A Cairneyhill funeral for the Blair family

Dear blog reader

When the solicitors’ firm of Thomas Blair & son closed in Dunfermline in 2016, it was reported as one of the oldest Fife firms in existence, having started in 1840.

The firm was started by a Cairneyhill man, Thomas Blair born in 1822 in Cairneyhill to Andrew Blair and Isabella Wilson.

Below is an extremely detailed account of the 1885 funeral of Thomas Blair’s son Andrew.

I hope you find it interesting.

Jacqueline

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DUNDEE COURIER

WEDNESDAY 14 JANUARY 1885

TAYPORT

FUNERAL OF DR BLAIR

The remains of this much respected and talented gentleman were removed from his residence in William Street yesterday forenoon for interment in Cairneyhill Churchyard. At 9.45, the time appointed for leaving, an assembly of mourners to the extent of nearly 300 persons were present.

The coffin, on which were three handsome wreaths, one of which was given by the Forresters Society and the other two by friends, was carried alternately by six members of the Mansefield Court of Foresters, six of the mussel dredgers, and six of the St Michael’s, Leuchars and Tayport Lodge of Free Masons respectively. At 9.30 the bell of the parish Church tolled a funeral peal, and continued to do so whilst the mournful cortege was wending its way to the railway station. The passenger boat, the various works of the village, and others had flags hoisted half-mast. The route of the procession was lined for the greater part with people anxious by their presence to testify their respect to his memory, and many of whom showed outward signs of grief. The shops on the route were closed.

Amongst those present were Messrs David, James, and John Blair, brothers; Thomas Smith Thoms, Kilmacolm; Thomas Smith, Inverdovat; Thomas Smith, Mains of Fowlis; Peter Smith, Ardgarth – relatives of the decease. The Rev Alexander Jack, UP; the Rev W P Falconer, FC; Dr Constable, Leuchars; Dr Keelan, Tayport; Admiral Dougall; Messrs James Scott; James Laing; W W Wilson; P Christie, Scotscraig Mains; James Donaldson sen.; D Whyte, banker; Joseph Nicoll, teacher; D Nicoll, farmer; Captains Kilgour, W Cowan, Ceres etc.

On the arrival of the train at Dunfermline a hearse was waiting to convey the remains to the residence of the deceased’s father (Mr Thomas Blair, solicitor) at Priory Lane, where the Rev William George, Chalmers Street UP Church, Dunfermline, and Rev John Moir, Cairneyhill UP Church conducted a short service. On reaching the cemetery at Cairneyhill, the Rev J C Crawford, Limekilns UP Church, officiated. The pallbearers were Messrs Thomas Blair (father), David D Blair, James Blair, John Blair and Robert Blair (brothers), James Blair (uncle), William Maclellan (uncle), and David Gilmour (cousin).

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