Stonefield Parish Church

Blantyre's Ain Website

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, ScotlandGlasgow Road South

Stonefield Parish Church

Stonefield Parish Church 1960

The foundation stone of the new Church, originally known as the ‘Chapel of Ease’, was laid in May 1878 by the Rev. Stewart Wright of Blantyre Old Parish Church and Provost John Clark Forrest. It was the Provest who donated the land between Elm Street and Church Street where the Church ws built. It was completed in 1880.

The Church cost £5,000 to build (in excess of £560,000 in today’s money) and seated 900 people.

Sadly, the Church was destroyed by fire on 3rd September 1979 and demolished in 1980. The new St. Andrew’s Church was built on the site. The fire was apparently caused by a workman’s blowtorch being left on when he was working in the roof space.

 Stonefield Parish Church Fire 1979

In 1902 the bell from Blantyre Mill which used to summon David Livingstone to work, was presented to Stonefield Parish Church as a coronation gift. It continued to be used as the church bell until it was given in 1922 to Low Blantyre Public School. It is now back in the Livingstone Centre.

Thomas Dunsmuir Hartman remembers, “When we Travel west from Murray’s Raw’s on the Main Street, the next block was taken up by the Stonefield Parish Church and the Church Manse, they were built in the 1880’s and of course the Street running off from the Main Street was called Church Street.

 Glasgow Road Looking East  One of the features of the Church was its steeple, and tower, housing a large bell, which when rung could be heard throughout most of Blantyre. Another feature was the large size masonry stone wall with black iron railings with various gate openings at front and side, the front gates being the most impressive. The church burned down in 1979.

All of these iron railings and all iron railings without exception in the whole of Blantyre, and anything else with iron in it’s content was cut down, early 1940’s, and used in the war effort. This was very necessary at the time but not a pleasant sight to see after it was done, there was a nakedness throughout the whole village and for many many years after the war ended and even up to the present day most of the iron work has never has been replaced. Most of the Population of Blantyre today has no memory of this event and accepts it as is, but these iron railings throughout Blantyre lent a slight Victorian tinge of privacy to the various buildings and surroundings. If you are walking through Blantyre and are passing a wall take a look and you will most likely see small pieces of iron embedded in the masonry.

Church Street was a fairly upscale area to live in. Most if not all of the homes were of a large masonry stone just like the church, they were a bungalow type home with all the latest conveniences. A small Street with roughly 6 homes east side and 10 on the west side. Situated three quarters of the way down on the west side there was a small wooded area which ran from Church Street through to the next street west called Logan Street, this small wooded area was called St John’s wood, why I do not know? In all my years living there I had maybe heard it called by this name a couple of times at the most, and yet the name has stuck in my memory. There is a story to be told on this little wooded area which I will cover when we move on to the Logan Street Saga.

Church Street ended into a pasture for cows at it’s top end, unlike most of the other streets running south which so far have all finished up in Auchinraith Road”.

This is part of a conversation between Thomas Dunsmuir Hartman in Chicago (known as TDH or Drapadew) and Margaret in Queensland Australia on TalkingScot.

Sheena Thomson: I was married in this church in 1969.

Jane Paterson: Our friends were married there also x

Sandra Goodall: It was a beautiful church such a shame about the fire. I went to Stonefield and St Andrews and a church is about the people so it’s still a beautiful church.

Helen Henderson Mclaughlin: I was married there a few months before the fire and it was beautiful inside and out.

~~~

If you have any Photos… Send them to Bill

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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