Britannia, by William Camden


Cluydesdale. Big C CLUYDSDALE (called also the Sheriffdom of Lanrick, from the Town of Lanrick, where the Sheriff keeps his Courts) is bounded on the South-East with the Stewartry of Annandale, on the South with the Sheriffdom of Dumfrise, on the South-west with that of Aire, on the North-west with that of Ranfrew, on the North with that of Dumbarton, on the North-east with that of Sterling, on the East with that of Linlithgow; and a little to the South-east, with that of Mid-Lothian. It is in length about forty miles; in breadth, where broadest, some twenty four, and where narrowest, sixteen miles. The country abounds with Coal, Peets, and Limestone; but what turns to the greatest account, is the Lead-Mines. It is divided into two Wards, the Overward and Netherward; this, hilly and full of heaths, and fit for pasturage; the other, plain and proper for grain. It is watered with the pleasant River of Cluyde, which gives name to the Shire. This rises at Errick-hill, and, running quite through the County, glideth by many pleasant Seats of the Nobility and Gentry, and several considerable Towns, till it fall into its own Firth at Dumbarton.⌉

Crawford-Moor. Near the head of the Cluyde, in Crawford-Moor among the wastes, the Husbandmen of the Country, after violent Rains, found a sort of shavings of Gold: which hath long given hopes of great Wealth; more especially, * * In our times, C.since B. Bulmer undertook with great application to find out a Mine of Gold.A Gold Mine. They certainly dig-up daily † Azurum.the Lapis Lazuli with little or no labour; ⌈and near this place, are the Lead-mines belonging to the Laird of Hoptoun.⌉

The Lindsays Earls of Crawford. Crawford-Castle, together with the title of Earl of Crawford, was confer’d by King Robert the second, on James Lindesay; who in a single Combat with Baron Welles an English-man, got much praise and commendation for his valour. The Lindsays have deserved exceeding well of their Country, and are of ancient Nobility; ever since William Lindesay married one of the Heirs of William de Lancaster, Lord of Kendal in England, whose * * Abneptis.great grand-daughter was married into the honourable family of Coucy in France. The Cluyd, after it hath, with much struggling, forced its way Northward by the † † of Baron Somervill,Baron Somervill. ⌈call’d CarnwathCarnwarth. (which being purchased by the family of Dalziel, who were created by King Charles the first Lords Dalziel, did, in the same reign, give the * * Now forfeited by Attainder.title of Earl to the same family;)⌉ receives from the West the river Duglas or Douglas, so called from its dark greenish water. This river gives name to the Valley through which it runs, called Douglasdale, and to the Castle therein, which again gives its name to the family of Douglass. Douglass or Duglass. This family is very antient, but hath been most eminent ever since James Douglas adhered firmly to King Robert Brus, and was ever ready with extraordinary courage, and singular prudence, to assist him, while he claim’d the Kingdom in those troublesome times: To him it was, that the same Robert gave his Heart in charge, to be convey’d to the Holy Land, for the performance of his Vow; in memory whereof, the DouglassesThe Douglasses. have added a Man’s Heart, in their Coat of Arms. Since when, this family hath grown up to such mighty power and greatness (especially after William’s being created Earl of Douglass by David the second,) that they have awed even the Kings themselves: for almost at one and the same time, there were six Earls of it, by the titles of Douglas, Angus, Ormond, Wigton, Murray, and Morton; amongst whom, the Earl of Wigton, for his Martial valour, and good services, was honour’d by King Charles the seventh of France, with the Title of Duke of Tourain,Dukes of Tours or Tourain. and left the same to two Earls of Douglass, his heirs. ⌈But upon the forfeiture of the Earl of Douglass in the reign of King James the second, the Earl of Angus got the Castle and Country of Douglass; whose descendant William Earl of Angus was created Marquiss of Douglass by King Charles the first. To which noble Family was added by Queen Anne, in the ninth year of her reign, the higher honour of Duke of Douglass. In Clydisdale, is also the seat of the Lairds of Carmichael; of which family, Sir James was created by King Charles the first, Lord Carmichael.⌉

Above the confluence of the Douglas and the Cluyde, lies Lanerick, the hereditary SheriffdomSheriffdom of Lanerick. of the Hamiltons, who owe their name to Hamilton-Castle, seated somewhat higher upon the Cluyd’s bank, in a place extremely pleasant and fertile. ⌈It is a Seat of the Duke of Hamilton; * * Theatrum Scotiæ.the Court whereof is on all sides adorned with very noble buildings. It has a magnificent Avenue, and a Frontispiece towards the East of excellent workmanship. On one hand of the Avenue, there are very fair large Gardens, well furnished with fruit-trees and flowers. The Park (famous for its tall Oaks) is six or seven miles round, and has the Brook Aven running through it. Near the Palace, is the Church, the Vault whereof is the burial-place of the Dukes of Hamilton.⌉Scotiae Their original is from England, as themselves affirm, viz. from a certain Englishman, sirnamed Hampton,The Hamiltons. who taking part with Robert Brus, received from him large possessions in these Parts. Their Estate was much augmented by the bounty of King James the third, who gave his own eldest Sister (after he had taken her from Boid ) to James Hamilton, in marriage, together with the Earldom of Arran: as their Honours were augmented by the States of the Kingdom, who, after the death of King James the fifth, ordained James Hamilton, this Lord’s Grandson, Regent of Scotland (who was likewise made Duke of Chasteau-HeraltDuke of Chasteau-Heralt. in Poictou, by Henry the second King of France;) as also by King James the sixth, who created his son John, Marquiss of Hamilton;Marquiss of Hamilton. a title wholly new, and never us’d before in Scotland. ⌈Afterwards, his grandson James Marquiss of Hamilton, was created Duke of Hamilton by King Charles the first, and his younger brother, William (Secretary to the said King) Earl of Lanerk, from the head burrough of the Shire; who after the death of his brother Duke James, was also Duke of Hamilton. But both these dying without issue-male, the Honour descended to the Lady Anne, eldest daughter to Duke James, who marry’d William Earl of Selkirk, created afterwards Duke of Hamilton. Also, the Lord John Hamilton, third son of William Duke of Hamilton, was created Earl of RuglenEarl of Ruglen. by King William the third.⌉

The Glotta or Cluyd runs hence by Bothwell,Earls of Bothwel. proud of its Earls; viz. John Ramsay, who was too much a creature of King James the third, to his own and the Prince’s ruin; and the Hepburns, of whom we have spoken before. Blantyre. ⌈Near this place is Blantyre, from which, Walter, Prior of Blantyre, was created Lord Blantyre by King James the sixth.⌉ Glasgow. Then, it runs streight through Glasgow, antiently a Bishop’s See, but long discontinued, till restor’d by King William. * * Ann.1607.
Anno 1154.
Now, it is an Archbishoprick, and an University, founded by Bishop Turnbull, who for the advancement of Religion, built a College here. It is the most celebrated Mart of this Tract, and much commended for its pleasant situation and † † Pomiferis Arboribus.plenty of Fruit; having also a handsome Bridge supported with eight Arches. ⌈In respect of largeness, buildings, trade and wealth, it is the chief City in the Kingdom, next Edinburgh. The river carries Vessels of small burthen up to the very town; but New-Glasgow, which stands on the mouth of Clyde, is a haven for Vessels of the largest size. Most part of the City stands on a Plain, and is almost four-square. In the middle of it (where is the Tolbooth, a very stately building of hewn-stone) four principal Streets cross each other, and divide the City as it were into four equal parts. In the higher part, stands the Cathedral Church, commonly called St. Mungo’s; consisting indeed of two Churches, one whereof is over the other. The Architecture of the pillars and towers, is said to be very exact and curious. Near the Church is the Archbishop’s Castle, fenc’d with a wall of hewn-stone: but its greatest ornament is the College, separated from the rest of the Town by an exceeding high wall; the Precincts whereof have been enlarged with some Acres of ground, purchased not many years since; and the Buildings repaired and adorned, by the care and prudent administration of the late Principal, the Learned Doctor Fall. In the year 1699. John Boyle of Kelburn was created Lord Boyle by King William the third; and was afterwards advanced to the higher honour of Earl of Glasgow by her Majesty Queen Anne.⌉

Of this Place, thus J. Johnston,

Non te Pontificum luxus, non Insula tantum
Ornavit, diri quæ tibi causa mali,
Glottiadæ, quantum decorant Te, Glascua, Musæ,
Quæ celsum attollunt clara sub astra caput.
Glotta, decus rerum, piscosis nobilis undis,
Finitimi recreat jugera læta soli.
Ast Glottæ decus, & vicinis gloria terris,
Glascua fœcundat flumine cuncta suo

Not haughty Prelates e’er adorned thee so,
Nor stately Mitres cause of all thy woe,
As Cluyd’s Muses grace thy blest abodes,
And lift thy head among the deathless gods.
Cluyd, great flood! for plenteous Fish renown’d,
And gentle streams that cheer the fruitful ground.
But happy Glasgow, Cluyd’s chiefest pride,
Glory of that and all the World beside,
Spreads round the riches of her noble tide.

⌈Nor does this tract want remains of Roman Antiquity. For from Errickstone in the one end, to Mauls Mire in the other, where it borders upon Reinfraw, there are evident footsteps of a Roman Causey or Military way, called to this Roman High-way. day the Watlin-street. This in some parts is visible for whole miles together; and the people have a tradition, that another Roman Street went from Lanrick to the Roman Camp near Falkirk.

Lismehago. At Lismehago, a Town in this shire, was a Priory and Convent of the Monks of the order of Vallis Caulium, a sort of Cistercians, founded by Fergus, Lord of Galloway, and a Cell of Kelso.⌉

Barons Reinfraw. On the hither bank of the Cluyd, lies the Barony of Reinfraw ⌈separated from the shire of Dumbarton on the West by the River Clyde (which carries up Ships of great burden for ten miles.) On the East, it is joyned to the Shire of Lanrick, and on the West and South to the Sheriffdom of Aire. It is in length twenty miles, and in breadth eight, but where broadest thirteen. That part which lyeth near Clyde is pleasant and fertil, without mountains; only, has some small risings: but that to the South, South-west, and West, is more barren, hilly, and moorish. The Nobility and Gentry of this Tract, keep up almost a constant relation, by marriage one with another. The convenience of the Frith of Clyde (the Coast whereof is all along very safe to ride in) hath caused good improvements in these parts.⌉

The Barony is so called from its principal Town, which seems to be Ptolemy’s Randvara,Randvara. and lies on the River Cathcart, upon which the antientBarons Cathcart. Barons of Cathcart have their habitation. Near adjoyning (for this little Province is full of Nobility) lies Cruikston,Cruikston. antiently the seat of the Lords of Darley, from whom by right of marriage it came to the Earls of Lennox; whence Henry, the Father of King James the sixth, was call’d Lord Darley. Halkead. Then, Halkead, the residence of the Barons of Ros,Barons of Roos. ⌈who have been Lords of Parliament ever since the reign of King James the fourth, and are⌉ descended originally of English blood, as deriving their Lineage from that Robert Roos of Warke, who left England, and came under the Allegiance of the King of Scots. Gumrock. ⌈Besides these, at the west end of a fair Bay, stand Gumrock Town and Castle, where is a good road and harbour lately contrived, and a village built. Greenock. More inward, stands Greenock, a good road, and a well-built town, of best account on all this Coast. It is the chief seat of the Herring-fishing, and the Royal Company of Fishers have built a House at it, for the convenience of trade. In the second year of Queen Anne, John Crawford was advanced by Her Majesty to the Honour of Viscount Mount-Crawford, which he afterwards changed again to the title of Garnock. Crawfird-Dyke. Near this, is Crawfird-Dyke, where are well-built houses: and a little more to the South, New-work,New-work. where the Town of Glasgow hath built a new Port, and called it Port-Glasgow,Port-Glasgow. with a large Publick House. Here is the Custom-house for all this Coast; and the Town of Glasgow hath obliged the Merchants to load and unload here.⌉ Paslay. Paslay, ⌈in these parts,⌉ was formerly a famous Monastery, founded by * * Walter.Alexander the second, High Steward of Scotland, and was inferior to few, in a noble Church, and rich Furniture. But, by the favour of King James the sixth, it † † Gives, C.gave a seat, and the title of Baron, to Claud Hamilton, a younger son of the Duke of Castle-Heralt. ⌈The Abbey and Church, with fair Gardens and Orchards, and a little Park for Fallow-deer, are all enclosed with a stone-wall, about a mile in circuit. The Monastery here was of the Order of the Cluniacks. The Chancel of the Church is yet standing; where lie buried Robert the second, and his mother. At this Town, is a large Roman Camp: the PrætoriumPraetorium is at the West end on a rising ground, upon the descent whereof the Town of Pasly stands. This Prætorium is not large, but has been well fortified with three fosses and dykes of earth; of which so much is still remaining, that one on horse-back cannot see over them. It seems to have inclos’d all that ground on which the Town stands, and may have been about a mile in compass. When you tread upon the ground of the Prætorium, it gives a sound as if hollow; occasioned, probably, by some Vaults underneath, such as are at Camelon and Airdoch, two others of their Camps. About a quarter of a mile from this, are two other risings, one to the South, and the other to the West, which, with this, make a triangular form. By the footsteps remaining, they seem to have been little larger than the Prætorium of the first, without any fortifications, save a single Fosse and a Dyke of the same form. It is probable enough, that these might be the Stations for the outer-guards. Langsyde. At Langsyde also there is the appearance of an old Camp on the top of the hills. Here, a battle was fought between Queen Mary and the Earl of Murray, call’d the Field of Langsyde.

And (to give the Reader the remains of Roman Antiquity in this Tract, at one view) there were found at Erskin, upon the river Clyde the two following Inscriptions:


These are now placed, among others, in the Library at Glasgow.

In the Lands of New-yards, near Pasly, is a remarkable Spring,Ebbing-Spring. which is observed to ebb and flow with the tide, tho’ on a far higher ground than any place where the tide comes. The water of the River Whyte-Cart (upon which Paslay stands) is commended for its largeness, and the fineness of the Pearls that are frequently found hereabouts and three miles above. They fish for them mostly in summer-time, and meet with them at the bottom of the water in a fish-shell, much larger than the ordinary Muscle.⌉

Not far from Paslay, is Sempill,Barons Sempill. whose Lord is Baron Sempill, ⌈(advanced to that Dignity by King James the fourth,)⌉ and, by antient right, Sheriff of this Barony. But I have read, that the title of Baron Reinfraw by special right belongs to the Prince of Scotland.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52