Field of the Holy Men by James Cornfield (2004)


1942 Glasgow RoadHow did Blantyre get its name nobody seems to ken,
some say it’s from the Gaelic, or the field of the Holy men,
others say a warm retreat, still other’s the field of St Blane
whatever you choose you may be right, but first let me explain….

In ancient times ‘tis written, that a man by the name of Blaan
came from the isle of Iona, to preach of God’s great plan.
perchance, or was it kismet, God bade him come this way,
and leave his name in memory, of that day he came our way.

There once was a Priory here, down the Blantyreferme Road,
Friar and monks lived there and taught the word of God,
life there was so peaceful in that Christian Settlement,
our small community prospered, with all the things we learnt.

Three hundred years of heaven came suddenly to an end,
the year was 1560, when repression swept this land,
the Prior became a minister, Rev Chirnsyde was his name,
the religion he then taught us was so different from St Blane.

The Priory was given to Walter Stuart, the cousin of King James,
he took the title Lord Blantyre and in Erskine made his hame,
he had no love for Blantyre, in fact he didn’t have any,
but his granddaughter Frances Theresa, is Britannia on our penny.

Two hundred years would pass, then a man with vision came,
he dammed the Clyde and built the Mills, David Dale was his name.
He in turn was followed by the brothers called Montieth,
who built the model village, that became a masterpiece.

In this model village, in a place called Shuttle Row,
a male child would be born, the world would come to know,
as Livingstone the missionary, David was his name,
and he would take to Africa, the word as taught by Blane.

Our way of life was further changed with the discovery of coal,
miner’s came from everywhere with Blantyre as their goal,
and though they worked and played hard, as in the miner’s way,
they little thought there would be a cost, a terrible price to pay.

On a normal Monday morning, just another working day,
the dayshift of 2 and 3 pits, went down in the normal way,
to dig for coal, as was their chore, to earn their daily bread,
the year was 1877, and two hundred and sixteen lay dead.

Bearing in mind all these fact, and after long deliberation,
this small community of outs was born, with religious connotations.
down in that field of the Holy men, with connections to St Blane,
that gave us the name of Blantyre, in honour of his name!

On Blantyre Project social media, with granted permission. Strictly not for use on any other website or publication:

Eleanor Connor What’s the name on the street sign…can’t quite make it out……brilliant pic ! Thanks.. 💚 💛
Eleanor Connor Thanks, Sharon……. 💚 💛
John Cornfield Dear auld da 💔❤️❤️❤️❤️
Sharon Morrison Doonin Such a talent John. His words will go on for years to come and for many to enjoy. X
Ann Higgins Crossar What a fabulous poem and a history lesson too. Such a talented man. X
Gerry Kelly Your Da’s writings really make Blantyre history come alive John .
God bless his memory
Elizabeth Baillie Alemanno 😢…. So beautiful .🙏👏
John Flynn Fantastic piece of poetry 👍
Billy Pemba there’s a city called Blantyre as well in malawi central Africa.
Jim Frame named after ours as david livingstone went there after he left Blantyre scotland
Liz McGuire Church street i think
Liz McGuire It was named from malawi as there is a blantyre there too all to do with david livingston the explorer my home town will all ways love it
Sally Jamieson Beautifully written by Mr Cornfield who was a much loved neighbour of my family. Such a thirst for the history of Blantyre he had. ❤️
Anne Gemmell Goldie So agree Sally Jamieson he always had a story to tell about Blantyre and its history
Anne Gemmell Goldie Ps this photo is outside our 1st house mum and dad stayed in the lower single end behind the phone box in Church Street when first married until 3 kids later moved to a front and Back door x
Sally Jamieson Anne Gemmell Goldie is it Glasgow Road at the bottom of church Street. Trying to remember.
Anne Gemmell Goldie Yes our house was in corner which is now vacant land across from St. Andrews church.
Sally Jamieson Anne Gemmell Goldie yes that’s where I was thinking. So much nicer as it was before they knocked all the old buildings down.x
Anne Gemmell Goldie I agree, and the main st had so much more character x
Patricia Hutcheson Docherty Love this picture. I can see our Alexander Hutcheson and Celia’s windows of there first wee house x
Nancy McFadden Love this photo……
Anne Irvine Beautiful poem
Isobel Paterson Lovey sunny Blantyre x
Jessie Caldow Absolutely brilliant!
FaeLynne Calderwood Gertz I really love this, thanks for sharing.
Linda Mcgrory Macintyre Love it .❤️ x
Mary Boyle Church Street, I remember Mrs Braidwood. My Aunt owned downstairs tenement right next to telephone box.
The Blantyre Project Hi Mary – the full history of every building in Glasgow Road is coming in the next few months. I’m hoping people comment in detail about ownership, to ensure what I’ve researched is correct. Stay tuned.
Mary Boyle Thank you, always grateful to you for sharing your passion for social history and attention to detail.
The Blantyre Project you’ll certainly get fact and attention to detail here! 😉 Its one of the reasons I started Blantyre Project in 2011. Blantyre’s history needed to be accurately told.

Leave a Reply