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LocationEdit

Blackwood sits adjacent to the M74 motorway - Scotland's main arterial route South to England - but remains a quiet village and a much sought-after place to stay. Blackwood is linked to (and physically runs into) the neighbouring village of Kirkmuirhill, so-much-so that there is no physical sign of where one starts and the other ends.[2]

Local lifeEdit

ChurchesEdit

Kirkmuirhill Church of Scotland,[3] St. John's R.C. Church[4] and Kirkmuirhill Gospel Hall[5] look after the spiritual needs of villagers,[6]

SchoolsEdit

There are two primary schools, St. John's R.C. Primary School and Blackwood Primary School.[7][8]

History of Blackwood EstateEdit

Blackwood sits at the top of the gentle hills on the Western/Southern side of the picturesque Clyde Valley, at the point where the River Nethan sweeps down into the steep valley to join the River Clyde. Close by is Craignethan Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots stayed on her journey South to be tried and executed by Elizabeth I of England.[9]

Sited on the main route South from Glasgow to Carlisle, both Kirkmuirhill and Blackwood benefited from the traffic passing through although by far the largest employer in this largely rural area in the 18th and early 19th centuries would have been the Blackwood Estate.[10] Blackwood was (arguably) originally the farming cousin to other local villages, where coal mining was the dominant industry. Blackwood estate provided farming work for local families. The Blackwood Estate, seat of the Weir de Veres since the thirteenth century,[11] afterwards the Hope-Veres,[12] was the most extensive estate in the parish of Lesmahagow[13] and by some accounts the largest estate in the County of Lanark.[14]

Isabella BurnsEdit

Gilbert Burns, brother of the poet had been the land steward at Blackwood before moving to Morham Mains in East Lothian. In 1810 John Begg, husband of Robert Burns youngest sister Isabella Burns, became the land steward for Mr James Hope Vere MP on his estate at Blackwood.[15][16] On 24 April 1813, after nearly three years at Blackwood, John met his death when his horse reared and fell on him, crushing him to death. He was returning from his regular trip to Lesmahagow market on a horse that he had been asked to ride because it had become fractious due to lack of exercise.[17] Isabella was left a widow with nine children with ages from three to eighteen. For a while Mr James Hope Vere paid her a small annual grant however to make ends meet she opened a dame's school in Kirkmuirhill which she ran for four years[18] before moving to Ormiston.

Railway stationEdit

The arrival of the railways into the area in 1856 with the opening of the station at Blackwood, resulted in an expansion of mining but the deep pits in the immediate vicinity seem to have had a short lifespan and were worked out fairly rapidly. Surface mining lasted a little longer but by the mid-20th century, mining was no longer a major employment option in the region.[10]

Blackwood todayEdit

Despite this the two villages of Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill seem to have proved pleasant places to live and both enjoyed a major building boom during the 20th century. In 1901 Blackwood had 167 houses and Kirmuirhill 121. By the year 2000 they had a combined total of 1480 and the villages had merged such that it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.[19]

More recently, a holy grail novel has been inspired by the village of Blackwood. Based on a true story which follows the descendants of the holy bloodline from France in 1066 to South Lanarkshire, where the grail treasure is believed to be buried.[20][21]

Economic developmentEdit

Wind turbinesEdit

Junction 9 of the M74 motorway brings visitors to the South end of the village, but the more popular B7078[22] links the village with Junction 8 (Canderside Toll) and the larger town of Larkhall.[23] In 2009 three large wind turbines went operational along the B7078, providing power for around 3,000 homes and part of Scotland's growing commitment to renewable energy production.[24]

Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill communityEdit

Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill Community Hall is located on the main road (B7078) through the village and was opened in October 2012.[25] The hall is incorporated within the Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill Community Wing which adjoins Blackwood Primary School.[26] Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill Community Wing is run by South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture.[27] This facility has a gym, community hall, sports hall and library and there Is also a pub called The Kirkmuirhill Inn.[28]

BibliographyEdit

  • James Hamilton, Old Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill, Stenlake Publishing, (2000)[29]
  • George Vere Irving, The Upper Ward of Lanarkshire, T. Murray and Son, (1864)[30]
  • Robert Burns Begg (1891). Memoir of Isobel Burns. Privately printed for the family .

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "BLACKWOOD: The Village of Blackwood in South Lanarkshire, Scotland". british-towns.net.
  2. ^ "Visitor Attractions". lairdofblackwood.com.
  3. ^ "Untitled". kirkmuirhillchurch.co.uk.
  4. ^ "Our Lady & St. Johns parish in Blackwood". ourladyandstjohnsblackwood.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Gospel hall in Kirkmuirhill-Lanarkshire -Scotland -Gospel Hall - list of brethren assemblies and bible chapels - gospelhall422". brethrenmatch.com.
  6. ^ "Churches in Blackwood New Jersey - ChurchFinder.com". Church Finder.
  7. ^ Modernising Government South Lanarkshire. "St John's Primary School (Blackwood) - South Lanarkshire Council". southlanarkshire.gov.uk.
  8. ^ Website for primary school Archived October 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "BBC History - Mary, Queen of Scots". bbc.co.uk.
  10. ^ a b Hamilton, James (2000). Old Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill. Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing. pp. 3–4. ISBN 9781840331332.
  11. ^ "Clan WEIR". electricscotland.com.
  12. ^ "HOPE VERE, James Joseph (1785-1843), of Craigie Hall, Linlithgow and Blackwood, Lanark". historyofparliamentonline.org.
  13. ^ 'Irving, George Vere. The Upper Ward of Lanarkshire. Glasgow: T. Murray and Son, 1864.; also The Farmer's Magazine, July 1880, page 281
  14. ^ "The Scottish Laird Title – History of the Blackwood Estate". lairdofblackwood.com.
  15. ^ Begg, Page 27
  16. ^ Begg, Page 21
  17. ^ Begg, Page 28
  18. ^ Begg, Page 29
  19. ^ Hamilton, James. ibid. pp. 3–4.
  20. ^ Lady, Blackwood (2017). Flames of Love: Truth of the Holy Grail. Great Britain: Lady Blackwood Publishing. ISBN 978-1-912069-67-5.
  21. ^ Newhouse, Michelle M (2018). The Grail Bride. Great Britain: Lady Blackwood Publishing. ISBN 978-1-912069-66-8.
  22. ^ "CBRD » Articles » B7076 and B7078". cbrd.co.uk.
  23. ^ "B7078". sabre-roads.org.uk.
  24. ^ "Wind turbine with rainbow". photoshelter.com.
  25. ^ "Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill - South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture". slleisureandculture.co.uk.
  26. ^ "Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill - South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture". slleisureandculture.co.uk.
  27. ^ Modernising Government South Lanarkshire. "Community wing officially opens - South Lanarkshire Council". southlanarkshire.gov.uk.
  28. ^ Civica Pty Ltd. "South Lanarkshire Libraries - Spydus - Home page". sllclibrary.co.uk.
  29. ^ "Stenlake Publishing - Old Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill". stenlake.co.uk.
  30. ^ "The upper ward of Lanarkshire described and delineated". Internet Archive.