Dalserf, a Clydesdale village and parish in the Middle Ward of Lanarkshire. The village, standing on the left bank of the Clyde, 1 mile E of Ayr-Road station, 3 miles ESE of Larkhall, and 7 SE of Hamilton, was formerly a place of some size and importance, but has long been going steadily into decay, and now consists of only a few low-roofed cottages, situated among gardens.
The parish, which also contains the villages of Millheugh and Rosebank, and most of the town of Larkhall, formed anciently the chapelry of Machan under Cadzow or Hamilton, itself being known as Machanshire; and, having passed from the Comyns to the royal Bruces, and from them again to an ancestor of the Duke of Hamilton, was afterwards divided among junior branches of the Hamilton family, and, probably about the era of the Reformation, was constituted a parish, taking name from Dalserf village. It is bounded NW by Hamilton, NE by Cambusnethan and Carluke, SE by Lesmahagow, and SW by Stonehouse. Kite-shaped in outline, it has an utmost length from N by W to S by E of 5 and 3/8 miles, an utmost breadth from E to W of 3 and 1/2 miles, and an area of 7035 and 3/4 acres, of which 79 and 1/2 are water.
The Clyde winds 5 and 3/8 miles north-westward along all the Carluke and Cambusnethan border; Cander Water 2 and 1/4 miles north-north-westward to the Avon along the Stonehouse border; and Avon Water itself 3 3/8 miles, also north-north-westward along the Stonehouse and Hamilton border. Where the Clyde quits the parish, opposite Lower Carbarn, the surface sinks to less than 100 feet above sea-level, thence rising to 345 feet beyond Larkhall, 477 at Strutherhill, 576 at Canderdikehead, and 623 at Cander Moss, in the southern corner of the parish, whose interior forms a sort of plateau between the Clyde and the Avon. The rocks are chieﬂy of the Carboniferous formation. Coal abounds, and is extensively mined at Ashgill, Broomhill, Canderside, Cornsilloch, Skellyton, etc; ironstone is known to be plentiful; and sandstone, of quality to furnish excellent building blocks, is largely quarried. The soil, along the Clyde, is rich alluvium; on the banks rising steeply from the Clyde, is of various quality; and, on the higher grounds, is mostly strong heavy clay. All the land, except a small patch or two of moss, is either regularly or occasionally cultivated. The tract adjacent to the Clyde lies almost in the heart of the luxuriant range of the Clydesdale orchards, and was famed for its fruit from very early times; but, owing to frequent failure of crops and increasing importation of fruit from England, Ireland, and foreign countries, has ceased to be exclusively devoted to orchard purposes. The dairy, on the other hand, for butter, cheese, and fatted calves, has much attention paid to it.
The Rev. John Macmillan, founder of the Reformed Presbyterians in 1743, lived for some time near Millheugh, and lies in Dalserf churchyard; and the Reverend James Hog, one of the twelve vindicators of the famous Marrow of Modern Divinity (1721), was parish minister. The principal mansions are Broomhill, Dalserf House, and Millburn House; and much of the property is divided between the Hamiltons of Raploch and the Hamiltons of Dalserf, the latter holding 3200 acres in the shire, valued at £4700 per annum. Three other proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 11 of between £100 and £500, 19 of from £50 to £100, and 36 of from £20 to £50. In the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, this parish is divided into the quoad sacra parishes of Larkhall and Dalserf, the latter being worth £373. The church, at the village, was built in 1655, and contains 500 sittings. Two public schools, Dalserf and Shawsburn, with respective accommodation for 202 and 300 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 198 and 189, and grants of £191,3s. and £168,3s. Valuation (1860) £19,313, (1882) £34,594,8s. Pop. (1801) 1660, (1831) 2680, (1861) 4876, (1871) 7341, (1881) 9376, of whom 2674 were in Dalserf quoad sacra parish.—Ord. Sur., sh. 23, 1865.