In 1871, the the Blantyre Free Church in Stonefield Road completely burned down. To those loyal worshippers, Rev James Anderson continued to minister until his death on 7th May 1860, in the 28th year of his ministry, passing away before any fire.
(Coincidentally, the minister who succeeded Rev Anderson at the Old Parish Church in 1843 was the Rev Paterson. Both men died on the same day and they were buried on the same day, side by side in the old churchyard at Kirkton.)
In 1859, the building previous to the stone church pictured here in 1963 was described as, “A stone building one story high capable of containing a congregation of between 4 & 500. Incumbent, Reverend J. Anderson. The Manse is situated close (south) to the Church.”
A more substantial church replaced the Blantyre Free Church in 1872.The bell from the previous church was placed into the steeple of the 1872 church. This was then known as the Blantyre United Free Church but later in 1929 took the name of Anderson Church, named after former Rev Anderson. Affected by subsidence, the steeple was demolished to make safe, giving the church an unusual appearance with a flattopped “steeple” not much higher than the roof itself. It is unknown what became of the bell.
As you can see the manse house was a substantial building dated from 1844, two storey high built of stone with a slated roof. In the 1850’s there was a well in the garden and paths around gardens. It formed a U shape and may have been extended at one time or other. It is unknown why the building was so large when it was simply accommodating the minister. I’ve always believed the location of the church and manse was chosen very carefully as being a midpoint between churches in Low and High Blantyre, perhaps to attract parishioners from all over. Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact year that it was demolished and open to suggestions in that regard.
Pictured in 1963, is the manse house, the Blantyre Bowling club just out the photo to the right. In the foreground is the former Anderson Church.
(c) Blantyre Project
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