The Village of Chryston - North Lanarkshire - Scotland
What's in a Name - History Revealed The presence of stone age man in the locality is attested by the discovery of implements of the mesolithic period (i.e. upwards of 6,000 years old) on the north shore of Woodend Loch, less than three miles from Chryston. About 800 fragments, including blades, scrapers, picks, flakes, microliths and cores of flint, chert (black and green) and mudstone, were identified by Mr J. M. Davidson during the 1930s and 1940s. Evidence of settlement at a later period was provided by the discovery of a crannog at nearby Bishop Loch (in 1898) and another at Drumpellier or Lochend Loch (in 1931). The Lochend crannog was excavated under the supervision of Mr Ludovic Mann during February 1932. Apart from beams and other elements of the timber construction, finds included pottery sherds, animal bones, three perforated lignite discs, part of a jet bracelet and two quern-stones. To 1535 the name of the village is entered as Chrystinsone, Christinston , Crysterstown , Criston and Crystown . The changes in spelling would be dependent on the rent collector and his limit of education. Obviously the name would appear to be derived from Christ's Town, and therefore the connection of the area with the activities of the church. In 1535 George Colquhoun succeeded his father and for some 60 years the entry of the name was either Criston or Cryston . The "h" must have crept in again at a later period. Rentallers became proprietors of their houses and land, with the annual rent being converted to feu duty. In 1635 the lands of Chryston were divided between various proprietors and feuers. Information on the actual development of Chryston in these early days is sparse, but standing as it did on the roads from Glasgow to Falkirk and Stirling and from Kirkintilloch to the south its situation must have appealed to many travellers of the time. The road from the east from Mollanburn (Mollinsburn) followed the line of the present Gartferry Road, Stoneyetts Road (prior to its realignment) to Mudiesburn (Moodiesburn), then by the Well Brae into Main Street and on into Garnkirk estate and to the west. Just prior to entering the estate the road from Auchinloch joined at that point. The roads then were not as we know them today. They were dirt tracks of varying width hardened by the feet of the travellers, pack horses and animals being taken to markets in Glasgow and Falkirk. Probably the width and condition of the Well Brae is a good guide to the roads of that time. A survey map of 1795 shows its line. There are some dwellings marked in "Cryston" but no indication at all of Muirhead. The larger houses of Bedlay, Gartferry and Garnkirk are shown and also Claudhall and Drumgarel (Drumcavil), in addition to the named farms of today: Davidston (1747), Muckcroft, Peathill and Blacklands. Around 1760 Bedlay Well came into use as the main supply of water for the villagers. Its site can still be seen today about 50 yards past the burn bridge, approaching from the Chryston end of the Well Brae path. It is marked by a large flagstone next to the right hand wall. There is also a sign "Bedlay Well" and a large hand cut into the stone, though vandalism is taking its toll of these signs. The hand has been identified as that of Robert Allan, the local master builder! There are varying reports of this well. One states that water was only procured with difficulty, that the well was frequently dry, and people went down the stairs to it with a saucer and waited there until well after midnight to fill their vessels. Another writer describes its copiousness, constancy and salubrity. One thing on which there is agreement was that the water was much superior to that brought in the next century to the area from Loch Katrine.
The Story of Chryston
by Neil Kidd