The Lost Covenanters’ Cave at Airdrie

Covernanters Cave Airdrie

A lost Covenanters’ Cave lay on the northern bank of the North Calder Water in New Monkland parish, Lanarkshire. Today, the former site of it lies on the edge of Airdire.

According to the OS Name Book of 1857:
‘A small cave at the base of an old quarry on the N bank of the North Calder Water. It appears to be natural, and not artificial as suggested in OPS [Origines parochiales Scotiae (1851)]. Dr Clark of Wester Moffat states that it is natural, and was used as a hiding place by Covenanters. About fifteen years ago there were some coals wrought out of it. (Dr Clark is the only gentleman in the neighbourhood who knows anything about this cave.)’ (OS Name Book 1857)

Map of former site of the Covenanters’ Cave

A better map of its location can be found on the Canmore website.

When the site was visited in 1952 there was ‘no trace of this cave’ as it had ‘disappeared due to extensive cliff falls along the riverside.’

The cave is no longer marked on the OS map. Nothing of it remains.

The lost Covenanters’ Cave may, or may not, be related to a cave mentioned in the third Statistical Account of Scotland, which compiled in the mid twentieth century:
‘a large artificial cave, dug out of a bold rocky imminence on the banks of the River Calder, in the estate of Monklands, in a most romantic and sequestered spot. This seems to have been a most labourious undertaking. But whether it has been intended as an asylum in barbarous times [of the 1680s?], or the abode of the melancholy hermit, is left to the imagination of the individual reader.’

Monklands House, which has been demolished, lay a little down the North Calder Water from the lost cave.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.

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~ by drmarkjardine on May 23, 2013.

7 Responses to “The Lost Covenanters’ Cave at Airdrie”

  1. I work at Dalziel park hotel which now stands on the site of Cleland house,as described it is arduous to get down to the Calder I have been up and down that streach trying to locate the cave but have not seen any sign what so ever of the cave although further up from where it is marked on the map there is signs of significant rock falls i would strongly advise any one going down to look to take great care !

  2. I’m familiar with this area as I have fished here since I was a child. I haven’t noticed a cave on the north bank but there is a small cave on the south bank in the same area as shown on the map. It’s known locally as the monk’s cave.

    • Hi Robert, when the site was visited in 1952 there was ‘no trace of this cave’ as it had ‘disappeared due to extensive cliff falls along the riverside.’

      • I’ll take some pictures next time I’m in the area. The north bank has cliffs that make access difficult but walking in from the south bank is fine. The cave (maybe not technically a cave) I mentioned is on the south bank next to the waterfall shown on the map.

      • That would be wonderful Robert. Even a photo of where you think that it lay would be great. I’ll put it on the blog with full thanks to you. Mark

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