On coming to the throne in 1124, David I introduced important
changes in how Scotland was governed, measures that were
consolidated further by his immediate successors. He had
been brought up in the Anglo-Norman court and had had
ample opportunity to observe how England was governed.
It was these measures which he adapted and applied in
his new kingdom.
The main measures were a variant
of feudalism; the encouragement of the Church to play
an important role in the development of agriculture
and husbandry, the exploitation of mineral wealth, and
the fostering of education; the promotion of local and
foreign trade by the founding of new towns with special
trading privileges; and the formation of shires as an
An example of the third of these
measures, the promotion of trade by granting special
trading privileges is seen in the case of Ayr and Rutherglen
which were granted the right to levy tolls on merchandise
brought into their precincts - at that time, these covered
huge areas. Other burghs were also granted trading privileges
but these are not noted here.
places where the tolls could be collected are noted
in early charters and this affords us the possibility
of determining the routes between the toll points and
the towns, if the locations can be identified. It is
of note that Ayr and Rutherglen share Karnebuth and
Loudun in their list of toll points.
was created a royal burgh by David sometime in the 1100's.
The first charter as such was by William the Lion that
referred to the burgh as already existing. The charter
gives Rutherglen trading rights within certain boundaries,
viz: de Neithan ufque ad Polmacde et de Garin ufque
ad Kelvin et de Loudun ufque ad Prenteineth et de Karnebuth
ad Karun. By the time of a later charter of 1617, Karnebuth
was written as Carnburgh (see Ure, The
History of Rutherglen and East Kilbride for details
of the charters).
Neithan & Polmacde: Garin
At first glance these might seem to be toll points,
similar to those for Ayr, and thus allow us to infer
routes between the paired placenames. However JTT Brown
in his paper The Royal Burgh of Rutherglen (Scottish
Historical Review, Vol.23, 1926, pps.42-57) shows quite
convincingly in the case of the first two pairs that
they define the Nether Ward of Clydesdale, south and
north of the Clyde. That is, they define the limits
of a trading precinct rather than stating the location
of toll points. Moreover, it is more likely that the
names are of rivers rather than actual places and indeed
Brown shows how the rivers mark the boundaries of certain
parishes lying in the Nether Ward of Clydesdale.
Unfortunately, if this is correct,
it means we cannot infer routes between the placenames.
Oddly enough, however, it is likely enough that there
were routes between them. Neithan is undoubtedly the
River Neithan that falls into the Clyde near Crossford.
The old route from Hamilton to Lanark crossed the Clyde
at Crossford and then took an upland route over to the
Mouse Water and Lanark. West of the Hamilton area it
would have run to Rutherglen from where it is a short
distance to Polmadie (on the Polmadie Burn) where there
was a hospital and which bordered on Govan.
Garin which Brown identifies as
Garrion Gill is on the line of the Roman road that ran
from Castledykes just north of Lanark through Carluke
and Motherwell and ultimately through Shettleston and
the east end of Glasgow where there was a definite possibility
that it crossed the Kelvin to access the Antonine Wall.
Interestingly, another charter refers to Rutherglen
having a collection point at Schednestun Cross (i.e.
Shettleston) which does indicate that this route was
used by merchants. Merchants from Lennox were required
to pay their tolls at Shettleston and presumably crossed
the Kelvin at Partick or somewhere upriver. There is
some evidence that the road continued into and beyond
Glasgow into Lennox as Roy
mentions vestiges of it near Tollcross and between Dalmuir
and Old Kilpatrick and James Napier in Notes
and Reminiscences relating to Partick gives some
details of the tradition of a Roman road running through
the area, page 1&ff. Brown refers to a via regis
but gives no reference for this.
The other two pairs of names are
of special interest because Loudoun and Karnebuth also
occur in the Ayr charter, viz:
Loudun to Prenteneith
Loudun no doubt was
near Loudoun Hill on the Ayrshire/Lanarkshire border
on a well attested historic route with a Roman road
to the fort at Loudoun Hill and other compelling evidence.
From Loudoun the route would have gone down the Irvine
valley to Ayr (see below). In the other direction one
would imagine Prenteineth lay somewhere in Lanarkshire.
Brown, however, suggests
that Prenteineth is Partick. Although his remarks on
the similarity between the names of Prenteineth and
Pertnech are interesting, his argument seems awkward
on a couple of points. One is where he says that the
Roman road ran from Loudoun to Strathaven then through
East Kilbride to Rutherglen where it crossed the Clyde.
A Roman road did run south of Strathaven in an easterly
direction towards Lanark and Castledykes but there is
no tradition nor any evidence that a road ran up to
East Kilbride even taking into account the marching
camp at Caldcotts, three miles south-west of Strathaven.
Certainly the old road running from East Kilbride village
over the Cathkin Hills to Rutherglen has been suspected
of being Roman but it is aligned more with Polmadie
than Dalmarnock where the Ferme ford was.
Another awkward point is that
reaching Shettleston from Dalmarnock would require a
considerable deviation from a direct route to Partick,
where Brown places Prenteneith. Shettleston would make
much more sense as a toll point on the Roman road running
up from Garen.
Prenteineth has also been identified with Carntyne (Johnston,
Placenames of Scotland) though this seems unlikely given
that this would place it within the Nether Ward. Watson
(Celtic Placenames of Scotland, page 352) suggests "tree
of fire" for its meaning, perhaps linked to Beltane
but otherwise does not locate it. Another suggestion
is by Barrow of Tinny Bank (near Beattock Summit) which
is reasonable given that it is by the Roman road leading
from the south (GWS Barrow, The Acts of William I, King
of Scots, p282). However the difficulty is that it is
at the southern edge of the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire
which had Lanark as its chief settlement. If it was
intended that Rutherglen should embrace the Upper Ward
one would expect the Neithan ad Polmacde of the charter
to have read Prenteineth ad Polmacde (see AMM Duncan,
Acts of Robert I, pps 494-495). However,
Barrow also has the interesting suggestion that Karun
(immediately below) may have been at the extreme western
boundary between Ayr and Renfrew, referring to Crawhin
Hill in Inverkip parish. This would then imply that
the charter's wording was a way of indicating that the
precinct included the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire and
Strathgryfe (Renfrewshire) and that the two pairs of
names were like Neithan-Polmacde and Garin-Kelvin with
no routes between these places.
Karnebuth to Karun
Oddly enough Brown translates the ad of Karnebuth
ad Karun as at rather than to. It can
have the meaning of near to, by, at, close by (see definition)
but one would expect it to have the same meaning as
all the other phrases with the usque (all the
way to) implied. In support of this he suggests
that the Karun was necessary to distinguish the Karnebuth
(which he places in Carmunnock parish) from another
in Bothwell parish (Carnbroe - see Watson, CPNS, page
204 who refers to the later rendering of the name in
charters as Carnburgh- as this is firmly in the Nether
Ward, however, it is hard to understand Watsons' identification)
and that the nearby Earn which joins the White Cart
at Busby and forms the boundary of the Nether Ward had
been called the Carroun. Additionally he suggests that
the clerk may have mistakenly written Karnebuth ad Karun
for Karnebuth ad Earn. It is however more likely that
the two names should be seen as a pair, that is, that
the phrase means from Karnebuth to Karun.
Whatever the case, as will be
seen below under the Ayr heading, three possibilities
have been put forward for the location of Karnebuth:
a point on the Stewarton road over Mearns moor known
as Cairn or possibly the later Kingswell or Karin as
it was known where, today, the Eaglesham road leaves
the A77, or Carnbooth near Carmunnock.
Evidence for and against each of
these locations is fairly tenuous although in a sense
it does not matter too much as the first two although
a few miles apart are only a mile or so off a direct
alignment from Ayr to the Karnebuth in Carmunnock parish,
and Rutherglen itself.
One possibility is that although
the first two pairs of names serve to delimit the Nether
Ward south and north of the Clyde, they do not say where
their eastern and western edges were. Given that Loudun
and Karnebuth could serve as the south-western and north-western
limits, one would expect to find Karun in the north-east
of the Nether Ward and Prenteineth in the south-east.
This is implicitly recognised
by Gray (George Gray, The Early Charters of the Royal
Burgh of Rutherglen, 1920) who suggests that Prenteineth
lay to the north-east of Loudun at the edge of the Nether
Ward and suggests it was in the vicinity of Bathgate
or Linlithgow. Linlithgow itself had a trading boundary
of the River Avon. He suggests Karun was the River Carron
which would give access to the Stirling area.
As noted above, Barrow suggests
Karun could have been on the western edge of Strathgryfe
on the boundary with Ayrshire which could mean the charter
was including Strathgryfe in Rutherglen's precinct and
that there was no route between Karnebuth and Karun.
more details see the Roads
and Tracks of Ayrshire section of this website.
charter was granted in 1202 by William the Lion, with
the right to to levy tolls and customs on goods passing
certain locations, viz. Mach, Karnebuth, Lowdun, Croseneton
and Lachtalpin (see Charters of the Royal Burgh of Ayr,
Ayr & Wigton Archaeological Association, 1883, pps
xix-xxv and George Pryde,
Charter of Foundation, AANHS
Collections, 2nd Series, Vol. 2, 1953).
Various proposals have been put forward as follows:
- in the area of the Maich Burn, near Kilbirnie;
- a point on the Stewarton road over Mearns moor known
as Cairn or possibly the later Kingswell or Karin as
it was known, or Carnbooth near Carmunnock;
- either Little Laicht north of Cairnryan or Laicht
Alpin between Ayr and Dalmellington.
This is generally thought
to have been near the Maich Burn close to Kilbirnie.
The route probably came from Ayr either by the coast
or Dundonald to the Irvine and Kilwinning area then
east of the Garnock to avoid unnecessary river crossings
to reach Dalry and Kilbirnie. An intriguing possibility,
if Mach is the Maich Burn, is that it might be an older
route into the heart of Strathclyde. It would be equally
easy to head for Dumbarton or the later British capital
at Govan by this route and it would be coming from an
area incorporated into Strathclyde in the 800's. Without
this explanation, it is hard to account for a route
being here at all.
As said, it does not matter too much whether this
is at Cairn on the Stewarton to Mearns road, or Kingswell
on the Eaglesham road near to the A77 or Carnbooth in
Carmunnock parish as they are all well aligned with
Rutherglen and Glasgow. This toll point is shared with
To the south, heading for Ayr, a charter of about 1290
for the Symington area, mentions a great way (magnam
viam) leading to Ayr (W J Dillon, Three Ayrshire Charters,
AANHS Collections, 2nd Series, Vol. 7, 1966, p.35).
This is close to the A77 line.
Roman road heading for Loudon Hill along with two military
engagements in the Wars of Indepence and J Keith Joseph's
remarks on mediaeval hollow ways beside the main road
near Allanton (A71) confirm
that this was a route well used in mediaeval times between
Lanarkshire and Ayrshire (J Keith Joseph, The Avondale
Road, in The Roman Occupation of South-Western Scotland,
S N Miller (ed), 1952).
In the direction of Ayr there is a strong possibility
that the route from Loudoun crossed the Irvine at Newmilns
and ran on the south side of the river to Galston and
then made its way to Ayr via Fail (see John Strawhorn,
Newmilns, AANHS Collections, 2nd Series, Vol. 1, 1950).
Again, this is a toll point mentioned in connection
with Rutherglen (see above).
It seems clear enough that this was near Corsencon Hill
on a route up the Nith Valley. Dumfries was also a burgh,
set up like Ayr to contain Galloway and the implication
is that it must have been a safe route for trade.
Opinion is divided as to
whether this is to be indentified with Laight Alpin
near Waterside on the Ayr to Dalmellington route or
Little Laicht north of Stranraer.
The evidence from these charters
is a little disappointing although potentially important
for determining long distance routes. The Ayrshire names
clearly imply routes even though there still remains
doubt about the location of Karnebuth and Laicht Alpin
though there is other evidence that there were routes
in the 1200's to Dalmellington and beyond and down towards
The Rutherglen names however are
less certain. Neithan and Polmacde and Garin and Kelvin
undoubtedly define the Lower Ward of Lanarkshire as
a trading precinct and have no particular implications
for routes (although such routes existed) but the other
two pairs can be interpreted in two ways.
The first way is to assume they
are extensions of routes from Ayr. In the case of Karnebuth
a route would lead through Rutherglen and Shettleston
to somewhere in the vicinity of the River Carron giving
access to the Stirling area. In the case of Loudun a
route would lead across central Lanarkshire to Prenteineth,
located on the eastern boundary of the Lower Ward, somewhere
in Cambusnethan or Shotts parishes and perhaps
indicating a route from the Bathgate or Linlithgow areas
as suggested by Gray. This would also serve to define
the eastern and western boundaries of the precinct.
The other possibility is that
Karnebuth-Karun and Loudun-Prenteineth are the same
as the first pairs, i.e. they are points on the boundary
of the trading precinct and, if Barrow is correct, intended
to include the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire and Strathgryfe
in the precinct. This possibility would preclude us
from inferring routes between them other than noting
the possibility that as named and identified places
routes may have passed through (but not between) them.
In the case of Prenteineth it would have been a major
historic route from Annandale into Clydesdale and in
the case of Karun it may indicate a coastal route between
Cunningham and Strathgryfe.
Charters of the Royal Burgh of
Ayr, Ayr & Wigton Archaeological Association, 1883,
GWS Barrow, The Acts of William
I, King of Scots, p282
JTT Brown, The Royal Burgh of Rutherglen, Scottish Historical
Review, Vol.23, !926, pps.42-57
W J Dillon, Three Ayrshire Charters, AANHS Collections,
2nd Series, Vol. 7, 1966, p.35
AMM Duncan, The Acts of Robert I, pps 494-495
George Gray, The Early Charters of the Royal Burgh of
James Brown Johnston, Placenames of Scotland,
J Keith Joseph, The Avondale Road, in The Roman Occupation
of South-Western Scotland, S N Miller (ed), 1952
David Murray, Early Burgh Organization in Scotland
James Napier, Notes
and Reminiscences relating to Partick, 1873 - see
the first few pages for the tradition of a Roman road
running through the area
George Pryde, Charter of
Foundation, AANHS Collections,
2nd Series, Vol. 2, 1953
J Strawhorn, Newmilns, AANHS
Collections, 2nd Series, Vol. 1, 1950
David Ure, The
History of Rutherglen and East Kilbride, 1793
Watson, The Celtic Placenames of Scotland - see page
198 for Ayr, page 203 for Rutherglen, page 352 for Prenteineth
As noted above, Prenteineth has not been identified.
One possibility, which would link quite well to Gray's
idea that it lay somewhere on the eastern boundaries
of Lanarkshire on a route from the Bathgate or Linlithgow
areas is a much decayed boundary marker in Carnwath
parish between Lanarkshire and West Calder parish in
The Ordnance Survey Name Book
of 1865 (see NMRS
record) notes that it was a cairn some 8 foot high.
On early maps it is noted as Thirlstane, near Hendrey's
can be seen from the photograph the cairn is now practically
destroyed although archaeological work might provide
some clues to its origin and purpose. The name Hendrey's
Corse shows that there was a crossing here although
given that an early map shows a drove road nearby one
suspects that the name had to do with the droving trade
and not with Prenteineth.
The Thirlstane is interesting
as it may have a connotation of having to render a service
kind (see DSL
definitions), in this case, a requirement to pay a toll
to Rutherglen. Sightlines to the east are good although
not as good to the west. This means that it would have
been clearly seen approaching from the east which is
what would be required if it was in fact a place where
tolls were collected from merchants travelling to Rutherglen,
although it would suit an Edinburgh route better than
Bathgate or Linlithgow.
|Described as a truncated cone,
this picture of another cairn probably gives a good
idea of what the Thirlstane looked like in the past
Admittedly this is quite speculative,
and supporting evidence would have to be found before
we could talk about a route coming through here, though
it does have some appeal as a hypothesis - certainly
Cairnfore, another massive boundary marker in the south
of Ayrshire was on an early route.
The Thirlstane is at NS975 579
in a remote forested area. If visited, a large scale
and up to date map is essential as it is easy to get