Kirkton Manse Stable or Byre

On Monday 4th April 2016, the little stone, detached building at Kirkton Cross, near the Disaster monument began a renovation and change of use to become a commercial property.

Pictured here both inside and out, by Alex Rochead on 3rd April 2016, before the work began, the building as served a multitude of uses over the decades.

It’s old too. Appearing on 1859 maps, it possibly dates back to 1773, when 39 heritors of Blantyre arranged for a new Manse to be built nearby. This little stable or byre may have been created at that time, for historical accounts tell of animals being kept on the manse and land at the glebe.

The detached stone building, sits prominently on the front of Main Street, with the kirkyard and church walls either side of it. It has ordnance survey co-ordinates of Easting 267993 Northing 656597. It is single storey and measures approx 12.5m x 5m wide. It has a single and double door on the south side, with a blocked up, upper window on the east gable. In recent times it has been re-roofed in slate and is currently watertight with power run to the building. There is also evidence of a single door and small window bricked up on the south side, the bricks appearing to be the same type as the small garage attached to the side of the building. The entrance has always been from the southern side, but this changed with the recent work to cut out a new doorway and windows on the north side facing the street.

The stable or byre would have been used to accommodate the ministers animals at one time, but more latterly has been a shed for the church, used for additional storage space. In the 1950s a brick garage was added for Rev Dale, who was the first minister in High Blantyre to own a motorcar. Rev. Dale who was minister from 1957 to 1971, was really a farmer at heart by all accords kept cattle and bees in the glebe fields. He made his own honey, which was sold for the church at garden fetes. I’m sure the small byre was put to good use for these activities. The scouts had asked to use the building in 1951.

During Rev Dale’s time as minister, during the mid 1960s, the little building was converted into a small indoor bowling venue, although I can only find evidence of this being used for a few years, and likely followed George Dales’ decision not to keep animals anymore (the glebe fields started to be built upon with homes behind the church) It was used as a bowling centre by the Old Men’s Club for indoor bowls and skittles up until the club dissolved. It lay derelict for a year or so until the new Church Hall was being built around 1989 then the various youth organisations made use of the building until the hall’s completion. It was also used by various local groups including bands for rehearsals. Up until recently it was used by the Blantyre Model Railway Club who have now moved onto the Church Hall stage.

Still owned by the church, planning permission was granted on 13th October 2015 (HM/15/0416), for the building to be converted into a business premises, with an internal renovation, fitout and the formation of new frontage. An existing Blantyre business formerly based at David Williams Business Centre, High Blantyre is locating to and leasing these premises, which will soon open as a Beauty and Bridal Salon. It is our understanding the renovation will be undertaken in a sympathetic manner to the buildings age and I post these photos and information here to record the dates, extension, alteration and intended change in use.

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Geordie McClenaghan I remember the Scouts using this building when the old church hall closed down


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