The Larkhall area is made up of different areas or places and a brief introduction to the places and some of the people will be given. Larkhall itself, originally, was built around the old cross, stretching through Wellgate to Crossgates at Chapeltree farm. The area was made up of the land of Broomhill, Raploch, East Machan and West Machan. The area had, of course, strong connection with the Hamilton family as will be explained later, some of the lords making themselves famous in the 16th century wars.
The first Lord Belhaven was of the parish, being the eldest son of Sir John Hamilton of Broomhill. His Lordship's next brother James was ordained as minister of Cambusnethan and in 1661 he became a bishop of Galloway. The Broomhill estate eventually came into the possession of the Birnie family and then was sold to James Bruce and Indian teaplanter. The old Chapel of Broomhill - Chapel Rone - was threatened with destruction in 1563, but on the advice of the Lady of John Hamilton, it was left until it fell down in 1724.
The area was named Broomhill Fleurs, lying within Machan until 1681 whereafter the parish was called Dalserf ( Church of Scotland 1690 establishment). Raploch first seems to appear in 1440 with James Hamilton being the incumbent. The house was built of Auld Machan stone - a dark brown sandstone from Machan - but the building was in ruins by the 18th century when the stones were utilised in the building of nearby houses. The land of Raploch was given out in cheap feus: obviously, if the landlord had still been there Larkhall might not have developed.
Gavin Hamilton of Kilwinning was at the Battle of Langside 1570 and went with Mary Queen of Scots to England. Another Hamilton persecuted Covenanters and was supposedly cursed by a dying Covenanter. This Hamilton complained about the magic powers of the Lee Penny of Simon Lockhart in Carluke. The penny had magic powers against cattle fevers, but the Assembly didn't ban the use of the penny provided it was dropped into the water without incantation. Raploch Chapel was called Chapel Knowe, and was near the entrance to Royal Albert's former football ground. The Castle of Raploch was a Tower Keep, thus three or four storeys high, as was Plotcock Castle situated near Thinacres farm. This castle was built on a spur of ground overlooking much of the higher land of the parish - a typical 16th century place of building - near communication routes such as Hamilton, Stonehouse and Strathaven. Plotcock means the devil and one curious artefact from it seems to have been the Adam and Eve Sundial, which (finally) rested in Millheugh, from whence it was removed in the 20th century. The sundial, which is of 18th century origin, may have come also from Cadzow Castle. The Adam and Eve Sundial enhanced the already beautiful village of Millheugh, which started as a salmon fishing and mill village.
"No scenes around, although grand view
Excel the lovely round Millheugh
Her streams and lands o'er a' supreme
E'er chain me to my native hame" (James Muir)
In 1840 the dam was heightened at the bridge to help increase water supply to the Bleachfields, the salmon could no longer go beyond this dam. Near Millheugh and Raploch is Braehead - House of Braehead - built near Raploch House. It was originally a single storey house with a small hall at the front built at right angles to the house. It was built in 1733 by the McMillanites or Covenanters. McMillan ministered at Balmaghie, Crawfordjohn, East Shields, Eastforth, Hensehlwood, Carnwath and then Larkhall. The Braehead area gave birth to the Auchinshaugh Testimony - which renounced al forms of synod/presbytery control. McMillan lies in Dalserf Old Churchyard, as does the persecuting Raploch Hamilton.
Larkhall consisted of old farms or touns - Merryton Braes farm, Laverock farm, Muirhouse farm, Muirshot (Drygate), Muirbrew or brae (Burnhead), Poodrait, Meadowhill, S/W Machan, Pateby, Raploch Farm (Raploch Road) Braehead, Crossgates. Rents were £12 15/- per annum, but shortly afterwards when improvement in drainage and hedging took place; rents were raised to £70 per annum. Lime came from Lesmahagow, Broomhill lime near the Avon was kept by the owner; this lime was Calmy lime, since it needed slaked before cooling. It was during this period that Larkhall began to develop.
ITS HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT
JACK McLELLAN, M.A. (Hons.)
Principal History Teacher,
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