged £1,200 for the purpose.
Lanark is celebrated in Scottish history, especially in the chronicles of Fordun and Blind Harry, as being the scene of the first exploits of the patriot Wallace. The accounts of this early part of his career are somewhat obscure; but the popular belief and tradition is, that the insolence and oppression of the English sheriff of Lanarkshire, William de Hesliope, having become insupportable, Wallace joined or instigated a rising of his countrymen, and, defeating the common enemy, put the obnoxious sheriff to death in the town of Lanark. The time of this occurrence is laid in 1297. Blind Harry, who enters fully into this detail, relates that Wallace having married a lady of the name of Braidfoot, the heiress of Lammington, lived with her privately at Lanark, and that while there a scuffle ensued in the street between Wallace and his friends and a body of Englishmen. The patriot, having been overpowered, fled, first to his own house and then to Cartlane Craigs, upon which the sheriff, Hesliope or Hesilrig, seized his wife, and put her to death. In revenge for the deep injury he had sustained Wallace gathered a party of his friends, attacked Hesliope in the night, and killed him with 240 of his band. Tradition informs us that the house in which Wallace resided was at the head of the Castlegate, opposite the church; and that a private vaulted archway led from this house to Cartlane Craigs; but the truth of the latter tradition seems extremely questionable. In 1310 the garrison was delivered up to Robert Bruce, when the town was finally freed from the presence of the English. Lanark is next noticed in history in connection with the Covenanters, who, on 12th January, 1682, entered the town, and affixed a declaration to the market-cross, denouncing the king, Charles II., as perjured, excommunicating him, and renouncing their allegiance. For this bold deed the privy-council fined the town in 6,000 merks, and issued processes against the landed proprietors, for not having seized the insurgents, or prevented the indignity which they had offered to the King. William Hervie and some other persons were soon after executed for their participation in publishing the Lanark declaration, or for having been present at Bothwell brig. Hervie’s grave is still pointed out in the churchyard.
Lanark gives the title of Earl to the noble house of Hamilton. William, the 2d Duke, who died of the wounds he received at the battle of Worcester, was created Earl of Lanark in 1639.