Eaglesham, pp.420-421.

[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]

   EAGLESHAM,1 a parish which forms the south-eastern portion of the county of Renfrew. It extends about 6 miles from east to west, and about 7 from north to south; and is bounded on the north-west by Mearns, in the same county; on the south-west by Fenwick, and on the south by Loudoun, both in Ayrshire; and on the east by Carmunnock and East Kilbride, both in Lanarkshire. The soil is various. The higher and western districts consist partly of dry heath, and partly of deep moss, with a number of green hills, and much natural meadow-ground. The moors are among the best in Scotland for game. The arable land in the lower part of the parish is very productive. The whole parish enjoys free air and excellent water, and is remarkably healthy. The river White Cart takes its rise out of the moors of Eaglesham and East Kilbride, and in its course northwards divides the counties of Lanark and Renfrew. The water of Earn, a tributary of the Cart, flows on the north-west of this parish, which is also watered by several rivulets, and contains two small lakes, Binnend and Lochgoin, the latter giving name to a farmstead where dwelt John Howie, author of the ‘Lives of Scottish Worthies.’ Balagich and Dunwan, each about 1,000 feet above the level of the sea, are the highest hills in the parish, and, indeed, with two exceptions – Mistylaw and Hill of Staik – the highest in the county. At Balagich there have been observed several pieces of barytes. There are also found large masses of wacke or osmond stone, which stands the strongest heat without renting, and is, therefore, used in building ovens and other furnaces. – The estate of Eaglesham formed part of the extensive grant made by David I. to Walter, the founder of the House of Stewart, before the middle of the 12th century. By Walter it was transferred to Robert de Montgomery, who was one of those knights that accompanied him when he migrated from England to Scotland. This estate, which was the first, and, for two centuries, the chief possession of the Scottish family of Montgomery, has remained their property, undiminished, for the long period of seven hundred years. For their succession to the Eglinton estates and their elevation to the peerage, see article EGLINTON. – Between the Cart and a rivulet called Mains water, part of the ruins of the castle of Polnoon, or Ponoon, may still be traced. It was built by Sir John Montgomery of Eaglesham, with the money received for the ransom of Henry Percy, the celebrated Hotspur, whom he took prisoner with his own hand at the battle of Otterburn, in 1388. It is said that the ransom being called poind money, the name Polnoon was thence derived; but this seems strained and far-fetched. Polnoon lodge, which stands on the north-east of the village of Eaglesham, is a small mansion of modern construction, belonging to the Earl of Eglinton. – In the year 1769 the old village was demolished, and a new one begun to be built on a plan which was formed two years before by Alexander, the 10th earl, a nobleman of fine taste, who, however, did not live to see it completed. It chiefly consists of two rows of houses, generally of two stories, facing each other at the distance of 100 yards at the upper, and 250 at the lower end, the nature of the ground not admitting of a more regular line of street. The houses have each a kitchen-garden at the back. Midway between the rows there runs a streamlet to which, from each side, there is a gentle descent, partly formed into washing greens, and partly embellished with trees. Upon the whole, the appearance of this village is eminently beautiful. The tenements in the village are held of the family of Eglinton, on leases for 999 years, at a moderate ground rent. There is no other village in the parish. Cotton-spinning has been carried on here since the end of the last century. – Robert Pollok, the lamented author of ‘The Course of Time,’ was a native of this parish. He was born at North Muirhouse, where his father was a farmer, in 1798; was licensed to preach in connexion with the United Associate Synod in 1827; and died of consumption in the autumn of the same year. In his sketches of inanimate nature he returns again and again to the scenery of his beloved home: 

” ‘Mong hills, and streams, 

And melancholy deserts, where the sun 

Saw, as he passed, a shepherd only here 

And there watching his little flock; or heard 

The ploughman talking to his steers.” 

To the trees which overshadowed the paternal mansion, his verse thus pays homage:- 

“Much of my native scenery appears, 

And presses forward to be in my song; 

But must not now: for much behind awaits 

Of higher note. Four trees I pass not by, 

Which o’er our house their evening shadow threw:- 

Three ash, and one of elm. Tall trees they were, 

And old; and had been old a century 

Before my day. None living could say aught 

About their youth; but they were goodly trees: 

And oft I wondered, as I sat and thought 

Beneath their summer shade, or in the night 

Of winter heard the spirits of the wind 

Growling among their boughs, – how they had grown 

So high in such a rough tempestuous place: 

And when a hapless branch, torn by the blast, 

Fell down, I mourned as if a friend had fallen.” 

Population, in 1801, 1,176; in 1831, 2,372. Houses, in 1831, 242. Assessed property, in 1815, £10,117. The parish contains 15,450 English acres, and, excepting 550 acres, wholly belongs to the noble family of Eglinton. – Eaglesham is in the presbytery of Glasgow. Stipend £278 14s. 6d.; glebe £25; unappropriated teinds £856 2s. 5d. Patron, the Earl of Eglinton. A diminutive church, which existed before the Reformation, continued to serve as the parochial place of worship till 1790, when Archibald, the 11th Earl of Eglinton, much to his honour, erected and fitted up a handsome church of an octagonal form, with a steeple. – There are meeting-houses of the United Associate Synod, and a Reformed Presbyterian church here. – Salary of parochial school-master £30, with about £7 of other emoluments. 

1  In the Old Statistical Account we are gravely told that this place received its name from eagles having “often perched on the holm or low ground where afterwards the village was built;” but there is no reason to believe that it ever was frequented by these birds. A church having existed here from a remote period, a more probable derivation is from eaglais, (Gaelic,) ‘a church,’ and the Saxon term for a hamlet. Thus, Eaglaisham signifies the ‘church-hamlet,’ or, according to a Scottish phrase still in use, the kirk-town.

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