The Bronze Age

It is known at this time there was actually a stone axe head “factory” at Killin and that products were sent all over the country. Relics dating from approximately 1700 B.C. are commoner. This was the early Bronze Age; a fine eight-pound stone hammer head was excavated near Drumchapel was part of the many relics found belonging to this period. All can be seen at Kelvingrove. Between 4,000 and 5000 B.C. the Gaels later called the Celts came to Scotland from North West Europe, they were splendidly skilled in the fashioning of metal and they brought to our land a great variety of tools. Articles such as bronze ploughshares, which made for better farming and greatly, improved crops.

They also brought weapons, good lands were becoming scarce (some things never change) there was much raiding and warfare. With the coming of the Gaels they used the bronze more and more to make swords, spears and arrowheads. A particularly beautiful archaeological find was leaf shaped bronze sword found near Bowling.

The newcomers were also intermarrying with the natives who gradually adopted their language, which was Gaelic, one of the oldest of all living languages. The form in use was not that spoken in the highlands today but Cymric, a form almost as identical to modern day Welsh.. Many of the articles mentioned and more besides can be seen in the Kelvingrove Art Galleries or the Peoples Palace at Glasgow Green.. A time came when these sturdy tribes had to reckon with the power of Rome. Julius Caesar’s troops had landed on English soil in 55 B.C. however the legions did not reach Scotland until 79 A.D. It appeared at this time many of the natives were living in towns and villages they were doing quite an extensive trade in the export of corn, metal and slaves.

Caesar in his own words was reported to have said of the invasion, with considerable interest that he had found the natives lived in palisade strongholds standing in marshes. These were the kind of strong holds we call “Crannogs”.

Swiss examples of this type of dwelling have been proved to date back to 2000 B.C. Crannogs have been found in many parts of Scotland including Glasgow (at Bishoploch and Lochend) and these could be as old.

Some of these curious buildings stood on the original banks of the Clyde hardly a stones through from Drumchapel, the finest of these finds were at Erskine and another at Old Kilpatrick.

They were built on stilts in the water of a loch or Marsh or the shallows of a river. They required a vast quantity of wood for their construction a pointer to the wooded character of the landscape of the time.

Within the Erskine Crannog were found a variety of articles including a stone hammer, a stone anvil and a number of pottery utensils for cooking, serving or storing food and quite a quantity of food refuse including sheep and ox skulls.

All of these are on view at Kelvingrove and an excellent model of the crannog itself. All date from the Early Iron Age. Perhaps, the 1st or 2nd century.

It is worth mentioning that a well preserved ladder made from a piece of black oak was dredged from the Clyde near Milton and is also on view at Kelvingrove.

The religion of these people was Druidical and a Great Druid Temple was discovered on the very doorstep of Drumchapel, which we shall come to later.

At that time there was otters, foxes, badgers, polecats, stoats and weasels were in abundance in that part of Scotland and packs of wolves came down from the Old Kilpatrick hills in search for food.

Even1500 years later, local farmers were so troubled by the wolves which invaded the district that they paid a levy called “Watch Mail” to the Governor of Dumbarton Castle for long after the heavily wooded forest cover had been substantially cleared and the inhabitants in protection of their stocks had turned to agriculture. In 1330 fourteen farmers operating the land to as far down as Yoker, paid this annual charge amounting to 5 chalders of meal or its value in cash.

A farmer Smith who cultivated the part of the Cochno estate reaching to Yoker burn made the last recorded payment of this charge as recently as 1881.

Latterly the charge was reduced to a fixed nine shillings a year, The long suffering taxpayer will learn without surprise that for hundreds of years the Government had annexed this payment, but had given nothing in return.
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