17th-18th Century

Cameronians’ Regimental Memorial 

Although constructed in 1892, the Cameronians’ Regimental Memorial, commemorates the raising of the regiment in 1689 to support the cause of King William and Queen Mary coming to the throne. The statue is of James Douglas, Earl of Angus, who was the first Colonel of the regiment and from whose estate in the surrounding area a large number of the recruits came from. Before being formally raised they were a unit of Presbyterian covenanters who rebelled against King Charles II. The name Cameronians comes from Richard Cameron a local minister and leader, who was killed at the Battle of Aird’s Moss in 1680.  It is quite an unusual monument in that so many of the other Trust properties often focus on the Jacobites, the supporters of the deposed James VII/II, brother of Charles II.  

Statue of James Douglas, Earl on Angus, at The Cameronians’ Regimental, Douglas © NTS

Indeed, it was the Cameronians who under the command of Captain William Cleland, held off the Jacobite army during the hard fought battle in and around Dunkeld in August 1689. Cleland and many of his troops were killed in the battle. James Douglas, Earl of Angus, was killed at the battle of Steenkirk, in Belgium in 1692, along with General Hugh Mackay who had commanded the government army at Killiecrankie. 

The statue on its plinth is set within a small garden plot enclosed by iron railings on the north side of the village of Douglas, in South Lanarkshire. No archaeological work has been undertaken in the area but there may be deposits relating to the use of the village itself which dates back to at least the 13th century.  

Weaver’s Cottage 

Although the date stone above the front door says 1723 another name stone built into the gable end refers to Robert King and Grizal Marshal. The initials RK and GM, presumably referring to Robert and Grizal, above the date 1661, is carved into a stone built into the western boundary wall and could indicate an earlier building on the site. Although now presented as a single cottage it is possible that during the 18th century it was occupied by two or possibly three families, living and working in each of the rooms. At the height of the weaving industry in Kilbarchan there were around 800 weavers working in the village and in the mid-19th century further weaving sheds were built in many of the cottage gardens.  

Weaver’s Cottage © HES

Over the years the National Trust for Scotland has undertaken quite a lot of archaeological work at the Weaver’s Cottage. In 2002 a trench was excavated in the back garden of the cottage to investigate the foundations of a 19th century weaving shed (Alexander, Addyman & Roberts 2004). This work located a lot of 18th and 19th century pottery and glass but also a surprise find of a human skull. The latter is likely to have come from the churchyard next door when the large new church was built in 1900. A radiocarbon date was obtained from the skull which dated to ….Further trial trenching work was carried out in 2007 and located the base of a flight of steps to a rear door (that is no longer visible) (Alexander 2007).

Excavating the old weaving shed in the garden of the Weaver’s Cottage, Kilbarchan

The next major investigation at the Weaver’s Cottage was a full Historic Building Survey carried out by AOC Archaeology in 2018 (Sproat, Humble and Hudson 2018) which included laser scanning of both the exterior and interior.  At the same time as part of her coursework for the University of Glasgow, Ellie James undertook a review of the 18th and 19th century pottery recovered from the excavations on the site in 2002 and 2007 (James 2018), and the results were presented as a poster at the 2018 Post-Medieval Archaeology Society Conference in Glasgow in 2019. The summer of 2019 also saw a weekend of public archaeological work with the digging of nine 1m by 1m test pits across the lawn at the far end of the garden (Alexander 2019). 

Pollok House 

As mentioned above Pollok House is owned by Glasgow City Council and run as a visited site by the National Trust for Scotland. The building itself dates from 1752 and has been the subject of various conservation building repairs over the years. Very little archaeological work/recording has been undertaken on the building itself and a full Historic Building Survey would certainly be of use. When the terraced gardens to the south of the house were repaired in the 1980s there may have been some archaeological oversight, as there are bags of pottery sherds in the basement that may have been collected during this work, but there is no record of this.  

Pollok House © Lorna M Campbell (CC BY-SA)

The wider Pollok Estate has been the subject of a range of investigations over the years including the production of a Management Plan (LUC 2002). The development of the estate and the family links to the slave trade were discussed in a recent article in Scottish Local History journal (Nisbet 2020). Survey and excavation work has been undertaken in the park by members of the Glasgow Archaeological Society but has still to be reported on in full. Excavation was first undertaken of the ring work in the North Woods by Arron Johnson back in the late 1950s (Johnson 1959 and 1960) and this was followed up by geophysical survey and further trenching in 2008 and 2009 (Driscoll and Mitchell 2008; Mitchell and Driscoll 2009).  

Pollok House gardens © Lord Harris (CC BY-SA)

Greenbank Garden 

Greenbank House, on the southern outskirts of Glasgow was built in 1764 by Robert Allason, a successful merchant, trading in a wide variety of goods (Alexander and McCrae 2012, 172-4). His trading activities included making money from slavery. He shipped Scottish goods to his brother Sandy in Calabar and they were traded there for enslaved Africans. Sandy was a captain of a ship and the people were transported to the West Indies and Virginia and sold to plantation owners. Robert’s other brother, William, was involved in this element of the process and made money selling enslaved people and then buying tobacco to send back to Glasgow. Greenbank House and its surrounding garden and designed landscape were constructed on the profits of slavery, and this history is told at the property and in a local history book (Nisbet and Welsh 1992) and the Trust’s guidebook (May and Nisbet 2014).  

Greenbank House from the gardens © David Kelly

In 1994 a series of trenches were excavated on the lawn to the south-west of the house to investigate to position of previous flower beds, paths and the position of a rotating summer house (Turner 1994). Twenty years later the same area was the focus of a geophysical survey carried out by members of the Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society (Matthews 2014). 

Trial trenching in Greenbank House gardens, Newton Mearns © NTS

The garden and designed landscape was the subject of a detailed Historic Landscape Survey which plotted numerous built features (James et al 1996), including rig and furrow cultivation traces. When a new cable route was cut through these rigs in the fields in front of the house an archaeological watching brief was conducted (James 1997). Some of the surrounding fields are often ploughed and fieldwalking of one produced a large concentration of clay tobacco pipes (Alexander 2009). Three small trial trenches were also excavated in the garden as part of an Archaeology weekend in 2014 (Alexander 2014). 

Wester Kittochside 

The Farm buildings and land at Wester Kittochside, East Kilbride, were given to the Trust and later formed part of the wider visitor experience at the National Museum for Rural Life. As part of the research into the background of the farm an extensive Historic Landscape Survey was completed and a RCAHMS Broadsheet was published (RCAHMS 2001). Other archaeological projects on the farm have included a watching brief during drainage work across the traces of rig and furrow cultivation (Alexander and Gorman 2007), excavation of the horse gin (Alexander 2003) and programmes of public engagement including ploughed fieldwalking for artefacts (Casey and Alexander 2005; Gorman and Alexander 2006.). A desk-based assessment was also carried out of the site of Philipshill Mill which sits on the south-west side of the Kittoch Water below the Museum building (Winter 2007; Winter and Alexander 2007). This work built upon earlier work on the site by Welsh (1973) and Nisbet (2003). 

Excavation of the horse gin at Wester Kittochside © NTS