Window on the Past, with Ron Harris

The Royal visit
The Royal visit

It says something for the stamina of the good folk of Carluke in the old days that hundreds of them were prepared to trek out of the centre of town en masse to a local landmark, just to welcome a visitor.

Mind you, that visitor WAS King George V and the landmark was one worth hiking to see anytime, even without a star attraction like the monarch, it being the once mighty Mauldslie Castle.

Little did the huge crowds parading down from Carluke to the Clyde Valley near Rosebank that day shortly before the outbreak of World War One know, that this colossal edifice was to survive for less than another 20 years; its Royal Guest that day outlived Mauldslie by only another two years.

The great building that was demolished in 1933 was not the first ‘Mauldslie’ and was hardly ancient; in fact, it was less than 150 years old when the last owner abandoned it and sold off the vast estate around it.

The original Mauldslie mansion was built several centuries before the final, largely Victorian one, near an abbey dating back to the sixth century.

A local legend has it that the area – and mansion – got its name due to a ghostly command!

An early name of the parish – and of Carluke itself – was Forest Kirk and an old cow rearer called Maulde reputedly grazed her cows in a meadow down by the Clyde.

Long after her death, workmen started to build the first Mauldlsie manor some distance from her old grazing ground, but found all their previous day’s work demolished when they returned to the site each morning.

Hoping to catch the vandals in the act, the builders left a nightwatchman at the site. In the middle of the night, instead of spotting any human mischief-makers, he instead heard a ghostly voice coming out of the woods, saying: “Build the house where it should be, build it upon old Mauld’s Lea.”

In these highly superstitious times, old Mauld quickly got her way!

The Mauldslie Castle some very, very old Carlukians might just still remember dated back to the 1790s and was constructed for the fifth Earl of Hyndford and was later extended and was modernised by the 1st Lord Newlands, who was raised to the peerage in 1898 and was succeeded by his son in 1906 after he, as the Hon James H C Hozier, sat as the representative of South Lanark in Parliament from 1886 for 20 years until he succeeded to his father’s title.

It seems that every time Hozier had retained his seat at elections, a large crowd of his Carluke constituents trooped to Mauldslie to celebrate with him.

However, these gatherings were nothing compared to the crowd that descended on the place in July, 1914 when King George V and Queen Mary came to visit (pictured above).

A colossal public picnic was laid on for the loyal subjects and it is reputed – but far from certain – that the King joined in the feast of pie and peas doled out to the masses.

It turned out to be one of the last of Mauldslie’s red-letter days. Just days after the King and Queen departed, Britain was plunged into the First World War.

Not only did that conflict take the lives of over 200 men from Carluke and surrounding villages but it also spelled the end for the great houses of the countryside .

Soon taxes came in which, for the first time, seriously hit the rich in their pockets and made the upkeep of their private castles in the countryside prohibitive. Sons and heirs of the owners had also fallen in their hundreds in the war,

Many, many of Clydesdale’s grand houses disappeared between 1918 and the beginning of the next war in 1939; a suspiciously large number of them ‘accidentally’ caught fire in the 20s and 30s.

The death of Mauldslie didn’t come about in such an underhand way; the demolition came as the fittings and estate lands were sold off at public auction in the middle of the Depression.

Today only some lovely estate outbuildings remain to give us just a flavour of how grand the ‘big hoose’ they once served was.