Eastwood, a Renfrewshire Parish

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This is a book which exists only in manuscript form in Glasgow University Library's Special Collections.  It was written in the 1940s by Andrew MacCallum, a journalist.  (Note that Eastwood Parish at that time was larger than the area we'd call Eastwood today.  MacCallum describes it as extending "from the centre of Shawmoss [now Maxwell] Park to Nitshill and Darnley, and Cathcart Castle.  As such it includes Mansewood, but covers a much wider area.)

Below are some snippets from the book.

About the Book

What became of Auldhouse Mansion, the oldest building in the area?

Where in the area did Oliver Cromwell's mules pasture?

Who were "The Queer Folk i' the Shaws"?

Horseracing in Shawlands?

Thornliebank FC in the Final of the Scottish Cup

Lost: One Standing Stone, 6ft high: What have been the area's greatest acts of vandalism?

Where was there a "Model Village"?

Where was there a coalmine in the area as recently as 1927?

What's a Drumlin?

The Patron Saint of Eastwood??

A burying ground in Mansewood?

Eastwood Parish Church

Oi, where's my railings?

Remains of an adult female and 2 - 3 year old child found

Auldhouse Mansion

Auldhouse Mansion is described as the oldest in the parish, dating back to 1631, and is mentioned in other local material.  Living here now, it would be easy to imagine it is no longer there - surely we'd know about it?  Surely it would be signposted?  It is still there, now looking a little the worse for centuries of alterations.  It is a residential property, and you can view it quite closely from outside.

It dates back to the time when the land was owned by men such as John de Auldhouse, Reginald de Aulhouse and (no kidding) Peter de Pollok.  On the kitchen lintel is an inscription dated 1631:

The bodie for the soul was framed
This house the bodie for
In heaven for both my place is named
In bliss my God t'ador.

Legend had it that Auldhouse was connected to Crookston Castle by a tunnel.

See more about Auldhouse Mansion here

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Oliver Cromwell at Robslee?

According to MacCallum, "after routing the Scots at Dunbar, Oliver Cromwell had his baggage mules pastured at Robslea."

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Railings Removed from Mansewood Houses

I'd been labouring under the misunderstanding that railings were removed from British garden walls in the First World War.  One of thoe scraps of paper on which the book was written revealed that it was during the Second World War.  It's a letter from Glasgow Corporation to MacCallum, dated 20 May 1942 explaining that his railings, but not his garden gate were scheduled for removal.

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Horseracing in Shawlands

As early as 1754 there is mention of Shaws Races and they continued into the first half of the 19th century.  These were held on the public road from Green Knowe to Kennishead.  In one of the events, each rider had to ride the horse of the man next to him, and the last to finish was the winner.  In another, the Goose Race, the winner was the person who managed to pull the head of a goose.  The prize was the goose itself.

Fame of the races was spread by the song "The Queer Folk i the Shaws", written in 1850 by James Fisher, which tells the tale of a boy who walked from the Glasgow the 3 miles to Shaws races.  He is warned by his mother

"And mind ye lad, the sayin's true
There's queer folk i' the Shaws."

In 1839, a race course was laid out on Bangorshill, in the Pollok estate, now part of Cowglen Golf Club, by Sir John Maxwell.  Races were held over the course of a 2 day meeting, but these lasted only two years.  At the time MacCallum wrote the book, there was still a hole called "Race Course", and part of the course was still visible.  The hole is there to this day (see http://www.cowglengolfclub.co.uk/cardcourse/hole.asp?ID=12 )

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Thornliebank FC in the Final of the Scottish Cup

Thornliebank Football Club was founded in 1875 and in the season 1879-80 they met Queens Park in the final of the Scottish Cup, losing 3-0.

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The area's greatest acts of vandalism?

There are three strong candidates for this title...

The 'loss' of a 12' Standing Stone at Cowglen MacCallum describes a standing stone at Cowglen "near Boydstone Road, midway between Kennishead and Barrhead Road. 6 feet above the ground, and at least as many below.  Age and purpose are unknown."  A more recent record refers to this stone as being 'lost', and my own explorations in the area failed to find it.  Losing a slab of rock at least 12 feet long seems remarkably careless. 
The guys we usually call vandals are often very determined and ingenious in achieving the damage they do, but knocking over and destroying or removing a stone like this must surely have been beyond even them.  Instead we have to look for more heavyweight vandals with more physical, mental and political resources available to them; developers or a council.  When and why the stone was lost remains unknown, but it seems sad that it could stand their for centuries and it takes the determination and insensitivity of our own generation to finally do away with it.

The extension of Auldhouse Mansion:  It is not possible to turn every old building in the country into a preserved tourist attraction or museum.  There is insufficient public interest to justify this, and it would occupy excessive amounts of much-needed residential space.  Conversion is therefore inevitable, but surely this should be tasteful, especially for our oldest buildings?  Observe then the work done to extend the former Auldhouse Mansion.  Windows and doors have been blocked off, and the extension itself has been built in shamelessly unclad breeze block.  Conservation areas elsewhere in the city would not allow the building of a garden shed in this material, but for some reason  possibly the poor surroundings, which the council might not expect to raise a protest  this extension was given planning permission and stands to this day.  I dread to think whether the inscription described above is still there.

The demolition of Rouken Glen House:  The picture shows Rouken Glen House.  It is not known when it was built, but it was owned by, among others, Dugald Bannatyne, the postmaster of Glasgow, John Smith - father of Madeleine Smith, famously acquitted of poisoning her lover, and Alexander Crum, one of the Crums of Thornliebank.  It was used as a miliatry base during the second world war, but was allowed to deteriorate to the extent that in 1963, the council felt justified in demolishing it.

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The Model Village

As early as 1760 there was a farm at Thornliebank, and in the 1770s part of the land was leased for a linen printfield.  This was where linen was bleached, washed, dyed, printed and pressed, relying on the availability of water from the Auldhouse Burn which flows into the  area from Rouken Glen.  This water supply was critical in the development of the area as in 1785, a large cotton mill was developed.  The Auldhouse burn was dammed to provide the power, and the dam can still be seen below the main road entering Thornliebank from the south.  The Crum family bought the printfield some time after 1789, and continued buying land and developing the business.  The heart of the works was a 30' water wheel.  In 1859 the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) visited Thornliebank.

The works covered an area of 35 acres now partly occupied by Thornliebank Industrial Estate.  The stone walls at the entrance to the estate, opposite the library are the original walls of the entrance to the works.

The Crums continued to develop the business and they built most of Thornliebank, including the houses, Thorntree Hall (still standing in the Main Street), the school and public baths.  In 1847, when the village population was around 1,500, they owned the entire village apart from three small tenements.  The remains of the public baths can be seen beside the main road to the south of the village.

There was some discord between the Crums and their workers.  Following a strike in the 1830s, they sacked a large number of their local employees and replaced them with migrant workers from Ireland.  This substantially increased the number of Irish residents in the village and probably contributed to the need to build St. Vincent's Church in Thornliebank.

The library in Thornliebank was built in the 1890s in honour of Alexander Crum, who died suddenly in 1893 while waiting for a train at Thornliebank railway station.

The last of the Thornliebank Crums was William George Crum, who at the age of 89 sold Rouken Glen and moved to Longworth Manor, Berkshire in 1926.

Crum Family Group

Alexander Crum - Walter Crum

Thornliebank Printworks in Ruins

Aerial view showing the site of the former Thornliebank Printworks

Rouken Glen Mansion House, former home of the Crum Family

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Coalmining and Quarrying

There were various coalmines in the area, and a particularly large one at Cowglen, the old machine house of which was converted into a house on Boydstone Road.  In 1905, Giffnock Colliery was sunk north of the Busby  East Kilbride railway line, between the Burnfield Road bridge (next to the current Mini dealership) and Thornliebank Railway Station.  It operated until 1927.

There was a quarry at Giffnock - shown in the charming postcard opposite - which produced the finest quality sandstone for building and was used in many of Glasgow's buildings.  Another smaller quarry was located at Burnfield.  Where exactly this was is not known.  In 1870 quarrying was its peak, with several hundred men employed in local quarries.

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Eastwood Parish Chruch

The church that stands towards the Auldhouse Road end of Mansewood Road is in fact the second to have been built on that site.  A church was needed to accommodate that workers involved in the fabric industry on the banks of the River Cart.  The site was chosen to be as near to Pollokshaws as possible but still in the Barony of Eastwood.

The original church was not widely admired, and one observer described it as having been built "in a time of corrupt taste", that "the belfry was about the only indication that it was a place of worship" and that it "had nothing to commend it, and it came to the end of its existence in 1862, unlamented."  It is this first church that appears oopposite.

The new church - the one that stands there today - was built on the site by Sir John Maxwell.  The tower and spire rise to 136 feet and the bell was gifted by Walter Crum of the Thornliebank Crums described elsewhere.  It opened in 1863.

Originally the manse was in trees at the back of the churchyard, but it was replaced in 1853 by a new one in Thornliebank Road.  This still stands (overlooking the green at the side of Thornliebank Road) but ceased to be the manse in 1945 when it was sold and a bungalow for the minister was bought in Alder Road.

Interestingly, McCallum refers to an "extended burying ground" at the church, and it seems likely that this was done away with when the flats now behind the church were built.  See below to discover what was found when the first manse was being removed to allow extension of the burying ground

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The Patron Saint of Eastwood

Eastwood has a patron saint, Saint Conval, who established the first church in the area.  He came from Ireland  according to legend, on a stone!  landed at Inchinnan, and built a wattle church beside Eastwood Burn, a few 100 yards from where it meets Auldhouse Burn.  He baptised converts in a spring there which became known as St. Conval's Well.  This is now within Eastwood Old Cemetery, but was long ago covered up by cemetery operations.  It is close to the ruins which can be seen in the cemetery of an post-reformation church.

St. Conval died on 28 September 612, and the 18th of May is The Festival of St. Conval, which was celebrated in Pollok with an Annual Fair.

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Other Antiquities

A number of antiquities have been found in the area.

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About the Book

The book is preserved in two boxes, each containing one envelope for each of the 16 chapters.  The envelopes contain the original notes in shorthand and a typed draft with hand corrections.

The handwritten notes are in many ways as informative as the text itself.  Due to war time paper restrictions, the author has used every scrap of paper available - as many of us do now for ecological reasons - and as a result, we see a collection of official envelopes, tradesmen's bills, advertising leaflets and pages torn from books that give us glimpses of life as it was in the 1940s.  Among other things, we learn that MacCallum lived at:

33 Hillside Road

and that he had the title "Editor, The News Publishing Company".  What this company was is not clear.

Among the scraps of paper on which the book is written are bills from:

The 16 chapters are entitled


St. Conval and Early Churches

Quoad Sacra Parish Churches

The Crums and Thornliebank

Rocks & Romans

Owners of Land

Dissenting & Other Churches

Local Government

Coals & Woods

Maxwells of Pollok

The Parish & Other Schools

The Realm of Sport

Early Inhabitants

Ministers of the Parish

Occupations of the People

Concluding Miscellany

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According to Wikipedia:

A drumlin (Irish droimnín, a little hill ridge) is an elongated whale-shaped hill formed by glacial action. Its long axis is parallel with the movement of the ice, with the blunter end facing into the glacial movement. Drumlins may be more than 45 m (150 ft) high and more than 0.8 km (˝ mile) long, and are often in drumlin fields of similarly shaped, sized and oriented hills. Drumlins usually have layers indicating that the material was repeatedly added to a core, which may be of rock or glacial till.

MacCallum explains that there are various Drumlins in Eastwood, often with woods on top, and lists them.  Although it's not clear from his list where each one is, it seems likely that Mansewood is one of these elongated whale-shaped hills.

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