McClimens & Crombies

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Rhona Johnsen sent me a message recently saying, ” I’ve attached a photo of my great great grandfather William McClimens (1853-1926) and his wife Mary Crombie (1853-1907). They were both born in Northern Ireland. In the census information they are in Airdrie at ‘Black’s Land’ in 1891. In 1901 they have reached Blantyre and were living at ‘Maryville Cottage’.
The story in my family goes that they met in Ireland and that William worked for Mary’s father who was a farmer. But, he was not thought good enough for her and they eloped. On reaching Blantyre my grandmother told me that they built several cottages – all with the name ‘Mary’ something. There was ‘Maryville’ and ‘Mayfield’ to my knowledge.
I was very interested to see that one of your other readers mentions her grandfather Thomas Crombie building the house ‘Oakbank’. I’m wondering if this Thomas was a relative of my great ,great grandmother Mary Crombie.
The photo shows William and Mary with their large family of seven children- James, Annie, Samuel (my great-grandfather second from left in back row), William, John, Thomas and Stewart. I think the photo must be from 1900 or thereabouts as it was taken in Hamilton so they were probably already in Blantyre. At some point the family changed their name from McClimens to McClements.
Samuel married Jane Walker Russell in 1903 who was featured in the previous photos that I sent you. My grandmother Elizabeth McClements was their daughter born in 1910. She had two brothers Willie and Sam and a younger sister May. Samuel was the caretaker of Stonefield Parish Church and I saw that you mentioned in one post that he looked after the Caldwell Institute and was there in 1930 with his family.”
Wanting to add something to this, looking through the Valuation records, I found William MacClimens in 1905, the owner of two homes, Maryville and Mayfield in Auchinraith Road. Both these houses were subdivided into semi detached, so actually that year William owned 4 new houses. William was a miner and lived in one of the houses at Mayfield, letting the other 3 houses out to fellow miners and labourers.
Just before WW1, William moved from Blantyre to Burnbank and was living at 28 Greenfield New Rows, not far from the colliery there. He still owned and let out his 4 houses. By 1920, he’d cut loose the 4 Blantyre houses, selling them on to the tenants who lived in each. Interestingly, Maryville was sold to William Little whose brother would go on later in the early next decade to own Crossbasket House.
On the subject of Thomas Crombie, Thomas not only built Oakbank on Glasgow Road, but also owned houses nearby to Maryville at Auchinraith Road. He was owner of two houses in 1905, The Chestnuts. By 1915, those houses had passed to Hannah Crombie. I think there is a connection here. By 1930, the Chestnuts had been sold on, to none other than Samuel Crombie!


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  1. Thanks so much Paul for the very interesting information. I’ve ordered your new book and will hopefully receive it this week in France for my holiday reading!

    1. Stewart Walker-McClimens

      Hi Rhona,
      My name is Stewart Walker-McClimens, my father Samuel McClimens was your grandmother’s brother, my Aunt Lizzie I knew well and my Uncle Andrew Mains.
      also.Would very much like to catch up with you and fill in some gaps. Thanks so much for your info which has helped me understand my family history.

      1. Hi Stewart, I’m so pleased to hear from you! Please contact me on

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