The first mention of “Crossbasket”, “Corsebasket” or “Korsbas” in name relates to the 1440’s although the name could indeed be much older. At this time it is confirmed the ‘lands of Corsebasket’ including nearby Hamilton Farm were owned by James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton. It is unknown if there was a tower or structure on this land at this time. It is likely he bought or was given these lands from The Hamiltons of Cadzow, noblemen and well connected to royalty during the 1300’s.
James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton
James Hamilton was the son of James Hamilton of Cadzow, 5th Laird of Cadzow. He was born in 1415 at Cadzow Castle, Lanarkshire. He first appears on record on a charter of 1426, granting him the rights to the lands of Dalserf at the age of 11, which had been alienated by his father.
Hamilton was intimately connected with the powerful House of Douglas: his mother was a daughter of the Douglas Lord of Dalkeith, and also through his marriage in 1439/1440 with Lady Euphemia Graham, the youthful widow of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas and daughter of Euphemia Stewart, Countess of Strathearn.
Hamilton became stepfather to the young 6th Earl of Douglas, his brother David, both who would be murdered in November 1440 at the ‘Black Dinner’ at Edinburgh Castle in the presence of James II. Furthermore he was the stepfather of Margaret Douglas, known as the “Fair Maid of Galloway”, who was to marry her cousins William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas, and James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas.
Prior to 1440 he achieved the status of Knighthood, and c. 1440/1441, not long after his marriage, he inherited his father’s estates including the land at Crossbasket. It is unknown if he named the land or if the name was known or indeed if the land was a wedding present.
James Hamilton died in 1479 and in his lifetime had only one son, also James Hamilton, who would later become the 2nd Lord Hamilton.
So what of Crossbasket Tower? It is not yet mentioned in this chapter of history, but we find its beginnings with the Lindsays in the next chapter. A Tower and Fortalice was mentioned in ancient Scottish documents of the 13th Century which granted the Parish of Blantyre the right to hold a market once a week. It is unknown if this was a reference to Crossbasket or a structure which stood there or nearby, prior to the Tower. The entry still puzzles historians of today, for it is widely accepted that Crossbasket was not built until around 1560. The mystery deepens on a 1654 map showing a larger castle or structure named “Kaldar” nearby to “Korsbas”. It is unknown what other property this entry could be referring to, although it may be a lost or forgotten small castle.
(c) Words taken from “The History of Crossbasket Castle” by Paul Veverka