“Blantyre – Glasgow Road, The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016 – 2018.
Auchinraith Road at the junction of Glasgow Road moving westward into Blantyre marks the start of the hamlet of Stonefield, often used to describe much of Low Blantyre. However, before we leave Springwell behind to the east and venture into a much more densely populated area., there is one property that sat on the boundary we still need to look at.
Springwell Farm is almost certainly the isolated former farmhouse called “Newhouse” marked on Roy’s Military Map of 1747. We can therefore say the building was constructed prior to this date, most likely from it’s description sometime between 1700 –1747. The name ‘Newhouse’ appears to have vanished at this location by 1800, (perhaps due to the emergence of a ‘Newhouse’ Farm at Sydes Brae to the north. The house at Low Blantyre then replaced by the more descriptive, “Springwell”. There are indications from census and valuation rolls that Springwell (Farm) house may not have been a working farm by owners, but instead letting out the expansive fields to other farms for use to other farmers, such as nearby Birdsfield.
Valuation rolls and census information as always provide the best detail for ownership. In 1855 Mrs. Margaret Herbertson of Spittal, Cambuslang was the owner of the farm at Springwell, letting out to William Gardner for £60/year. The large rent perhaps indicative of the size of the surrounding fields and farming opportunities. Mrs Herberston may have been the widow of the owner prior to this date. The Herbertson name would later be used for a new street decades later which once formed their western farm boundary. Mrs Herbertson that year also owned a house and grassparks in Springwell which she let out for £4, 10 shillings. She also owned Auchentibber Quarry, letting out for £20/year to Alexander Aitkenhead, a builder. Additionally, she owned 3 homes, one of which had a garden at Auchinraith, most likely along Main Street. Of course these properties were linked by the track stretching north east to south west, which would eventually become Auchinraith Road.
In the 1859 name book, Springwell is described as, “A dwellinghouse in an angle formed by the Parish Road joining the Hamilton & Glasgow T. P. [Turn Pike] Road. There is a small Lodge house on the opposite side of the T. P. [Turn Pike] Road, belonging to the Lands of Craighead. It bears no proper name. The Lodge is the property of Miss Brown” It had changed tenants too with J Craig of Birdsfield working it, Robert Reid occupying it. The description ties in exactly with the time of the previous illustration.
The Herbertson family may have been related to the Jackson family of Spittal and Bardykes. In 1863 Margaret Herbertson died at Spittal and the property appears to have passed to the Jackson family, either through purchase or inheritance. In 1865 Mrs Janet Jackson, of Spittal, Cambuslang owned Springwell Farm letting it out to James Scott of Auchinraith. She also owned a house, stable and garden in Springwell, as well as a house and loomshop in Auchinraith, including the aforementioned quarry in Auchentibber.
By 1875, Springwell Farm was still isolated, detached and surrounded by fields, although the decade after would see expansive building projects around it. Janet Jackson had moved to Old Place in High Blantyre (in modern day Janefield Place). She was letting Springwell out to farmer Alex Craig of Birdsfield and the house, stable and yard was noted as being in the now forgotten location of “Backside”. John Russell of Burnbrae now rented the quarry in Auchintibber and the homes she had in Auchinraith, all occupied.
It is likely the fields she owned stretched east of the house all to the south side of Glasgow to Hamilton Road, as far east as the Parkburn.
Between 1876 and 1878, Janet Jackson appears to have sold Springwell Farm, for there is no mention of it after this date and indeed by 1881, it had been demolished and new homes and shops had been built by Mr. William Henderson on the site.
Janet was still alive in 1885 living at Old Place, and although she did not have the farm and fields at Springwell any longer, it is likely she did well through these transactions, with portions of the farm fields sold to many different individuals for development in what would become the hamlet of Springwell. She rented out the mineral rights of Springwell to Merry & Cunningham Coalmasters, giving her a yearly income for the mine workings far below ground she once owned.
This rare, previously unpublished photo taken in the 1870s, prior to 1878 was a Blantyre mystery until now, but this book now suggests it is the former Springwell Farm House shortly before demolition with Auchinraith Road in the foreground, the junction of Glasgow Road just out the picture to the right.
This former building was the beginning of Springwell, its initial beating heart. Its inclusion in this book is worthwhile and indeed a first, for no other Blantyre historian appears to have written about it yet.
In a modern context, it would have been where now the eastern side of Gavin Watson Printers is located.
The hamlet of Stonefield took its name from Stonefield Farm, further to the west, but Springwell farm fields stretched eastwards towards Springwell, the boundary being where modern Auchinraith Road is.
During 1846, Samuel Lewis published his topographical dictionary of Scotland. This included some extensive and accurate descriptions of Blantyre’s hamlets, which included insights into population and employment. For 1846, in years immediately preceding coal being mined, this provides a wonderful account of how life was in Blantyre before that remarkable explosion growth. It stated, “Stonefield, a village, in the parish of Blantyre, Middle ward of the county of Lanark, 1¼ mile (NE by E) from the village of Blantyre; containing 174 inhabitants. It lies in the north-eastern part of the parish, and on the west bank of the Clyde, which here separates the parish from that of Bothwell. The population of the village is chiefly employed in the manufactures of the district, and a few in common handicraft trades.” However all this was about to change with the arrival of many more people in the mid to late 19th Century.