By the late 1700’s, the old church in the old kirkyard, Kirkton, High Blantyre was showing some signs of ruin. In fact it was close to be being condemned. It was too small, too damp and not worth repairing. Taking action, the heritors of Blantyre (those who owned the main portions of land) decided to do something about it. Construction of a new church was planned for 1793, close by the existing site of the first church. The new church was built later that year and remained in place for a relatively short time until the mid 1800’s when the new Old Parish Church we see there today was built. We uncovered 2 old but conflicting accounts of where the 1793 Church was located. The first states it was at the top of Hunthill Road, actually within the old kirkyard on top of the site of the first church. Having been there recently, this seems unlikely given the age of some of the graves and the lack of room in such an small kirkyard. The other account states the Church was offset slightly, opposite the location of the current coal monument. We’ve taken time to photoshop this old engraving , scaling it to match a google earth modern location, to show the church site in context. (pictured)
2014 Update: Since looking at this in 2012, I’ve found out the church was more to the left, actually within the graveyard, but the photo gives a good idea of scale, if anything.
Of similar interest, is the document relating to the fundraising for the new church. The following document is printed exactly as it appeared in 1793, listing the heritors and their properties by name and included the amounts each of them paid.
“Bond and Obligation – 1793
The Heritors of Blantyre
We John Millar of Milnheugh, Professor of Laws in the University of Glasgow, John Brownlie, portioner of Hunthill; John Lyon Senior, portioner of Barnhill and Wright there; William Steven, portioner of Barnhill and cooper there; James Hendry, weaver in Old place; James Craig in Auchinreath; James Coats of Newhouse; Alexander Pettigrew, portioner of Barnhill and shoemaker there; James Monteith, proprietor of part of the lands of Woodhouse and Auchinreath, and of the Cotton Miln of Blantyre; John Thomson, portioner of Barnhill; Alexander Sibbald at the Cotton Miln; John Pollock of Beckthin and portioner of Kirkton; James Dick of Wheatfieldhead; William Jackson of Udston and of part of the lands of Blantyre farm; William Lindsay of Calderbank, formerly called Know Banks, writer in Glasgow; Charles Lyon, portioner of Hunthill; John Jackson, portioner of Barnhill and William Coats of Woodside.
Considering that the whole Heritors of the parish of Blantyre have not only agreed to erect a new Church, and to divide the area thereof among the different heritors at the rate of one sitter for every six pounds Scots of valuation, But as this division would not suit those heritors whose valuation is so small as not to be sufficient for the accommodation of their families according to that portion, the heritors of the Parish at a General Meeting held at Blantyre upon the sixteenth day of March seventeen hundred and ninety three years, unanimously agreed to allow all those heritors who wished to be accommodated with room for more sitters in the Church than they were entitled to by the valuation of their different properties, to make choice of such number of sittings in the Church as would accommodate their families, And also agreed to allow room for two sitters in the Church to such persons as are residenters in the Parish or small Feuars upon condition of their executing these presents, whose lands are not valued; And in testimony of such Consent the Preses and Clerk of that meeting have signed these presents upon the part of the Heritors at large and by order of that meeting agreeable to the Minutes.
Therefore, We the subscribers do hereby Bind and Oblige ourselves respectively and our respective heirs and successors whosoever from time to time whenever required, to pay to such person as the Majority of the Heritors should appoint, our respective proportions of the whole expense of building and erecting and finishing the Church which they have now in contemplation to build, and of keeping it in repair in all time coming :— And also to bear and pay a proportional part of the expense according to the same rate, of building another Church whenever the same shall by two thirds of the Heritors of the said Parish be judged necessary. And that according to the extent of valuation herein aftermentioned, over and besides the proportion of the said expense corresponding to the different valuations of our respective properties in the said Parish, upon which any separate valuation has been put, we having for our accommodation made choice of room in the Church now to be built according to the valuation herein aftermentioned in addition to what we would otherwise have been entitled to viz :— the said John Millar of Milnheugh according to forty six pounds; John Brownlie, portioner of Hunthill, eleven pounds ten shillings; John Pollock, portioner of Hunthill, eleven pounds; John Lyon senior, wright in Barnhill, twelve pounds; William Steven, cooper in Barnhill, twelve pounds; James Hendrie, weaver in Old Place, twelve pounds; James Craig in Auchinreath, twelve pounds; James Coats of Newhouse, fourteen pounds fifteen shillings; Alexander Pettigrew, portioner in Barnhill, twelve pounds; James Monteith of Cotton Miln, one hundred and eighty pounds; John Thomson, portioner in Barnhill, fourteen pounds; Alexander Sibbald at Cotton Miln, twelve pounds; John Pollock, portioner of Kirkton, four pounds; William Jackson of Udston, three pounds ten shillings; William Lindsay, writer in Glasgow, ten pounds; Charles Lyon, portioner in Hunthill, five pounds; John Jackson, portioner in Barnhill, eighteen pounds; William Coats of Woodhouse, three pounds eleven shillings; and James Dick of Wheatlandhead, twelve pounds seven shillings; all Scots money; And farther we do hereby Bind and Oblige our respective properties for payment and fulfilment of these obligations, and every part of them, and declare that the whole thereof shall continue and be realburdens and servitudes upon and affecting our respective heritable properties in the Parish of Blantyre, and upon our several successors therein according to the proportion before mentioned, and to the additional sums of valuations annexed to our respective names as above: And that over and above of respective proportions according to the valuations of the lands of such of us as have property in the parish which have been separately valued :— And we consent to the Registration hereof in the Books of Council and Session or any other Court Books competent therein to remain for preservation and if necessary that Letters of Horning in a charge of six days and all other execution requisite may pass hereon, and in the General or Particular Register of Sasines Reversions & for publication, and for that purpose Constitute.
Procurators in Witness
Whereof these presents written upon stamped paper by William Stevenson, apprentice to William Lindsay, writer in Glasgow are subscribed as follows viz :— by the said John Millar and William Lindsay at Glasgow the sixth day of April, seventeen hundred and ninety three years. Before these witnesses : James Mathie, writer in Glasgow and James Hamilton, apprentice to the said William Lindsay, and by the said William Jackson, John Lyon, Charles Lyon, John Jackson, John Thomson, John Brownlie, William Steven, William Coats, James Dick, James Coats, Alexander Sibbald, John Pollock, James Monteith, James Hendrie, Alexander Pettigrew, John Pollock, James Craig, and also by William Craig of Coatshill as Preses, and William Jackson younger of Udston as Clerk of the meeting of the heritors, held upon the sixteenth day of March, seventeen hundred and ninety three years, when the transaction giving use to this deed took place, all at Blantyre upon the fifteenth day of the said month of April, seventeen hundred and ninety three years. Before these witnesses : Thomas Maxwell, farmer in Shott in the parish of Blantyre, and Henry Stevenson, minister of the said Parish; (signed) John Millar, Will. Lindsay, Charles Lyon, John Jackson, John Thomson, John Brownlie, William Steven, William Coats, James Dick, James Coats, Alexr. Sibbald, John Pollock, James Monteith junr., James Hendrie, Alexander Pettigrew, John Pollock, William Coats Preses of the meeting, William Jackson Clerk, James Craig, Robert Lyon, James Mathie witness, James Hamilton witness, Thomas Maxwell witness, Henry Stevenson witness.”