Civil History

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Strathaven Russian Princess


"A Roman road can be traced for a considerable distance in the parish. It runs along the south side of the Avon and passes the farm of Walesley. On the farm of Gennerhill some shoes or sandals of Roman manufacture have been found, and also some small coins. Some coins were also discovered on the lands of Torfoot, near to Loudoun-hill, and on the very line by which the Romans when crossing the Caledonian forest must have marched towards the west coast." The Third Statistical Account for Scotland, 1835. Rev. William Proudfoot, Minister, 

Loudoun Hill

"The Roman fort at Loudoun Hill occupied a commanding site on Allanton Beg near Darvel in Ayrshire and was occupied by the Roman mercenaries for almost 100 years until finally abandoned in AD 163. It remained clearly visible until the late 19th century. The last traces have since been lost through sand and gravel quarrying. In the 12th century Loudoun Castle was built. The house of Loudoun grew in power and influence over the centuries, the Campbell's of Loudon becoming the hereditary Sheriffs of Ayrshire. During the time of the Crusades the surrounding area was owned by the Knights Templar. Revenue from the land was used to finance their task of providing protection to pilgrims along the routes to Jerusalem. After the Knights Templar were finally disbanded the lands eventually became part of Loudoun Castle estate pictured below.

At the time of the wars of Scottish independence the Scottish patriots Sir William Wallace and later Robert the Bruce both won significant battles in the proximity of Loudounhill, at the start of the campaign, which led to Scottish independence in 1314." A Look at Darvel Past, Valley Advertiser & Community News, issue No.287 - Summer 2002.

Strathaven Castle - circa 1350

  Duchess Ann of Hamilton, the last resident of Strathaven Castle supported the Covenanting cause. The castle (circa 1350) was built on a rocky eminence 35 feet above the Powmilon Burn that once formed part of a moat. The ruinous remains, both the town's most important and historic landmark, are in the ownership of South Lanarkshire Council and designated an ancient monument under the care of the Secretary of State for Scotland. In recent years, South Lanarkshire Council enhanced the natural walkway surrounding the castle in Powmilon Glen.

Wester Overton House


Wester Overton House (1797) was commissioned by General Lockhart: a hero of the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. Designed and built by the sons of Robert Adam, the renowned Scottish Architect . A principal feature of the interior is a suspended staircase. Wester Overton is a Category 'B' listed building described as late 18th century pedimental. The house was extended upon when it became hotel premises and renamed Strathaven Hotel. The policies of Wester Overton have largely been developed for private housing.

              Drumclog Memorial Kirk and Covenanting Memorial - Field of Drumclog

Drumclog Monument and Battlefield of 1679
"The Solemn League and Covenant now brings a smile now brings a tear;
But sacred freedom too was theirs if thou'rt a slave indulge thy sneer."

Remarkable Occurrences

"The people in this parish suffered much from the "Bloody Claverhouse" who frequently visited this district during the "persecuting times". He never forgot the defeat which he experienced at Drumclog in this parish, on Sabbath, the 1st June 1679. On that day the country people had met for worship in great numbers, many of them armed, and determined, if attacked, to defend themselves. Claverhouse rested his men some time in the town of Strathaven, and then marched west about six miles, when he came in sight of the Covenanters at Drumclog, a farm belonging to the Duke of Hamilton, about two miles to the east of Loudoun hill. The armed part of the congregation marched steadily forward to meet him, and chose their situation with much skill. It was at the foot of a gently rising ground, with a small rivulet in front, the banks of which were so soft that the horses of the dragoons were unable to pass. In endeavouring to cross this little stream, the military were exposed to the deadly aim of the country people, who from all accounts behaved with uncommon coolness and steadiness. Claverhouse himself was in imminent danger. He was the first to carry news of his own defeat to Glasgow." The Third Statistical Account for Scotland, 1835. Rev. William Proudfoot, Minister, 

Avendale Old Parish Church


 Bi-centenary of the building of the church: 1772 - 1972. 
 Commemorative Window depicts Saint Andrew and 
  industries of  the parish with the symbol of the burning 
bush in the left corner.

Following the religious fervour of the Scottish Reformation (1560) the 11th century St Mary's Chapel, once situated within Strathaven Old Graveyard, continued as a place of reformed worship for the Parish of Avendale. Repairs to the 11th century structure are recorded in 1735. But by 1772, when the existing Avendale Old Parish Church was constructed on Kirk Street (formerly Arran Street), the former St Mary's Chapel was decayed and, regrettably, altogether demolished. Avendale Old Parish Church has an interesting interior. There are numerous stained glass windows one of which depicts the Ducal Arms of Hamilton in the Duke's loft or balcony when the Dukes of Hamilton were patrons to the Church ministry. The late Angus (16th Duke) was a member of the Kirk Session of Avondale Church. The family resided at the Duke's Hunting Lodge of  Dungavel, near Strathaven, when not otherwise in residence at the Ducal Palace of Hamilton. Avondale Old Parish Church listed category 'B' is described as Avendale Old Parish Church, 1772: Renovated 1879, Milne Bell 1750. The church interior has many interesting features.

In pre-reformation times "there were quite a few chapels in the Avondale area. This was quite normal as in large parishes, suborindate chapels were built for the convenience of parishioner although everyone had an over-riding duty to the parish church itself. In this respect Strathaven was no different from other places. Apart from St. Mary's and St. Bride's, Mary Gebbie lists four other chapels. Castlebrocket apparently had a chapel attached to it possibly on the site of the farm of that name. Similarly, there seems to have been a chapel on the site of the farm attached to St. Oswald's Well which, in the middle-ages, was a fairly well-known place of pilgrimage. There was also a chapel at Glengavel which was the property of the Knights Templar (one of a number of orders of knights who took vows to lead a monastic life) and another on the Lochere (present day Lochar) on the site of which a smithy was built in her Mary Gebbie's day. There were, however, other chapels in the area. One 19th century map identifies a chapel on Kype Water near Deadwaters. There was also a chapel to St. Lawrence the Martyr at a distance of about three kilometres or so just off the Roman Road outside the village of Sandford. The site of this chapel is easily found on modern Ordnance Survey maps. The feast day of Lawrence the Martyr was on 10 August. What is interesting about St. Lawrence's Chapel is that King James IIs charter of 1450 which established Strathaven as a Burgh of Barony, bears a reference to St. Lawrence." St. Patrick’s Strathaven - A History and Insight - October 2001, Edited by Edmund J. Geraghty. Printed in Great Britain by Cavalry Creative Services, 11 Bury Road, Hatfield, Herts. AL10 8BJ.


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