In August 1875 coal was found at Eddlewood and the discovery of this precious mineral heralded the end of life as is had been for hundreds of years in the area surrounding the little village of Meikle Earnock. Below is an article copied from the Hamilton Advertiser describing the area prior to industrialisation.
A MINERS’ WALK. SURROUNDINGS OF MEIKLE-EARNOCK.
We stand at Eddlewood Farm and manse, which dates back to the beginning of the feudal system, which was granted by Bruce to the progenitor of the of the Hamilton family, where the Scotch Nelson, Thomas Cochrane, Earl of Dundonald, was born whose life was a proof of the old adage—“It is no use living in Rome and fighting against the Pope.” The beech avenue so much admired at Eddlewood was planted by his maternal grandfather.
Taking the Packman’s Path leading to Meikle-Earnock, we cross the burn by a large flat stone that has long done duty for a bridge, and enter the village at Cockle Hill. Going past Brackenhill Road, which leads to the railway station, we are stopped by a gate closing a path. You used to go past Neilsland House to Woodhead Farm, where you went over the step style, then across the burn and over another step style, then across the burn and over another step style at Midstoneha’.
Crossing over to Little Earnock, you find a road which takes you to the Hamilton water filter. But now we must come back to the Meikle Earnock pump. It is now useless. The village and most of the estates surrounding belong now to Mr Watson, and passing his new pit at the entrance to Fairhill House and the “lovers’ loan,” my mind reverts back to what I have seen in the East, principally Cyprus, at the British occupation, and my description of a Cyprus village in your paper at that time. Time and the spoiler (the coal pits) have been here. Everywhere –ruins! Opposite the graveyard at the Neilsland gate, once stood an ingle factory, where were woven ribbons, braid, and netting. Sitting on a flat headstone–there are only two now where once were many–those beautiful lines of Byron’s “Address to the Ocean” come into my head—
“Man marks the earth with ruin,
His control (only) stops with the shore.”
In the corner stands the vaults the old lairds of Meikle Earnock. At our feet lie the forefathers of the Strangs (former lairds of M.E, from whose family it came to the Mathers), all now belonging to Hamilton. Most of the stones have disappeared. The above are all that are readable, except the half one in memory of the wife of the late Baillie Naismith. Before many years they will all disappear, as will everything about it.
The preset representative of the Mathers has even been stopped from repairing the place. Further down the road, we come to the famous Whisky Well, also sadly changed. Formerly the water fell into a natural basin, which was always running over. This basin stood two feet above the ground, but it is now hidden with engine ashes.
A wooden foot-bridge took you past the well, where there was a public road, with a fence on each side, down to the Mill (Eddlehurst House stands where the miller’s house stood), for the Meikle Earnock folks and surrounding farmers to go to the Mill, Half-way down, at the junction of the two burns, stood a weaver’s house and workshop, with garden.
I am informed by the last Laird Mather’s descendants that the said laid spent large sums in litigation with the covetons to keep this road open to the public, which he always won; but when Watson got Burnside House, he closed it. “Pity the laird is not to the fore.” A copy of the rights was in the possession of three farmers, John Alston of Brackenhill was one, and my informant thinks another was at Chapel.
When Fairhill was sold to Captain Coventry (it lately fell to the Urquharts), the graveyard was reserved, and the mound behind was to remain unaltered. CERTES. Ref. Hamilton Advertiser, 20/10/1894 page 4. Ref. A History of Eddlewood and Neilsland Collieries by (Wilma Bolton)
The above document was donated to Historic Hamilton by Wilma Bolton. This article features in her latest book: “A HISTORY OF EDDLEWOOD AND NEILSLAND COLLIERIES, HAMILTON 1873 to 1932.” This book is not for sale to the public, however it can be read at the Hamilton reference Library.
To purchase one of Wilma’s fantastic books, then please visit: