Female Amateur of Carpentry

 

In the late 1700’s, a prominent Blantyre family named Miller lived in Millheugh, in the grand house on the banks of the Calder River (pictured here in 1910 at the falls). Professor Miller and D Baillie, minister of Bothwell were great friends and the families shared the closest of kinship. Janet Miller, one of the daughters of the professor was very fond of carpentry and had built for herself a small picturesque bower (wooden workshed) in the garden beside the river, where “she plied her chosen trade”. Joanna Baillie, a poetess and dramatist, wrote the following lines upon her Blantyre friend and of her occupation, which apparently was pride of place hanging on the wall of the old house. The plaque had formerly been fixed to the wall of the bower itself and was gifted to the Kirk of Session of Bothwell Parish Church in 1849.
Joanna was born in 1762 and died in 1851.

“This is no haunt of contemplation, nor bower in which their dear potation,
of Eastern herbs fair ladies sip, with sparkling eye and glowing lip.
This is the Bower of Industry, yet think not here within to spy,
The silken bag or huswife neat, on table laid or wicker’d seat.
No! Here the hammer’s active din, blends with the sound of roaring lin,
As brawling Calder hastens through, the shady holms of sweet Millheugh.
Here from planed board the shavings rise, and like sunn’d mists the sawdust flies.
But scarce a lady of the land, may own a smaller fairer hand,
Than she, who ‘neath this roof’s cool shade, plies fitfully her chosen trade.
With skilful sleight and eager eye, a female Amateur of Carpentry.
Joanna Baillie”

The remains of the Bower house can still be seen in a one foot high brick wall in the shape of a small circular outbuilding on the south side of the Milheugh falls, (opposite side from where the house was).

milheughbower

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