In August 2015, I was contacted by Lesley Dawson from New Zealand who said, ” Hi Paul. I have contacted you before and was delighted to get your book. We are visiting (from NZ) Blantyre on Monday 24 Aug 2015. My ancestors Coats and Scott sailed to NZ in 1857. Could you recommend places we should visit? Graveyards, Blantyre Church on our list. Does the ‘Old Place’ (Coats) still exist? I have looked at Google earth but find it hard to correlate my 1860 map with present day. Matthew Scott (1804 – 1889) married Margaret Hunter after Margaret Coats (1806 – 1843) died. I believe she was related to David Livingstone (her mothers maiden name.) It would be interesting to find out the reasons for migration and the number of people from this area that went to Dunedin NZ. Looking forward to our visit. Lesley”
I was able to send Lesley this reply. “Thanks for your email and also for buying my book. Old Place is literally at the end of my garden, over the wall! It can be quite difficult to find, but it definitely still exists and sits amongst a housing estate. It was renovated in 2008 so the outside certainly looks lovely now. Here’s a photo.
If you look for “Janefield Place” you’ll easily find Old Place in that street. Nearby is the Kirkton Graveyard at High Blantyre top cross. I’d recommend a little visit in there. The gates are often unlocked and I’m sure there are members of the Coats family buried in there. A trip to David Livingstone Centre would be worth it too.
I always like to give people a little more when they make these sort of enquiries to me. You’ve probably got this photo, but I’m sending you a photo of Matthew Scott taken in the 1880’s , i believe in New Zealand. Margaret Coats died whilst giving birth to her son John. Her date of death is the same as Johns birth. Margaret Hunter only lived for a few years after marrying, I believe she passed away in 1849. Census information shows Matthew still in Uddingston in 1851, aged 56 but living there ONLY by himself. This certainly raises the question, where were his children? I see by the 1850’s the family were fairly scattered. Ireland, Australia amongst other places. John Scott is pictured below: