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Beginnings: Early times to 1560



By Bill Spalding

Until annexed in 1912 to become a district of the City of Glasgow, Partick was a village (later an independent burgh) lying west of Glasgow. Fossil Grove in Whiteinch Park contains prehistoric fossilised tree stumps. When discovered, above them was a cist cemetery showing that people had lived in the area from around 1,000 BC. A village was established at a ford across the River Kelvin close to the mouth of the River Clyde. From Roman times this had been part of the road leading to the western end of the Antonine Wall near Dumbarton. After the Romans left, this road led to Dumbarton, the capital of the Kingdom of Strathclyde.

In 1136 (the first written mention of the name Partick) King David granted Partick to the Bishop of Glasgow who at some time built the Bishop or Town Mill at the ford where Bishop Mill Court, a converted 19th century mill building, stands today opposite the foot of Partick Bridge Street. A bridge was built over the Kelvin at this point sometime before 1577. There are no remains of the Castle (his summer residence) that he built nearby.

The bridge and the mill were approached from Glasgow via what is now Old Dumbarton Road, which also led to the ferry and ford across the Clyde between the villages of Partick and Govan. After crossing Partick Bridge this road became the highway from Glasgow to Dumbarton. Now Dumbarton Road, it didn't go through the small village, but passed to the north of it.

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