Anne Lister diary transcriptions Anne Lister's diary 1828 Anne Lister's diary June 1828

Tuesday 10 June 1828

1 20/60

Two last night. At 7 off from Lanark, Miss McL- behind me, I on the box with the coachman of the 2 horse daily stage coach to Glasgow. At 8¼ stop to change horses at the picturesque village of Wishaw. Alight at Motherwell at 8 50/60 and walk to Hamilton in ¾ hour, get there at 9 35/60. Stop at the Hamilton Arms & breakfast. A dirty place. Would no on any account sleep there. The bedroom smelt of bugs? Or was it fancy? Miss McL- assured me that Glasgow & Hamilton were the 2 places celebrated for these animals throughout Scotland. Could not see the palace. No one admitted now. The family there. The house full of company. Miss McL- knew Mr Brown, the duke’s confidential steward. At 11 off we set to his office. Found him there. Very civil to Miss McL- & immediately went with us and shewed us all over outside & inside the house, or new part that is building, & even on to the scaffolding at the top of it for the sake of the view. Then gave us in charge to the housekeeper who shewed us the inhabited part of the palace. A great many fine foreign consoles or pier tables. Vid. Scottish Tourist 183/415. Saw Daniel in the Lions’ Den by Rubens, “Gilpin calls it the glory of Hamilton.” The portrait (“supposed to be the finest in the kingdom”) of William Viscount Fielding, 1st Earl of Denbigh going out a shooting, by Vandyke (both in the drawing room or gallery); and The 2 Misers by Matsys (the same as at Windsor) in another room; & “The Marriage Feast by Paul Veronese” very large in a bedroom (the house rather in a bustle on account of many old rooms pulled down & none of the new ones yet finished) half hid behind a bed-head. From 12 25/60 to 1 seeing the old part of the palace shewn by the housekeeper. No great concern of a house. Some fine oak carvings over 2 of the chimney pieces.

‘Daniel in the Lion’s Den,’ Peter Paul Rubens, c.1614-16

Before going into the house, in looking over the building materials, saw the colossal stones for the shafts of the 10 corinthian columns to form the portico in front. Hamilton of Glasgow architect. [1] 6 columns front. 2 at each end. [small diagram here] Each stone (from the fine white freestone quarry 6 miles off between Hamilton & Lanark in Clydesdale, could get stone of any size, twice this size if they could get them away) 26 feet long by about 3½ in diameter at the base & weighing 25 tons. Cost £30 each bringing by 30 horses each from the quarry here. The florid corinthian capital done in 2 pieces, the 2 contracted for at £30. The whole expense of each column when fixed in its place may = about £250, so that the columns of the portico = £2500. About £30,000 spent already on the building. 4 years at it. 4 years more & £30,000 more may complete the whole. Hamilton imported all the wood. Mr Brown over looks everything (Mr Connel from Ayr overlooks the masons). Corilla? fine Savannah deal without a knot at 3/. per foot. Norway oak at 5/6 per foot; best ditto at 6/. per foot. Teak wood, a sort of mahogany in short shabby looking lengths from India, for doors. Mr Connel very civil. Shewed me his beams strengthened within by a rod of iron on the suspension principle. A beam would carry any weight (tried by a pressure of 4 tons, 3 foot from each side of the centre – placed, I suppose, 2 tons therefore) 10 yards. Gave me a pencil sketch. His own invention. Much obliged to Mr Brown.

Hamilton Palace in Scotland, from Country Seats, Morris, 1880

Left the palace at 1¼. Returned to the inn and off from there on a post chaise at 1½. Got out to look at the famous Bothwell bridge (4 arches; famous battle between the troops of Charles 2, under the duke of Monmouth, against the covenanters in June 1679) at 1¾. At 2 10/60 alighted at the door of Bothwell castle. According to Mr Brown’s directions asked for Mr Wentworth who civilly shewed us over the house. Simply a good comfortable gentleman’s house but the ruins of the castle very fine. So beautifully covered with fine chiefly beech wood. And the scenery, the river. Its sloping wooded banks, the ruin of the ancient priory of Blantyre (182/415) peeping out of the thick foliage on the opposite side the water. All all make this a charming spot. The possessor of it needs not envy Hamilton. It is indeed a most picturesque & lovely view of red sandstone & its situation charming. The house too is of red sandstone. Would have looked better white.

Bothwell castle, ‘Would have looked better white,’
Photo by Bert Kaufmann,  licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Off from Bothwell castle at 2 40/60. It had just begun to rain a little (Mr W- shewed us a whole length picture by Vandyke of Lord Strafford, for which he said a gentleman had said he should be glad to give £2,000) & rained more or less the whole of the rest of the way & afterwards till after 5. Alighted in Buchanan Street at our old quarters (Glasgow) at 4. From 5 to 6 20/60 at my accounts & itinerary. Dinner at 6 20/60. Went out 7 55/60 to 9. Went to what used to be Harley’s dairy, superior to the Caledonian dairy at Edinburgh. It ruined the man and is now broken up. An individual keeps 30 cows in the common way. The singing muslin machinery shut up ½ hour ago. Then went into Argyll arcade, not quite finishing Hutchison Street, & got each of us an ice and returned on upper way. From 9½ or 10 to 12¼ wrote the journal of yesterday & today. Fine day till 2 40/60 then rain till after 5 until 6 & then fair.

Lanark to Wishaw 10 [miles]
Wishaw to Motherwell 3
Motherwell to Hamilton 2
Hamilton to Bothwell bridge 1½
Bothwell bridge to Bothwell castle 2½?
Bothwell castle to Glasgow 8?
Hamilton to Glasgow 11
Round by the castle 1

[1] Hamilton palace was built in 1695 for William, 3rd Duke of Hamilton. When Alexander Hamilton, the 10th Duke, succeeded in 1819 he began extensive refurbishment of the palace, which were still in progress when Anne Lister visited in 1828. I wonder whether Anne was thinking about her own plans for improving Shibden Hall as she viewed the building works.

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