Community survey of the Orry

Eaglesham Parish Church with part of the grassed over Orry in front.
Eaglesham Parish Church with part of the grassed over Orry in front.

Eaglesham History Society are holding a community Orry geophysical survey along with workshops on handling artefacts, mapping and aerial photography.

The survey, run by Archaeology Scotland, social history information workshops run by East Renfrewshire Heritage Service along with heritage walks are taking place between Monday, June 5 and Friday, June 9.

The survey of the Orry starts on June 5 and is running throughout the full week of this event.

The project is also involving three schools: Eaglesham Primary, Williamwood High School and Mearns Castle High School. This will enable pupils to get some real hands-on experience of archeology and geophysical surveying. Local author Susan Hunter, a member of the Renfrewshire Local History Forum and the Association of Certificated Field Archaeologists, will be helping the kids get to grips with the syllabus.

The survey, although being carried out initially in front of the wishing well tearoom, the focus will be at Eaglesham Parish Church to establish the original village remains prior to the building of the planned settlement by the Earl of Eglinton in 1769.

The Orry, an A-shaped green area in the centre of Eaglesham village covers 15 acres, bordered on the north by Montgomery Street and on the south by Polnoon Street. The Orry was gifted to the inhabitants of Eaglesham in the late 18th century by the 10th Earl of Eglinton as part of his planned village.

The Orry contains a wealth of local history, some hidden, and some more visible, including the sites of old lades, tunnels and reservoirs on the Kirkton Burn. Moat Hill, an early meeting place for judicial assemblies, the Mid Road Bridge which was rebuilt by the feuars in 1835, and other sites identified by geo-phys surveys. One of the highlights for visitors to the area is the site and archaeological remains of the New Orry Cotton Mill built in the middle of the Orry, around 1791. The mill was the principal employer in Eaglesham for more than seventy years with as many as 200 employees in 1845. The main building was an impressive five storeys high. The mill’s history ended when it was destroyed by fire in 1876.

Full details of the week’s programme at: www.facebook.com/EagleshamHistorySociety/