STOLE CABBAGES. Lawyer takes Exception to Fiscal’s Question.
“I don’t want to be unfair you. I put the question as straight as I can! Do you swear on your oath in that box that you got these cabbages from George Russell?”
This was the question put by the Fiscal (Mr Robert Weir) in Hamilton J.P. Court on Monday to Charles Bell a miner from Udston Rows, Hamilton, who accused with having 16th or 17th September 1922, stolen Five cabbages from a field in Little Udston Farm.
Accused’s agent, Mr Nat. Cochrane, Hamilton, took exception to the form of this question and said the Fiscal was trying to “catch” Bell. The lawyer thought the question should have been: “Are these the cabbages you got from George Russell, or are they like them?”
However, after some argument, the accused answered “Yes” to the Fiscal’s original question. The case for the prosecution was that the police met the accused (Charles Bell) about 12.30 a.m. on the 17th September on the back road leading to Udston Rows.
He looked rather bulky, and when was searched by the constables he was found have four cabbages inside the lining, of his jacket. When asked where had got them, he said: ‘Take to Hamilton and I’ll tell you.”
His name and address’ were taken, and then the police went to the nearest farm (Dykehead Farm) and asked the farmer if had had cabbages stolen from his field. The farmer made a search but found that none of his cabbages had been stolen. The vegetables were then taken the Little Udston Farm, where roots were found that fitted perfectly into the cabbages found in Bell’s possession.
On the Tuesday night after he was caught the accused stopped by the police and told them that he had got the cabbages from a Burbank man named George Russell. A constable went to Burnbank, and Russell told him that he gave Bell four cabbages out of his allotment about 9:50 on Saturday night on the 16th of September.
The defence was that Bell met Russell in the Empire public house in Burnbank, on the Saturday night, and asked him for some cabbages for Sunday’s dinner. Russell took him to his plot and gave him four cabbages.
On his way, home the accused met two men, Andrew McDade and James McEwan on the road. He sat beside them for about two hours, during which time they drank two bottles of beer which the accused had in jacket pockets. McDade and McEwan said Bell had some cabbages in his jacket when met them. After hearing all the evidence the bench found the charge proven, and Bell was fined £2, with the alternative of going prison for twenty days.
I tried to find out what happened to Charles Bell after his court case, however, I could not track him down, perhaps he didn’t hang around in Hamilton after his trial.
Little Udston farm was situated right at the end of Hamilton, just next to Blantyre and is not to be confused with the Udston area of Burnbank. The farm was a working one with vast open spaces and a good panoramic view looking over Hamilton. Today the land where Little Udston Farm was situated, is at the top of Hillhouse, undeveloped between Fleming Way & Townhill Road.
The earliest record for Udston that I have found so far, is on the 1654 map of Scotland, where it has been written as Utoun and the first house or dwelling was built between 1662 and 1773. By the 1892 Map the larger house no longer appears, so I assume it was demolished by then.
Little Udston Farm was part of the larger estate of Udston House, which was owned by Lewis Potter. Lewis Potter, who was one of the directors of the City of Glasgow Bank until the disaster occurred, in the recession of October 1878. He borrowed large sums of money for his land speculation. In the 1878 recession, the City of Glasgow Bank collapsed with debts of over £5 million. The directors were found guilty in January 1879 and Lewis Potter was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.
Udston was a two Farm Steadings belonging to different proprietors & sharing the same name without any distinction whatever. The properties, respectively, of Mrs Jackson & Mr. Sinclair. The road to these Steadings is supported by the Parish to the extent of the Lands of “Udston” belonging to “Udston House”.
In the year 1816 there is a Mr Jackson who is listed as the owner and he was still listed as the owner of Udston in the 11th of August 1846 as there was a story written about him in the Hamilton Advertiser on the (03/08/1918) when he was elected chairman for the collections of poor relief. On the 1816 map there seems to be a substantial house next to Mr Jackson’s name. This would confirm that this was the main Farm House and Little Udston at this time was a small part of the estate.
On the Udston estate there was four farm houses, two at the Little Udston, Udston Cottage and Udston House, Udston House which was further down in what is now the Udston council estate in Burnbank.
When the rich coal seams were discovered under the ground at Udston the little quiet farm became a really busy place with the opening of Udston Colliery and one of the entrance’s was situated right at the front of the farm and later a railway line that was used originally as a mineral line to Quarter, Eddlewood and Neilsland Collieries who transported their coal on it. The line was eventually extended to Strathaven. The Minerals rights were later owned by the trustees of the late William Jackson and now as well as having tenant farmers, William Dixon ltd & The Udston Colliery Company were also tenants on the farm.
During the lifetime of the farm there were many tenant farmers that worked the land and the last of the families that lived here was the Mains. John & Robert Main took over the Tenancy between 1905 & 1915 and the family worked her right up until the farm was bought by compulsory purchase by the council. Robert Main later moved from Little Udston Farm around 1930 and they moved to Auchintibber for a while then managed to buy another place Rowantreehill Farm Braehead Forth where he settled.
The council had originally planned to have 2 Apartment houses built on the Udston farm site, however as they believed that this would cause overcrowding and scrapped this idea.
The following report was published in the Scotsman on the 12th December 1934.
Hamilton Housing – No two apartment Dwellings at Udston Farm Scheme.
Following representations by the Department of Health for Scotland , Hamilton Town Council decided last night to accept a recommendation by the Housing Committee that no two-apartment houses be included-in the scheme of 900 houses at Udston Farm site , near Burnbank .
“The Department , in a letter to the Council , which was read at a meeting of the Housing Committee , expressed its strong conviction that it was not desirable to have any two apartment houses in the scheme .
They pointed out that . according to the 1931 Census returns , 63 per cent , of the houses in the burgh are of one and two apartments , and that , in addition , there is always great danger of overcrowding where two-apartment houses are allowed , and that if three-apartment houses were substituted it would greatly facilitate the efforts of the Council to deal with overcrowding ”
In the 1940s/50s, the council built there new 900 home housing estate on the land surrounding the farm and it is now known as Hillhouse.
We would like to thank Jim Cochrane for sending us his pictures of his Gran & Great Grandfather at Little Udston Farm & also to Paul Veverka of The Blantyre Project for pointing Jim in our direction.
On the night of the 5th May 1869, a man belonging to Udston Farm, Udston, while going through a small plantation lying between that place and Glenlee, discovered a man suspended by the neck to the arm of a tree, and quite dead.
From the appearance presented by the body it was evident that he had made most determined effort to end his life. His head was so near the branch to which he had fastened himself that he could easily have put his hands upon it, but they were firmly clenched to his sides.
He had tied a cotton handkerchief once round his neck, and afterwards reached up and fixed it to the tree, the body was in an easy standing position when found, and strangulation could not have taken place without a determined and protracted effort on the part the unfortunate suicide.
Information was sent to the County Police Office here, and the body conveyed thither. The deceased has the appearance of having been employed in some weaving factory, and on his person were found small strip of paper, marked ” Twister, £3 2d,” a pair of small scissors, a key, and Is in silver and 5,’d in coppers. He appears to about 30 years of age.
Above is Udston Woods and possibly the location of where the unknown man was found. I have tried to find out the mans identity, however there is little to go on. This story is still in my “To Do” list.