The Blantyre Hermit

1934 hermit Davie Moffat wmTonight, I’m bringing you the unusual and relatively unknown tale of the “Blantyre Hermit”. I LOVE this wee story……

David Moffat, known as Davie, was the man who lived a hermit’s life in a rough stone hut at the foot of the Blantyreferme No 3 Colliery Bing during the 1920’ and 1930’s.

He was a simple soul who lived a simple life. In his crude cell, untroubled by worries about employment or unemployment, no worries of rates or rent, he had lived alone for some 10 years between 1926 and 1936.

He was popularly known and it was safe to say he had a grudge against civilisation and living life as others conformed to. He resided at one time with friends in Newton, but according to Davie, they “done him wrong”. He lost some money, fell on harder times and he alleged that it was stolen from him.

So, packing his belongings, he left and with 2 other men, he built his home at the foot of a bing, by the side of the right of way between Netwon and Caldervale (Fin Me Oot). Stones of all shapes and sizes were obtained from the bing and with some bricks, wood, corrugated sheeting and leather belting, Davie’s picked a spot and completed his new residence.

His hut was actually fairly substantial but had none of the refinements of civilisation. The interior walls were innocent of paper or paint, and the furniture was of the crudest home-made variety, apart from a large wooden chest, which served to store Davie’s wardrobe.

As one end of the hut was always a heterogeneous collection of boxes, large and small, pails and spades, which gave it the appearance of a tool shed or lumber room , rather than a human dwelling. Illumination was supplied by an oil lamp.

For 10 years Davie was content to live in his cheerful hovel with little excitement or company to enliven his life, although to stay in his lonely cell on a cold winters night would have been an experience exciting and eerie enough for anyone else.

Davie quit his solitary hut at Blantyreferme in October 1936 and is pictured here in this rare picture 2 years earlier in his makeshift home in 1934.

He took up residence with a relative in High Blantyre in October 1936, perhaps due to another impending cold winter, or due to the condition of his abode or even a desire to be with people again. His simple hut and his life as a hermit are now things of the past, necessitated by the passage of time.

These tales of former Blantyre people need to be kept alive and its wonderful to be able to bring them back to life again.

Thanks again to Gordon Cook for the photo and Blantyre Gazette Archives for details.


On social media:

John Breen Davie is part of Blantyre mystique fin me lot is part of Blantyre folklore known only properly to my parents generation and further back
The Blantyre Project whatever became of Davie? I could only find a David Moffat passing in 1942. Hope that wasn’t this Davie featured.
Colin Wotherspoon I remember the story and also remember a little hut on the side of the Newton bing that we used to pass going to Newton to school and chapel, I have asked older residents about the story but nobody could shed any light on it I did make reference to it on a post on our page Finmeoot Friends its nice to know it is a true story and what I remember was real
The Blantyre Project amazing Colin. Was it this little hut here on the path below the bing? I wonder when it was demolished?

No automatic alt text available.
Colin Wotherspoon You could see the Hut on the side of the bing as you walked round the bing and was told that a hermit lived in it but I don’t think at that time, it did not look like it was being used and wasn’t a large hut I started school in 46 and of course hearing the story we always run by the Hut
The Blantyre Project Colin Wotherspoon it must have been empty for around 10 years by then. I can understand that would be spooky as a child.
Colin Wotherspoon for me recognition that it is not fantasy is enough , but maybe someone else moved in ,as in those days many where spending nights in Brickwork Kilns

Leave a Reply