Blantyre Priory and the Clyde River

Some of our website visitors may not know the exact locality where Blantyre Priory stood. After all, it is rather difficult to find, starting to be lost to the vegetation surrounding it. The approach itself used to be a little path, which was closed off to the public in the mid 1800s. The Priory ruins still exist to this day (pictured) built on a high sandstone rock which rises perpendicularly from the Clyde River, and directly opposite to the majestic ruins of Bothwell Castle.

The following is a graphic description of the surrounding scenery which was published in the magnificent Blantyre history book of 1883 “The Annals of Blantyre” by Rev Stewart Wright. It gives a marvelous account of what life was like walking along those river banks 130 years ago. The Clyde here is a majestic river of considerable depth, and of a darkish colour, gliding smoothly and silently along between the lofty wooden banks, and beautiful and richly adored undulating fields of Bothwell and Blantyre. Immediately below Bothwell Bridge, the banks present a thin sprinkling of wood with occasional orchards. About a mile and half further down in a snug retreat almost concealed by the rising grounds on either side, the lofty walls of Blantyre Works appear; where a busy population and the rushing noise of machinery contrast strangely with the silence and repose of the surrounding scenery, and seem as if intended to bring into competition the works of Nature and of art. The lofty woods of Bothwell on the East and Blantyre on the West, with the magnificent red walls and circular towers of the old castle of Bothwell, and the shattered remains of Blantyre Priory on the opposite side on the summit of a lofty rock add greatly to the beauty of the scenery. A little further on, the banks begin to decline before they reach Daldowie, and the river leaves the Parish amid fertile fields and wide expanding haughs. The whole on a Summer day when the sun is shining is inexpressibly beautiful”.

Truly wonderful words, i’m sure you’ll agree. The writer’s identity was not noted in the Annals, so is probably lost now forever, but was clearly a person of taste, educated and ability to put feelings into words.

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