The Garscadden Estate

The Girnin\' Gates

The Fleming family owned Garscadden Estate, in the 14th century, after which it fell heir to Sir Robert Erskine, and then to the Galbraiths in the 15th century. It was in 1664 that Archibald Colquhoun of Camstradden (near Luss) became it’s latest owner.

Built some time after c1723 and enlarged in c1747, stood high above the Garscadden burn, it’s fantastical south gates (Girnin Gates) lay just west of the village until the 1960’s by then both house and gates were engulfed by Glasgow’s third peripheral housing scheme. which the name Drumchapel now evokes. The estate was purchased in 1939 but the scheme was not planned until 1951. At it’s peak, in 1961 it housed 35,000 people in nearly a 1,000 dwellings.

The Manor was built in and about the same time the curious lodge known as The Girnin Gates, the work of Paisley architect, Charles Ross, in actual fact was the South Gate to Garscadden Estate with the North Gate (situated adjacent to Linkwood Avenue) part of this wall is still there to this day, as is the burial crypt of the Campbell Colquhoun family.

This can be seen in the forecourt of the Linkwood flats and is now listed property.

The “Girnin Gates” Should be given a special mention; at one time they were thought to be the Ninth wonder of the World (In Glasgow anyway).

In 1789, The South Gates were built and immediately became a world wonder to the people of Glasgow, and for a long time they were a great attraction for ramblers from all around and acquired fame under the name of the “Girnin Gates” The Origin of this name is stated to be unknown but after talking to a few local people we were given the following story by a Mr., George Anderson of Knightswood. As a small boy his father used to take him a walk past the Girnin Gates at weekends. There were two iron lion’s heads adorning the gates and according to Mr. Anderson senior, when it rained, instead of the water running away down a drain it appeared to run out of the eyes of the lions. The Gates then became widely known as the “Girnin Gates”.

A magnificent water colour painting of the “gates can be seen in the Mitchell Library the artist William Simpson was better known as” Crimean” Simpson for his paintings of the Crimean War.

1784 Campbell of Clathie (Lochearnside), Lord Provost of Glasgow, succeeded to Killermont Estate. He married Agnes Colquhoun and in due course their son became heir to Killermont and Garscadden Estates; He also combined both names when he adopted for his own family the name Campbell Colquhoun. He was the largest proprietor in East Kilpatrick owning about one third of the parish.

At this time the family resided at Killermont while Garscadden House was rented to William Connal. The lairds of the time were great socialisers and a well-known story of the Laird of Garscadden is worth repeating.

Aat a drinking party the Laird of Kilmardinny noticed Garscadden go strangely quiet and his head slowly drop to his chest. But he said nothing however another guest said later “Isna’ Garscadden looking unco gash the nicht?” “An so he may,” said Kilmardinny “for he has been wi’ his maker those twa oors past, I noticed him slippin’ awa’ but a didnae’ like tae spoil the conviviality o’ the company by speakin o’t.”

Garscaddens’ epitaph, was alleged to be –
“Beneath this stane lies auld Garscad.
Wha loved his neebors very bad
Noo how he fends and how he fares
The deil ane kens an’ the deil ane cares.”

Although Garscadden House and Estate did not come into the possession of the Colqhouns until 1664 the lands for many miles to the west and north had belonged to that Family for centuries. William Wallace and Robert the Bruce had both been guests of the family, Bruce whilst on his visit to the Clyde.

In a cave on Dumbuck hill, Wallace used to observe the English garrison at Dumbarton. Bruce when walking across the Colqhoun lands on his way to Dumbarton was warned by a carpenter, Rolland by name, of a plot by the English to capture him and take him back to London to suffer the same fate as William Wallace.

He was saved only by the skin of his teeth. It is worth remembering that Drumchapel’s lands also came under the Colqhoun territory.

It is Interesting to note that the families who owned the Baronies at different times appear to have been very friendly, although each family took it’s share in the troubles of their time. They were never antagonistic to each other.

In the earlier years of the 19 Century, Clathie of Loch Earnside, Lord Provost of Glasgow (18 74) married Agnes Colqhoun of Garscadden, and took up residence at Garscadden House.

Their son Archibald became heir presumptive to that estate and on his succession adopted the new style family name of Campbell-Colqhoun. They were now the largest proprietors in East Kilpatrick.

A great many years ago there stood by the roadside, in the village of Drumry, some ecclesial ruins, these were all that remained of the pre-re formation chapel which for centuries ministered the religious needs of that era, and is now contained in the parish of Drumchapel. This Chapel was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The Next Laird, John Campbell- Colqhoun, was MP for Kilmarnock and later for Dumbarton. This gentleman was very interested in educational and philanthropic matters. And devoted much of his time to this end. Of the Garscadden Lairds, it must be noted that they were great planters of trees, and one recently felled bore 140 rings, and did much to improve and beautify the district. The trees can still be seen within the policies and fringing the surrounding roads. Some of the trees, adjacent to the New Drumchapel Parish Church are growing through the pavement and they are obviously and rightly so, being preserved regardless of modern needs.

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