The name Carmunnock means the round hill of the monk. The
village itself once belonged to the Castlemilk estate and
is the only rural village within the city boundaries today.
Mr. Hugh Macdonald, who visited it in his
famous Rambles Round Glasgow, described Carmunnock
in the 19th century as a pleasant little village, with some
score or so of houses, situated at the western extremity of
the Cathkin hills, about five miles south of Glasgow Cross.
He waxes eloquent over it, and depicts it then, as we have
no doubt it is still, as quite a little social elysium. He
states: "The population of the parish, consisting principally
of agriculturists and weavers, numbered at the late census
717, being an increase of only ten individuals within the
last decade. It has an old-fashioned barn-like church, which
stands about the centre of the village, and an exceedingly
commodious and well-built school, from which, as we pass,
the juvenile Carmunnockians are pouring forth with that dinsome
glee which is only heard at the skailing o’ the schule,
and which at once calls back to the memory of us children
of a larger growth the joys of other years."
In the Statistical Account of Carmunnock
published about 1840, there is a fact stated which must fill
with envy the assessment-crushed unfortunates of our city
parishes. There has hitherto been no levy for poor-rates,
and the worthy minister, with justifiable complacency, expresses
his belief that such a thing as a compulsory assessment for
the support of the poor is not at all likely ever to be required.
What a delightful little city of refuge this must appear to
the pauper-ridden denizens of St. Mungo; what an oasis in
the desert, far away from the persecuting tax-gatherer, who,
on some pretence or other, is eternally prying into our books,
and making town’s talk of our most secret affairs!
The minister likewise boasts that no individual
belonging to the parish was ever convicted of a capital crime.
Why, the golden age would seem to be lingering at the south-west
end of the Cathkin braes, and we should not be surprised,
if the knowledge of these good matters once gets wind, that
the next census will show an infinite addition to the ratio
of increase in the population of this really pleasant and
picturesque, as well as almost pauperless and felonless, parish.
MacDonald was born in Bridgeton to Highland
parents who had moved south to find work in the Glasgow
cotton mills. The family was poor and MacDonald went
to work when he was young, apprenticed to a block printer
in a calico printing mill. He left to run a grocer's
shop but the business failed and he returned to work
as a printer.
became a supporter of the Chartist movement and began
to write articles and poems for Chartist newspapers.
He is particularly associated with the Glasgow Citizen,
a weekly newspaper founded in 1842, which first published
his Rambles Round Glasgow describing walks round the
city and the surrounding countryside with the Literary
and Artistic Club. He became a member of staff on the
newspaper in 1849, moving to the Glasgow Sentinel in
1855, and later editing the Glasgow Times.
LaighFlichts and Humorous Fancies
Alexander Orr 1882
Alexander Orr, was born 11 March 1845 and
died 14 July 1923. He was a brass turner to trade, but poetry
was his passion. He lived most of his days in Bridgeton in
Glasgow but owned a cottage in Carmunnock and lived in the
village from about 1900 to 1920. He moved to Carmunnock on
his retirement and was known as Linty Orr from his
liking to keep caged skylarks. He loved the countryside and
his politics were left wing. He published many of his poems
over the years in the Glasgow press and was known as the Brigton
Radical. He travelled to the United States two or three
times -- which led to verses such as the Paisley Weaver. Many
of his poems including, Whaur the Caller Breezes Blaw
are set around, Carmunnock, East Kilbride and Rutherglen.
His full collection of poems entitled LaighFlichts
and Humorous Fancies can be found at the link
and Humorous Fancies(© L. Harrison 2003)