Hoolet Row
The date of this picture of Hoolet Raw is unknown, however it is possible that Mr Chassels is the man to the left of the picture.

Mr George W. B. Chassels, who died at his residence at Avonbraes on 17th September 1916 was a well-known and highly respected Hamiltonian. Born in 1834. he was 82 years of age, and was oldest worker the Hamilton Estate. He was named after the second minister of Brandon 17. F. Church, the Bev. Wm. Barr, and was associated with the church from baptism, being its senior member at his death.

Brought up in Muir Street, he had many reminiscences to tell of the old coaching days, when the King’s Arms was a stopping place, and in other ways he was a delightful and interesting companion. He entered the service of Hamilton Estate at 16 years of age under Duke Alexander, and continued to serve under the three following Dukes.

Hoolet Row.
Hoolet Raw.

Shortly after the present Duke succeeded to the title he generously, in virtue of having been over fifty years servant of the ducal family, pensioned Mr Chassels. who has since lived a retired but by no means a hermit’s life at his home in Avonbraes, better known as the Hoolet Raw. He made a special study of nature, and was particularly fond of birds, always carrying crumbs in his pocket to feed them.

It was no uncommon thing for him in his walks to address birds by name, and for them to alight on and pick from his hand. The many people from Hamilton and district who visited the Hoolet Raw delighted to have a crack with Mr Chassels, Indeed, it was not regarded a proper visit unless they saw old “Geordie.” he was not only familiarly but lovingly called.

His wife, who predeceased him 21 years ago, was Christina  Nisbet, also an old servant at the Palace. The first keeper of the Mausoleum was her uncle, and the late keeper was a cousin. An aunt of Mrs Chassels was Jane Nisbet, who had been with the Ducal family for the long period of forty years, while a cousin, Marion  Nisbet, was maid for many years to Lady Mary.


Mr Chassels was laid to rest beside hie wife on Wednesday last in Larkhall Cemetery, the officiating clergyman being the Rev. J. A. Owen, of the South U.F. Church, who is presently acting as interim-moderator of Session for Brandon U.P. Church. It may be added that Mr Chassels was the twelfth member of a family fifteen and the only survivor is Mrs John Brown of Gateside Street in Hamilton.

Ref: Hamilton Advertiser 23rd September 1916.

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