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A Brief History of the Parish of St.Ignatius - Part 1

A Historical Note

Wishaw, though a town of considerable importance today, is of very recent growth; in 1924 there was not a house in the borough two hundred years old. According to the statistical account of the parish of Cambusnethan published by Sir John Sinclair, the line of the new village was marked out in 1794; it was originally called Cambusnethan, afterwards Wishawtown and combined with two local villages, Coltness and Stewarton, to be constituted as the borough of Wishaw on 4th September 1855; the population of the town at that time was 5,000.

The ancient parish of Cambusnethan, in which Wishaw is situated, took its name from the Gaelic Camus, meaning a curve or bay. There are two bendings of the Clyde, either of which may have given the name, one at Garrion below the junction of the Nethan and the Clyde and the other at the old church dedicated to St.Nethan. The church of Cambusnethan, founded early in the 12th century, was under the control of the Abbot of Kelso.

Chalmers, a historian, says that the church of Cambusnethan, with its tithes and other rights, was granted to the monks of Kelso during the 12th century by William Finemund, Lord of the Manor. This was confirmed to them by Malcom IV and by William the Lion. the monks of Kelso also obtained a confirmation of the church of Cambusnethan from Rudolph de Cler, who seems to have succeeded Finemund as Lord of the Manor. He granted to them and to the said church, the tithes of all the multure and the produce of the mills of Cambusnethan and a right of priority in grinding their corn at the said mills. In return for this, the monks granted him a license to have a private chapel within or near the Manor House, and this was dedicated to St.Michael (Cartulary Kelso 278)

The monks also obtained confirmation of this church from Walter, Bishop of Glasgow in 1232. Before the end of the 13th century, the Church of Cambusnethan with its tithes and other property was transferred from the monks of Kelso to the Bishop of Glasgow and it continued to belong to the prelate of that See as a mensal church (a church whose revenues went to the upkeep of the Bishop's table). During the time that this portion of the parish had been under the control of the monks of Kelso, the districts of Allanton and Morningside belonged to the Abbacy of Aberbrothie. The old village of Chapel near Morningside took its name from having been the site of a religious house dependent on the abbey. The lands of Morningside were held from the Abbot of Aberbrothie in consideration of an annual payment of forty merks, and half a ton of wax from the Abbot of St.John the Baptist. The monks continued to hold these lands while the old church by the Clyde remained a mensal church of the Bishop of Glasgow, until 1560, when all church property was seized and the old religion suppressed. The last priest of the old church of Cambusnethan was Rev. John Lindsay. The Catholic religion from the time of Rev. John Lindsay, here, as in other parts of the country was doubtless kept alive for some time through the ministrations of fugitive priests at long intervals. When these ceased, owing to the rigorous persecution of the times, the religion entirely disappeared from the district and little remained but the old church ruin by the Clyde. The Wincie Well, a well dedicated to St.Winifred, on the east bank of the Calder, just beyond the bridge on Wishaw Low Road to Cleland, place names such as Chapel (now disappeared) and of the Parish of Cambusnethan, give indication of the "Old Religion".

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