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Coordinates: 55°44′22″N 4°16′24″W / 55.739444°N 4.273333°W / 55.739444; -4.273333

Eaglesham
Scottish Gaelic: Baile na h-Eaglais
Eaglesham Church and cemetery.JPG
Eaglesham church from the cemetery
Eaglesham is located in Scotland
Eaglesham

 Eaglesham shown within Scotland
Population 3,127 [1] (2001 census)
OS grid reference NS573519
Council area East Renfrewshire
Lieutenancy area Renfrewshire
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town GLASGOW
Postcode district G76
Dialling code 01355
Police Strathclyde
Fire Strathclyde
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Eastwood
Scottish Parliament Eastwood
List of places: UK • Scotland •

Eaglesham (pronounced "Eagles-ham" [2]) is a village in East Renfrewshire, Scotland. Today it is chiefly a dormitory town for commuters to nearby Glasgow, Paisley and other major urban centres. The village is distinctive in being based around a large triangular green. Eaglesham is situated about 10 miles (16 km) south of Glasgow to the southeast of Newton Mearns, south of Busby and Clarkston, and southwest of East Kilbride.

Eaglesham is set amongst the East Renfrewshire hills, which, to the south west of the village, become Eaglesham Moor and the northern boundary of Fenwick Moor. To the south lies mainly farmland and planted forested areas where two experimental wind turbines have existed for many years. At the beginning of 2007 construction of Whitelee Wind Farm with some 144 turbines began.

Contents

History

The Deil's Planting or Castle Hill; a tumulus and site of the moot hill of the old Barony of Eaglesham.

The village takes its name from the French word eglise, or church, earning this as a result of its apparent abundance of places of worship in the past. In more recent times, however, this has shrunk to only two congregations: one Roman Catholic and one Presbyterian (Church of Scotland); another view is that the name is derived from the personal name 'Egli', combined with the Old English word for 'home, place or village'.[3]

The French influence of the name is likely related to the Montgomeries (latterly spelled Montgomery), historic landowners of the Eaglesham area, who originated from Normandy. Another possibility is the French influence on pre-Union Scotland where many members of the aristocracy were educated in France. According to legend one of these Montgomeries, the Alexander Montgomerie, 10th Earl of Eglinton, visited a village constructed in an ‘A’ shape whilst traveling abroad and, on his return, decided to transform his scattered ‘ferm toun’ (farm town) parish, then known as Egglisham, by building a similarly planned settlement at its heart. It was around this time that the spelling changed to Eaglesham. The bi-centenary of the formation of the ‘new town’ was celebrated in 1969.

The parish church cemetery was the site of a pre-reformation chapel as recorded by the 1850s OS map.

Castle Hill or the Deil's Planting is a tree covered knoll close to Castlehill Farm; being in such a prominent position local legend records that this structure may have been the Eaglesham Barony moot-hill, where justice was dispensed, and another knoll nearby named Gallowshill was where execution of the 'doom' or sentence took place.[4]

Ruins of the Orry Cotton mill engine house built into the Motte or Moat Hill.

A motte beside the Linn Burn (NS5751) in the Orry may have been site of the first wooden castle of the Montgomeries, in the 12th century, as recorded as being in Eaglesham prior to the construction of Polnoon Castle nearby. The motte or Motte Hill was a flat-topped mound with a probable broad defensive ditch situated on the north-west bank of the Linn Burn. The south-east side was truncated in the late 18th century by the building of the Orry Cotton Mill, resulting in the removal of at least a third of the site.[5] It was used by the local community as a site for meetings and festivals.[6]

Polnoon Lodge, Gilmour Street.

This prominent building in Gilmour Street was originally built as a hunting lodge in the early eighteenth century by Alexander, ninth Earl of Eglinton after Polnoon Castle was abandoned.[7] The original house was built in 1733, the present B-Listed house however dates to the later 18th century.[8] The Earl of Eglinton sold the Eaglesham Estate in 1844 for £217,000 and James Gilmour's Polnoon Estate was run from the lodge.[9] By the 1920s the lodge operated as a temperance hotel, a boarding house and a school dining hall before lying empty in the 1960s, falling derelict and being rescued by Renfrew County Council, who renovated the lodge as housing for the elderly. The restoration work won a Civic Trust Award in 1971. One of the houses in Cheapside Street is a minitature of the lodge and was once occupied by the Eaglesham Estate factor.[10][11]

As well as agriculture, during the 1800s many of the population of Eaglesham were employed in cotton mills, however, the last of these was destroyed by fire early last century. The ruins are still visible on ‘The Orry’ (the name given locally to the village green - from the word 'area'). By the middle of the 1950s the village had suffered severe decline, many of the old properties being threatened with demolition. Fortunately, about 1960 a group of concerned residents fought to have these historic buildings ‘listed’ and so Eaglesham became the first Conservation Village in Scotland. As such, the historic part of today's village is subject to strict planning regulations with even newly built housing having to reflect a traditional style. Now they have all been restored and have become much sought after residential properties. The two principal streets in old Eaglesham are Polnoon Street and Montgomery Street. They both climb a steep hill and meet at the top, on the edge of the moor. The addition of Mid Road connecting them forms the distinctive "A" shape, which can often be seen from the air when approaching Glasgow Airport. The other original thoroughfares are Cheapside Street, Strathaven Road and Montgomerie Square.

During World War Two Eaglesham found brief international attention as the crash-landing site of Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s then deputy. He claimed to be seeking the Duke of Hamilton, whom he had met in Berlin prior to the war, to start talks about an alliance to end Germany’s war with the United Kingdom. It seems he mistook Eaglesham House (no longer standing) for the Duke’s residence in Hamilton and ditched his plane, parachuting into a nearby field and going to the door of a farm-worker’s cottage. He was eventually imprisoned in Berlin until his death.

The village today

Montgomery Street.
Polnoon Street.

The village is served by a Primary School and a number of local services - garages, restaurant, B&Bs and the historic Eglinton Arms Hotel and Swan pub. The only manufacturing done near Eaglesham now is at Linn Products, a state-of-the-art Hi-Fi production plant. Eaglesham Amateurs is Eaglesham's football team.

Eaglesham’s Market Act of 1672 permitted villagers to hold weekly markets and annual fairs. Unfortunately these events became lost in history. In 1969, however, a Fair was revived as part of the celebration of the bi-centenary of the Earl of Eglinton’s construction of old Eaglesham as is now preserved. Sadly, this event, too, threatened to become part of history, declining from annual to two-yearly events. The last one was held in 2000. Fortunately, a group of concerned residents got together in 2004, resurrecting a new fair to be held every two years from 2005.

Micro-history

An old elm tree known as Becky's Tree stood near the Motte Hill on the Orry. The story of Rebecca, or Becky, has been lost, and the tree unfortunately no longer stands. Becky's tree is immortalised in a song by Mary Johnstone, who was the daughter Thomas Johnstone, songwriter and poet.[12]

References

External links

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