East Kilbride, Calder Glen, Craigneith Castle

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Site Type CASTLE
Canmore ID 171627
Site Number NS65NE 62
NGR NS 6630 5531
Former District EAST KILBRIDE
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Craigneith Castle's History
Posted by calaterium on 20 June 2009
Recommended by 4 users
Submitted by Christopher Ladds, Local Calderglen Historian

The building which last occupied the site upon the Crags of Craigneith was a folly castle constructed sometime between 1750 and 1845. If the former date is more accurate then the building is likely to have recieved creative additions right up until 1845. The building served 3 purposes; 1. to provide some accomodation for a number of Calderwood Castle's servants, 2. to serve as a vantage point for viewing the awe-inspiring beauty of the far reaching prospects of Calderwood Glen, 3. to act as a decorative adjunct on the estate viewed from many points in Calderwood Glen, the surrounding countryside, and Calderwood Castle itself.
When the S.C.W.S. (Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society ) owned the estate during the early 1900's the building fell out of use and into ruin for some unknown reason. The building may have become a storehouse for miner's equipment and this may explain its domestic abandonment.

The structure stood quite entire until the late 1970's/early 1980's when the local council pulled down the higher parts of the empty shell down for safety reasons.

The building cosisted of 3 groundfloor rooms, including a stable and a few fireplaces. the three romms were two smaller side rooms including the stable with roofs sloping up to the main central room. Above the central room was the upper floor featuring windows in its three main faces for viewing the estate from, and finally a wheel stair leading up a cylindrical turret to an even higher vantage point upon the roof. To the north of the building was a garden courtyard enclosed by a small wall, cornered by two folly decorative wellhouses. The environs were decorated with Yew Trees. Surrounding the site is an old boundary wall which may relate to an earlier landholding, or be another romantic idea of the local lairds. Evidence of earlier building does exist within the enclosure.

This building may have been named Craigneith (also spelt Craigneath) to mean nether or lower crag, as an earlier building by the name of Craig or Craigmuir may have stood close to Craigmuir Farm nearby. This folly may have commemorated this earlier building. This explains much considering Craigneith could also be interprested to mean 'below the crag', which would be a silly title for a folly perched upon the crest of the loftiest range of crags in the area.

There dwelt in Craigneith Castle the old, old lady who would get up every morning between 4 and 5 AM to light all thirty odd fires in Calderwood Castle. She would descend the gorge via the narrow steep trails and over the footbridge, and up many steps to Calderwood Castle every morning, and she did this right up until the end of her life. She died a rather old lady! She would do this no matter how roaring the river or how slippery and murky the weather, and in the dark bitter cold of winter!

Today the building is upon land owned by nearby Basket Farm and some areas of the walls still stand to over 8 feet tall. Unusual plants which grow there include the three-nerved sandwort.
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Further details
Posted by calaterium on 20 June 2009
Recommended by 1 user
submitted by Christopher Ladds, Local Calderglen Historian

In addition the building was decorated by battlements and loopholes.

It is unknown if the site ever served as a position of defence, which it lends itself to.
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Posted by calaterium on 23 February 2010
Recommended by 1 user
Another theory is that the Lairds of Calderwood named the Folly Craigneith in memory of a more ancient name for the site of Calderwood Castle which does sit beneath the Crag, hence 'Craigneith'.

Many local place names are ancient Brythonic Welsh in origin and the importance of the Calderwood site locally would insist it had an earlier name of the same origin. It would appear that Craigneith was indeed the first name of Calderwood before it was occupied by the Maxwells of Calderwood.

Contrary evidence of the ancient surname of Calderwood originating in the area may dispute this. However, it could be argued that the name Craigneith is so ancient that it even predates the ancient Calderwood Lairds prior to the Maxwells who occupied the site from the 1400's.
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Posted by Allan Thornton on 20 December 2014
I used to work on Basket Farm in the 1960's, at that time owned by James Shields. James had many documents and maps from earlier times and the designation of this area of Calderglen as an SSI was largely down to his representations. Basket farm had 2 fields called Craigneith; the big Craigneith at 25 acres and the little Craigneith at under 5 acres. Therefore the likelihood is that it is an older name for a previous farmstead. I cannot remember it ever being referred to as Craigneith Castle - it was always referred to as the Craigneith and recognised as a folly to Maxwelltown Castle across the water. It was built as a viewpoint to Maxwelltown Castle and also it looked straight up the glen to the Big Linn - the big pool which is a particularly beautiful stretch of the calder - well fished by myself. No-one seems to remember the formal gardens which were laid out all the way from the riverbank up the east side of the river to the Craigneith. There were several well laid paths and an ornamental pond halfway up the slope (and I believe it had a fountain at one time - it certainly had the remains of what looked like a fountain - fed from the stream which enters the Calder below Craigneath). There was a path all the way up to the big Linn too.
It may well also have served as a resting point for visiting some of the model industries laid out in the grounds of Basket and . For example there were substantial limekilns in the Kiln field and there was a small coal mine served by a light tramway connecting to the railway at High Blantyre. There was also a construction of kilns at the top of the craigneath by the roadside - these may have been for production of bricks if memory serves me correctly. These were covered over in my living memory.
As a child it was still possible(just) to climb the Craigneath, the sole reward was the great views.
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