Bothwell lies on the north bank of theRiver Clyde, adjacent toUddingstonandHamilton,
nine miles east-south-east ofGlasgowcity centre.
Bothwell is an affluentcommuter townthat has attracted a number of local celebrities
including a number of Celtic and Rangers footballers. Thanks to a steady rise in
property prices, the town has earned its reputation as one of Glasgow's most prosperous
satellites. A recent survey published inThe Scotsmanrevealed that Bothwell's Imperial
Way, site of the former home of ex-CelticmanagerGordon Strachan, is the fifth most
expensive street in Scotland, closely followed by neighbouring streets Mill Road
and Fife Crescent.
The parish church (which was restored at the end of the 19th century) contains the
choir of the old Gothic church of 1398. A memorial honours the poetJoanna Baillie(1762–1851)
who was born in the manse.
Bothwell village and its immediate surroundings east of theRiver Clydewere the
site of three medium sized Victorian Age collieries, Bothwell Castle, Bothwell Park
andHamilton Palace. The former two were financed by William Baird, the Coatbridge
iron master, and the latter by the Bent Coal Company.
Each had its collection of mining company workers houses with Bothwell Park andHamilton
Palacecreating new villages. The mineral owners were the Earl of Home and the Duke
The two mining companies built workers houses of two rooms for rent. The rent was
deducted from the workers' pay automatically. The Bothwell houses were sited in an
existing village but the other two communities began on green sites. The latter two
did not contain a company store. The Bothwell Castle houses consisted of a three
storey tenement block and two storey terraces. The Bothwell Park houses consisted
of six single storey terraces. The Hamilton Palace houses consisted of fourteen two
storey terraces. The mining companies also built larger houses for their managerial
The collieries worked the same seams and the coal was sold into the domestic, manufacturing
and blast furnace markets. The collieries reached their zenith of output about 1910,
when Hamilton Palace employed 1226 workers, Bothwell Park 663 workers and Bothwell
Castle 522 workers. Bothwell Park was recognised as one of Britain's most productive
collieries. Bothwell Park closed in 1930, Bothwell Castle closed in 1950 and was
used to pump water away from the Blantyre collieries until 1953, and Hamilton Palace
closed in 1959 due to the cost of pumping.
The picturesque ruin ofBothwell Castleoccupies a position on a bluff above a bend
in the River Clyde on the edge of Bothwell, which here takes the bold sweep famed
in Scottish song as the Bothwell bank. This fortress belonged to SirAndrew de Moray,
who was fatally wounded at theBattle of Stirling Bridgein 1297. It passed by marriage
to theHouse of Douglas. The lordship was bestowed in 1487 onPatrick Hepburn, 3rd
Lord Hailes, 1st Earl of Bothwell. When he resigned in 1491 the title passed to "Bell-the-Cat",Archibald
Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus. The title ultimately passed to theEarls of Home.
The castle is a fine example ofGothic architecture. It consists of a greatquadranglewith
circular towers on the south. At the east end stand the remains of the chapel. An
unpretentious mansion was built nearby byArchibald Douglas, 1st Earl of Forfar(1653–1712),
and was known as New Bothwell Castle, but suffered mining subsidence and was demolished
Brighter Bothwellis a local environmental group, formed in 2000 for the benefit
of the whole community of Bothwell. Their objective is to enhance the environment
directly through the endeavours of volunteers. Their approach to cleaning is "If
we see things which need done to improve the appearance of our village – litter picking,
dog fouling problems, graffiti removal, sustainable planting, floral displays - we
organise work parties and tackle them. Our motto is ‘Let's just do it!’."
Since the formation of the group, the town is cleaner, brighter and ‘greener’. Many
public areas have been improved and some major projects have been undertaken including
the Nature Trail, The Jubilee Garden and The Marion Gilchrist Garden. In the Beautiful
Scotland campaign, the group has raised the village to Silver Gilt award standard
and, in 2012, Bothwell won the prize as winner of the Small Town category.
Brighter Bothwell has also encouraged the formation of two additional community groups,
The Organic Growers of Bothwell andThe Bothwell Scarecrow Festival. Working along
with Brighter Bothwell, these groups are having a positive impact on the community.
The new group formed to set up a Community Scarecrow Festival with an agreed purpose:
to promote community spirit among residents, community groups and businesses; to
improve well being; and to support the local economy.
This organisation has developed into The Bothwell Community Scarecrow Festival. The
first festival took place in September 2011, and subsequently every year after.
During the 2013 festival, a new event was held called 'The Scarecrow Festival of
Transport' and was held at Bothwell Primary School. It was intended to be a celebration
of transport throughout the ages and covered vehicles from old to new, big to small
and humble to outrageous. Various people from the village donated their automobiles
for the event, such as Boyd Tunnock of the local companyTunnock'sandBentleyGlasgow.
The festival has become very popular and the main street is filled with imaginative
scarecrows from August onward. Many local businesses make their own scarecrows as
do the local children who's gardens are also filed with scarecrows at the time of
year. Yorkhill Children's foundation is the beneficiary of the event.