Category: Web


This is an excellent new website created to promote the Antonie Wall as part of the World Heritage Site, Frontiers of the Roman Empire (covering the Antonine Wall, Hadrian’s Wall and the German Limes).

The Antonine Wall: Frontiers of the Roman Empire is funded by Historic Scotland and the five local authorities that the wall runs through, which includes North Lanarkshire. It’s full of pictures, diagrams, an interactive map, and of course, loads of information about the building and maintenance of the wall, and evidence of what life must have been like for those who lived in and around it.

It’s an excellent educational site, but I particularly like the visiting guide which provides details of how to access each location.  Very useful.

Really wish there was something similar for all of the other archaeological sites in Scotland, but it’s a start 🙂

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Linn Park, et al Sponsored by the Linn Park Gentlemen’s Walking Club is an excellent website covering the history, landscape, flora and fauna of Linn Park in Cathcart, Glasgow.

The headliners for this park are still mentioned, Snuff Mill Bridge, Cathcart Castle, Holmwood House, and of course, Mary, Queen of Scots but what’s really great about this site is the insistence that all of the park is important, and that the local people and industries are as important as the landowners and visiting royalty. Throughout, the current appearance of the park is tied to previous usage, and it’s backed up by a lot of decent research and evidence.

Besides which, what a great name for a club 😀

Govan Stones

Not sure how long it’s been around, but there’s a cracking website about the Govan Stones. Not only am I am extremely jealous of the expertise that created the website in the first place (in a  good way of course, in a I-should-learn-to-do-that sort of a way), but its presentation is outstanding, setting the history of Govan into an excellent timeline from the early middle ages onwards.

Still a work in progress, but I like what I see so far.

Britain from Above

Britain from Above is a fantastic website full of aerial photographs from 1919-1953, with an option for registered users to add additional information to the images. You can even add the photos from the site to a free blog.

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I was having a look through the National Library of Scotland’s maps, and playing with the different layers on the map viewer. This is a fabulous wee thing that allows you to find a place on a current map and then look at the same place on older maps, or vice versa. The sheet viewer will allow you to jump between different maps, from Timothy Pont in the 16th/17th century right up to the aerial photos taken in the middle of last century. The mosaic viewer doesn’t have anything like the the same stretch, but it has the nifty trick of sliding gradually between the modern map and the older one.

I use it a lot for  investigating names mentioned on maps that have since vanished, and to locate places I’ve discovered on the ground in the hope that an older map will identify it. A good example is Blaeu’s Atlas of Scotland from 1654:  its a goldmine of placenames, illustrations of churches and castles and other buildings and the estates that surround them. Lots of these places are still recognisable, but plenty aren’t.

A large religious building on Blaeu's Atlas, 1654. Compare the building size with others around it.

There’s a substantial church pictured north of Legbrannock, surrounded by what looks like a large estate  – it’s actually comparable with Blaeu’s depiction of Lanark! – with the name Chappell. Only thing I can think of close by is Chapelhall near Airdrie. Are they related? My geographical knowledge north of the Clyde is a lot shakier than the south, but something that huge should have registered with me at some point. So what is it?

I checked the area between Legbrannock and Chapelhall on a few maps. The 1859 OS shows a ‘site of Chapel and Burial ground’ beside the Chapelhall Iron Works which sat in a loop of the Shotts Burn. The ironworks have vanished by 1898, but the chapel site is still marked, with quarries across the burn and a coal mine just to the south. By the 1940s, the Chapelhall Works have appeared just to the west, making fire bricks, which still appears on the familiar brown and orange of the 1956 OS, which describes the site as as Chapel (site of). It also provided the grid reference (NS784632).

Next port of call: Scotlands Places, which suggests that this was a chapel dedicated to St Lasrach, which was used as a burial place for the Lanchope family from the 18th century onwards, that it was later covered with slag heaps and lost. Its correct GR is NS 7850 6322.

It also directed me to Origines Parochiales Scotiae, where I found this:

At Chapel on the bank of a stream north-east from the old house of Lauchope, there existed in the beginning of last century, a ruined chapel, then used as a burial-place by the family of Lauchope. On the 15th August 1529, John Jack had a grant for life from the king, of three acres pertaining to the chapel of Lessart, in the parish of Bothwell,  for upholding the chapel.

Origines Parochiales Scotiae, p 54

So Chapel is obviously an old name for Chapelhall, and Lasrach sounds like an alternative name for Lessart. There’s also a Lauchope House, but that’s another quest. So who was Lessart / Lasrach? A while later, I discovered that Lasrach is actually a Gaelicised version of Lasair (genitive singular to be precise), and that Lasair was a figure from Irish mythology (whose name meant fire). There’s also a Christian saint with the same name, with her feast day on May 1st, otherwise known to pagans as Beltane! Possibly the same figure, canonised by the Celtic church?


The chapel originally lay approximately around the tip of the letter ‘A’ formed by the paths in the bottom of the frame, underneath the trees alongside the burn.

This has been a fascinating hunt through geography, history, language and mythology with some startling results, but I still still don’t have an answer to my original question: why is the chapel and burial ground of Lasair drawn so much larger than any other building? If anyone can suggest an answer, I’d love to know.

Additional – 15th April 2012

A couple of 18th century comments suggest the chapel was actually part of a larger organisation, but whether a monastery, abbey or other foundation isn’t known.

Chapel, northeast from Lauchope, was formerly a religious house, of what order is not known

Old Statistical Account, p326

Chappell, which was formerly a religious house, of what order I know not; but is now converted into a burial place for Lachop’s family

Hamilton of Wishaw, Descriptions of the Sheriffdoms of Lanark and Renfrew, compiled about M.DCC.X, p136

 

Only thing is, that the only other illustrations of roughly the same size across the whole of southern Scotland are either towns or major castles. The mystery continues.