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The congregation of St Andrew's Parish Church is the result of unions between Anderson, Burleigh Memorial and Stonefield Churches. The current building was built in the early 1980s on the site of Stonefield Parish Church. It was opened and dedicated in a special service on 21st March 1982. The new building was not a matter of choice at the time, but read on to find why...
First let's take some steps back in time.
There are various theories regarding the origin of our town's name: Blantyre. Some suggest it means ‘field of the holy men’, ‘a warm retreat’ (as in the Gaelic Bla-an-tir which has been used as the name for one of the hotels in the town) or ‘land of St Blane’ This is the Irish missionary who also gives his name to Dunblane. We may never know the exact details, but what is beyond doubt is the presence of Christianity from a very early date.
By the time of the middle ages, there was a Priory at Blantyre. It is not known exactly when it was founded but it is said to date from the last years of Alexander II (1214-1249). It was a subhouse of Jedburgh Abbey in the borders. The Roman Church often built on sites which were once Celtic monasteries, again suggesting that there has been a church here for longer.
The Priory established a Collegiate Church at Kirkton (now High Blantyre) in the 15th century. A collegiate church was one served by a group of priests rather than just one. One of their main purposes was to pray for the soul of their benefactor. The only other Collegiate Church still existing in the area is in Bothwell.