Earliest Mention Blantyre, 1240

This early charter of 1240 on first glance may not be too interesting given its about the gift of Lands of Strathblane from the Earl of Lennox to Sir David Grahame. However, upon inspection to mentions witness Lord (or Master) Stephano de Blantir (or Lord Stephen of Blantyre). It’s quite possibly the earliest mention found so far of the name Blantir.

It’s all in Latin, and although I have a Higher in Latin and Classics from my school years, I’m unable to translate, although “caught the jist” of a gift of land, witnessed by several prominent people with no talk of money changing hands.

With thanks to Gordon Cook for a copy of this.

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

Bryan Deazeley I like the fact that the second image says ‘Blantur’ – it’s nice to know that the local’s name for Blantyre hasn’t changed over the centuries
Chris Ladds I responded on the man in the US who shared this PAul. The document was guessed as 1240 by Sir William Fraser, but as we know when certain people were appointed their roles and when others died, then the witnesses alone allow us to probably say this document is 1248. Also, Stephen, whoever he was, was not a Lord – which dominus in the context of such a document from that date means. The title had to come before each name, and in the case of Stephano it is omitted enitirely. More telling is that he is left to the point in the list where it then follows (and certain others) – such a position was usually left for a prominent vassal to one of the others attending. He may be a churchman due to the other churchmen present, or he could be a vassal of one of the Croc Lords of Renfrewshire or Kilbride. Of course there is no guranteeing it is the same Blantyre, but the contextual witnesses would suggest it is due to the prevalence of those with a Glasgow locus. This is one of two known charters from the same period which he witnesses – in another he is called of ‘Blanthiar/Blanthuir’ or some spelling like that
Chris Ladds HAving had a chance to collate together all the source copies I have, there are at least 14 different documents mentioning Stephen of Blantyre and His son Patrick of Blantyre, and all concern lands in Stirlingshire between the 1230s and 1290s. In the 1290s his son swears fealty to Edward I and is identified as of Stirlingshire, whereas Blantyre Lanarkshire only has the Prior swearing fealty. There are also a couple of early documents concerning Ada Scoti of Blantyre. The documents for the latter concern lands in Strathblane.

The earlier documents for Stephen concern primacy of lands in Stirlingshire, with heavy reference to areas around Strathblane. Considering that without doubt Strathblane derives from Blane/Blan then the evidence suggests the name originated from a different Blantyre somewhere in that area which has not survived to the present day as it has with Blantyre in Lanarkshire. As two family names are designed of Blantyre and both concern Strathblane, then it seems to effectively rule out any relationship with Blantyre, Lanarkshire. It turns out that Strathblane and Blantyre are closely synonymous toponyms.

These sources were well known in the times of the Victorian historians of Strathclyde and Glasgow, and their deliberate statements that the earliest references to Blantyre, Lanarkshire all concern the witness statements of the priors in the 1270s and 1290s are sound. We cannot link the two without further direct or contextual evidence.

There are 1304 references to Agnes of Blantyre, and I did consider the possibility that as the Black Agnes of Dunbar was related to the later Dunbars of Blantyre, then her marriage to Patrick Dunbar could be linked to Patrick son of Stephen. However, upon checking this, there are ample records for the lineage of that PAtrick through previous patricks, with a number of legal documents backing it up – so Patrick son of Stephen has no evidence for being related to the Blantyres.

In short – the Blantyre referred to, upon evidence, is another lost Blantyre in Stirlingshire closely associated with Strathblane. What it does assist us with though is we now seem to have a firm etymology for Blantyre. because a second Blantyre with an already known etymology has been identified – which applies in the exact same topographical sense to the Blantyre here.

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