|Freedom For Scotland|
|Scotland's Ma Hame|
|South Dalziel Church
|Old and New Photographs of Motherwell|
|Stories Of Motherwell|
|The present parish church was built in the year 1789. it is a handsome edifice, with a fine spire, and being placed near the centre of the parish, upon the summit of the ridge, is seen a good distance, and makes an agreeable object. The stipend, in whole, is near 50 L sterling, with a house, garden, orchard, and a glebe of between 5 and 6 acres.
|The Auld Manse Cemetery|
|South Dalziel Church Motherwell|
|Statistical Account Parish of Dalziel 1798|
|MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MOTHERWELL
(By the Rev. Duff MacDonald, D.D., Minister of South Dalziel)
Parish of Dalziel
|The first time I was in Motherwell the town seemed to be lighed up by flames all round it; furnaces like Quarter, long since extinguished, appeared to be then in full blaze. On later occasions, when passing through in the same way, I was greatly impressed by the large numbers of houses that were to be seen from the train in the vacinity of Motherwell, Craigneuk and Wishaw. Till 1880 Motherwell and Craigneuk seem to have been sufficiently provided for by the one parish church of Dalziel, but in that year a second parish was constituted under the trusteeship of Hamilton of Dalzell, Watson of Earnock, and Addie of Braidhurst.
The Dalziel old Church became then the Parish Church of South Dalziel, and on my induction to this venerable Church I ceased to be a passing traveller and found myself a settler in to black country. I was so kindly welcomed, however, that scarcely realised its blackness. I saw a great deal of Rev David Scott, minister of Dalziel, and of his two assistants; one of whom, Robert Mitchell, afterwards went to Australia, while the other became famous as Padre Robertson of the great European War. These gentlemen told me that though I had admired all the scenery of Maderia, Cape Town, Durban, Zanzibar, and the Victoria Falls, I must wait till I had seen the Falls of Clyde, and the white cattle and explored Cadzow Castle and Tillietudlem, and also Hamilton Palace and the Mausoleum. Specially impressive, certainly, were the two last monuments of architecture, which seemed well fitted to shed lustre over the blackest neighbourhoods even to the latest posterity. But alas, we live in a changing world. The scenery however had done much to inspire the Covenanters.
On my first visit to preach in South Dalziel, I was received with great kindness by the Rev. Alexander Harper of Wishaw, who was a Graduate in Honours of Aberdeen University, and whose knowledge if Church Law had settled the question of the proclamation of banns in the quoad sacra Parishes. He took me through rows of houses in one part of the district and asked me to guess how many of their inhabitants would worship on a Sunday. I suggested about 200, and was told there would be no more than twenty.
And this where the Covenanters lived and died!.
Yes, but the Covenanters did not shrink from public worship though they had to risk their lives. But their grandchildren shrink from a passing shower.
They are certainly behind the Christian African in religion: but does not their business success show that their failure is not in intellect?
There may be now want of intellect, but the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and the want of that will bring everything down. Look at our shebeens, our strikes, and the wars between labour and capital.
Yes but the heathen Africans are before you there. They count the Missionary one of their greatest friends, because he gives them employment and pays them wages.
When thus conversing with Mr Harper, my personal impression of a place within sight of Tennents Stalk
Were coloured by my knowledge of the troubles caused in Africa by workmen taken by large trading companies from the neighbourhood of Glasgow, or such large centres. Even in the Mission field, when a number of artisans were about to arrive Dr, Laws of Livingstonia had an anxious mind till these men were fairly tested. No doubt a clergyman had certified that they had made a profession of Christianity, but sometimes it was a Christianity that allowed then to break their engagements, and to regard their employer as an enemy; and they could always plead that they had a right to strike, which no power could interfere with. Fortunately, the mind of the heathen themselves was in greater harmony with Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself although they had not yet read such statements as let every soul be subject to the powers (authorities) that be, and if anyone refuse to work, neither let him eat. But I am glad to remember that during my first years in Motherwell, although there were strikes in the neighbourhood, the Motherwell workmen followed a cautious policy, and our town did not suffer.
One of my first acquaintances in Motherwell was Alex Whamond, who was a Latin scholar and a writer of interesting novels. He was the parish schoolmaster, but I doubt whether the salary paid to such an excellent master would now meet the expense of a mere member of an Education Authority.
Originally, his school and schoolhouse were at Knowtop, on the opposite side of the street from where South Dalziel Manse now stands. Here had been an official education centre of the parish for generations, and, although St Marys Well (Ladywell) claimed the honour of giving Motherwell its name and of receiving the offerings of sad and weary invalids, there was a little Knowtop Well which, to the children of the parish school, was better known and much dearer. To reach it from the school, the children had only to cross the country road, which would not be called a street, as there was no house on it till Craigneuk on the one side, and there was were only the old toll and the Church on the other side. When this road was crossed a short run in the plantation brought the children to the well in great glee whether they were thirsty or no. The more intensive mining took away the spring water both from Knowtop and Ladywell. Still, there stands quite near this old education centre a great Knowtop School, capable of containing about five times over, all the inhabitants, old and young of the early rural parish of Dalziel, while the present education Authority have taken over some ten acres of the present plantation in view of future requirements. But all along the people of Motherwell had done a great deal for the young. The South Church itself, long before I knew it, had been carrying a Savings Bank under the care of Lord Hamilton, who always attended its annual meetings.
One thing that impressed me at first was the great number of children that went to the Sunday School trips.
In many rural parishes, as in Aberdeenshire, such excursions were scarcely known, and in my boyhood, when they were tired, the children attending the parish school thought themselves above such things and made fun of the attempts. But what a contrast here! One day at Holytown station I was looking in amazement at the tremendous crowds of children and teachers that were changing carriages, when a fellow- passenger said o me They so a great deal for the children here. I could only reply, They certainly do a great deal for the railway companies, and that will be some benefit. In the country parishes some parents might consider that such outings fostered a desire for idleness and sport that would interfere with the hard patient work necessary for success. Still, they had school holidays on great market days, but even these brought temptations to drunkenness and other irregularities.
Some forty years ago at Motherwell and Wishaw, work was steady and workmen had spare time. But while some took advantage of this to carry out studies in such subjects as gardening, and music, and astronomy in splendid style, others took sadly to drunkenness. One Sunday evening when coming to Motherwell, after a service in Overtown, along what was then called the Wishaw Back Road. I found that within a mile of Motherwell the road was crowded with what the law call bona fide travellers, who in reality could hardly travel at all. The whole neighbourhood knew that there were some five or seven hotels in Motherwell and that there was no lack of similar accommodation in Wishaw; and the man who traversed the distance, whether he was thirsty or not, had gained all the privileges of the bona fide traveller. The results were far reaching. One of the first consequences was that the Monday following was in danger of being an off day in some of the works, and perhaps the Tuesday was also needed for completing the recovery from these excesses. But fortunately, keen business men (though perhaps looking to business interests chiefly) saw what a terrible evil this might do in every direction. The workmen that accustomed himself to loosing s number of days tended to become a loafer, and then to consider himself qualified to be a director or treasurer of some grand union for financing strikes. So with a few like himself he might begin to coerce men newly come to the works to join this cause, which promise, like some great banking company, to help people during times of illness and to supply strike pay, thus taxing the workmen and leaving them to a great extent at the mercy of such leaders. But the fact that Motherwell blotted out the bona fide scandal so easily may well make the people of the district hope to deal with other difficulties no less effective.
When writing an account of the tribal customs in Central Africa from the statements of the natives themselves I was constantly asked, What is your custom in this matter, or that matter, in your country? After trying to set our British customs clearly before these natives, in many particulars I had to submit to the criticism. Well, that is very stupid. But we do not need to wait till some Parliament of the whole Universe reveals what are our daily duties. These we have to do at once in the spirit of our countrymen who taught us to sing
Courage brother do not stumble,
Though thy path be dark as night.
Theres a star to guide the humble
Trust in God, and do the right.
|The Auld Manse Graveyard|
|The Covenanters Graveyard|
|The Covenanters Oak|
|Ode tae Rabbie|
|Ma Frien'The Robin|
|A Wean Cau'd Anne|
|The Duchess of Hamilton Park|
|David Wingate Collier Poet|
|Scottish Songs 2|
|Scottish Songs 3|
|Irish Songs 2|
|Old Scottish Words In Use Today|
|Old Map of Scotland|
|Bits an' Bobs|
|South Dalziel 2001|