The first recorded settlement is the small "fort" of Dunanibher at the junction of the Calder and Auchter waters on which Auchter house now sits. Originally two separate villages about 300 meters apart were recorded - Auchter Bridgend (later Meadowfield) near the present Auchter Bridge, and Bonkle, near the Church. The name Bonkle is now applied to the whole area between the Auchter and the Church.
The village itself seems to have been closely associated with the Steuarts of Allanton. Until recently some of the residents could recall that their parents or grand-parents were employed on Allanton Estate. It is reputed that the house called "The Pillars" was used to collect tolls from those passing along the road through Allanton Estate which at that time extended to 2,000 acres.
Bonkle from "Cairney Brae" 1951
A cold February day. Note the old gas streetlights. In previous years this was a favourite sledging spot. The Scout Hut is on the left, centre. Just slightly above and to the left partly hidden by the trees is the “smiddy” (blacksmith’s shop). The church spire can just be seen in the trees to the right of the road.
The gas lights have now been replaced by electric lights.
Brownhill View (left) and Cairney Place (right) have arrived.
The congregation originally started in 1737 on the lands of Daviesdykes. The first church the "Moor Kirk" was opened in 1740 and is now in ruins.
The first church was built at Bonkle in 1818 though the congregation dates from 1737. (See articles on Bonkle Church on this site). This church served the surrounding community. One of the walls became unstable and the church had to be demolished.
The church was rebuilt in 1878 in its present form. It has seating for about 350 people. Most of the remaining older houses date from around this time.
To celebrate the 200th anniversary in 1937 the minister, Rev Winchester delivered a series of sermons on the history of the congregation. These were published in the Wishaw Press. (Reproduced on this site).
In 1987 the 250th anniversary of the Congregation was celebrated, and the book by Jessie Brown published.
The Church Minutes show that "new halls" had always been a topic for discussion. The original hall seems to have been expanded piecemeal, ending up L shaped with a small entry corridor, small kitchen, anti-room and toilet. Finally, due to the sale of the manse, sufficient funds were available and a new extension was built in 1991, greatly improving the facilities available.
Church Road, leading up to the Church is much as it was 100 years ago, but some of the older houses next to the Church have gone, and the trees have grown.
Cairney Place in the 1970s
Mr Forsythe, Blacksmith
The “Smiddy” has now been replaced by a modern house.
The village has always had its shop. One of the houses, built in 1811, at 2, Allanton road was in use as a shop in 1917. The room on the right was the shop, the remainder the living quarters. Note the "dummy window" on the right gable. This was built this way to reduce the tax then in place on window area.
After this, Mrs Marshall used a house (originally next to the following shop) as a shop.
Shop No 3
A wooden shop was built in 1932 by Mr White. This was on the South side of the road.
In 1938 George Elder bought the shop and "rolled" it across the road on telegraph poles to the present site. (The Elder brothers were never stuck for ideas!)
George Elder was a familiar figure about the village with his guide dog. He also had a small-holding.
The next owner, Hannah Jack (Mrs McKeating), took over the shop in 1955 and replaced the original wooden building with a brick one.
Betty Paton took over the shop in May 1985, and Mrs Glover in January 1994.
Mrs Collins then took over the shop which again changed hands. The new owner soon closed the shop and it was replaced by two houses.
The original tennis court clubhouse (left) has been converted and extended into a dwelling house, and part of the area forming the two courts has a house built on it.
It is believed that one of the houses on Bonkle road was originally used as a staging post for the coach horses. For many years a hand water-pump still stood at the front of the house.
The First 250 Years of Bonkle Congregation:- Miss Jessie G. Brown, Elder.
Articles celebrating 250 anniversary of Bonkle Church by Rev. James Winchester, published in Wishaw Press from Aug. 20th to Oct 10th, 1937. (Available in local libraries and Motherwell Heritage Centre).
History of the Parish of Shotts, Grossart. Published by Aird and Coghill, 1880.
History of Shotts, Roy. Published by SCWS, Glasgow.