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Medieval Transport around Lanark

Medieval Transport around Lanark

Roads in the Middle Ages tended to follow the routes laid down by the Romans. In Scotland there were few roman roads, therefore most were tracks or Drove roads. The Drove roads were used to drive sheep and cattle to market.

Lanark being an important Burgh was the centre of routes north to Linlithgow, south England, west to Glasgow and east to Edinburgh. The route north to Linlithgow can be seen at the Wide Close.
Lanark High Street was the king’s Highway and it connected to the Medieval streets, the Castlegate and the Bloomgate which ran down to the castle.

Some of the routes out of the town can still be followed particularly to fords. St Patrick’s Road went down to Clydesholm Green where it was possible from the late fifteenth century to take a ferry across the Clyde.

Getting out of Lanark was a problem especially crossing the Clyde and the Mouse so a number of fording points were used – south of the town the fords were Cobblehaugh, Howford and Carmichael. It is reckoned that Edward 1 used one of these to cross the Clyde to the south.

To the south west there were a number of fords near Hyndford Bridge. These were Boathaugh, Crook-Boat and Tillieford. In the Middle Ages many of these places as indicated by their names would have ferries.

However it is at Clydesholm opposite Kirkfieldbank that there is evidence of a ferry dating back to the transportation of Henry VII and is wife Margaret across the Clyde in 1461. A charter of 1491 refers to a regular ferry set up by Stephen Lockhart of Cleghorn. This was to be operated by the chaplain of the alter of St Katherine in the chapel of St Nicholas.

To the north the route out of town was along the King’s Highway to Leechford. This route led to Linlithghow.


Many of the old Medieval routes still survive to this day. The grass track down to Leechford which is still used at Lanimer time is the one used since the Middle Ages.

The route to the ford of Tullieford and Boathaugh still survives to this day. The route follows Lady Mary’s Walk to Robiesland and thence along the Parliamentary Wall to Tullieford.

St Patrick’s Road follows the route of the Medieval road down to Clydesholm.

Even in Lanark part of the old Medieval road system is still to be seen. It is the track running from the castle towards St Kentigern. This old roadway or what is left of it, is to be found at the bottom of the Delves Park.

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