Manse Ransacked, 1900

c1955 Anderson Church Aerial view

On the final Saturday of May 1900, at 11.15pm, it was reported to the Blantyre police that the manse at the Free Church on Stonefield Road had been broken into, and afterwards set on fire.

It appears that the Rev. James Campbell, the minister, with his wife and some of his family, had been spending a holiday at Dunoon, and in the hour stated the servant, imagining she heard the scratching of matches in one of the rooms, went upstairs, and shortly afterwards her suspicious were confirmed by hearing it again.

By this time the smell of burning was felt, and the girl rushed down the stair and raised the alarm. A number of neighbours were soon on the scene, and were successful in extinguishing the fire, but not before considerable damage had been done to pair of heavy curtains, the shutters, and a quantity of furniture. On the arrival of the police it was found that an entrance had been gained to the house by a ladder leading to a bedroom window on the second flat, and that the house had been ransacked, drawers having been opened and their contents scattered all over the rooms. A gold watch and chain were left on the lobby table. It is thought that the burglar, in his hurry to escape, must have left them there. The police spent some time afterwards investigating the incident, but I found no sign of arrests.

This aerial photo from 1955 shows the large, former manse house at the back of the church, next to the tennis courts (now the Bowling Green carpark). Stonefield Road is in the foreground.

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