Sunday, December 02, 2007

A small ePIC. Part 1 of 3.

A small ePIC by Sans Pantaloons. My response to a meme set by Julia.

Sometimes we ask "How did we get here?" or "Why are we here?" This post goes a tiny way to answering the 'little question'. The big answer however, I cannot provide.

The town of Hamilton is where I work, chosen for this meme to allow sufficient time for picture gathering and research during my luncheon times. I had thought this would be a simple matter, take a few photos, scribble a few notes, make an attempt at a humourous quip - job done.

No, it hasn't quite worked out that way. A little research and a thousand questions later, I find myself with tears in my eyes. Ashamed.

Ashamed that every day I have been walking, every day walking, over the past lives and past the graves of those who went before.

Robert Lewis Stevenson said in his work, The Weir of Hermiston: An Unfinished Romance, Chapter V.

For that is the mark of the Scot of all classes: that he stands in an attitude towards the past unthinkable to Englishmen, and remembers and cherishes the memory of his forebears, good or bad; and there burns alive in him a sense of identity with the dead even to the twentieth generation.

Possibly not taken in exact context, but the emotion is true, just the same.

This Hamilton is a small town in Lanarkshire, Scotland, with a current population of around 50,000. If you know of a poet, soldier or statesman, another town, a city or a river by the same name, then this is probably the point of origin.

I thought Hamilton was struggling like many towns in central Scotland, but having a look around it seems fine, not booming exactly, but not in decline. There is construction of new apartments and Holiday Inn has just finished a new Express Hotel.
The main employment in the town is in local government, education and call centres. In the past, Hamilton was the centre of Lanarkshire coalmining, but by the 1960's all the town mines had been abandoned. Manufacturing was once a big employer, but that is now almost gone, giving way to service industries.

Chris also issued me a meme in the distant past, so here are some of the fine drinking & eating venues:

With Hamilton being an ancient burgh, I thought it might be interesting to compare some old photographs with today. Unfortunately most of the ancient photographs I can find, only date to the 1960's.
Cadzow Street, showing a new road where once a row of shops stood. If you look carefully, you can see a tribute to the Mausoleum designed into the brickwork of the new gable end.

The County Buildings of South Lanarkshire Council, one of the main Employers in the town. Apparently the design is based on the United Nations building in New York.

Quarry Street is a town centre shopping street, although like most towns, the shops are finding the competition with malls and shopping parks difficult.

The Regent Shopping Centre has probably changed the most. It is now totally enclosed from the elements. Boots the Chemist looks like it is still in the same spot.

This view of Cadzow Street looking North West up the street, with the Townhouse in view.

This is Cadzow Glen with the cazow burn, where the battle for the Hieton took place. This battle and the cause is described later in the post. As you can see, not much has changed in 44 odd years.

How it all came to Pass. As short a version as I can get away with.

From what I have read of the history, the story goes something like this: The date is around 568AD. King Rederech and Queen Langoreth have established their summer hunting lodge on the lush flood plain grounds beside the River Clyde, in an area they called Cadzow. One assumes a settlement was also established to provide support, later forming a township.

Sans Question: How exactly does one become a King in the first instance? It can only be that one is big and strong enough to rob others of their possessions, and force them by threat to their life, to give food and produce. This probably continues long enough for other like-minded nasty people to come join in and benefit also.The former will eventually become known as taxation, the latter, an army.

Saint Kentigern, locally known as Saint Mungo, the patron Saint of Glasgow, converted King Rederech and Queen Langoreth to Christianity. During this period, or shortly afterwards, the Netherton Cross was placed on The Mote Hill, although a paper by Robert Stevenson in 1958 dates the cross as possibly 11th or 12th century. Mote Hill is now a housing development.

[Sans Update for clarification, 14th Nov 2010.]
The Netherton Cross formerly stood just north of the Motte Hill, (at OS map reference NS 7271 5674,) which was originally a Motte castle, and may have been the precursor to the Palace. The picture below shows the Motte circled in red, and the Mausoleum circled in yellow.

Although the Mote Hill is a housing development, it is simply named after the Motte Hill, but is not connected to the history of the Netherton Cross.

This is the current front view. Clicking upon the graphic should enable an enormous view.

Side and back views of the Netherton Cross. If you click on the leftmost image, you will be able to see in the background, the Covenanter Memorials discussed later in the post.

The Netherton Cross, it's origins lost in antiquity, possibly having stood for 1350 years, was moved from it's original position on The Mote Hill [see clarification above] in 1926 during the time Hamilton Palace was being demolished. It was moved to the Old Parish Church where we see it above.

Sans Comment: "If history could talk" is oft said. I think history does talk, but not to us. We are the words in the speech bubble of history.

Here we see an image showing the position of the Netherton cross and the Covenanter Memorials in the churchyard. The Old Parish Church was built in 1732 and designed by William Adam (1689-1748).

Fast forward to the 12th century and it seems, but cannot be proven, that the site of the hunting lodge established by King Rederech, continued to be used and maintained by the Kings of Scotland. There is another building near the River Avon that is currently called Cadzow Castle, although the evidence that King David I (1124-1153), issued royal charters from there, and his successors including Robert the Bruce(1306-1329), used it as a hunting lodge, may refer to a different building.
The estate was granted by Robert the Bruce to Walter FitzGilbert de Hambeldon in the early 14th century for FitzGilbert's support of Bruce in battle. Walter FitzGilbert is the first historically confirmed progenitor of the House of Hamilton circa 1315.
The area was created a Royal Barony by King David I and the barony retained the name of Cadzow until 1445 when a charter from King James II (1437-1460), to the first Lord Hamilton officially caused the name Hamilton to supercede the name of Cadzow. The township which had formed, had however, been called Hamilton for many years. An English State document of King Henry V, reveals that by 1413, the town was known as Hamilton.

[SANS NOTE] I'm sure that during all the fights and battles that ensued during the time from 568AD through to the 16th century, Cadzow castle was destroyed and rebuilt many times, by different Kings and noblemen. It may have been rebuilt on different sites, perhaps for better defence, but there is evidence provided by a 1591 datestone, found when Hamilton Palace was in process of collapse in 1919 , that a residence had stood on that site at least since that time.

The Covenanters.
The Town saw the troublesome times of the Covenanting period.

Who were the Covenanters? This description from The Scottish Covenanter Memorials Association

Simply stated, the Covenanters were those people in Scotland who signed the National Covenant in 1638. They signed this Covenant to confirm their opposition to the interference by the Stuart kings in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.The Stuart kings harboured the belief of the Divine Right of the Monarch. Not only did they believe that God wished them to be the infallible rulers of their kingdom - they also believed that they were the spiritual heads of the Church of Scotland. This latter belief could not be accepted by the Scots. No man, not even a king, could be spiritual head of their church. Only Jesus Christ could be spiritual head of a Christian church.

This was the nub of the entire Covenanting struggle. The Scots were, and would have been, loyal to the Stuart dynasty but for that one sticking point, and from 1638, when the Covenant was signed, until the Glorious Revolution - when Prince William of Orange made a bloodless invasion of Great Britain in 1688 - a great deal of suffering, torture, imprisonment, transportation and executions would ensue.

King Charles I had introduced the Book of Common Prayer to Scotland in 1637 to the fury and resentment of the populace. He declared that opposition to the new liturgy would be treason, and thus came about the Covenant. There followed a period of very severe repression. Ministers with Covenanting sympathies were "outed" from their churches by the authorities, and had to leave their parishes. Many continued to preach at "conventicles" in the open air or in barns and houses. This became an offence punishable by death. Citizens who did not attend their local churches (which were now in the charge of Episcopalian "curates") could be heavily fined, and such offenders were regarded as rebels, who could be questioned, even under torture. They could be asked to take various oaths, which not only declared loyalty to the king, but also to accept his as head of the church.

Failure to take such an oath could result in summary execution by the muskets of the dragoons, who were scouring the districts looking for rebels.The persecutions became more frequent and cruel on the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. As time went on more and more ordinary folk became involved, and skirmishes and battles took place against Government troops. In 1678 the Government raised an army of 6,000 Highlanders, who had no love for the Presbyterian lowlanders. This army swept through the west and south of Scotland, looting and plundering. They remained for many years, quartering themselves on the already impoverished Covenanters.

General Lambert, who was sent by Cromwell in 1650 to subdue the West of Scotland, took up position at Hamilton, where he met 1500 Covenanters from Ayrshire. General Lambert was captured, but his men subsequently repulsed the attack. Cromwell himself passed through Hamilton and lodged at the King's Head Inn, long ago demolished with the old Hie Ton (High Town). With Hamilton being built on a hill, most descriptions tend to include an element of height in the name. There is a skirmish commemorated on Cadzow Bridge by this plaque:

The Battle of Hieton took place in Hamilton on the 1st December, 1650. Close to the Cadzow Burn in the Hieton (high town) district of the town, Oliver Cromwell's English army defeated a force of Scottish Coventanters. The Covenanters had surprised Cromwell's garrison, based in Hamilton and despite initial success, the English garrison re-grouped and drove the Coventanters out with heavy losses. Adjacent to the Netherton Cross in the Old Parish churchyard, are two memorials to the Covenanters:This memorial commemorates John Parker, Gavin Hamilton, James Hamilton and Christopher Strang, who were executed in Edinburgh in 1666. The inscription reads:

'At Hamilton
lie the heads of
who suffered at
Decr 7th 1666'.

An epitaph reads:
'Stay, passenger take notice
what thou reads:
At Edinburgh lie our bodies,
here our heads;
our right hands stood at Lanark
these we want.
Because with them we sware
the Covenant.
Renewed MDCCCXXVIII'. (1828)

This plaque mounted at the time the Earnock Memorial, pictured below, was moved to the churchyard.

The inscription on this memorial is nearly completely worn away with the passing of time. It reads:

indicated by the three pine Trees
lie two brothers
of the name of SMITH, belonging to
and a man whose name has not
been handed down,
they had fought in the ranks of the
covenanting Army at Bothwell Brigg
Sunday 22nd June 1679
and in the retreat
had reached the upper part of this garden
close to the burn
when they were overtaken by the
Royalist Soldiers and
killed upon this spot.

Sans Update October 28th 2011.
A new memorial plaque has recently been placed next to the memorial for John Parker, Gavin Hamilton, James Hamilton, and Christopher Strang, which repeats the inscription on the memorial.
There is a discrepancy as the plaque states 'Renewed MDCCCXXVI' which is different from that on the memorial, which reads MDCCCXXVIII , this being 1828. This may just be an error, or it may be updated information; but probably just an error.
It would also appear to my trained eye that the plaque has been attached to the wall somewhat over-zealously, distorting the wood and fracturing the top right fastener.
Maybe someone will tidy-up the installation.

The battle of Drumclog, about 10 miles south of Hamilton was a battle the Covenanters won, but this only attracted a reinforced royalist army three weeks later to a battle at Bothwell Bridge. Bothwell Bridge is about a mile and a half to the west. Some pictures below.1200 Covenanters surrendered at Bothwell Bridge and were transported to Greyfriars churchyard in Edinburgh for imprisonment and sentence.Many escaped to the moors and into the grounds of the Good Dutchess Anne, 3rd Dutchess of Hamilton 1632-1716. She assisted the escapees and was stripped of her land and titles by Cromwell as punishment.

Three Covenanters who reached Little Earnock toward the east, were killed when overtaken by Royalist Soldiers. Three Scots Pine trees were planted to mark their graves, and the memorial shown above erected. It was moved into the Old Parish churchyard in 1995 after it was vandalised. As you can see comparing it with the linked picture, the top is missing and the corner has been repaired.

Bothwell Bridge over the River Clyde, seen from the Hamilton side as it is today. The Covenanter Memorial can be seen on the other side of the bridge in the top right of the picture. The Covenanters memorial on the Bothwell side of the bridge is shown below.

The image immediately above is a montage, due to the severe cheapness of my camera. More information on the Covenanters and the battle memorials can be found at the Scottish Covenanters Memorials Association.

The 'killing times' between 1660 and 1688 were not romantic.

Many of the Covenanters taken prisoner were either killed or transported as prisoners to Continental armies (Poland, Prussia, Sweden) or to America and the West Indies as slaves for sale, or as bondsmen having given themselves to labour for a given period to pay for their passage. The latter was akin to slavery in many cases.The main destinations were the West Indies, often Barbados; and the American plantations atVirginia, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massaschusetts, Connecticut; Rhode Island; New Jersey and North Carolina.

To some extent the authorities in Scotland did not care too much once the prisoners had been embarked and out of their charge. Prisoners were often released into the charge of merchant venturers - slavers in other words, who would sell them off at the destination. Sometimes the prisoners were `gifted` by the King to a plantation owner, to whom they would be delivered. The system was liable to abuse as destinations would be changed depending on the weather and prevailing winds. Greed also played a part as the price of slaves varied (usually around £10 sterling) , and vessels might divert to where the price was best. A change of destination was mooted in the case of the ship "Henry & Francis" but the weather finally forced the ship to go to its original destination at Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

The above is taken from the site of Brian J.Orr. There is lots of information, including some names of those transported.

If you have stayed with me so far, thank you. Now might be a good time for coffee, as we are about a thirdway through. This concludes Part One of this meme.

Quick links:
A small ePIC. Part 2 of 3.
A small ePIC. Part 3A of 4.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:07 AM  
Blogger Cooper Green said...

I can't conceive of living in a place with so much history. My home town is less than a century old. But I'm glad you've chosen to relate it. I'll be there for parts 2 & 3.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

I second what Dick said.

And I have to agree with Cooper Green, so much history boggles my mind for one town. But I did enjoy the pretty pictures.......

2:52 PM  
Blogger Zed said...

This was fabulous! I can't wait to read Parts 2 & 3!

5:15 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

This is your longest post ever!

My last name is Hamilton, well thats my married name.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Dick, It is indeed an honour/honor for me to make your good self ejaculate.

Coop, Thank you. I hope I can make the following parts interesting.

Teri, there is so much. I may do spin-offs for the forseeable future...

Zed, Thank you. I am in the editing process. This mostly involves wiping the coffee & baked bean stains off my notes, so that I can read them...

Mel, I had intended to post as one part, but there is no way anyone would read it all. I've actually left out about 30% of my original notes.
It's nice to have a connection or two. My Sister used to stay in Sugar Valley, SC. and I've been there several times.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Zed said...

Are you still working on the coffee and baked bean stains? If so, can we get the show (part 2) on the road please? :)

Hurry, hurry!

4:07 PM  
Blogger Special K said...

*captivated and waiting*

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:02 AM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Zed, Coming soon...

Special K, Thank you!

Dick, My intent is to get part 2 out tonight.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:44 AM  
Blogger Just Dave said...

Very interesting. I have always been humbled by the amount of detail in the history of the British Isles. We Americans think something built in 1800 is old but you have many buildings that date back to 1000 CE and earlier.

As regards kings, history tells us that they are usually the strongest person that can get the most people to follow them. Then they beat the crap out of all the other contenders and declare themselves king or queen.

1:05 PM  
Blogger julia said...

Hi Sans! I've just now come across your Epic. If you could have seen my eyes light up with glee! I haven't even read it yet. I'm about to read part 1 right now. I'll have to get to part 2 tomorrow. But I wanted you to know I'm literally rubbing my hands together with anticipation.

9:35 PM  
Blogger julia said...

This is fantastic!!! Did I ever mention I'm a writer who is fixated on historical Scotland?!? Some of this I knew, some I gobbled up like a parched person in the desert craves water. How little I suspected my tagging you for the Hometown Meme would hit the motherlode.

Did I also mention I have a work in progress about transportation? Another about 18th century Scottish warfare and the fate of the barely-survivors? This is like a Christmas present, Sans. Thank you! Thank you!

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Hamilton Harry said...

Totally riveting. Ive lived in hamilton for 15 years and was aware of some of the history of the Palace and Mausoleum, but your research and pics have really highlighted what a truly wonderful place this must have been. What a travesty that this great building wasn't conserved for future generations, still i suppose we must be thankful that the Mausoleum and Chatelherault Hunting Lodge have been saved. Thanks for your diligent research.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Dick, Thanks for coming again!

Dave, I have decided to visit some more local castles.

Julia, Thank You!

Harry, Cheers! I have yet to visit Chatelherault and Cadzow Castle. I intend to also visit Bothwell Castle.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Aanna said...

I am a descendant of Gavin Hamilton and was going research to try to find a picture or record of the exact inscription on his grave. Thanks so much for your research and the rich resource you have in your post.

I'm a native of Iowa, but I hope to visit the beautiful town of Hamilton one day!

10:04 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Aanna, you are welcome! Very nice to meet a descendant of Covenanter Gavin Hamilton. If you wish further pictures of the headstone or the churchyard, I am at your disposal.

5:28 AM  

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