EARNOCK LODGE

EARNOCK LODGE.

1895 Map of the Lodge.

There is an old sandstone house in the street called Jura Gardens and this old house was at one point the only house on this stretch of land, it’s closest neighbour was Earnock Mansion House and before it was given a number or became part of a street at Jura Gardens, it was simply only known as Earnock Lodge.

It was the gatehouse to the Earnock Estate and in its early years; its occupants lived and worked for the Watson family. I was asked by one of my readers on Historic Hamilton to see if I could look into the history of the Lodge for a Mrs Walker who asked if I could find out who lived here as she believed that when she was a little girl around the 1930’s she walked from her house up Wellhall Road to the Lodge to see her uncle George.

I started my research by trying to find out who the occupants were and the first family that I found were a family that went by the name of Bonomy. Now this name is not a name that I have heard of and certainly do not recall researching it.

Isabella Bonomy Testate.1

I found that the house has had a few deaths in it and on the 22nd of October 1900 Miss Isabella Bonomy died there. She was the local schoolteacher and she died of Chronic rheumatism, 7 years; valvular disease of the heart, 2 years; Reynaud’s Disease, 2 months; Cardiac dropsy, 1 year and the poor girl really must have had a hard time of it.

Isabella was the occupier of the Lodge from 1886 to her death in 1900. I also have to note that she was not paying any rent during this time, so perhaps she was being looked after by the Watson family. Her parents were called John Bonomy, who was an estate labourer on the Earnock estate and Christina Lindsay. Both were deceased before 1900.

When I looked a little further into this family, I soon found that her parents also died at Earnock Lodge. Her father in 1886 and her mother on the 1895.

John Bonamy

While researching the Bonomy family I got a bit sidetracked and found a relation to Isabella. John Bonomy who was Isabella’s Nephew was born in Strathaven. In his younger years he was a footballer for Hamilton Academical, who went on to work for the Lanarkshire steelworks in Motherwell, where he worked as a cashier there for fifty years.
He was well thought of by all that he worked with. He died on the 14th of May 1947 at 26 Adele Street in Motherwell. At the time of his death he actually lived a few streets away at 36 George Street.

So, before Isabella had occupied Earnock Lodge her father had previously been the resident. He lived at the house between c1876-1886 and he also was not paying rent but, in these circumstances, as he was the Gardner & labourer for the Earnock Estate, the house would most probably have come with his job. Before he lived permanently at the lodge, he was living down the road at Almada Street. So, John’s death was the second one that I found to have happened at Earnock Lodge. John died on the 14th of December 1886 and his cause of death was heart disease.

John Bonomy Death2

I found no early evidence of the Lodge being in existence before 1875, so it was possibly constructed after this time and if this is correct, then John Bonomy was the very first occupier of the house.

Unrelated to the occupants of the lodge, there was a death that occurred just outside the Lodge, near Wellhall Road, where a lady called Mrs McGrattan was found dead in the street on the 2nd of December 1882. It was documented in a newspaper that she had died of exposure to the cold.

The second death to take place at the house was John’s wife Christina and she died here on the 4th of April 1895.

From 1900 the next person that I found to be living at Earnock Lodge was a man named John Mair and this man’s occupation was a Carter on the estate and once more the house comes with the job and he does not pay any rent. John Mair lived at the lodge with his wife and they lived here from 1900 through to the demolition of Earnock house in 1926.

On Saturday the 6th of June 1907, an accident happened where Mrs Mair and her daughter Mrs Allardyce were walking down Wellhall Road towards Peacock Cross when they were knocked down by a horse and van. Mrs Mair was injured the worst with a cut face and internal bruising and her daughter was in shock. They were carried back to Earnock Lodge to recover.

Why the lodge was not demolished in 1926 is unknown to me, but most likely it was bought and took into private ownership. When the Earnock estate was demolished it left John Mair with no job and no home! When I looked to see what had happened to John, I found that he gained new employment just down the road at Hillhouse Farm, where he got a job working as a shepherd.

Jane Mair died on the 10th of December 1928 at Hillhouse Farm and John died of bowel cancer on the 7th of December 1935 also at Hillhouse Farm, their granddaughter Marjorie Allardyce was the person who registered both deaths.

Today, on the 21st of June 2020 I spoke to Mrs Walker and I was pleased to tell her that her uncle George did live at the lodge. He was the first person to buy it and George also lived here. He bought the house around 1927 and he lived here until at least 1940. He may have lived at Earnock Lodge for many years; however, this is the latest date that I could traced him. George Neilson died at Hamilton in 1975.

Earnock Lodge still stands on the same spot to this day and I am unsure who the current owners are. Perhaps if they are reading this then they can tell me who owned the house from 1940.

Do you know anyone connected to the house? If you do, then please get in touch.

MURDER AND SUICIDE IN HAMILTON, 11th May 1895.

MURDER AND SUICIDE IN HAMILTON. On Saturday evening a painful sensation was caused in Hamilton when it became known that a named Mrs Wilkinson, aged 53, had a fit of insanity killed her grandson, James Tyrell, aged six years, and afterwards taken her own life.

Six years ago she was dismissed from lunatic asylum as cured and while in the last three years or so she has from time to time shown symptoms of a return of her old malady, it was not considered necessary to put her under restraint.

On Wednesday last she was in Glasgow, and seemed bright and well, on Thursday, there was a change in her condition, and when, about three o’clock in the afternoon, she proposed to go to her son-in-law’s Hugh Tyrell, who is assistant to Mr Lynas, pawnbroker, there, and who resides at Gloucester Place, Burnbank Road, her son said, he would go with her.

She consented, and the two left her house in Chapel Street, Hamilton. At the hour stated, on reaching Mr Tyrrell’s house, she became excited, and after being inside for fifteen minutes, left, stating that she would be back in a little while.

She appears to have gone in the direction of the Catholic School, in High Blantyre Road, which the boy attended, and between whom and his grandmother there is said to have been warm attachment.

Meeting the child on the road she induced him to accompany her. She took the direction of Udston, and at Mr Dunn’s farm asked the road to Auchintibber. She was told the way, but instead of following it, struck through the fields and reached the highway near Hillhouse Cottage without crossing the railway.

She turned in to Townhill Farm, and was spoken to in passing through the farmyard by a servant girl, her future course was down the back road towards Earnock mansion- house, and she and the boy were last seen passing the laundry in the direction of Earnock Glen, all further trace of their movements being lost.

earnock-glen
In the 1896 map of Hamilton, you can see Townhill Farm with the back road in dotted lines. This was the path leading down to the Laundry mentioned in the story that Janet Wilkinson led her Grandson to his death.

Towards night the absence of the boy from his home gave rise to serious apprehensions on the part of his parents, but all their efforts failed to find any trace of him. Next day an organised search was instituted. The old woman and the boy were traced to the back of Earnock Colliery, but here the clue failed, and nothing further concerning their whereabouts could be ascertained.

On Saturday morning, acting upon instructions received from Chief-Constable Millar, of the burgh police, Sargent Clark, Burnbank, made a search in the vicinity of the Earnock estate, taking with him two assistants.

They entered the gate leading to Earnock House and a search of the woods proving fruitless, they proceeded up the burn in the glen, and towards afternoon, they found the two bodies lying in the water.

James Tyreell Death 1895.jpg

Mrs Wilkinson’s throat was cut, and she had her little grandson clasped to her breast with his face towards her. There was a wound in the boy’s throat, but not sufficient, it is said, to cause death, and the supposition is that he was drowned. A razor was afterwards found near the place where the bodies were found, the handle and the spring of the blade tied tightly together with the old woman’s boot-lace, as if to afford her fuller control of it. How she came by the razor is a mystery, but it is thought probable that she may have purchased it in Glasgow on the Wednesday. The bodies were conveyed to Hamilton.