To begin to understand Linn Park, we need to know a little about the lands which make it up. Traditional historians of the area, notably Scott, Gartshore and Marshall, focussed on the Cathcart village end of the park and had relatively little to say about the park itself. Only in the current generation has the early history of the park been looked at seriously in its own right.
Linn Park is built up largely from parts of four traditional estates.
If we start from the Snuff Mill bridge at the Cathcart end of the park, entering from Greenock Avenue. We pass Cathcart mill lands, and skirt the crag supporting the foundations of Cathcart Castle. We enter the first main part of Linn Park, which was part of Castlemains of Cathcart. Castlemains farm steading lay at what is now the Old Smiddy in Old Castle Road, but its farmland continued south of the Castle into what is Linn Park. Cartside House was built on 10 acres of Castlemains in the 1760s.
HagtonhillCarrying on up along the banks of the river, past the part fenced off after the 1997 cliff collapse, we come to Linn Park Golf Course and the Low Wood. Here we enter the largest part of Linn Park, known as Hagtonhill Estate. Hagtonhill stretched south from the Low Wood to Linn Crematorium grounds, and east-west from the River Cart, up over Hagton Hill and back down to the Ramloch Burn, which runs along modern Drakemire Drive. This burn was the traditional boundary between Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire and the division between Hagtonhill and Castlemilk Estates. The settlement or fermtoun of Hagtonhill was on the highest hill in the area, beside the modern trig point. A manor place is mentioned on the site in the 1600s. By the 18th century, Hagtonhill included more than 30 acres of Simshill Farm.
Linn itself was a smaller portion of Hagtonhill, by the falls. Contrary to the claim that the name ‘Linn’ was dreamed up by owners of the mansion house in the Victorian period, it is much older. Traditionally Linn was the site of a small fermtoun or milltoun on the Linn side of the falls. Early references to the name Linn refer to the Waulk Mill here and the Linn ‘Park’ adjacent to this, along with other lost fields including Thornyfauld Park.
If we cross the Ha’penny Bridge and turn left, the Lime Avenue leads up to the main entrance to Linn Park on Clarkston Road where there was a gatehouse or lodge (now replaced by a timber-clad house). The fields to the side of the avenue were part of Bogton Estate. Beyond the park, Bogton included the green space of Cathcart Old and New Cemeteries, either side of Netherlee Road.
If we cross the Ha’penny (or White) Bridge and turn right instead of left, we head back down the narrow west bank of the river. This part of the park has the tantalising name of Goldenlee. It includes the portion called Waulkersland, beside Linn falls, the site of another waulk mill on the falls. Goldenlee was only opened up to the public about thirty years ago, allowing a circular walk down the river and back, right round the park. Carrying on through Goldenlee we pass through the grounds of Millholm paper mill and its owner’s mansion, Holmwood house, then a thin strip of Braehead and Holmhead, until we return to the Snuff Mill Bridge.
The Development of Linn Park
The development of the park began with changes to the lands in the 1650s. The water and mineral resources began to be exploited in a more organised fashion, giving the lands a value, over and above farming. The land making up the park moved back and forward between the leading estates surrounding it, and between owners who often had mercantile interests in the growing city of Glasgow and its overseas colonies.
The initial trigger was the genesis of a new estate in the wider area. The originators were the Maxwells of Bogton. Bogton estate covered much of Cathcart on the west side of the River Cart, from Cathcart up to Netherlee, and from the river across to Braidbar and Merrylee. Traditionally Bogton had a castle on the hill west of Muirend Station. When John Maxwell of Bogton died in 1683, his lands passed to his sons. The youngest son got the portion around what would become the entry to Linn Park at Netherlee, and most of Cathcart cemetery.
The middle son James was more ambitious. He took the southern part of Bogton, including woodland called the William Wood (the modern area around the hill topped by Netherlee Church). James began developing a new estate, which he called Williamwood. In 1668 James Maxwell became the first Maxwell of Williamwood. His son married Anne Semple, daughter of William Semple of Cathcart and acquired Castlemains in the 1720s.
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