At the David Livingstone Centre is a a fine eighteenth-century baptismal basin which is claimed to have belonged originally to Blantyre Parish Church. In 1933 , it was added to the Blantyre Room at the Livingstone National Memorial, Station Road. The story the bowl is not known. At the time, there was attached to it, on a gummed label (such as usually affixed when such valuables are deposited in a bank), the name of the church, denoted as Blantyre Parish Church, High Blantyre.
However, no other proof of the connection was made. It is known, however, that about 1850, during a brief vacancy of the church (possibly for repairs), the records and other valuables of the Parish Church disappeared. This was the church that used to be located in the Kirkton Cemetery. Tradition through local rumour, says that these were stolen. If this connection is valid, the basin may have been used at David Livingstone’s baptism, amongst many other notable Blantyre figures. As some of the church records have been lost, however, it is not possible to verify the baptism as having taken place there. I can’t help but wonder if these records are not in somebody’s loft or storage with no idea of their importance, or if they were deemed old papers, and thrown out at one time. Shame on those people in the 1850’s who thought they would steal them……
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Hi Paul. What I don’t understand is why Livingstone would have been baptised at the Parish kirk at all when there was the Works Village chapel nearer by. Or was the chapel only used for simpler services and schooling? I assume it was already built at the time of his birth? And if this is the case then surely we should be looking for those records (the chapel’s) which I believe to be lost too? Best wishes JB