Forth District

The open air village

The Village of Haywood

Haywood or High Wood as locally known, is a small village near Wilsontown whose church opened in 1877, but 50 years later the church had fallen into disrepair and the congregration of Haywood joined with Wilsontown church.

Haywood wanderers formed in 1884 was at one time a leading football team and were never beaten at home in 11 years

Most of the houses in haywood were built from bricks made at the nearby Auchengray brickworks now closed. It also supported a railway station at one time


History of Haywood.

Haywood was grately transformed from a little village by a young man from Glasgow.

James Paraffin Young by this time a world authority in oil production and new ideas.

The coal mined in this area was used for oil distillation and the wax was also taken out during this operation. As the oil cooled this allowed the wax to crystallise. It was ripe for some adventurer. It was to prove a major discovery.

The young man from Glasgow was to prove the catalyst with his extensive knowledge and experience of oil production world wide, James (Paraffin Young.) The whole of the oil industry took off, and mines were sunk, and oil works sprang up all over the area. This brought work and wealth in abundance to the little towns and villages. Unfortunately this boom time was limited, and centres of high population were forced to face the inevitable and Tarbrax with Woolford and Cobbinshaw were in this equation. Haywood was to figure in the picture, although not in the shale mining. Its usefulness was finished at the same time.

The main reason for the collapse was the discovery of oil from indigenous wells in U.S.A. and the Middle East. It is in this connection that Co-operatives came into being.

A number of small towns and villages, became the focal points for future development. Not only was there work for local people but there was employment for thousands. It brought about the building of houses in the area. Thus as houses became available families flooded in from other districts. It was a time of building roadways to take the increase of traffic.

Previously the small villages isolated from each other, were served by a shop in the same rows or houses as the other tenants. As the heavy industry moved into the district, more and more of these little shops were bought over, or were already run by the companies.

This could be a bad thing, because there were instances, where a man's livelihood; indeed, the well being of his family, depended on his wife buying in the work owners' shops. If she did not patronise the company shop a man could find himself threatened with the sack, or a downgrade in his wages. Not only so but if you did not toe the line at your work, your wife would find the effect quickly felt when she was refused provisions. Your name would soon find its way into the realm of other owners. It was a no win situation.

It was fertile ground for the introduction of Co-op Societies. As communities grew up around the pits and works, these stores played an important part in the development of the villages.

Obviously the society had expanded greatly; branches being formed at outlying places like Cobbinshaw, Blackburn, Tarbrax and Haywood. Forth was to be started in 1925. Other cooperatives which had been separate stores were also taken over during this expansion period.

It soon developed beyond the original groceries and provisions. As well as having a branch in the villages this was augmented by the use of vans bringing bakery, fleshing, milk, rolls, drapery and hardware as well as oil for the miner's rows.

Sales per family CO. Book did not seem to be very high. West Calder in 1883 had sales per household of £58, and over the years did not seem to rise much above this figure. Again this must be the fact of low wages among miners and other manual workers.

The Cooperative in Haywood (the Store,) as it was designated, opened in 1894 on Christmas Day


This was after a lengthy delay and some strong arguments about the site. Tashyburn was in the running, but finally rejected, because it was too far from the village, although equidistant to the two places.

Undoubtedly; one of the main reasons for the difficulty, was the resentment of the landlords to make a situation available for a Cooperative. This attitude was further supported by local proprietors of other shops.

A way out of this dilemma was found, when the Right Honourable Akers Douglas. M.P who owned considerable parts of the village, being approached by his agent, consented to allow sufficient ground to erect premises. A site was taken in September 1894 and buildings completed and stock provided, ready for opening on Christmas Day of the same year.

An account of this ceremony was given in the Lothian Courier.

"The premises, although not large, are so arranged that a large trade can be done with comparative ease." The opening ceremony was performed by the President Mr James Potter; the whole of the committee being present.

After a few remarks to a crowd of members, by the vice president and others, the door was opened by a sliver key, which was presented to the president by the building contractor, Mr John Fairley. The Business done at this branch of the West Calder Cooperative Society has been highly satisfactory. Mr James Blair was its first manager. This same man was one of the stalwarts, along with the Rev.Gilbert Clark of the Boys Brigade, being second lieutenant with the minister as captain.


West Calder Co-operative Society Limited, Jubilee 1875-1925 Tea Caddy

( picture kindly supplied by Freda Telfer)

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Jeanie Weir and Miss Martha Murdoch were there at the end of its days.

If in earlier times there were three places of real moment, the coming of the Co made a welcome addition. The focal points were Hughie Dunn's licenced grocer down at the square; the village hall and Kechan's at the top of the hill. These shops were essential 'Adults Only.' Except when messages were required at the two shops or in the hall, if there were special events for children. The Co became the main rendezvous for the women folk. No wheeled trolleys and check outs. You waited your turn and as you waited you were supplied with news of the village, while you relayed your bits of information. This was the proper place to put the people and the world to rights.

The life of the Cooperative was governed by the money earned in the pits. When this ended: there was no need for messages and no money so with the collapse of the village the Co died as well, although it was in the thirties that it finally closed. All the trade went to Forth where a shop had been opened in 1925.

Jubilee of West Calder Co-operative Society - Courier 1906-1925

"West Calder Co-operative Society which has a membership of nearly 9000 celebrated its Jubilee on Saturday. The Society started in a very small way in 1875 with a capital of £70, and the sales now exceed £500,000 per annum. The first premises comprised a small shop in the main street of West Calder and when the first consignment of goods was bought the committee spent all night unpacking them and displaying them in the shop. Today the Society has extensive central premises and a fine suite of offices in West Calder and branches at Midcalder East Calder; Purpherson, Uphall Deans, Blackburn, Stoneyburn, Addiewell, Haywood and Tarbrax. To mark the occasion the Society gave a donation of £1000 to the funds of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and £100 to the Co-operative Convalescent Homes. Each member was presented with a souvenir gift to the value of 5s and an illustrated history of the Society. The children were also presented with a souvenir."

The final episode in this important piece of history is contained in the Courier 8-7-77

Landmark to go say planners.

West Calder Co-op is to be demolished-and that looks like being the last decision on the building.

"So the curtain runs down on one of the most successful ventures by a group of men under very trying circumstances, and in its time served communities where ever Paraffin Young and others made towns and villages."

Perhaps it was realised that the life of the village would be short so why should the company go to the expense of doing anything to the houses. It was good enough for them. The coal owners were not made of money, so sacrifices had to be made, and you started where it could be most easily bourne. This was the era of the tied house system.

There is a better known High Wood as depicted in a piece written by Phillip Johnstone.

Ladies and Gentlemen this is High Wood.

Called by the French Bais De Tourreaaex,

The famous spot which in 196 July, August and September was the scene

Of long and bitterly contested strife; By reason of its high commanding site.

Observe the effect of the shell fire in the trees Standing or fallen; here is the wire, the trench For months inhabited; twelve times changed hands, (they soon fall in) later used as graves.

It has been said on good authority

That in the fighting for this patch of ground

Were killed somewhere above eight thousand men

Of whom the greater part were buried here. The mound on which you stand being......Madame please

You are requested kindly not to touch

Or take away the Company's property

As souvenirs; you'll find we have on sale

A large variety, all guaranteed.

As I was saying, all is as it was.

This is an unknown British Officer

The tunic lately rotted off Please follow me - this way.......the paths Sirs please.

The ground, that was secured at great expense:

The company keeps absolutely untouched

And in the dug out (genuine) we provide

Refreshments at a reasonable rate.

You are requested not to leave about

Paper or ginger bottles or orange peel

There are wastepaper baskets at the gate.

Phillip Johnstone

We go back to the development and demise of Hay wood by looking at a number of maps during the period 1654-1913 -some of which, where practicable, are reproduced here.

1654-Vpperward of Clyds-Dyl - J.Blaea. (not shown) This is the earliest map held by the Map Dept of the National Library of Scotland of this area we are considering. (Copied from Blaeu's Atlas 1x42.) Local places are mentioned e.g W Forth, E Forth, Crukends, Kaerburran Law, Haywood and Cleugh-with Cobinfhaw the furthest east. Kalder Moore between us and west Calder with Athkar Moore situated between Forth and Shotts (Muldron). Two other places that have not seen much change apart from the spelling of their names: Auchingre and Carfwat. These are obviously Auchengray and Carnwath. Incidentally Auchengray celebrated its centenary a few years ago. A video was made of this occasion and makes excellent viewing. The extensive moors are vital proof that the whole area was quite infertile.

1773-Map of the Shire of Lanark-Charles Ross.(shown), Moutainblow, Highwood and Crooklands, note new spelling of Crooklands which it retains till this day, although in our young days we always called it Crukens. It is of note that the village was named as Highwood. This is the only map that carries this name. Again local people never said anything but Highwid. Crimpie is shown near Forth and there appears to be two places called Tarbrax. The Lang Whang A71 is shown but the name is not used.

Mouse Water is noted, but near its source it is called Cleughburn; just below the Cleugh estate where it splits into two. This branch is shown as flowing south of Moutainblow and the other north of the farm. The former tributary is obviously the Kaerburran but its route is not quite true, or the position of the village is wrong. The course of this burn in the years of my childhood did indeed start up near Moutainblow but it flowed down past Haywood head and the mine cottage and on to the old pit bing what we knew as the Crusher bing and it was known then as the Law Burn.

There is no road between Haywood and Auchengray and Carnwath, but there is one from Carnwath to Forth and Crimpie with a connection to Shotts over Athkar Moore. This divergence was at Stobie and Stobiehill. The other leg continued onto Forkens later known as Wilsontown (after the iron foundry owner). White Loch - a favourite dooking place for us when bikes became an everyday means of transport.


1773-Map of the Shire of Lanark-Charles Ross

1859 O.S Lanarkshire Sheet xx. (Edition of 1913 as revised shown).

Caledonian Railway, Edinburgh and Carstairs passes through Auchengray and Carnwath. Appended to this line is an Electric Telegraph. The line from Auchengray to Haywood and Wilsontown has not been built. (If the railway had come earlier it might have halted or prolonged the demise of the flourishing iron works.


The death of the works must also have affected the mines, because no working mines are recorded. A tram is shown leading from Mill Dam to Oldmill and Millhill: the brick works at Auchengray flourishing at this time. There are thirteen disused pits in Tashyburn and Haywood, twenty two in the area comprising Climpy, The Abbey, Forth, Beveridge Hall and Greenwell.

In a small excerpt from a larger map eleven rows are mentioned while the census for 1891 gives at least twenty three. This map of 1910 gives an insight into the core of the village of Haywood. The names of the rows are as follows; Store Row, Bank Street, Lome Street, Princess Street, Ann Street, Park Street.

One personal note of limited interest to the reader is the mention of stepping stones over the Mouse near the junction of the two streams. These were handy when travelling to and from school. It saved a journey round by the Store Close, the Red Row, old and new schools, and the Pleasance.

When you were bigger you felt superior to the small fry if you could race down the path and jump the burn. It cut your time by a few seconds. I never remembered walking home from school at dinner time. Going back a different matter; no need to hurry you were only going back to school while on the outward journey you were going for a meal, and you were starving.

I cannot remember the record time, although it was checked every day with the clock in the home. Enjoyable it was and good training for the Gala day and the Sunday School trips. These stones were well worn and must have been used for a long time and by many feet.

O/S extract Lanarkshire 1910



Some few shops did business in the village on a full time basis; e.g. Hugh Dunn's public house and provision store down in the square. Dominock O'Donnell, Wm Kechans, John Haughans and Mary Ann Nimmo. Of these, three of the shops were still trading into the 1920's. Kechans at Greenbank a haven for bona fide travellers kept going well into the Second World War, Men who lived outside the three mile limit, which was kept, if it was not possible to break it. Local men could not drink at their own pub as usual, but perforce had to journey further afield.

Hugh Dunn's was a popular place for cronies to meet. Here the stories of the victories of the team would be analysed on a Saturday night. Along with the great catches of fish from the local burns and rivers, and the state of the nation. It was going to the dogs, even then by all accounts.

The coming of West Calder Cooperative Societey in 1894 severely cut into all their trade.

In addition there were three tailors; James Hamilton, Wm.Donaldson and his son. It is recorded that three dress makers plied this trade; Susan Ross and her daughter Maggie, as weel as Teeny Todd who lived at Harryfoothill.

There was also a shoemaker Pat Mulddon and a clockmaker while the manager of one of the collieries James Malcolm had a coachman-John Syme. Daniel Muir; a pedlar lived in the village, or he may have been staying for the day only.

By this time the railway had been opened from the main line at Auchengray to Wilsontown and collieries beyond, so the station master - John Paymor and his assistant, his son John. The doctor at this time was George Thomson M.D., Haywood Rows.

These seemed to be a wide range of surnames. This might be expected when the catchment area was so wide., but first names were more limited and common as each family followed the same pattern. No fancy names were expected or allowed. This was before the days of film stars and television personalities. There was a strict order: oldest son was called after his paternal grandfather; the next after his maternal grandfather. The same system was sacrosanct with the girls. All succeeding sons and daughters were named after uncles and aunts of which there did not appear any scarcity.

This inevitably leads on to the thought of family units. Family planning was virtually unknown, and therefore seldom practised. No sex education but an acceptance of a situation which was akin to all the problems of the day, 'You grinned and bore it.'

Six in a home was the average; either in one room or two. These were termed single ends or double ends. The census of the year proves the above statement. While looking at statistics, this was indeed the true figure. While the average figure does not look too bad, a glance over the full details gives a sombre picture. One case at least is mentioned; husband and wife with eight children - the oldest twenty three and the youngest three. How did they find the space, yes and the energy? They were tough.

John Murray. His wife Secilia was born in Co.Sligo Ireland. One of the sons - Alex at thirteen years of age, along with Thomas Tennant and John Watson were the youngest mine workers in the census of 1891. This must rival the youngest farm worker in 1841 - Wm Bryce age twelve years old.

Another record seemed inevitable till your attention is turned to Thomas Ballantyne; farmer at Buchknowes, where there were ten in the family and three workers.. Space would be more plentiful on a farm. There were another seven families of ten members quoted.

Perhaps the first prize should got to George Burt, whose family of eleven had the luxury of two rooms. The story is told of the occasion when mother was out for the evening and father was responsible for putting the weans to bed. When mother arrived her first question, of course was to ask how had the children behaved? The reply from the man of the house. "They were nae boather tae it wus time fur bed and that yin in the middle wid not go to sleep. He finally fell over when I threatened to tell his mother when she came home."

The lady's reply was scathing. "Dae ye no ken yir ain weans? That's the laddie frae next door."

The story falls mainly in the latter part of the nineteen twenties and early thirties in two small villages of the Upperward of Lanarkshire, Haywood and Wilsontown. By this time the boom of the late nineteenth century and the beginning if the twentieth had collapsed in the former place, as it had done at Wilsontown a hundred years previously when the Iron Works had closed there. This was a time of special hardship, as depicted by the Rev.Jas Walker in 1830.

Fortunately the presence of high quality coal revived the prospects of Wilsontown, but in the end hastened the demise of Haywood.

The village as a viable industrial entity was finally laid to rest after the General Strike of 1926, and only its ghost remained. No pits were working and only a few small mines were left, while the manpower travelled further a field to Climpy and Dixon's pits. This inevitably led to the migration of the population to Forth, as houses became available.

Two of the buildings left standing were up at the highest part of the village, and consisted of a licensed grocer, and a two storied house with three families. In these the boys involved lived; Alex at the shop and Bob and Bert in the other place. They were cousins.

Special thanks to the good people of Forth 7 Haywood for this article with extracts from “ not many noble “ by Robert Aitken


Old picture of Haywood taken from where the School stood.

Picture kindly supplied by Alex & Alan Nelson .




Latest Information

Old Forth School Closure.

See News & School Pictures for more details. 

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17th June 2017

Forth & District Children`s GalaDay


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