newspast & presentmonklands house (lanark) past & lost
Monklands House lay in a glen below Monkland’s Bridge in Airdrie.
This splendid Renaissance Palace was built by Sir James Clelland of Monklands and was surrounded by gardens and woodlands. An unusual square dovecot with a conical roof stood in the grounds.
It was of the L-plan with four vaulted cellars with walls 4-5 feet in thickness. Access was by a round tower in the re-entrant which, due to the rise in ground, led directly into the first floor level. The southern face (pictured) was further enhanced by round towers overlooking the gardens. The date of construction – generally stated at around 1600 – must be questioned as the thickness of the basement walls argue for an earlier period. Mention of a barmkin and outer ditch reinforces this argument.
The house suffered a disastrous fire in 1700 which involved much rebuilding and alteration at roof level. Windows were enlarged and rooms divided to create an appearance much removed from the original.
Situated in what was to become the coal and iron centre of Lanarkshire it lost its bucolic setting and from the 1790s the house was used as a residence by the various managers of the Calderbank Iron Works. In the 1900s it was turned into a hotel but was burned down. In 1935 Nigel Tranter could describe it as 'fallen on evil days, in bad repair and uncared for'.
Worse was to follow; a further series of fires – two in the one month – sealed its fate and it was demolished in the early 1980s. Today some of the woodlands remain alongside a burn but as for Monklands itself it lies below a modern housing development.
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