Carluke is a bustling market town overlooking the Clyde Valley, the Clyde Valley's largest town, and sits on a high plateau overlooking the river Clyde. The town has an excellent range of high-street names and local shops. It has a wide selection of cafes, restaurants and takeaways as well as specialist shops such as Ramsay's of Carluke, the multi-award-winning family of Scottish butchers who uses the traditional Ayrshire cure for their bacon. The town's location is also perfect for access to the garden centres of the Clyde Valley.
Records show that the earliest inhabitants of Carluke, also known as Kirkstyle, were monks. A Roman road passed this way, and a number of tower houses were built in the area.
It was chartered as a Royal Burgh in 1662 and by 1695 parish records report six families living in the area. In 1746 Bonnie Prince Charlie's army stopped off in Carluke during their retreat from Derby to feed and rest their horses.
By the 1800s the population had risen to 380 and the main industries were weaving and farming. The town exploded onto the map several years later with the building of the Glasgow to Carlisle trunk road and a train station.
Over the next two centuries, Carluke became a prosperous town thanks to corn milling, cotton weaving, coal mining and the manufacture of bricks, glass, confectionery and jam.
Major Thomas Weir was born near Carluke in 1599. Weir was an officer in the Covenanting Army of James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose. On retiring he was appointed to the honorary post of Captain of the Town Guard in Edinburgh. Weir lived in Edinburgh's Lawnmarket with his sister Jean. Dressed in a long cloak and always leaning on a staff, he was respected for his powerful preaching. It was sensational news, therefore when he confessed to sorcery, incest and other black crimes. He was convicted and sentenced to be strangled and burned at the stake. It was thought that his staff had a life of its own and when thrown onto Weir's pyre it burned with great difficulty. Jean was later convicted of witchcraft and hanged in the Grassmarket.
The sculptor Robert Forrest was born in Carluke in 1790. He began as a stone mason and his work includes a statue of William Wallace in Lanark and the statue of Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville, which tops the Melville Monument in St Andrew's Square, Edinburgh.
Milton Lockhart, two miles west of Carluke, was the home of John Lockhart, born in 1794. He was the biographer of Sir Walter Scott and in 1897 the remains of Milton Lockhart House were transported to Japan and re-erected near Tokyo.