The History of Rutherglen and East-Kilbride: Published with a View to Promote the Study of Antiquity and Natural History. Illustrated with Plates

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David Niven, 1793 - 334 pages

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This work has stood the test of time as a valuable insight of true historical utility in its records of the area in the 18th century - as well as informed opinion if the antiquities to be found in Ure's time. These sites no longer exist and without this work we would have no idea so many Bronze and Iron Age monuments existed. It is not perfect and suffers a few errors typical of its time, but it was an industrious intelligent effort all the same. As a record of manners and customs as well as folklore, the book is a delight. There is a lot more yet to be written on East Kilbride History though.  

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As a work recording then contemporary events, customs, and topography in order to create future written history, David Ure's work is an insightful resource for those studying the parochial history of the parishes of Rutherglen and East Kilbride. The work is two-fold as it covers natural history too, and was far ahead of its time - paving the way for natural history studies of paleontological specimens in Scotland. As a result the work is a prime example of its author being a product of the Scottish Enlightenment. Following the spirit of the concerted empirical enquiries that would produce the published Statistical Accounts, David Ure went much further to provide work of a similar standard over hundreds of pages. The work is also notable for its archaeological interest because unlike most speculative antiquarian accounts, David Ure applied an empirical approach where he attempted to critically record, measure, and investigate the ancient monuments and artefacts found throughout the district. This included the notable Cathkin Cairn field. The work suffers from major historical inaccuracies as regards over-reliance on spurious sources in works such as Boece and Buchanan, but this is understandable considering these were considered the best sources of that time, and can be easily detected by a modern critical eye. Local history suffers from more misleading points such as perpetuating the myths of the 14th century ascendancy of the Lindsays to the Kilbride Barony, the Castlehill and Rough Hills as Roman, or Kilbride being gifted as a dowry under Robert the Bruce. Such issues have never been corrected, and Ure is much repeated in past and present works. As such, the history of East Kilbride is long overdue a critical revision.  

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