Bothwell Part 2

Part one looked at old Bothwell but there are also many interesting modern features which are worth looking at in the village.

Dr Marion Gilchrist Memorial Garden

Dr Marion Gilchrist (5 February 1864 – 7 September 1952) was the first female graduate of the University of Glasgow, graduating with an MB CM in July 1894. She was also the first woman to qualify in medicine from a Scottish university and was also a leading activist in the Women’s suffrage Movement in Scotland.

Dr Gilchrist was born in Bothwell and educated at Hamilton Academy, which was a fee-paying school in the nearby town.

She specialised in ophthalmology and worked as Assistant Surgeon for Diseases of the Eye at the Glasgow Victoria Infirmary from 1914 to 1930 and in 1927 was also appointed an ophthalmic surgeon at Redlands Hospital for Women, Glasgow.

She lies buried in Bothwell Parish Church Cemetery. 

Gilchrist Garden

Local environmental group, Brighter Bothwell, helped organise the refurbishment of the Gilchrist Garden which was opened on 30th September 2011. Patersons Quarries provided a grant of 55,000 GBP for the project.  

Gilchrist Garden Memorial
Gilchrist Garden

Brighter Bothwell commissioned artist Adrian Wiszniewski, one of the New Glasgow Boys, to design a memorial sculpture for the gardens which was unveiled in October 2013. 

The garden is not at its best just now as winter is still with us, but in summer it should be far more spectacular when all the flowers and plants will be at their best. 

Bothwell Memorial Garden

At the Corner of Hamilton Road and Hamilton Drive is a small garden which was developed in the mid 1950’s by Bothwell Horticultural Society and the then Hamilton District Council. A memorial with a sundial is situated in the gardens to commemorate the life of two Bothwell doctors, William Denness and James Walls.

Drs William Denness and James Walls. 

Dr Denness was born in Bothwell and qualified in medicine from the Anderson College, Glasgow (University of Strathclyde) in 1899. He worked in County Durham and Newton before practicing in Bothwell in 1917.

Dr Walls was born in Fife in 1876 and graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1918. He worked as a doctor in Bothwell.  

Memorial to Drs William Denness and James Walls
Sundial on the Drs William Denness and James Walls Memorial

Cricket fans will remember the late Mike Denness, the only Scots-born captain of the England and Wales Cricket team and captain of Kent County Cricket Team. He was the grandson of Dr William Denness.

The work in the garden was undertaken by Community Payback (unpaid community work). The structures in the garden were excellent, as can be seen below.

Carved toadstool
Carved butterfly
Small door in tree trunk
Larger view of the garden

Bothwell is an interesting place and is worth a visit when in the West of Scotland. It is just a short drive from the Strathclyde Park turn off on the M74.

Further Information:

Dr Marion Gilchrist Memorial Garden

Mike Denness

Paterson Quarries

Historic Bothwell – One


Sunday was a lovely and sunny February day, although a little cold and I agreed with some friends to cycle to Bothwell Castle using the path through Strathclyde Park. As it was a nice day the park was quite busy with pedestrians, dog walkers and cyclists.

On Strathclyde Loch were some sailing boats and rowers and it was very pleasant watching the activities on the water while cycling along.

After leaving the park from the west exit we had to cross a very busy dual carriageway before continuing on our way to Bothwell. 

Historic Bothwell

Bothwell has played an important part in the history of Scotland throughout the ages and was the site of the famous Battle of Bothwell Bridge. It also has a 14th century castle and the oldest Collegiate Church in Scotland – Bothwell Parish Church.

At Bothwell, we turned off the main road at Blantyre Mill Road and cycled down to a footbridge over the River Clyde which links Blantyre with Bothwell. Just over the bridge are the mill workers houses and mill buildings where African explorer Dr David Livingstone was born. We turned off before the bridge and took a path along the river to the castle. 


This was very pleasant and is excellent for bird-watching. The path was quite busy with walkers and other cyclists. It is also fairly flat except for a small climb to the castle.

Bothwell Castle

Bothwell Castle was built in the 13th Century and is Scotland’s largest and finest Middle Age castle.

South East Tower of Bothwell Castle

Wars of Independence

Walter of Moray and his son William created the castle but it was never completed because of the outbreak of the Wars of Independence in 1296. The castle figured prominently in the Wars of Independence with England. The wars ended in 1357 with the signing of the Treaty of Berwick.

After the wars, Bothwell Castle passed to the Black Douglases. They were overthrown in 1455 with the castle reverting to the Crown.

South East Tower of Bothwell Castle

The remains of the chapel are just behind the South East Tower.

Great Hall

 Like many castles, Bothwell had a Great Hall for holding banquets and functions.

Great Hall
Great Hall from the Courtyard

The Donjon

The huge cylindrical donjon was built in the 13th century, but before the rest of the castle was completed it was severely damaged in a series of sieges. 

The Donjon as seen from the Great Hall
South West of the Castle
South West of the Castle

Bothwell Parish Church

After leaving the castle we headed back into Bothwell to view the 14th century Parish Church. The church is currently being restored and the walls strengthened as they were starting to bulge under the weight of the slate roof tiles.

The church was known as St Brides and was a Catholic church until the Reformation in 1560 when it briefly became an Episcopalian place of worship before becoming the Presbyterian Parish Church.

Bothwell Parish Church

In front of the church is a monument to Scottish poet Joanna Baillie who was born in the manse. Her father, the Rev James Baillie was the minister and her mother was the sister of physicians and anatomists, William and John Hunter. 

Joanna Baillie Monument

The church building is quite outstanding and one of the finest church buildings in Scotland. The Reverend Jim Gibson, the parish minister, also serves as chaplain to the Queen in Scotland.

Part 2 will show some modern aspects of the village. 

Further Information

Bothwell Castle

Bothwell Parish Church

Joanna Bailey