Old Robin lets them in

We’ve uncovered a beautiful little story set in Blantyre in the early 1820s. Here is what we found:

orchard“Old Robin was once the Minister’s man (janitor) and of course had charge of the Manse Gardens at Kirkton. But although he watched carefully against all depredators, he was a tender-hearted man, and thought it not great sin at all, if, once in a way during the (fruit) season, the local boys in the village of Blantyre should have access to and taste the Minister’s prized apples and gooseberries. Accordingly, on the privileged night he would assemble them around his door and they waited there behind the wall until the gun went off. For yes, this was the minister, having finished his studies and before bed, would go out the front door and fire off an old blunderbuss to frighten away any local thieves. Then he would extinguish the light and go to bed. “Now” said Robin to the boys. “let us go in, for the Minister is gone to bed”. And so in they went, year after year and came safely out with their pockets stuffed full with fruit from the well stocked orchard.”

The old orchard would have been located roughly in the old Manse field, which is now accommodated by new houses between the Kirk Graveyard and the EK expressway. Source: The Annals of Blantyre 1885

One response to “Old Robin lets them in

  1. Craig Downie emailed me today with this “Dear friends. I was very pleased to come across your site the other day and find it hard to know how it is that I haven’t seen it before now. I was especially pleased to see mention of Old Robin. He was, I’m sure a great character and would have been a very well known person in Blantyre. We know him as Auld Robyn– he was my ggggrandfather. My genealogical researches have come to their inevitable abrupt halt at his gggranfather Robert Downie (b. circa mid 1700’s and m. to Helen Pollock) I would be very appreciative of anyone with any info at all relating to my line of Blantyre Downies. Many thanks for your great site. All the best to all. Craig Downie”

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