Place:Wishaw, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Coordinates55.783°N 3.933°W
Located inLanarkshire, Scotland     ( - 1975)
See alsoStrathclyde, Scotlandregional administration 1975-1996
North Lanarkshire, Scotlandunitary Council Area since 1996
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

Wishaw was originally a weaving village named Wishawtoun in the parish of Cambusnethan. It changed its name to Wishaw and became a burgh in the 19th century and, in 1920, merged with its neighbouring town to the south to become the Burgh of Motherwell and Wishaw. It is on the edge of the Clyde Valley, 15 miles (24 km) south-east of Glasgow.

The 19th and 20th century was due to the presence of many industries: coal mining, iron smelting, the manufacture of steel, lorries, clocks, rolling stock. In addition there was whisky distilling, and more recently the manufacture of sports goods and electronics. The ironworks and steelworks had all closed by 1992. Most coal mining had ended during the 1980s, although some open-cast mines exist to the southeast.

A large number of churches remain in the town centre as well as a railway station. Notable mansion houses nearby include Cambusnethan Priory (1819), Coltness House and Wishaw House, a seat of Lord Belhaven of Biel. The northern suburb of Coltness lies next to the South Calder Water while, across the Coltness Bridge, is the village of Cleland. The small village of Cambusnethan is actually within the town of Wishaw.



the text in this section is a condensation of an article in Wikipedia

It is not certain how the name Wishaw came about. The town is probably named after Wishaw House, built in the woods by the South Calder Water, which was likely built some time after the selling of Coltness, Wishaw, Watstein and Stain to Hamilton of Uddsten, the predecessor to Lord Belhaven. It was probably in these days that the estate was named, "wis" being Old Scotch for water, and "shaw" meaning forest or wood. Other theories exist; one such is that it may be derived from the Scots for "Wicket gate in the wood", and that it used to be called Wygateshaw. Alternatively, it may be from the Old English for "Willow Wood". Others believe the name was originally Viashaw, meaning way or road through the wood. Yet another theory is that the name derives from "Wee Shaw", meaning small wood.

The town itself is not very old, but settlement in the area dates back to the 12th century when St. Nethan established a kirk dedicated to St. Michael by a bend (Gaelic "camus") in the Clyde near what is now Netherton. The area then became known as the parish of Cambusnethan, and remained so until the Reformation. The site of the original church remains as a ruined burial ground, including an impressive mausoleum to Lord Belhaven, although the church is in an irreparable state.

The village itself was laid out in 1794, named Cambusnethan, and later renamed Wishawtown. On September 4, 1855, the town was incorporated with the villages of Coltness and Stewarton to form the Burgh of Wishaw, with a population of approximately 5,000.

The Wishaw Press is the town's local newspaper, and has been serving the town for over 50 years.

Research Tips

Sources for Old Parish Registers Records, Vital Records and Censuses

Refer to the Parish of Cambusnethan for vital records.

Further Sources of Reference

Please note and respect the copyright warnings on these websites.

  • GENUKI article on Cambusnethan (including Wishaw)
  • Scottish Places article on Wishaw--more information may be found by following the tabs on the right. The parish maps in this series are very useful.
  • The maps website of the National Library of Scotland allows comparisons of modern-day and old maps of the same place. From the home page click on "Find by place" and then follow the instructions on the next page. Once you are viewing the place you want, use the slider <----> at the top of the map to compare the layout of roads and the place names of smaller areas, perhaps even farms, with the landscape today. The website takes some getting used to.
  • The Statistical Accounts for Scotland In the 1790s and again in the 1830s, the ministers of the all the parishes of the Church of Scotland were asked to provide a description of their parish to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The original account request included 160 questions to be answered. These accounts are available in print in 20 volumes and are also online where it is freely available to browse. The browsing portal is below the viewing area of most computer screens. Scroll down to "For non-subscribers" and click on "Browse scanned pages". This brings you to another page on which one can enter the name of the parish in which you are interested.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Wishaw. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.