Early Blantyre Quoiting

A story appeared in the Glasgow Herald on 23rd August 1850, which recorded what is known to be the earliest game of Quoits in Blantyre. It states,

“On Saturday, 17th current, a match at this manly game came off at Blantyre, between the parishes of Cambuslang and Hamilton, by six players from each parish, which excited great interest, and attracted a large number of onlookers, each rink playing 45 shots up. Cambuslang came off victors by a majority of 64 shots. At the same time, on the same field, a pair from Cambuslang and a pair of the Blantyre players played a most beautiful game-45 shots up, the former came off victors by 17 shots. After this, small bets were played for at the quoits; parties were jumping, throwing the stone, and other manly sports were going on. Before parting a hearty bumper was drank to the health of Mr. Jackson, farmer, who gave them a beautiful spot of ground on the side of the Hamilton Junction Railway, when all players and onlookers parted in the most friendly and amicable terms.”

This match clearly happened in Low Blantyre, adjacent to the railway, built just a few years earlier. The most likely spot for this was an empty field where now part of Parks Buses are located at. The field there was known to be the scene of many sports in Blantyre, from open air boxing, outside betting, then later becoming the greyhound track, speedway and now the A725 EK expressway. This was a time when this whole area of Glasgow Road was just fields on either side of a rough track. In 1850, the nearest public house to this site would have been the Winks Inn (where now is Church Street).

Thanks to Gordon Cook for pointing me in this direction which has certainly opened my eyes that Quoiting was played a LOT earlier in Blantyre, than I’d ever imagined.


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