The Boat House

Blantyre's Ain Website

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, ScotlandBlantyreferme

The Boat House

Boat House

‘Twas in that year of 1866 that John Scott a well-known Fruit Grower from Carluke, leased Boathouse Farm. The holding is beautifully situated on the south bank of the Clyde, some 200 yards upstream of Haughhead Bridge (The Rid Brig) in Blantyre.

The name was given to the farm because of its close proximity to the Ferryman’s Boathouse, next to the steading. The whole is part of Blantyre Farm or Blantyreferme, (a corruption of the old name, Fremblantyre) which was owned at that time by Patrick Scott, (no relation of the lessee) and is thought to be part of the original orchard planted by the Augustinian Monks from the nearby Priory, who originally came to Blantyre, from their Mother Abbacy in Jedburgh, in the early part of the 13th century.

The ferry operates between Blantyre and Uddingston and was one of two ferry’s on the Clyde, the other being at Blantyre Works Village. No mention is made of the fare for the ferry, but I suppose it would be similar to the charge paid for crossing the Suspension Bridge (Pey Brig) at Blantyre Mills; 1 Ha’ penny single, 1 Penny return.  Boatland
 Ferry Path For years, I thought that the name ‘Boat Jock’ by which this area of Blantyre was known, referred to the orchard, but in fact, it was the call given by persons on the Uddingston bank to attract the Ferryman’s attention, by calling ‘Boat Jock, Boat Jock,’ whenever they wanted the ferry to cross the water of the River Clyde.
Jock was a great big Hie’lander, named John Munro, ferryman and general factotum of the owner to the property, Patrick Scott, a Laird of the old school, who was known to be frugal with his bawbees, (careful with his pennies). He kept a barrel of salted herring in his kitchen and was reputed to dish out a daily portion to his employees himself! Lest the fish became done too quickly!  Boathouse
 Ferry Path Big John told John Scott, the Laird gave him a salt Herring for breakfast each morning on a broken (cracked) plate, and when he complained, the Laird replied “Ye’ shid be gled ’tis a hale herrin’ Ah’ gie’ ye’ oan the broken plate, an’ no’ the ither way roon’ aboot! there’s many a wan who wid be gled tae’ take yir place, herrin’ or nae herrin’, plate or nae plate” nevertheless; the Ferryman seemed to make a good living ferrying people across the river.

His brother Hugh who was a ploughman at Priestfield Farm, High Blantyre, often boasted about his brother’s prosperity, in his strong Hieland accent saying, “Yess, John has sousands and sousands, aye an’ hunner’s o’ sousands, forbye the coppers he has in the drawer,” Such was life of the Scott and Munro families in this beautiful part of Blantyre, that year of 1866.

Ackn; A MacCallum Scott M.P. (Son of John Scott.)

James Cornfield 2005

Boat House Blantyre.

‘Twixt  Clyde and Calder near Haughead,
‘tis where our Native people did tread,
as did a man by the name of Blane,
who once passed bye and left us his name.

One day perchance, should you pass bye,
you too might hear a plaintive cry
of voices calling for the Ferry  boat,
“Bo-oat Jo-oak. Bo-oat Jo-oak’’…

You’ll turn, perchance to see,
this ancient site near Blantyre Priory,
as Boat House appears from out the gloom,
like the  mystical village of Brig-a-doon.

The call is heard within his Cottage,
by the Ferryman who leaves his pottage,
rising swiftly from his chair,
makes his way down towards the pier.

To where his Skiff is safely moored,
making sure it is properly oared,
he launches forth onto the Clyde,
and rows towards the Uddingston side.

To ferry travellers to and fro,
is the job of Hie’lander John Munro
at which task he is the best,
being strong of arm and broad of chest.

Should you be fortunate to behold this scene,
you may think it all a dream
but stranger wait, be not be afraid,
‘tis written  and  oftimes said.

Those of us from far and wide,
are chosen to walk this path by Clyde
to bear witness just like thee,
as you pass bye these things you see …

Near this place some Monks did dwell,
upon this place didst cast a spell
‘tis not a spell that one should fear,
but rather a spell one holds dear.

These holy men from days of yore,
his guardians be for evermore…
tho’ they are gone, yet still remain,
to show that this be Gods domain!

So stranger have no fears,
it only happens every hundred years!

James Cornfield. 2008.

Photos by James Cornfield and Jim Brown

If you have any Photos… Send them to Bill

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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