[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]
BLANTYRE, a parish, formerly a vicarage, in the county of Lanark; bounded on the north by the Clyde, which divides it from Bothwell; on the east by Hamilton; on the south by Glasford and Kilbride; and on the west by Cambuslang. It is about 6 miles in length, and, on an average, one in breadth. Its superficial area is about 3,300 Scots acres; rental £2,579. Next to the Clyde, the Calder is the principal river in this parish, which it bounds on the west. The whole parish forms almost a continuous plain. The soil is various; but, though part is clay, loam, and sand, the whole is very fertile, except towards the southern extremity where it becomes a deep peat moss. There are very extensive cotton spinning and cotton-dyeing works here, founded by Mr. David Dale in 1785, and now the property of Henry Monteith & Co., which give employment to a number of people. In 1838, 839 hands were employed in 2 cotton mills here; in 1791, 368 hands were employed. Ironstone, of excellent quality, is now wrought to great advantage within the parish. Limestone is also wrought at Auchentiber and Calderside. There is a mineral spring at Park, strongly impregnated with sulphur dissolved by means of hydrogen gas, which used to be much resorted to, about the middle of last century, by families from Glasgow, and is still famed in scrofulous and scorbutic cases. Population in 1801, 1,751; in 1831, 3,000. Assessed property in 1815, £4,438. Houses in 1831, 248. – This parish is in the presbytery of Hamilton, and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. Patron, Lord Blantyre. Stipend £196 10s. with a glebe of the value of £16. Church built in 1793; sittings 841. There is a chapel at Blantyre works, built by the proprietors of the works at their own expense, for the accommodation of their working-people. Sittings 392. The preacher receives £50 from the proprietors, and £50 from the seat-rents. The chapel is under a committee of management, one-half of whom are churchmen, and one-half dissenters. The parish minister reported that about 2,053 of the population in 1831 were in connexion with the Established church, and about 812 were dissenters. – The parochial schoolmaster has a salary of £26 with £19 fees; average number of scholars 45. There are four private schools attended by above 200 children; the largest of these is in connexion with the Blantyre works. – The ruins of the priory of Blantyre, which was founded some time prior to the year 1296, are finely situated, in a most retired situation, on the top of a rock which rises perpendicularly from the Clyde, exactly opposite the noble ruins of Bothwell castle, and commands, a very romantic view. Walter Stewart, first commendator of this priory, and Lord-privy-seal in 1595, was made a peer by the title of Lord Blantyre, July 10th, 1606. The revenues of the priory were, in 1561, money £131 6s. 7½d. Hamilton of Wishaw says in his ‘Descriptions’ compiled about the beginning of last century, “the Lord Blantyre hath ane fruitful orchard at the old priorie, where he is some tymes in use to dwell.” There are yet a few relics of this orchard here; but from the state of the buildings it could scarcely have been supposed that they were in a habitable state at any period within the 18th century. See article BOTHWELL. Urns have been dug up at different times in several parts of the parish. – Blantyre village in the above parish, is about 8 miles south-east of Glasgow, and 3 west of Hamilton. It is inhabited chiefly by people employed at the cotton works, and contained in 1835, 1,821 inhabitants. The Clyde at the ferry here is 79 yards broad.
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