The Barnhill Gray Baby

A few people have asked me for some more stories connected to the historical people of Blantyre. This is a documented tale that was offered to Neil Gordon during 1979. It should be re-told here if only to preserve it’s content.

Long before Aggie Bain owned the oldest house in Blantyre at Barnhill, the cottage belonged to the Brownlie family. Mr John Brownlie who was born in 1744 was subjected to quite a “life event” whilst owning that property. Around the late basket1700’s, early in the morning when John was leaving his cottage, he was surprised to find an abandoned new born baby in a basket, which was sitting on his doorstep in the lane that now leads on to Glenfruin Road from Bardykes Road. A note was pinned on to the shawl, asking them to take the child in and raise her as their own and requesting specifically that the baby be called Mary. Now, just a week before this, Mrs Brownlie had given birth to a baby girl of their own, whom , by co-incidence and in fashion with the day, they had already named Mary. Still, the kind soul she was, she took the newly found baby in and raised the child as her own.

She was keen to grant the request regarding the child’s Christian name but she could not possibly consider raising two children with the same name Mary Brownlie, so had the abandoned baby christened Mary Blantyre.

A heart warming tale and one with a little bit of a legacy. Mary grew up happy and blessed until she barnhill1890married a Robert Gray, who was new to the area. Settling down in Blantyre, they had a family, the record can be found in the Genealogy Database in most public libraries. The lasting legacy of this, is that, if your own name is ‘Gray’ and you live in the Blantyre area, especially in High Blantyre, Barnhill or Stonefield areas, there’s a very strong liklihood that this is, just maybe YOUR very own history.

Update: Through my research, i have been able to update Neils story and confirm that it did actually happen, although the dates are all wrong. The baby was found in 1838 in Barnhill and did indeed get called Mary Blantyre, growing up to marry Robert Gray, a grocer whose son, eventually built the YMCA building on Glasgow Road.

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