STRATHAVEN, a market-town and burgh of barony, in the parish of Avondale, Middle ward of the county of Lanark, 16 miles (S. S. E.) from Glasgow, and 42 (W. S. W.) from Edinburgh; containing, with the late quoad sacra district of East Strathaven, 3852 inhabitants. This town appears to have derived its origin from the erection of a castle here by Andrew Stuart, grandson of Murdoch, Duke of Albany, to whom James III. granted the barony of "Avendale," of which that nobleman made this place the principal seat. The castle, whose imposing and venerable ruins occupy the summit of a rocky eminence rising from the small river Pomilion, appears to have been of great strength, and accessible only by a drawbridge over that stream, by which it was entirely encircled. During the usurpation of Cromwell, Anne, Duchess of Hamilton, to whose ancestor this barony had been given in exchange, fled for refuge into the castle, where she continued to reside till after the Restoration; but since her death, in 1716, it has fallen into decay, and at present is only a mouldering ruin, adding much, however, by its picturesque appearance, to the interest of the surrounding scenery. The town is pleasantly situated on the road from Edinburgh to Ayr, at the termination of a ridge of rising grounds, and on the banks of the Pomilion, by which Strathaven is divided into two nearly equal parts; it has an appearance of considerable antiquity, more especially in the immediate vicinity of the castle, which was probably the earliest portion of it. The streets in this part of the town are very narrow and irregularly formed, and the houses of mean appearance; but in that part which is of more recent erection, the houses are generally neat and commodious, and the streets wide and regular; and the environs are interspersed with many handsome villas, the residence of the more opulent inhabitants. The thoroughfares are lighted with gas by a company lately formed, consisting of the principal inhabitants; and the town is well supplied with water. The chief manufacture carried on, both in the town and parish, is weaving; there are three public breweries, and many persons deal extensively in cheese and cattle, in which more business is transacted here than, with the exception of Glasgow, in the whole of the rest of the county. Branches of two great banks have for some years been established here; the post is frequent, and the general trade of the place is much promoted by the facility of communication with Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the principal towns in the neighbourhood. The market is well supplied with butchers' meat and every article of dairy-produce; and great quantities of veal are sent from this place to Edinburgh and Glasgow, where it is in high repute, and obtains a good price. Fairs are held on the first Thursdays in January, March, and November, and the last Thursday in June and July; there are now also markets for hiring servants, for which purpose the farmers were once obliged to travel to Douglas or Glasgow. The inhabitants had formerly an extensive common, but within the last few years it has all become private property. The town was erected, in 1450, into a burgh of barony, and is governed by a bailie appointed by the Duke of Hamilton, who, however, for some years has not been resident. Upwards of forty houses, the brewery of Mr. Vallance, and the large tan-works of Mr. Semple, were burnt down on November 1st, 1844. A church was erected in this part of the parish in 1837, to which a district containing 2282 persons was assigned, and of which the minister holds his appointment from the male heads of families and seat-holders. There is also a place of worship for members of the Free Church.
   See Avondale.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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