The Hermitage, Calderwood Glen on the fringes of Blantyre, was described as a rustic gazebo or summerhouse built of stone.
Calderwood Glen is an archaic division of Calderglen, a wooded river gorge on the eastern fringe of Blantyre and East Kilbride in South Lanarkshire.
Researched by Mr Chris Ladds, he writes “Mapped as early as 1859 on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map, the Hermitage in Calderglen is shown simply as ‘The Hermitage’, alongside the other title of ‘Grey Mare’.
Photographic and map evidence, as well as existing rubble from the Hermitage, indicate that it dates from the period 1780-1850. Considering the re-development of Calderwood Glen by the 8th Baronet occurred, between 1840 and 1845, the Hermitage is likely to have originated closer to that date range. When this folly hermitage was entire it would be best described as a rustic gazebo or summerhouse built of stone. The building stood approximately 12 feet tall including its pyramidal thatched roof which took up about 5-6 feet of its entire height. The masonry consisted of about ten courses of of rough dressed and pointed blocks of sandstone. In the southern face of the building was a window, vertically elongated, with a semi-circular top. The door was in the western face and was of identical design to the window. Some photographs suggest that another window may have been located on the northern side of the building.
This building was maintained during the SCWS ownership of Calderwood Estate, but by the end of World War I it had begun to fall into ruin, and by the mid 1920s was demolished. Now only two courses of rubble outlining the building remain.
The building was built on top of a large boulder in the middle of the Rotten Calder Water, with a spit of sand and river gravel and rocks tailing off to the north. The eastern side of the rock is a sheltered bay, above which the banks slope steeply up to the Blantyre farmlands. Water always flows on the western side, and at certain times of year flows on both sides, effectively cutting the location off as an islet in the river. The rock itself may have originated the name Grey Mare, as several references exist relating to river rocks and the title of Grey Mare.
Nearby is a marked grave that the hermit had died in 1722, so this little building i think was constructed to keep his legend living on. Here are several photos taken around 1900 of the hermit hut (hermitage).
Several pieces of evidence support the idea that a Hermitage or holy site has existed at this location for many centuries.The location of the Hermitage site is deep in the river gorge shortly downstream from Black Linn Falls.”
Pictured above around 1915 is Mr JB Struthers, landlord of the Auchentibber Inn and friends enjoying a day out at the folly. On a cliff-face high above this area (on the EK side) of the old crossing is the following inscription. “the pangs of life of death itself an o’er The Hermit’s weary heart shall throb no more He in this ruin found a home a tomb. Here where decay is robed in thickest bloom of earth when heaven’s own soft yet radiant beam, still sheds young beauty on old Calder’s stream. Yes here a chastened child of sorrow heard and felt Gods holy word. Reader a few short hours a few more throes of Human Grief thy fleeting days shall close. At the dread moment may the light divine which blest the dying Esermiteble shine”
During a recent crisp September morning Jim Brown of Blantyre and I walked to the site of the Hermitage, which is now obviously just a pile of stones in the river below the falls (the Big Linn), right out the fringes of Blantyre and East Kilbride. This is what is left today.