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From Glasgow to South Lanarkshire

John R Hume charts the history of Rutherglen and some of its churches.

WHEN I was young Rutherglen was the subject of a tongue-twister: ‘Ru’glen’s wee roond red lums reek briskly’ (Rutherglen’s little round red chimneys smoke briskly), but otherwise it was a place through which one passed, rather than a destination.

So it remains, but it deserves better.

For before Glasgow emerged in the 12th century as a place of consequence Rutherglen was the more significant settlement, the head of navigation on the river Clyde, and was created a Royal Burgh by David I. It had a castle (north of the west end of Main Street, largely destroyed in 1568) and a parish church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The revenues of the parish were assigned to Paisley Abbey.

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