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"The Queer Folk i' the Shaws"

PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 5:51 pm
by crusty_bint
Inspired by Jim's search for tumuli in and around Glasgow I got to lookig at Pollok park where it turns out there are two (check out the aligned sites link), as well as the one at Camphill.

I grew up on the banks of the White Cart so its good to hear it mentioned. The Tumulus in Pollok Park is'nt so far away from it either. I think I'll check out my OS and see if I can spot any more in the vicinity.
Have you come across the Glasgow Network of Aligned Sites thing yet?

Reading about the history of the area, i.e. PollokShaws I started to find tales of devilment and witchcraft 8O I found this wee ballad that was going about in the mid 19th century entitled:

The Queer Folk i' the Shaws

Said she, 'Ye may be trod to death
Beneath the horses' paws;
An mind ye, lad, the sayin's true-
There's queer folk i' the Shaws.

The folks are green, it's oft be said,
Of that you'll find no trace;
Theres seasoned wood in every head
And brass in every face.

Look smart and keep your eyes about,
Their tricks will make you grin.
The Barrhead bus will take you out,
The folks will take you in'.

Crrrreeeeepy innit :?

That was written as a Glasgow mother warning her son about his day at the PollokShaws Races. The racecourse is now part of Cowglen Golf Course... the 14th hole actually (196 yards, par 3)(not that I golf or anythin).

The folk of the Shaws believed in the ancient custom of setting aside the 'Good Man's Croft' (the 'Good Man' being a perversion of the title 'Evil One'), a piece of land for the use of the devil and his followers who held their revels there. This piece of unciltivated ground adjoined the 'Common Muir' which was a 2-3 acre piece of ground on the west side of Haggs Rd (now the rugby pitches).

Anywho... my point is... What relationship does this have to the surrounding tumuli? The one beside the pond in Pollok Park is on the wooded hill that runs the lenght of this 'Common Muir' and 'Good Man's Croft'. Also, has this tradition died out... or are there any pagans (for want of a better phrase) still out there???

Lastly, remember the little boys torso that was found in the Thames a while back and was thought to have been a ritual killing... his mother was arrested for his murder in one of the hi-rise blocks in Pollokshaws... coincidence???

I know its a bit "off the track" , anyone got any stories tho???

PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 6:01 pm
by Sharon
yikes! Is Broomhill far enough away from Pollockshaws to be safe? I hope so!

Without reading the aligned sites book again (great read) ... He talks of the Devils Plantation, was this around Pollockshaws? Why was it named such (maybe Harry said in his book but it escapes me!)


PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 7:57 pm
by jim
There is a local history available via Pollokshaws library (you have to ask) or the Mitchell, which details the saga of the Witches of Pollok and much more besides. (I think Liz Lochead wrote a play about them)

A friend and I came across a 'witch bottle' in an area in Pollok Park known locally as the (you guessed it) Witches Wood. (To the right of the Golf course as you come up from the Sheep Park Farm entrance) We spotted the neck sticking up from the frozen curling pond adjacsent to the wood. It was plugged with wax and seemed to contain mainly seeds and what could have been horse hair. Around the neck were arranged photos of some people and a house. When we unplugged it we found a parchment pertaining to the 99th degree of Freemasonry (thought they only went as high as 33 myself). I like to think we saved someone from a heavy curse.

For another experience in the same wood see:

Also: the remains of the lost village of Polloktoun are just discernible in front of Pollok House. Demolished, apparently, to improve the view from the big house.

Perhaps a Hidden Glasgow outing to the Wilds o' the Shaws is in order? (although be warned, I was born and bred there.)

PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 8:03 pm
by Sharon
well, i'm not doing anything tomorrow if you fancy it!

PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 9:28 pm
by jim
Wish I could! Working unfortunately. One for the back burner maybe?

I've made my dowsing rods. how about you?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 12:56 am
by crusty_bint
It'd be great to have your insight Jim ...being one of these "queer folk" yourself ( :wink: )

Sharon introduced me to Pyschogeography (is that right?): ...interesting stuff!

The Witches of Pollok

PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 7:08 pm
by crusty_bint
I had found reference to Anne Downie's play 'The Witches of Pollok' which was played at thr Tron Theatre in 1990 (European City of Culture wasnt it?).

The play is an account of an actual event in the life of the first Laird of Nether Pollok: Sir George Maxwell of the Auldhouse branch of the family. Sir George is described as "zealous in his pursuit of witches", and shortly after taking part in a witch trial in Gourock in 1676 Sir George himself was "bewitched" .... 8O

Sir George was taken ill with a "hot and fiery distemper" and for seven weeks suffered great pains "chiefly on his right hand-side" (anyone ever had a kidney infection :?: ::): :?: ).

After recieving information from a dumb girl who had recently come to live on the estate, effigies of Sir George with pins in thier sides were found at the house of Janet Mathie, the widow of the under-miller at the Shaw Mill.

Janet Mathie, her son John Stewart "a warlock in Pollokshaws", her daughter Annabel and three other unfortunate women were arrested, tried in February of 1677 at Paisly and all six "condemned to the fire to be burned and their effigies with them". Only Annabel aged 14 was reprieved.

Sir Georges recovery was short however: he died later that same year. The dumb girl afterwards recovered her speech and gave her name as Janet Douglas.

Anyone elsa had any "experiences" in Pollok Park? :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Pollockshaws Tollbooth

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 9:20 pm
by Pgcc93
Anyone no the history behind this building?

It's now been illuminated, making a startling focal point at night.
It also changes colour every other day.


PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 9:46 pm
by Ronnie
It was built around 1820 as a toll house, where people paid their money to travel on a toll road. Not sure where the road led to from here, but I would guess towards Glasgow. Interesting that the chimney is in the middle ...
Best, Ronnie

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 9:59 pm
by jim
My mum and dad look down onto it from Cartcraigs (the multi sitting on its lonesome on the rise). Jackdaws nest in the chimney everyyear.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 11:17 am
by escotregen
My Glaswegian folk memory tells me that the expression 'queer folk from the Shaws' came out of the arrival of the 'foreign' speaking Hugenout
(excuse my spelling) Protestant refugees from hideous persecution in France. Does this tally with any one else's knowledge?

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 1:26 pm
by crusty_bint
The toll house was built to (you guessed it) collect tolls ( :wink: ) from the newly built Pollokshaws and Barrhead Rd's. These were both built in 1797 to avoid the steep hills to the north and south of Pollokshaws and to bypass the congested village centre (a veritable 19th Century M8!).

These roads joined up at the afore-mentioned Round Toll, which became a regular stopping place for the Royal Sovereign stagecoach from Irvine and the Levern Trader from Barrhead.

The old tollhouse dates froma round 1800 (Im not disputing 1820... this is the closest I could get to it tho) and was extensively restored in 1995 with the lighting being added as part of the same scheme that lights our bridges, the Clyde tidal wier, the roof of theGCBP, and of course, the water towers. Interestingly, at one point the toll house had a license and was much frequented, shall we say, by the racegoers of the Shaws races.

heres a wee quote i found:

The remaining landmarks, the Clock Tower, Burgh Hall, Sir John Maxwell School, the parish church, Round Toll and Auldhouse, are the visible reminders of a community remarkable for its inventiveness, stubbornness and accentricity, a people holding strong and extreme opinions, thrawn, superstitious, ingenious and ingenuous - the Queer Folk of the Shaws

the expression 'queer folk from the Shaws' came out of the arrival of the 'foreign' speaking Hugenout
(excuse my spelling) Protestant refugees from hideous persecution in France

I also found evidence of this at

and was rather disappointed to do so I must admit! Maybe these poor refugees are the originators of that particular phrase, but I wonder... It was well-known about the practice of witch-craft and the "old customs" in pollokshaws (long before the protestants came about) but seems to have been kept from public scrutiny until the witch trials?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 10:15 pm
by shuttle534
Midi File:

The Queer Folk I' the Shaws

I thocht unto mysel ae day, I'd like to see a race,
For mony ither lads like me had been at sic a place.
Sae up I got an' wash'd mysel, put on my Sunday braws,
An wi' a stick into my han' I danderd to the Shaws,

cho: Singin' tol de rol de riddle :), tol de rol de ri-do
Tol de rol de riddle :), tol de rol de ri-do

My mother richtly counsel'd me before that I gid out
To tak guid care an my e'e wi what I wis aboot
Said she, " Ye may be trod to death beneath the horses' paws
An mind my lad the sain's true: 'There's queer folk i' the Shaws.'"

The races pleased me unco weel gosh they were gran to sce
The horses ran sae afu I thocht they maist did flee man
When they came near the winnin post O siccan loud huzzas
Ye wid hae thocht they'd a gaen wud the queer folk i the Shaws.

A bonnie lass cam up to me an ask't me for a gill
Quoth I, "If that's the fashion here I mauna tak it ill."
She will'd me our intill a tent an half a mutchin ca's
Thinks I, " My lass I see it's true there's queer folk i the Shaws."

The whiskey made my love to bleeze I fand in perfect bliss
So I grip't the lassie round the neck to tak a wee bit kiss
When in a crack she lifts her neive an bangs it in my jaws
Says I, "My dear what means a' this, there's queer folk i the Shaws."

A strapin chiel came up tlome an took awa my lass
Misca'd me for a country loon, a silly stupid ass,
Said I, "If I've done ony ill jist lat me ken the cause,"
He made his fit spin aff my hip, there's queer folk i the Shaws.

Aroused at last I drew my fist an gid him on the lug
Tho sairly I wis worried for't by his muckle collie dog
He bit my airms he bit my legs tore a my Sunday braws
An in the row I lost my watch; there's queer folk i the Shaws.

A policeman he cam up to me an hauled me aff to quod
They put the twines aboot my wrists an thump't me on the road
They gart me pay a good pound note e'er I got oot their claws
Catch me again when I'm te'en in by the queer folk i the Shaws.



PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 5:40 pm
by My Kitten
I'm pondering trying to do a project on Pollokshaws, especially as four of the multi's will be coming down.

There seems to be a lot of "hidden" history round here. Ok not so hidden but theres a good few interesting buildings about that need more exploring!


PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 6:31 pm
by cumbo
Intresting little graveyard off Shawbridge Street I think its called Kirk road.The town house has a bit of history attached,My new project is old Glasgow Firestations there is an old one at the end of Pollockshaws road near 1901,look forward to your Info Kitten.