Roman Catholic Rally at Blantyre

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Snippets of Yesteryear

Craighead House

Roman Catholic Rally at Blantyre

Craighead House on the outskirts of Blantyre, photographed in 1870 by Thomas Annan.It is many a long year since Sir Walter Scott wrote that World famous novel, “Old Mortality”, but it is not universally known that he wrote the last chapter in Craighead Retreat House, Blantyre – in fact Craighead is the “Fairy Knowe” mentioned in that book. One could well imagine the inspiration Scott would receive from his surroundings – one of the most beautiful spots in the district. There they would have no trim conventional lawns – no “keep off the grass” notices – but just vast silent wooded grounds extending down to the banks of the Clyde.

There one may wander at will in the shaded silence and listen to the wind sighing softly among the trees. Then, in one of the niches in the rocks down by the river-side in solitary splendour stands a shrine of our Blessed Lady of Lourdes and here in this wild solemn spot may kneel the pilgrims in supplication.

And amongst these beautiful surroundings the annual rally of the Knights and Handmaids and Solemn Procession of the Blessed Sacrament took place on Sunday, amidst the warm sunshine of a June day.

What a long imposing procession it was, headed by St. Joseph’s Silver Band, Blantyre and composed of Knights and Handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament, Knights of St. Andrew, Knights of St. Columba, Brothers of the Third Order of S.S. Francis and Domonic, the clergy and members of public bodies and religious sisterhood, all assembled before the St. Joseph’s alter on the lawn and then together with the celebrabt – Rev. Father Dinlay, S.J. – who carried the Blessed Sacrament, proceeded in procession to St. Mary’s alter and from thence to St. Bride’s alter where simultaneous sermons took place, the band playing beautiful selections meanwhile.

Fully five thousand spectators were present, but overall the most solemn spiritual air rested, and the hush that fell upon the huge crowds as the Blessed Sacraments passes slowly on its ample proof of the religious fervour that exists in the precincts of Craighead Retreat House.

Motherwell Times article Friday June 6th, 1924.

Reproduced by permission of the British Library.

Sent in by Charles Fox.


Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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