Stonehouse, South Lanarkshire

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Remains of Saint Ninian's Kirk, Stonehouse, South Lanarkshire.

Stonehouse (Scots: Stanehoose)[1] is a rural village in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. It is on Avon Water in an area of natural beauty and historical interest, near to the Clyde Valley. It is on the A71 trunk road between Edinburgh and Kilmarnock, near the towns of Hamilton, Larkhall and Strathaven.

In 1971, Stonehouse was designated to become one of Scotland's New Towns,[2] a modern urban design[3] to alleviate overcrowding in and around Glasgow and to generate industrial development, similar to the towns of East Kilbride, Cumbernauld and Livingston. Following the West Central Scotland Plan of 1974 and the inception of Strathclyde Regional Council in 1975, regional planning strategy was refocused upon regeneration within Glasgow. and finally in 1976 the Secretary of State for Scotland decided that Stonehouse development would be halted.[4]

The population of Stonehouse is around 7000.

The old village centre has several rows of late 18th century and early 19th century weavers' cottages, some of which have double windows which were originally intended to maximise the amount of light coming in, for weavers working on their looms.

The village's oldest structure are the ruins of St Ninian's Church, which date from the 17th century and stand in an ancient graveyard on the edge of the village.

Close by is the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park which has pathways down to the Avon Water, a bandstand and other recreational facilities.


Cot Castle[edit]

Not much is known of the mysterious Cot (Kat) Castle which once stood on the banks of the Avon. Resting on a precipitous cliff face, the castle or "Keep" as it should be known, was home to the Hamiltons in the year 1500AD. The failure of Edward I to impose lasting peace in Scotland brought about three centuries of border warfare. With the constant destruction and changing possession of castles, it proved to be time consuming and expensive task to constantly maintain and defend great fortresses. Thus the 14th and 15th centuries saw the evolution of a type of "keep" or "tower house" more appropriate to the limited resources of the defenders. This stone structure was both fireproof and capable of being defended should the castle be stormed. Basically it was a type of fortified house rather than a castle. In Ireland and Scotland keeps tended to be smaller than their English counterparts, a compromise between comfort and security where the sudden raid was feared more than the prolonged siege.

The basic type of keep was either square or rectangular rising through three or more storeys enclosing hall, chamber, kitchen, chapel and final place of refuge. Cot castle was probably very similar to the keep (tower house) within Craignethan castle which is thought to date from the 15th century. Cot castle is noted in Bartholomew’s Castles map of Scotland as a "keep" and in 1836 there were said to be remains still visible.

In the 1937 Statistical Account of Stonehouse mention is made of Cot castle in the following extract:

"Among the documents discovered in 1887 in the Hamilton Chamberlain’s office, is a notarial instrument, narrating that in terms of a charter granted by himself, Alexander Hamilton of Catcastell, passed to the one-mark of Woodland and the half-merk land of Brownland, lying in the barony of Stanehouse and the sheriffdom of Lanark and there gave sasine of these lands with his own hands to James Wynzet, his heirs and assignees in usual form, 29th January 1511-12."

Cot castle farm was later built on this site but fell into disrepair and was abandoned at the end of the 1970s. There was also a railway station sited here for transporting goods. Various derivatives of name are listed under placenames.

Holy Wells[edit]

There have been four holy wells within the Stonehouse area. All the wells are of pagan origin and are said to have had healing properties and may also have been used for Christian baptisms. Evidence of all four wells can still be found, though some are more prominent than others.

Site of Ringsdale Castle[edit]

Like Cot castle, Ringsdale was probably a "motte" rather than a castle. It once stood high on the roof of the Avon gorge overlooking the winding waters of the river. The name of the castle possibly derives from the ancient language of the Britons, Rhyn, signifying a promontory or hill. The word has been corrupted in pronunciation to Ringsdale. Today all that remains of the castle is the raised "motte" at the summit of the gorge overlooking the river bank. Even the romantically located Glenavon cottage which once stood next to Ringsdale has vanished though a small corner of its walls still stands marking its resting place.

On a map of 1838, there is marked a mill known as Cloxy mill (Clocksy, 1864) near the remains of Ringsdale castle. Today there are still ruins of the mill to be seen on the banks of the Avon, but no records of its origins.

Castles appear to be abundant in this area. On the outskirts of the parish can be found the sites of Allanton, Brocket, Plotcock, Glassford and Darngaber motte.


Stonehouse has two primary schools in modern buildings: Stonehouse Primary and Newfield Primary. Both these schools are within the catchment area of Larkhall Academy, but some children in the village attend Strathaven Academy. The local Catholic Primary School is St Patricks Primary School in Strathaven.

Roads and transport[edit]

Stonehouse has regular bus transport to the nearby towns of Larkhall, Hamilton, East Kilbride and Strathaven.

Stonehouse is close to the M74 motorway, with a junction at Canderside Toll (about 1 mile (2 km) from the village), which provides a link to the rest of UK.

Stonehouse is also on the A71 trunk road, which stretches between Edinburgh and Kilmarnock. A by-pass was constructed around the old village area, rejoining the original route of the A71 near Stonehouse Hospital at the village’s Newfield area.

Railways and stations[edit]

The railway was closed in 1965. There was a junction in Stonehouse where the Coalburn branch diverged from the line to Strathaven.

Today, the nearest railway station for Stonehouse is at Larkhall. South Lanarkshire Council have recently undertaken a feasibility study in order to examine whether the railway from Larkhall could be extended towards Stonehouse; however the major obstacles are the viaduct which whilst the piers remain, the decking was removed in 1984. Also in the mid 1990s the A71 bypass was partially built over the trackbed of the former line.

There are two closed lines at Stonehouse, one to Dalserf and the other to Strathaven.


St Ninians Church[edit]

This church was built in 1896, at a time when the Old Parish Church lacked space. In 1929, after the Union of the Churches, this was renamed to St Ninian's Parish Church of Scotland. The ruins of the church are situated within its own cemetery off Manse Road.

Stonehouse United Reformed Church[edit]

Paterson United Free Church of Scotland[edit]

Renamed to honour H A Paterson, the church's minister who died in 1901, this church was originally called the United Presbyterian Church and was built in 1879. Prior to this was the church for the Associates Secession or Burgher denomination, which was built nearby in 1796 and existed until 1878.

Parks, gardens and play areas[edit]

Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park[edit]

The Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park was opened in 1925, gifted by Alexander Hamilton (from Stonehouse) who made his fortune in carpet manufacture.[5] The distinctive bandstand[6] came from the 1911 Scottish National Exhibition in Glasgow.[7] The park and bandstand look over the picturesque Avon Valley.

A long park chute was built into the hillside and was opened in 1933 by Councillor Thomas Wilson but was dismantled in 1967[8]

Today the park has a floodlit athletics track, football pitch, multi-surface games area as well as woodland walks and various play areas.

Sports facilities and recreation[edit]

Tileworks Sports Ground[edit]

The Tileworks sports ground has a floodlit all weather playing surface designed for football or tennis. The facility also has indoor changing facilities and a full size grass pitch used previously by Stonehouse Violet FC and now used by Royal Albert.

Stonehouse Bowling Club[edit]

The bowling club was first formed in 1857 at Loch Hall but later moved to its present location in Vicars Road

Buildings of interest in Stonehouse[edit]

Stonehouse senior citizens hall[edit]

This hall started life as the Gas Office. It is situated in the village square at Stonehouse Cross and shares the building with Stonehouse Library.

Stonehouse Public Institute[edit]

The Institute was formerly the Miners Welfare Hall. It was built in the early 1900s on New Street, close to the cross and is used for a variety of events and concerts. The smaller part of the building was also used as a radio studio, providing a local FM radio station for most of South Lanarkshire. AvonFM is being set back up again by a team of dedicated team of volunteers and aims to get a community FM license.

Stonehouse Library[edit]

Stonehouse public hall[edit]

This hall was built in the late 19th century at Trongate, close to the cross.

South Lanarkshire Lifestyles - Stonehouse[edit]

The old public buildings were replaced by a new community centre at the edge of town, opened in 2011[9]


Cander Moss[edit]

This reserve is a remnant of a large area of raised bog and is maintained by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The site is rich with all types of wildlife that can be found in this type of habitat.[10] However, there are no footpaths and access across it is difficult.



  • Grossyet Knowe
  • Sodom Hill

War memorial[edit]

Stonehouse War Memorial is situated in the middle of Stonehouse Cemetery and lists those who died in both World Wars. The World War 1 soldiers names are on the side that faces the cemetery gates and the World War 2 names are on the opposite side.

The memorial is in the form of a cross on a long shaft which stands on a four tiered octagonal plinth. There is no decoration on either the plinth or cross.


Stonehouse Cemetery[edit]

The cemetery, which contains the town's war memorial (details above), has the Commonwealth war graves of 8 British service personnel of the World Wars.[11]

=Other cemeteries[edit]

  • St Ninians Church Cemetery
  • Glebe Cemetery


Stonehouse Viaduct[edit]

Linthaugh Bridge[edit]

Linthaugh Bridge crosses the Avon water at the bottom of Linthaugh Brae. The bridge was built in 1772.


Stonehouse Hospital opened in 1896 and provided care for sufferers of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases and was said to be "the best isolation hospital in Scotland".[12] The old Victorian hospital building was demolished and a new hospital opened in May 2004[13]

Community groups and organisations[edit]

Stonehouse Community First Response[edit]

Starting operations from late August 2009, the CFR group for Stonehouse is one of many groups operating in Scotland. The purpose of the group is to provide supplementary emergency medical cover within the area, specifically to allow rapid attendance at instances of things like Cardiac Arrest, Central Chest Pain, Sudden Adult Collapse or Breathing Difficulties. Due to the rural location of the Avondale area, it can sometimes take an ambulance upwards of 10 minutes to attend an incident. In the event of a Cardiac Arrest, ideally you would want a Defib. unit on scene within 5 minutes, preferably sooner. Members of the group are fully trained in the use of Defibrillators, supplemental Oxygen use, Airway management, and various other aspects of Basic Life Support. Community First Responder

The scheme is completely staffed by unpaid volunteers who are dispatched by the Scottish Ambulance Service to appropriate medical emergencies within the areas covered. At the current time, the Stonehouse scheme also covers:- Larkhall, Strathaven, Ashgill, Glassford, Sandford, & anywhere in between. In some circumstances, cover can also be extended to Blackwood/Kirkmuirhill/Boghead (Usually only if the fellow CFR scheme in Lesmahagow area is not on call). At the time of writing (1 September 2010), the first year stats. for the group are over 3500 hours of cover and attendance at over 220 emergency incidents. There are currently 10 members of the group, but new volunteers are always welcome.

Stonehouse Heritage Group[edit]

Stonehouse Heritage Group (SHG) was formed in 1991. SHG website. It was created by a small band of volunteers. Their First Project was the inputting of census information on Stonehouse (Lanarkshire) into a computer database. The first census return to be input was the 1891 census. Search routines were developed so that the data could be easily accessed through a number of options that included Surname, full Name, Address etc. therefore providing an extremely quick search facility. Since then more information has gradually been added. SHG have access to a resource room above the library at 4/5 the Cross Stonehouse ML9 3LO.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Online Scots Dictionary
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ [1] CWGC Cemetery Report.
  12. ^
  13. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°41′49″N 3°58′57″W / 55.69683°N 3.98239°W / 55.69683; -3.98239