Parkhall and/or Mains Castle, and Castlemains

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South Lanarkshire
Ruin or site, OS72 NS863325
2.5 miles north east of Douglas, on minor roads and foot south of A70, 0.75 south of junction with M74, on east bank of Parkhall Burn.

Parkhall, a modern farm, stands to the north of the site of an earlier castle of the Douglasses. A tower named ‘The Park’ appears here on Pont’s manuscript map of c 1596 and the site is identified by that name in the 19th century. It occupies the southern end of a high spur defended by steep drops to the burn on the west and south. Only traces remains of an L-plan structure, the longer part of which measured 54ft by 40ft.

The Douglasses are said to have held a strong early castle here. In 1329-30 Sir James Douglas is said to have signed a charter in favour of Newbattle Abbey at The Park, just prior to his departure to the Holy Land with Bruce’s heart. The lands of Park came into the possession of the Carmichael Earl of Hyndford before 1710.

Castlemains, which lies close to the site of what is thought to be the original Douglas Castle, is a residence of the Earl of Home. It is a Listed Building, described as:
Mid 18th century. 2-storey and attic 3-bay coursed rubble house, with ashlar dressings, basement to rear, and various additions, boldly advanced square-plan 2-storey, 2-bay flanking wings added before 1824; wings added at north east and north west in early 20th century both stugged ashlar with polished dressings. South east elevation: ground floor infilled between wings, faced with stugged ashlar, and flat roofed; central pilastered doorpiece with scrolled pediment and side lights. Eaves course, cornice and blocking course.

Original 1st floor windows with margins and cill course, the latter continued along flanking wings. 2 large box dormers and end stacks. 2-bay wings have single windows at ground floor. 2-storey, 4-bay wing at north east has continuous band course over ground floor. North west elevation; house has band course over basement, cill course to ground and 1st floors continued along flanking wings; these wings have single windows centrally placed at each floor, those in ground floor in recessed round-headed panels. Late 19th century 2-storey over basement wing projects by 5-bays north west from centre of original house, cill course to ground and 1st floors. Sash windows throughout, most with 9 or 12-pane glazing. Eaves course and cornice to each elevation, and slate roofs, piended at extensions.

Extract from George Vere Irving; The upper ward of Lanarkshire described and delineated (Volume 2); 1864:
The house of Castlemains is finely placed on the hill-side, above where of old stood the great posting-house — The Douglas Mill Inn — but cleared away, when the opening of the Caledonian Railway took the mail-coaches off the magnificent turnpike which led from Carlisle, by Abington, Douglas-mill, and Hamilton, for the City of Glasgow. Castlemains commands a view of the lower strath of the Douglas-water, and of the large domain of the Lords of Douglas on the west ; while the woods of Happendon lie below, and at no great distance the ancient hamlet of Uddington, the old road from Ayr to Edinburgh running near to the park gate, and the terminus of the railway, just opened, being but a short way to the north. Nearer to the turnpike is the comfortable house of Millbank, where the hospitable assistant of the occupant of Castlemains abides, and these pages are largely indebted to him for much of the most instrutive of the information gathered in this interesting district.

Millbank is all that remains of the extensive range of buildings referred to as the great inn of the district, and from its roof have come not a few of the family, who now lie buried in their own ground at Wiston, of which a woodcut has been given, ]and to the energy of their members, tribute has been paid in these pages]. A footpath winds up the green hill-side from Millbank to Castlemains, and between the house and the road there is a well-kept garden, and one of considerable extent.

Douglas Mill Inn - A one storey slated dwellinghouse at which is a Turnpike Gate at which whole rates [are] payable
The route from Glasgow to Carlisle was historically known as the Glasgow-Carlisle Turnpike. Along this route, there were various inns and posting houses where travelers could rest, change horses, and obtain refreshments.

One of these inns was the Douglas Mill Inn, which was a posting-house located along the Glasgow-Carlisle Turnpike, and also Ayr to Carlisle and Edinburgh to Portpatrick. At the Douglas Mill Inn, travelers could hire fresh horses for their journey and stay overnight if necessary.

The term "posting-house" refers to a place where travelers could obtain fresh horses for their journey. This was a common practice in the days of horse-drawn carriages, where horses would need to be changed regularly to cover long distances.

So, in summary, the Douglas Mill Inn was a posting-house located along the Glasgow-Carlisle Turnpike, where travelers could rest, change horses, and obtain refreshments.

See also:
•  Douglas Castle

Tale of the Broken Bridge

Down through the wild obscurity from the heights above Douglas Mill came the mail from Glasgow for Carlisle, and no sooner did the horses place foot upon the bridge than it collapsed, as suddenly and completely as any stage property. It was near ten o’clock, the insides had composed themselves to that semblance of sleep which coach travellers could command, and the outsides had wrapped themselves up in their greatcoats, and had so fixed their minds upon more pleasant circumstances than riding in the rain on a cold October night, that they were practically oblivious of their surroundings, when they were suddenly plunged, with the coach, coachman, horses, and guard, into the foaming water underneath the broken arch. There were two outside passengers: one a City merchant named Lund, the other a Mr. Brand of Ecclefechan. Both were instantly killed. The four insides, a lady and three gentlemen, were more fortunate, and escaped with bruises and a fright. The horses suffered severely, the leaders being killed in falling, and one of the wheelers crushed to death, as it lay below, by falling stones from the crumbling arch. The coach and harness were utterly destroyed, and Alexander Cooper, the coachman, although found protected from being washed away by two huge boulders, only survived by a few weeks the injuries his spine287 had received. The guard, Thomas Kingham, was found with his head cut open, but soon recovered. He always considered his escape from being killed was due to his not having strapped himself into his seat on that fatal night, so that, instead of being involved with the coach, he was shot clear of it, into the water.

It was due to the presence of mind shown by the lady passenger that the down mail, at that moment due to pass this tragical spot, did not meet the fate that had already overtaken this unfortunate coach. She had found a temporary refuge on a friendly rock rising amidst the surging water, and crouching there, saw the lamps of the oncoming coach glaring through the mist and rain. Shrieking at the highest pitch of her voice, she fortunately attracted the attention of the coachman, who drew up on the very verge of destruction.



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