1904 Hermitage: The Hermits hut

This photo dates from 1904 which featured in a brochure published by Gilmours of Glasgow Road. The brochure contained several excellent Blantyre related photos, which have been scanned now in high resolution.

Featured is the Hermitage, or Hermits hut, which was located in Calderwood Glen, just beyond Auchentibber, on the Blantyre side of the River Calder. The little building 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. Thanks to Chris Ladds for his incredible knowledge on Calderwood and to Gordon Cook for sending through quite unique, high resolution scans. A colorised postcard from c1910 is of the same scene.

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