Blantyre Ploughing Society


In September 2016, Eric Flack sent me a message saying, “Hi Paul, I am aware of some family ‘connection’ to Jackson, Craig and Coats Blantyre names. I have a silver fob medal won around 1840’s by a Jackson at the Blantyre show. Ploughing or milk.  Plus a medical text book belonging to a Jackson dated 1829.”

The Craig, Coats and Jackson families were very prominent in Blantyre and each of them, large families in their own right. Owning farms at different parts of Blantyre, they married into each others families, creating huge family trees and needless to say many thousands of descendants these days! Piecing together those family trees now throughout the world, needless to say can make a person’s “head hurt!”. Intrigued to know more, Eric kindly send me over some interesting photos.

Some of the medals show awards made to Alexander Jackson by Blantyre Ploughing Society.

Top left: Given by the Highland Society of Scotland to John Young of Avondale in 1828 with plough on reverse. I am not sure of this connection to the Jacksons but it is a great example of these type of medals.


Top right: To Alex Jackson given to him by Blantyre Ploughing Society in 1865. Noted on reverse “Given by John Jackson Barnhill .

Bottom left: Presented by the Blantyre Ploughing Society. Gained by Alexander Jackson 1867.


Bottom right: First Prize won by Mr Alex Jackson. No date but hallmarked. On reverse Given by his Grace the Duke of Hamilton. There are some more medals a relative has for “Milch Cows” similar style but dated around 1844.


Also undated silver medal Curling with “District Medal” middle one. Now in bits and pieces is a silver bowl marked Earnock Working Mens BC season 1915. Peter Sneddon is marked on it, cast on opening of season.

Formed in 1821, the Blantyre Ploughing Society was part of a greater Ploughing Society group named, “The Hamilton, Blantyre & Cambuslang Ploughing Society.”A highlight of their year was the annual open ploughing match, where farmers from each district would compete in seniors, juniors, plain style and chilled ploughing.During 1915, winners included Blantyre’s Charles Murray of Wheatlandhead and Hugh Guy of Stonefield. Blantyre winners were more common than you may think, demonstrating their skills and expertise to all.

Venues changed from year to year with suitable fields chosen, that had previously been ploughed to a good standard although from year to year harder more clayfilled soils were chosen deliberately to “mix things up” a little. Up to 35 ploughs could  enter the competition if the fields were large enough. In 1869 and 1898 the location was chosen in Blantyre for the annual event. Following each event, which was well attended by spectators, judges and competitors retired to dinner, which in 1869, was held in a large granary owned by John Jackson of Barnhill. The Blantyre Ploughing Society held their own separate smaller annual events, the winners going forward to compete in the Hamilton, Blantyre & Cambuslang Society competitions.

Focusing in on the 1867 Blantyre medal won by Alex Jackson, I wanted to see if I could find out more about the circumstances or the event itself. Research provided some interesting detail.

The annual ploughing match by the Blantyre Ploughing Society, took place on Monday, 4th February 1867 on the lands of Craighead, occupied by William Williamson, who kindly granted them to the competitors for the occasion. The weather on that morning was very unfavourable, and thankfully a number of ploughs came forward. The judges were Messrs J. young, Duncanrigg, East Kilbride, R.Roger, Over-Johnston, Dalziel; J. Dick. Carnbroe, Bothwell, who each awarded the prizes as follows to the winners—

Senior Ploughmen Competition: A handsome box containing a model plough and pair of horses, given D. O. Marianski. Esq Quarryhall. (As a sidenote on this individual who is the subject of a small book I am writing about…. he was John Jackson’s, son in law.) Then as the medal pictured winner Alex Jackson, son of John Jackson, Barnhill; 2, David Smith of Greenhall; 3, John Jackson of Blantyre Farm ; 4. James Wallace, Burnbrae ; John Thomson, Burnbrae.

Junior Class:  Robert Scott, son of James Scott, Auchinrailh ; 2, John Anderson of Craighead and Robert Coats, of Blantyreferme.

Extra Prize: for the best top gathered rig of the senior class a silver guilded medal, gained by Alex Jackson, Barnhill. (as pictured). After the labours of the day were over, the judges and members of the society dined nearby in Craighead Farm. The dinner, provided by Mr. Bryson of Blantyre Stores, was in first-rate style.  John Jackson, Esq., Barnhill, president of the society, was in the chair and must have felt particularly proud that day to see his sons do so well. A. Craig. Esq of Bellsfield, acted as croupier.

Ploughing matches were still taking place right up to the WW1.

Partly from “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016


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  1. I am interested in finding out about my father’s successes at The Blantyre Ploughing matches in the 1940s and perhaps even into the 1950s. Can anyone guide me as to where to begin this task?

  2. Hi Paul. Thanks. Yes as you say the “family” tree of Jackson Coates and Craig families are rather” involved”. I did start a bit of family research on that Jackson side but it got a bit complex! The name “Flack” is much better!! I was aware of some connection to the Potts family who had a funeral business in Bellshill area. I have no idea re the silver bowling ball “jack”. It was in a small box with the ploughing medals. The ploughing” box you mention. Back in the 1940s my grandmother (Jackson)had a brass trophy on the sideboard. It was about 9 inches long and had two horses with a man ploughing. It may well be the trophy you refer to. It may still be with a cousin. I do know my American cousins have a few more of these medals.
    I think one of the Craigs married into the Potts.
    I do recall a couple of old ladies who we used to visit-1940s
    Aggie something and her friend, They seemed to have inherited
    a lot of money from coal on their fathers/grandfathers land. It must have been in the Blantyre area. Very “broad Lanarkshire spoken”!! They would take a steam ship to New York for “shopping”. I do recall getting sweets in tins from such trips. Sweets were rationed in the UK. Plus nylons, make up etc. There was an expensive ” Hamilton” make of
    ladies watch which I have from one of these “shopping” trips
    Eric Flack

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