THE past week saw two commemorations of vastly important events in British history – BOTH with a Clydesdale connection.
Members of local families played a part in the long story of the Magna Carta, signed 800 years ago last week AND in the life of Sir Winston Churchill, whose funeral was 50 years ago last Thursday.
In many ways, both of these were seen as predominantly milestones in English history but the part local Scots played has now been revealed to the Gazette.
In the case of the Magna Carta, a man from Clydesdale played a small but important role late in the history of the document, generally accepted as the blueprint for modern democracy.
That man was a relation of Colonel David Cranstoun, the current laird of Corehouse near Lanark, whose uncle’s story was told to the Gazette last month.
He kindly got in touch during last week’s Magna Carta anniversary to tell us: “On Monday, January 26, Professor David Starkey kicked off interest in Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary with a television documentary.
“He overlooked that, 69 years ago to the day, on January 26, 1946, Magna Carta – or at least one of the original copies – was handed back to Britain in the American Library of Congress, having been sent to the States for safe-keeping during the war.
“The Lanarkshire connection? Well, for a short time in the 18th Century Corehouse was a Lockhart property; the family moved out towards the end of that century and built Milton Lockhart (the bridge to which also featured in a recent Gazette).
“Dr John Lockhart was born in Corehouse Castle in 1761; his great grandson was Major Jack Lockhart, one of the two British recipients at that handing over ceremony at the Library of Congress in 1946.
“Jack Lockhart married Major George Cranstoun’s niece, producing two sons.
“I, the elder, had to change my name to Cranstoun when I inherited Corehouse and the Chiefship of the Cranstoun family.”
Now to our area’s ‘Churchill Connection’; another good friend of the Gazette’s, Thom Cross, tells us that Churchill’s wife, Clementine, was “officially descended from our former local landed gentry, the Hoziers of Castle Mauldslie, near Carluke”.
Although that castle has long since vanished, the family histories of those who occupied it survive.
They tell us that Clementine’s father, Sir Henry Hozier, was the youngest brother of the gloriously-named William Wallace Hozier, 1st Baron Newlands of Mauldslie, Carluke.
A local masonic lodge still bears his name.
The main claim to fame of Henry Hozier was that he was credited with turning Lloyds Bank into the mighty financial giant it is today.
Thom revealed there was a bit of snobbishness in their very name, explaining: “The Hoziers were originally a Glasgow business family named McLehose who, on becoming part of the landed gentry, changed their name to the more socially acceptable and posh ‘Hozier’.”
Despite their grandness, Thom repeats a rather sordid old legend that none of Henry Hozier’s four children – including Clementine – were thought likely to be biologically his!
Another long-time friend of the Gazette, Ian Wallace of Lanark, said that the Churchills were occasional visitors to Mauldslie.
And Sir Winston is thought to have at least once worshipped at the castle’s ‘local church’, the historic Dalserf Kirk.
He added that Clementine Churchill was also related to the Lamington family and she was a frequent visitor to another long-gone local mansion, Lamington House.