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Things to do in Eaglesham, Central Scotland

Village Street Eaglesham © John McLeish www.images-scotland.com
Village Street Eaglesham © John McLeish www.images-scotland.com

While visiting Eaglesham, unless drawn to the attractions of the nearby city, there is little need to leave its village atmosphere. There is a choice of restaurants and pubs where one can either have a bar meal or simply enjoy a few drinks with 'the locals'.

There are country lanes to stroll or cycle and a number of golf courses close-by. Fishing permits are available for the local River Cart and there is a stocked fishing loch not far away.

Eaglesham, as it is spelled today and pronounced Eagles - ham (not Eagle - sham), takes its name from the French word eglise, or church. In other words, it is the hamlet of the church or churches. Reflecting the fact that in earlier times the poulation was apparently spoiled for choice in their place of worship. Today however, their are only two congregations in the village.

The French influence may be due to the fact that the historic land owners were Montgomeries (latterly spelled Montgomery), who originated from Normandy, or simply that prior to union with England, Scottish ruling classes often spoke French, many having been educated in France.

It is said, that during a journey abroad, one of these Montgomeries, the 10th Earl of Eglinton, saw a village constructed in an ‘A' shape and, on his return, decided to transform his scattered ‘ferm toun' parish, then known as Egglisham, by building a similarly planned settlement at its heart. It was around this time that the spelling changed to Eaglesham. The bi-centenary of the formation of the ‘new town' was celebrated in 1969.

As well as agriculture, during the 1800s many of the poulation were employed in cotton mills, however the last of these was destroyed by fire early last century. The ruins are still visible on ‘The Orry' (the name given locally to the village green - from area).

By the middle of the 1950s the village had suffered severe decline, many of the old properties being threatened with demolition. Fortunately, in 1960 a group of concerned residents managed to have these historic buildings ‘listed' and given ‘conservation village' status. Today they have been restored and are now much sought after residential properties.

During the second world war Eaglesham found brief international attention as the crash-landing site of Rudolph Hess, Hitler's then deputy. He claimed to be seeking the Duke of Hamilton, whom he had met in Berlin prior to the war, to start talks about an alliance to end Germany's war with the United Kingdom. It seems he mistook Eaglesham House (no longer standing), for the Duke's residence in Hamilton and ditched his plane, parachuting into a nearby field and going to the door of a farm-worker's cottage. He was eventually imprisoned in Berlin until his death.

Description by Les McConnachie

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