Historian shines a spotlight on Scottish villages now lost to time

A new history of 40 of Scotland's Lost Villages has just been written by historian Dane Love.

Friday, 23rd November 2018, 4:48 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd November 2018, 4:54 pm

The book has detailed histories of a selection of larger communities which no longer exist, having been cleared away for one reason or another.

The author, who wrote Ayrshire’s Lost Villages a few years earlier, has extended his quest to find more abandoned villages from around the country.

In Lanarkshire, Dane has included chapters on the former communities of Arden, Avonhead, Bothwellhaugh, Darngavil, Eastfield, Haywood, Longrigg, Roughrigg, Whiterigg and Woodlands.

Each of these villages was once home to many of the residents of the county’s ancestors, and some were large enough to have their own schools, churches, football teams and railway stations.

Today, little more than foundations and the war memorial survive in most cases.

Dane said: “When I was doing my book about Ayrshire I became aware of the number of villages across Scotland which had disappeared so I decided to extend my reach for the next book.

“When I was researching I actually met with Lanarkshire Family History Society and was talking to an ex-resident of Bothwellhaugh, who was able to tell me directly about life in the village.

“Some of the villages were lost to blown sand, such as Forvie in Aberdeenshire, or else were cleared away by improving landlords, such as the original villages of Cullen or Inveraray.

“However, most date from more recent times, and as is especially true in Lanarkshire, were erected by mine owners to house their workers.

“These were usually built close to the pitheads, and may have been remote from the main centres of population, with their services expected by the residents.

“Unfortunately when the pits closed, the villages were usually abandoned soon after, with the miners moving on to find work elsewhere.”

Dane, who has written expansively on Scottish and local history subjects, relates the stories associated with the communities.

He details some of the privations endured, with some colourful accounts of life and death in each community.

The book is illustrated with old pictures, as well as some modern ones where random relics may survive, as well as detailed Ordnance Survey maps.

Dane said: “First and foremost this is a story of people. I have heard various tales of some residents who refused to move, even with the promise of better housing.

“It might have been that they were going to get an inside toilet for the first time or a tiled roof, but the fear of losing the community meant they wanted to stay where they were.

“Personally, I am fairly philosophical about the loss of these villages ... there is no question it is a great shame that some of them disappeared, but you have to take them almost on a case by case basis, and for others it just doesn’t seem that they had much of a future once the work left the area.”

Having extended his reach to include all of Scotland this time Dane is now already planning a second volume.

He said: “Although I have only included 10 Lanarkshire villages in this book, in Ayrshire I have so far identified 50 so I am confident there will be many more out there for another volume.”

The full list of villages included in the book in alphabetical order are: Adamsrow (Midlothian), Arden (Lanarkshire), Avonhead (Lanarkshire), Balclevie (Fife), Benquhat (Ayrshire), Binnend (Fife) Bothwellhaugh (Lanarkshire), Burn Row (Stirlingshire), Cullen (Banffshire), Darnconner (Ayrshire), Darngavil (Lanarkshire), East Benhar (West Lothian), Eastfield (Lanarkshire), Fairfield (Fife), Fochabers (Moray), Forvie (Aberdeenshire), Gavieside (Midlothian), Glenbuck (Ayrshire), Haywood (Lanarkshire), Hermand (Midlothian), Inveraray (Argyll), Kincardine (Kincardineshire), Kingscavil (West Lothian), Lassodie (Fife), Lethanhill (Ayrshire), Longrigg (Lanarkshire), Midbreich (Midlothian), Mossend (Midlothian), Oakbank (Midlothian), Oldtown of Roseisle (Moray), Rattray (Aberdeenshire), Riccarton Junction (Roxburghshire), Roughrigg (Lanarkshire), South Cobbinshaw (Midlothian), Southfield (Stirlingshire), Westerton (West Lothian), Whiterigg (Lanarkshire), Woodend (West Lothian), Woodhead (Kirkcudbrightshire), and Woodlands (Lanarkshire).

Scotland’s Lost Villages by Dane Love is published by Carn Publishing, costing £18 and can be purchased by visiting the author’s online shop at www.dane-love.co.uk, where you can also buy his other works.