We tend to think nowadays of Burnbank being our most immediate neighbour to Blantyre, the two almost merging. However, it is worth remembering that at one time, a whole other village separated the two, in the form of Greenfield, which evolved from a single farm, to being a whole community.
Burnbank, takes its name from the Wellshaw Burn, also known as the Shawburn running through the east of the village, and not the more westerly and distant Park Burn. Wellshaw Burn has been culverted for most of its passage through modern Burnbank. In historic times this stream’s confluence with the Clyde lay within the district but now lies in neighbouring Whitehill. The area around the burn was still open country in some regards as late as the 1901 Census which records a Romany family “living in a field near the Shawburn, Burnbank.”
Burnbank has existed in one form or another since at least the late fifteenth century when a grant of lands was made to Sir John Hamilton of Newton. A further grant of lands to Sir John Hamilton of Zhisselberry (which is later recorded as Whistleberry) also included the lands in and around Burnbank. At this time the extent of the area accepted as Burnbank included the modern districts of Whitehill and Hillhouse and the area around Peacock Cross on the Burnbank Hamilton border.
Predominantly rural, with a number of plantations (Whistleberry Plantation and Backmuir Plantation being most prominent) to feed the lace industry in Burnbank and Hamilton which had been sponsored since before 1778 by the then Duchess of Hamilton Elizabeth Campbell, 1st Baroness Hamilton of Hameldon. With the Industrial Revolution, Burnbank lost its rural identity becoming a mining village. Burnbank, like Blantyre, Springwells and Greenfield, was therefore a village in its own right.
The population of Burnbank had grown so great by the 1870’s that a committee of citizens decided to apply for the erection of a Burgh of Burnbank. By that time it had started to merge with Greenhill. At the same time residents of Burnbank’s western neighbour Blantyre re-acted by petitioning for the erection of a Burgh of Blantyre. Both cases came before the Sheriff Court sitting at Glasgow. The Sheriff gave extra time for the petitioners for both causes to familiarise themselves with the arguments of their opponents and to respond in turn. The Provost and Burgesses of the existing Burgh of Hamilton, alarmed at the prospect of one (or possibly both) petitions being successful and thus creating a heavily industrialised, modern and vibrant western rival in turn petitioned the Parliament of the United Kingdom giving rise to the Burgh of Hamilton Act 1878.
Blantyre was refused to become a Burgh, but by this Act, Burnbank was absorbed into Hamilton – ending its own burghal aspirations.
From “Blantyre Glasgow Road – The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
and Source: Wikipedia
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