The village of Cathcart grew up on the right bank of the White Cart river below the crag on which the Cathcart family, first heard of in Renfrewshire in the 12th century, built their castle. The name may derive from the British caer (fort) and the name of the river.
There was a meal mill on the river and a holy well dedicated to St Oswald half a mile to the north-east. The church of Cathcart was granted to the monastery of Paisley around 1170 and stood at the heart of an extensive parish which stretched from Polmadie in the north to Williamwood in the south. A pillar in Paisley Abbey commemorates Alan of Cathcart, a noted supporter of Robert I. He is said to have rescued Bruce's heart from the fallen Douglas during the battle with the Moors in Spain.
Around 1452 the lands of Cathcart were erected into a barony for Sir Alan Cathcart and Cathcart Castle, demolished in 1980, was built around this time. By the middle of the 16th century much of the Cathcart lands had passed to the Semple family.
From a hill in the castle grounds, now a detached part of the Linn Park known as the Court Knowe, Queen Mary is supposed to have watched the defeat of her army at the Battle of Langside. Mary's viewpoint is marked by a granite slab with the crown, the monogram Mary R and the date "1568".
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