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The Glasgow district of Castlemilk was at one time the country estate of the Stuarts of Castlemilk, who had connections with the ancient royal family of Scotland. The estate was acquired by Glasgow Corporation shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War and developed for housing from the late 1950's.

Castlemilk House

The origins of Castlemilk House, which started out as a fortified tower, are obscured in the distant past. The oldest part of the house had thick walls, small windows, narrow passages and confined staircases, confirming that its earliest function was as a defensive stronghold.
After the time of the Scottish wars of independence and the establishment of the Stuart monarchy, the Lands of Castleton (or Cassiltoun) in the parish of Carmunnock came into the possession of the Douglas family. In 1455, following the rebellion of James, ninth (and last) Earl of Douglas, against King James II, all the family titles and estates were forfeited to the Crown. A short time later the confiscated lands at Castleton passed to the Stuarts of Castlemilk, Dumfriesshire. The tower house and surrounding grounds were developed during the remainder of the century. After selling their Dumfriesshire lands in 1579 to the Maxwell family, the Stuarts adopted the name Castlemilk for their estate at Castleton.

Later, as a country mansion, Castlemilk House was gradually enlarged and improved to provide a luxurious family residence. The house was neglected while in the ownership of Glasgow Corporation and allowed to fall into a serious state of disrepair before being abandoned and eventually demolished in 1969.

The stables block, which included the estate offices, was added around 1800. Castlemilk Stables, which features a beautiful clock tower, were carefully restored in 2007 to provide modern office space around a central courtyard.


The map below shows the layout of Castlemilk House and the surrounding woodland, gardens and ancilliary buildings in the 1850's. These features had been developed in the previous century. The Ice House shown on the map was used for the preservation of food.
Castlemilk Burn, which rises in the Cathkin Braes, flows through the estate supplying the water for the fish pond. It is crossed by a picturesque stone bridge dating from 1833.

1850's map of Castlemilk

1850's's map showing Castlemilk House with surrounding woodland, gardens, stables and fish pond


This description of the house and its surroundings comes from 1793, during the tenure of Sir John Stuart, the fifth (and last) Baronet of Castlemilk.
It gives details of Queen Mary's Room, where the Queen slept on the eve of the Battle of Langside.

Description of Castlemilk House


Engraving from 1793  showing Castlemilk House

Engraving from 1793 showing Castlemilk House from the south-east with the fish pond in the foreground


Photograph of Castlemilk House and fish pond

Photograph from 1950's showing Castlemilk House with the fish pond in the foreground


The Stuart Baronetcy, of Castlemilk in the County of Lanark, was created as part of the Baronetage of Nova Scotia on 29 February 1668 for Archibald Stuart. The title became extinct on the death of the fifth Baronet, Sir John Stuart, on 18th January 1797.
The Baronetage of Nova Scotia was created in 1624 by King James VI, son of Mary Queen of Scots, as a means of financing the settlement of the New World province. The scheme was implemented by his successor, King Charles I, who created the first Scottish baronet in 1625.
A portrait of the fifth Baronet of Castlemilk, Sir John Stuart, is shown below alongside his coat of arms which features the emblem of Nova Scotia in the "sinister canton". When Sir John died without issue in 1797 the title went with him. The estate was then inherited by Andrew Stuart of Torrance, Sir John's nearest male heir.

Portrait of Sir John Stuart of Castlemilk Arms of Sir John Stuart of Castlemilk

Portrait and arms of Sir John Stuart, fifth Baronet of Castlemilk


A full list of the Baronets of Castlemilk:
Sir Archibald Stuart, first Baronet (1668 - 1670)
Sir William Stuart, second Baronet (d. 1715)
Sir Archibald Stuart, third Baronet (d. 1763)
Sir John Stuart, fourth Baronet (d. 1781)
Sir John Stuart, fifth Baronet (d. 1797)


The ratification of the Royal Charter in favour of Sir William Stuart, second Baronet of Castlemilk, on 24th April 1694, refers to "Castlemilk, alias Castleton". It details the lands "lying within the barrony of Carmanock and shirriffdom of Lanerk".
The estate's original name of Castleton was retained for the large houses to the west of Castlemilk House, on the site of the present day shopping centre at Castlemilk Arcade. The old maps show that the two parts of the estate were linked by a tree-lined avenue.
Castleton's later title of Castlemilk had been borrowed from the lands of that name in Dumfriesshire held by the Stuart family, who had re-named the estate after their castle beside the River Mylk (or Milk).

Large houses with surrounding gardens and gatehouse at Castleton

1850's map showing large houses, gardens and gatehouse at Castleton, on site of present day shopping centre


The Braes Shopping Centre, Castlemilk, built on site of the mansions at Castleton

The Braes Shopping Centre, Castlemilk, built on site of the mansions at Castleton


In 1419, during the period of the Hundred Years War, the future King Charles VII of France, who was Dauphin at the time, called on the Scots for help against the English under the terms of the “Auld Alliance”.
The Stuarts of Castlemilk, Dumfriesshire answered the call and Sir William Stuart of Castlemilk with his brother, Sir John Stuart of Darnley, went over to France to assist Charles against the forces of England and her allies. After the victory at the Battle of Baugé in 1421 the Dauphin rewarded Sir John Stuart with the Lordship and Estate of Aubigny.
Both brothers were killed in February 1429, near to Orléans, assisting the army led by Joan of Arc who successfully relieved the prolonged siege of the town.

The oak fireplace shown below can be seen at the refurbished Castlemilk Stables. The carved figures recount the Stuart involvement in the the Siege of Orléans.

Oak fireplace, recovered from Castlemilk House, depicting the Siege of Orléans in 1429

Oak fireplace, recovered from Castlemilk House, depicting the Stuart family's involvement in the Siege of Orléans in 1429


There is evidence to suggest a presence of the Stuarts of Castlemilk at Castleton, Carmunnock as far back as the early 1470's.
The family crypt at Carmunnock Parish Church contains a plaque dedicated 'To the 'Memory of the Stuarts of Castlemilk 1474-1600'.

Plaque from Carmunnock Parish Church dedicated to the Stuarts of Castlemilk 1474-1600

Plaque from Carmunnock Parish Church dedicated to the Stuarts of Castlemilk 1474-1600

 

In 1473 the Stuarts of Castlemilk became benefactors of the Dominican 'Friar Preachers', who were based at the Blackfriars Monastery in Glasgow. On the 8th of June 1473, the friars agreed to say Mass in perpetuity for the souls of Matthew, the Laird of Castlemilk, along with his family and decendants, in return for an annuity of 10 Merks.

An illustrated history of the Dominican Order's Blackfriars Monastery can be seen in the Cathedral Precinct page of this web site. The monastery was destroyed by the Reformers in 1560, but the church survived as as Presbyterian kirk, retaining the name of Blackfriars Church.


Clock tower at Castlemilk Stables in clear winter sunshine

Clock tower at Castlemilk Stables in clear winter sunshine


Offices managed by Cassiltoun Trust

View from central courtyard of newly constructed offices, owned and managed by the Cassiltoun Trust


View of stables block from gardens at rear

Original estate offices at rear entrance to stables courtyard, now restored to their original purpose


The old stalls at the stables, now full height windows

The old stalls at the stables, now full height windows


 Remains of Ice House at Castlemilk, Glasgow

The last remains of the underground Ice House shown in the old map are protected by a metal cage


Stone castellated bridge over Castlemilk Burn dating from 1833, refurbished in 2001/2002

Stone castellated bridge over Castlemilk Burn dating from 1833, refurbished in 2001/2002


Pathway across the bridge from Castlemilk Stables

Pathway across the bridge from Castlemilk Stables


Pathway across the bridge from Castlemilk Stables

View from stone bridge of Castlemilk Burn flowing towards Fish Pond


The remains of Castlemilk House on elevated site overlooking Fish Pond

The whitewashed remains of Castlemilk House, on an elevated site overlooking the Fish Pond, can be compared to the 1793 engraving


Reflections on Fish Pond at Castlemilk House

Reflections on Fish Pond at Castlemilk House


Outflow from Fish Pond to waterfall carrying water down to Castlemilk Burn

Outflow from Fish Pond to waterfall carrying water down to Castlemilk Burn


Waterfall carrying water from Fish Pond down to Castlemilk Burn

Waterfall carrying water from Fish Pond down to Castlemilk Burn


Castlemilk Burn entering culvert at Croftfoot Road

Castlemilk Burn entering culvert at Croftfoot Road


Old photograph of burn entering culvert at Croftfoot Farm

Old photograph of burn entering culvert at Croftfoot Farm


Stone castellated gate piers at eastern entrance to estate

Stone castellated gate piers at eastern entrance to estate


Course of Castlemilk Burn from Cathkin Braes as an overground stream to Croftfoot

Course of Castlemilk Burn from Cathkin Braes to Croftfoot


Source of Castlemilk Burn at Cathkin Braes

Source of Castlemilk Burn at edge of the "Big Wood" in Cathkin Braes


This extract from the "Lifes of the Queens of Scotland", from 1856, gives a very romanticised version of Queen Mary's short and tragic visit to Castlemilk and Cathcart at the time of the Battle of Langside in May 1568.
It gives a very pleasant description of the Cathkin Braes and the burn, giving it the title of "Queen Mary's Spring".
The site at Court Knowe, Cathcart, where the Queen watched the Battle of Langside features in my Old Cathcart page.
A full description of the battle can be seen at my Langside page.

Legend of Queen Mary's Spring, an earlier name for Castlemilk Burn

Legend of Queen Mary's Spring, an earlier name for Castlemilk Burn


Portrait of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, Queen Consort of France

Portrait of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, Queen Consort of France

After the Battle of Langside, the Queen spent the remaining nineteen years of her life as a prisoner of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth of England.


The last letter Of Mary Queen of Scots was written to her brother-in-law, King Henri III of France, on the morning of her execution by beheading on 8th February 1587. It gives a sad insight into her thoughts regarding her long incarceration and being denied the last rites before her imminent death.
The letter was signed just six hours before the Queen's appointment with the axeman at 8am.

Signature on last letter Of Mary Queen of Scots

"Wednesday at two in the morning Your most loving and most true sister Mary R"

This touching letter was written on three pages of paper secured by a narrow piece of ribbon. It shows a firm steady hand which betrays no symptoms of weakness or indecision. The letter remained in the archives of the Scots College in Paris up to the time of the French Revolution. It is now held by the National Library of Scotland.


Bridal medal of Mary and the Dauphin, 1558 Rosary and Crucifix of Mary Queen of Scots

Bridal medal of Mary and François and the Queen's Rosary and Crucifix, recovered after her execution


1795 map showing Boose, Castlemilk

This map from 1795 shows a Mill in the Cathkin Braes powered by the Castlemilk Burn, where downstream you can find "Boose"!


Bridge over Castlemilk Burn at Cathkin Braes

Bridge over Castlemilk Burn at Cathkin Braes carrying pathway down to Ardencraig Road


Recent archaeological excavations in Castlemilk have not produced many interesting finds. Much of the material uncovered was relatively recent, mostly discarded broken pottery from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Back in the summer of 1792, however, a number of antiquities dating back to more ancient times were dug up in a field within the Castlemilk estate.
The unearthed archaeological discoveries are shown in the sketch below.

List of archaeological finds discovered in Castlemilk in 1792 Sketch of antiquities discovered in archaeological dig in Castlemilk in 1792


Castlemilk Hall, Carmunnock, was formally opened on 13th October 1893. The land had been provided by Mr William Stirling Stuart of Castlemilk and the building was funded by Mr James Graham of nearby Kittochside who wished to provide a public hall and reading room for the residents of the village of Carmunnock.

Early view of Castlemilk Hall, Carmunnock

Early view of Castlemilk Hall, Carmunnock


The development of the Castlemilk housing scheme from the 1950's provided homes for those affected by the removal of sub-standard accommodation in many districts of the old city. The main house type were blocks of flats designed as modern versions of traditional Glasgow tenements, entered from common closes.

Original 1950's Castlemilk block alongside renovated block

Original 1950's Castlemilk block alongside renovated block with new roof and rendered walls


In the initial development of the scheme there were a limited number of house types, some of which are shown below. As well as the blocks of flats (top left), there were 3-storey terraced houses built for larger families (top right) and 4-in-a-block homes for the local fire service personnel (bottom left).
The refurbishment of the flats did not escape the imitation of Glasgow's most famous architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and his stylised rose motif (bottom right).

Different house types from initial development of Castlemilk

Different house types from initial development of Castlemilk


This aerial view of modern Castlemilk shows a remarkable amount of greenery within the bounds of the scheme, as well as Castlemilk Park and the Cathkin Braes to the south of Ardencraig Road. Linn Park and its Golf Course are situated to the west of Drakemire Drive, but unfortunately there has never been any direct access to these amenties from Castlemilk.
Kings Park with its walled gardens is also very close to Castlemilk, accessed from Carmunnock Road, north of the Croftfoot Roundabout.

Aerial view of modern Castlemilk

Aerial view of modern Castlemilk


Many of the re-housed families came from the Gorbals, where there was connection with Castlemilk way back in the mid 1800's with a named block in Hospital Street

Castlemilk Place, Gorbals

Map showing Castlemilk Place, Gorbals



Dixon Halls, Crosshill

Gorbals
-

Pollokshields, Garden Suburb
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Govan
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Strathbungo & Crossmyloof
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Mount Florida
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Pollok Park & the Burrell
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Langside and Battlefield
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White Cart Walk, Pollok Park
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King's Park
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Rivers: Brock, Levern & Cart
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Castlemilk
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Pollokshaws & Auldhouse
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Queen's Park Churches
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Shawlands & Pollokshaws Churches
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Muirend to Cathcart
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Old Cathcart
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Newlands
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White Cart Walk, Linn Park
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Cathcart Circle - A Railway Tour
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East Renfrewshire Suburbs
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All original artwork, photography and text © Gerald Blaikie 2016
Unauthorised reproduction of any image on this website is not permitted.

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