Wherever drovers met, taking a break from their long journeys herding sheep and cattle from Scotland to England, ale houses and inns flourished.
The Auldhouse Arms was a drovers’ inn, dating back hundreds of years, located on one of the main roads south through East Kilbride.
The village, on the southern outskirts of the town, grew up around it, and a post office, shop and blacksmith’s were added. Just up the road, locals curled on an outdoor rink at Crosshill Farm in the winter months.
THE DROVE ROADS
AULDHOUSE owes its origins to the old drove roads which were used to herd sheep and black cattle from Scotland to England.
One such drove road came through East Kilbride and made its way to the south via Auldhouse and Fieldhead. Ale houses flourished wherever drovers congregated and there were three in the area (the Auldhouse Arms and another, long out of business in Auldhouse, plus the Peesweep Inn near Fieldhead, a favourite haunt of drovers).
It is probable that Auldhouse, or Old House, owes its name to an ancient building located there. The first mention in the Public Archives is 1602.
FARMING AND COMMERCE
THE prosperity of Auldhouse was built firmly on agriculture. For many years the Auldhouse Arms had a post office and shop adjacent. A blacksmith’s shop was active until 1939 in the village and a joiner’s shop traded for a number of years.
Auldhouse Recreation Ground was opened in 1926, the ground being gifted by John Strang and Thomas Neilson. The community was much involved in curling during the winter months on an outdoor rink at Crosshill Farm.
AULDHOUSE was well covered from a Church of Scotland viewpoint over the centuries. The Reverend William Carrick was employed, from 1837 to 1843, as a Church of Scotland Missionary in Auldhouse under the Rev. Henry Moncreiff, Minister of the Parish Church in East Kilbride. On the departure of Moncreiff in 1843, William Carrick was appointed Minister in his place and served until his death in 1869.
THE VILLAGE SCHOOL
THE history of Auldhouse schools can be traced over the last three centuries. It is possible that a school existed in Auldhouse from 1696 when Parliament decreed that “a commodious house” should be provided, funded half by the tenants and half by the landowners.
There have been four separate locations for the Auldhouse School. The exact location of the first school is unknown but in 1720, with Thomas Struthers as Master, the second school of 270 square feet was built at the Causeyhead corner.
The Causeyhead School was enlarged in 1799, given a slated roof in place of thatch and provided with an upper storey where the Master and his family were to reside. The advert for the Master’s qualifications stated: “None need to apply who cannot teach English and Latin and Writing and Arithmetic and Bookkeeping. Candidates are required to produce certificates of their moral character.”
The Causeyhead building is still standing, having lost its upper storey, now painted white and used as a store.
In 1866 the Auldhouse School moved to its third site, popularly known as Tierney’s Building. The new school cost £200 and the ground was gifted by Andrew Strang of Causeyhead. Thomas Grant became headmaster in that same year of 1866 and he died in 1894, aged 59, at Streamoch, where his father, Thomas, was a farmer. This new school had no playground and was not considered to be ideal.
The School Board in 1900 built the present school in the opposite corner for a cost of £1900. The school was designed to accommodate 100 pupils and 13 years later the school master’s house was built. So advanced was the design that in 1902 the Technical Instruction Department of Ireland requested exterior and interior photographs for their Exhibition at Cork. James Auld was headmaster from 1894 to 1919.
LOG BOOK AND REGISTERS
SANDY Grant, great-great grandson of Thomas Grant, who lives at South Carnduff, was good enough to lend me the school registers covering a period from 1866 to 1890. This information is a fascinating snapshot of the life and times of Auldhouse in the latter half of the 19th century.
The names of the children and their fathers’ occupations are familiar today – the Strangs of Auldhouse Farm and Cogrunnan Mill; the Watts of Lockartshields (now at Benthall); the Gilmours of Crosshill and the Allisons of Lickprivick (now at Laigh Cleughearn).
The school roll averaged 50 and the rural area covered by the school throws into relief the distances walked by the schoolchildren – Logoch in the south, Flatt to the east and young Alexander Wilson from Craigmill to the west.
Alec Watt relates the story of his great-grandfather who, when walking to the Auldhouse School from Lockartshields, carried duck eggs to sell to the men working in the lime quarries.
The Log Book covers the 34 years, from 1917 to 1951, and provides a wealth of data on the day-to-day activities of the school. The weather and attendance records are detailed and profuse. Visits by the school doctor, the school dentist, the physical instructress and the piano tuner are carefully noted.
The end of World War One was celebrated on November 13, 1918 with a school holiday in similar vein to the entry of May 11, 1945, with the words: “I want to make a special record in this week’s entry, a historical week, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 8 and 9, were given out through the wireless as official holidays. Tuesday was to be called VE Day and Wednesday VE+1. There was a free dance in the school on VE+1.”
Another special event was the celebration of the silver jubilee of King George V’s reign, on Monday, May 6, 1935 – “Children were entertained to tea and food by Lady Stephen of Cleughearn. They had games and rowing on the lake. At the end they each received a souvenir cup and saucer plus sixpence from the county council.”
Other visits recorded are the lecture by the Scottish Bank of Hope Union – a Temperance Organisation. This movement was influential in Scotland for many years and on December 14, 1920, Mr J S Sutherland addressed staff and pupils for one hour on the subject of “Barley, Bread and Beer.” Prizes were offered for essays on the subject matter of the lecture. Donald Frazer, the headmaster, notes pithily: “Mr Sutherland made his own arrangements, fixed his date and hour without acceptance of the headmaster.”
CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS 2000
THE school celebrated 100 years of the latest building with an open day on Thursday, June 8, and a centenary concert on June 15, 2000.
Auldhouse Primary School can be proud that, of the five original village schools in the East Kilbride area, only Auldhouse remains.
The Old Village School in East Kilbride closed in 1974 and Jackton School in 1988. Maxwellton Endowed School was sold as a private residence in 1911 and Millwell Endowed School, between Laigh Cleughearn Farm and the Rutherend Toll, was shut down as far back as 1872.
Copyright East Kilbride News.