Looking for some mentions of Mary Queen of Scots, I got caught up with the description of her army’s route towards Langside on the East End Glasgow History page. Mary had been captured at the Battle of Carberry Hill, been forced to abdicate in favour of her son (James VI), imprisoned in Lochleven Castle, and escaped to the Hamiltons in Lanarkshire. Scotland was now in the middle of a civil war, between the Queen’s Men, led by the Duke of Arran, and the King’s Men, led by Mary’s half-brother, the Earl of Moray. In her attempt to regain the throne, it’s been decided to march from from Lanarkshire to other allies at Dumbarton Castle.

On the morning of the 13th May, aware that the Queen’s army was on the move and still on the south side of the river, he [the Earl of Moray] marched his forces through the Gallowgate Port onto the Gallowmuir. From this position, if Mary chose to cross the Clyde at Dalmarnock ford then he could engage her on the Gallowmuir itself. If she continued on the southern route towards the Dumbuck ford then he could cross the river and block her path at Langside. From the elevated ground of his location, Moray at last observed the Queen’s army leave Rutherglen and remain on the southern path, and his plan was put into effect.

And that’s the first I’d ever heard of a ford at Dalmarnock. I’ve only ever known Clyde fording points in the Clyde Valley; it seems surreal that it could once be forded when it’s now so deep. Not that it seems that it was safe then either: another page on the same site shares the information that the Dalmarnock Ford

was not the safest of crossings – indeed an edition of the “Glasgow Journal” for 1774 tells of one unfortunate Rutherglen farmer who fell from his cart and drowned when his horse stumbled while fording the Clyde.

A Rutherglen farmer, eh? And according to the Gentleman’s Magazine another young chap, Mr John Lindsay, aged 16, drowned August 3rd, 1811

while bathing in the Clyde, a little above Dalmarnock’s Ford

According to Duncan’s itinerary of Scotland (1820),

When the Clyde is low, nearly a mile may be saved [rather than heading for Rutherglen Bridge] by taking the left hand road at Barrowfield Toll, and crossing at Dalmarnock Ford

The ford was lost when the tidal weir was built beside Albert Bridge at Glasgow Green, and a series of wooden bridges replaced it, to be followed by the current Dalmarnock Bridge.

Additional 20th January
I forgot that the Clyde was in times past commonly low enough to ford, often banked up by sand. Naturally, I can’t find any examples to point towards.

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