Blantyre Parish Map 1832

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, ScotlandGlasgow Road North

Blantyre 1832 parish map

Before we start our wander doon memory lane of Glasgow Road, here is some information about Blantyre, a village 8 miles South East of Glasgow.

Some refer to Blantyre as a “Town,” but I have yet to find any evidence of when it became a Town and ceased, therefore, to be a village. If it were a Town, there would have been some sort of announcement or even celebration, or at least a Town Hall and Town Mayor!

No place becomes a town because of its population or facilities. It can only do so by governmental order in order to build new amenities or living accommodation which requires the ‘village’ boundaries to be extended. – This is of course UK specific.

The natural boundaries of Blantyre are the rivers that surround it, and this is probably the most likely reason that Blantyre is still a village to this day, simply because the boundaries have never been enlarged to accommodate new facilities.

In size, Blantyre is not a large village, the parish being approximately 10 kms in length with an average width of about 1.5 km.

Those are 6 miles 2 Furlongs by 3 furlongs to 2.5 Miles, 6.5 square miles in all.

Did you know that you cannot enter Blantyre without crossing water?

It is bounded by the River Clyde to the north, the Park Burn to the east, hence the name, Burnbank, the Rotten Burn to the south and the Rotten Calder to the west, running North until it meets the river Clyde.

River Clyde, boundary of Blantyre Park Burn, boundary of Blantyre
Rotten Burn, boundary of Blantyre Rotten Calder, boundary of Blantyre

Calder meets River Clyde

Meaning of the name Blantyre…

It is assumed that Blantyre was an ancient British settlement and was built around the Old Blantyre Kirk Yard, which may have been a druid devout circle. The Kirk Yard is a large man-made eight foot high mound of earth and if it was a druid circle, it would have been the centre of the settlement’s religious activities. The old sixteenth-century communion cups belonging to the Old Parish Church have no letter E in the spelling of BLANTYRE.

It would suggest that the old spelling Blantyr is a Gaelic corruption of LLANTYR. Llantyr contains two Welsh words LLAN meaning ‘consecrated’ and TYR meaning ‘ground/land’. The consecrated/church ground being the Old Kirk Yard at High Blantyre Cross.

In the 1791 Old Statistical Account of Scotland, the Rev. Henry Stevenson believed it had its origins in the Gaelic “Bla’-an-tir” meaning ‘a warm retreat.” Later in the New Statistical Account of Scotland of 1835 the Rev James Anderson agreed with him. However, the Rev. Stewart Wright explained in “The Annals of Blantyre” that it had its origins in two Gaelic words meaning “the field of the holy men.”
Finally, an alternative explanation might be found in the 1952 Third Statistical Account of Scotland, wherein the Rev. A. Mackenzie put forward the idea that since Blantyre had its birth as a religious settlement, it would be probable that it had taken its name from an early Christian missionary to the area, St Blane. The Rev. Mckenzie believed it more likely that Blantyre had originated from “Blan-tyr” meaning “land of (St.) Blane”.

Blantyre Priory Ruins 1887

The earliest written record of the name blantyre was in 1275 where the Priory was included in a list of Scottish ecclesiastical establishments, which were taxed by Pope Clement IV to raise money to finance yet another crusade against the Saracens. This document was known as Bagimond’s Roll, named after the Pope’s emissary, Baiamund De Vicci, who was sent to collect the hated tax.

The Priory was most likely certainly mentioned in a previous list issued by Pope Innocent IV in 1254 to finance an earlier crusade. Most of the early priors are recorded as having attended Scottish parliaments and being involved in many important incidents in Scottish history. Blantyre Priory stood on Blantyr Craig, the high cliff directly opposite Bothwell Castle, and was founded between 1238 and 1249.

The Priory was a cell of the Augustinian Canon of Jedburgh Abbey, who also used it over the years as a retreat from the wars between England and Scotland. The last Roman Catholic Prior was William Chirnside, who conformed to the new religion and became the first Protestant minister in Blantyre.

If you have any Photos… Send them to Bill

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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