Taken from “The History of Crossbasket Castle” by Paul Veverka (c) 2015
James Clark is credited with adding the impressive, Eastern Victorian 3 storey part of the house. This looks certain to have taken place between 1855 – 1859 in the first few years of James moving to Crossbasket. The Blantyre 1859 map has the building shown as long in length as it is today.
To clarify, James Clark built the Victorian large extension on virgin ground to the East of the existing Tower and its mansion house. This extension joined the Eastern gable of the mansion house and towered above it, the same height as the opposing tower. It was the section of the property which accommodates the current main entrance.
Inscribed in the stone (pictured by Jim Brown), within an emblem are initials “J.C” which is the mark of James Clark. This mark appeared on the east gable, and the west, although that side was later covered in a further extension. The east mark can still be seen today.
This large extension, the second for the house, gave the property much of its current footprint and distinctive features like the “battlements” on the roof, the arched windows, and other architectural details, that remain to this day. The extension turned the property into a similar sized or larger home than other Victorian grand homes already appearing in Blantyre. Nearby Milheugh, Craighead, Auchinraith House are some examples with similar recent extensions.
This enabled the house to have a more grand entrance and hall, further public rooms and bedrooms, a dining room and library. The house could not be extended westwards due to the terraced gardens and river Calder.
The model for the entrance hall design was the nearby General’s Bridge, with an impressive Gothic arch of unusual design. By this time, this bridge also served as an impressive entrance into Crossbasket as well as Calderwood. The archway looks almost identical to the underside of the bridge, a feature which is repeated in various places throughout Crossbasket Castle. It should be noted though that the design at Crossbasket was copied from the Generals Bridge, which was there earlier than this extension. James Clark extension is the first time the arch design appears in the Castle. The 3 storeys were accessed by a stone staircase, bordered by wooden paneling. Plaster cornicing adorned the ceilings and the fireplaces were grand. A flagpole was erected by the Clarks on the battlements of the old, original Tower but not used often. It is also around this time, that locals and newspaper reports started commonly calling the house, “a castle.”