Overview of Lands
An Overview of the Lands making up Linn Park, including developments in the last three centuries starting with the exploitation of minerals and farming improvements in the 18th century, becoming a country estate, and finally in the 20th century being purchased by Glasgow City Council and turned into a park.
By Dr Stuart Nisbet
Linn Park is a place to walk, to exercise, to take children, to observe wildlife and many other things. It is also a window into the past. A green space amidst suburbia. Yet the park is not an untouched paradise. Over the past few centuries the parkland that we see today has been worked, managed and improved. For its owners, it was not only a thing to be viewed, but a resource.
Linn Park’s history is seemingly well known. A small number of oft-repeated ‘facts’ have appeared in many booklets, leaflets and guides. The focal point is Mary Queen of Scots, looking away from the park towards a distant battle. But does our view of the park need to be dominated by an oft-repeated story of a tragic Queen?
To begin to understand Linn Park, we need to know a little about the lands which make it up. Traditional historians of the area, notably Scott, Gartshore and Marshall, focussed on the Cathcart village end of the park and had relatively little to say about the park itself. Only in the current generation has the early history of the park been looked at seriously in its own right.
The 18th Century improvements to the lands forming the park saw the start of the industrialisation and mineral extraction activities, and the building of new houses: Cartside House (sometimes called Cathcart House) being one example.
The article reviews the four lands forming the park - Castlemains, Goldenlee, Hagtonhill, and Bogton.
The 19th Century saw a gradual change to the standard of rural life and improved farming that we all expect. It also saw the arrival of the Sugar Campbells - so called because of their involvement in the Caribbean. The history of the family has been provided by Geoff Daniel - an Australian landowner. This remarkable document is also referenced in the History section.
The article continues the story of Castlemains and introduces the Sugar Campbells and Linn House.
The traditional crossing point of the River Cart in the area was the bridge known as the Snuff Mill bridge, on the traditional main road from Glasgow to Ayr. Although there is a 1627 date-stone built into the bridge’s downstream face, and records confirm work was done to the bridge in the 1620s, there was already a bridge on the site back in the 1580s.
The buildings in Hagtonhill farmstead, in the golf course on the edge of the Top Wood survived into the 20th century. In recent years the last of them were removed. Early in the century the owners of Linn, the Gordons of Aikenhead, were still struggling to let Linn house and continued to advertise the house and grounds.
By some accounts, the stretch of the White Cart Water flowing through the park only supported one mill, a snuff mill. However mills did much more than grind snuff. Basically they were sources of power for almost any industrial process. Snuff milling was one of many mills in the park area, including paper, meal, flour, barley, pease, waulk, saw mills, bleachfields and printfields.
It is often said that every part of Glasgow has been undermined at some time, and at some level, by mineral workings. In Linn Park these workings were numerous, early and shallow. The author’s guided walks, for the annual Scottish Geology Week and others, identified a deep interest in Linn’s landscape and minerals. Mineral working had a big impact on the land which makes up Linn Park.