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Hamilton, Scotland

HAMILTON, SCOTLAND, a municipal and police burgh of Lanarkshire, Scotland. Pop. (1891), 24,859; (1901), 32,775. It is situated about i m. from the junction of the Avon with the Clyde, zoj m. S.E. of Glasgow by road, and has stations on the Caledonian and North British railways. The town hall in the Scottish Baronial style has a clock-tower 130 ft. high, and the county buildings are in the Grecian style. Among the subjects of antiquarian interest are Queenzie Neuk, the spot where Queen Mary rested on her journey to Langside, the old steeple and pillory built in the reign of Charles I., the Mote Hill, the old Runic cross, and the carved gateway in the palace park. In the churchyard there is a monument to four covenanters who suffered at Edinburgh, on the 7th of December 1600, whose heads were buried here. Among the industries are manufactures of cotton, lace and embroidered muslins, and carriage-building, and there are also large market gardens, the district being famed especially for its apples, and some dairy-farming; but the prosperity of the town depends chiefly upon the coal and ironstone of the surrounding country, which is the richest mineral field in Scotland. Hamilton originated in the 15th century under the protecting influence of the lords of Hamilton, and became a burgh of barony in 1456 and a royal burgh in 1548. The latter rights were afterwards surrendered and it was made the chief burgh of the regality and dukedom of Hamilton in 1668, the third marquess having been created duke in 1643. It unites with Airdrie, Falkirk, Lanark and Linlithgow to form the Falkirk district of burghs, which returns one member to parliament.

Immediately east of the town is Hamilton palace, the seat of the duke of Hamilton and Brandon, premier peer of Scotland. It occupies most of the site of the original burgh of Netherton. The first mansion was erected at the end of the 16th century and rebuilt about 1710, to be succeeded in 1822-1829 by the present palace, a magnificent building in the classical style. Its front is a specimen of the enriched Corinthian architecture, with a projecting pillared portico after the style of the temple of Jupiter Stator at Rome, 264 ft. in length and 60 ft. in height. Each of the twelve pillars of the portico is a single block of stone, quarried at Dalserf, midway between Hamilton and Lanark, and required thirty horses to draw it to its site. The interior is richly decorated and once contained the finest collection of paintings in Scotland, but most of them, together with the Hamilton and Beckford libraries, were sold in 1882. Within the grounds, which comprise nearly 1500 acres, is the mausoleum erected by the loth duke, a structure resembling in general design that of the emperor Hadrian at Rome, being a circular building springing from a square basement, and enclosing a decorated octagonal chapel, the door of which is a copy in bronze of Ghiberti's gates at Florence. At Barncluith, I m. S.E. of the town, may be seen the Dutch gardens which were laid down in terraces on the steep banks of the Avon. Their quaint shrubbery and old-fashioned setting render them attractive. They were planned in 1583 by John Hamilton, an ancestor of Lord Belhaven, and now belong to Lord Ruthven. About 2 m. S.E. of Hamilton, within the western High Park, on the summit of a precipitous rock 200 ft. in height, the foot of which is washed by the Avon, stand the ruins of Cadzow Castle, the subject of a spirited ballad by Sir Walter Scott. The castle had been a royal residence for at least two centuries before Bannockburn (1314), but immediately after the battle Robert Bruce granted it to Sir Walter FitzGilbert Hamilton, the son of the founder of the family, in return for the fealty. Near it is the noble chase with its ancient oaks, the remains of the Caledonian Forest, where are still preserved some of the aboriginal breed of wild cattle. Opposite Cadzow Castle, in the eastern High Park, on the right bank of the Avon, is Chatelherault, consisting of stables and offices, and imitating in outline the palace of that name in France.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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