Mansfield and Sir James Stuart Menteth

NURSING CHAIR OF ROBERT BURNS

 The following notes and image are taken from “Life and Works of Robert Burns’ written in 1867 by former Free Church minister Peter Hately Waddell.

Menteth_BurnsChair

“This Chair

came into the possession of Sir JAS STUART MENTETH in the following manner

When Gilbert Burns, the brother of the immortal Poet, Robert Burns, quitted the farm of Mossgiel, Ayrshire for that of Dinning on the estate of Closeburn, Dumfriesshire belonging to Sir Charles Granville Stuart Menteth, his mother went with him. Afterwards, Gilbert became Factor to Lord Blantyre over his estate in East Lothian. His mother also went with him. When Mrs Brown removed from Mossgiel to Dinning, she took with her this chair, on which she had nursed Robert and all her children …. Mrs Burns, while living at Dinning became intimet with Christy Flint, the wife of a blacksmith, a native of that parish. Before going to East Lothian, Mrs. Burms gave this chair to Christy Flint, who afterwards presented it to Sir Jas. S. Menteth.

MEMORANDUM BY SIR JAMES

Christy Flint was an excellent singer; and had a great memory, stored with all the old songs and ballads of Scotland.These she often sung to Robert Burns; and he applied to her to sing over to him any song he had composed while living at Ellisland and Dumfries. This proves the great care Burns took in the composition of his songs, that they should please the ear, as well as rouse the heart and feelings. It is said that, while testing his songs through the fine voice of Christy Flint, Burns would now and then stop her singing, and substitute a more mellifluous word for any one that was displeasing and grated on his ear.

Oct. 29, 1868                                                  JAS STUART MENTETH

 

Stuart-Menteth Baronets of Closeburn and Mansfield

mansfieldhouse

Mansfield House, New Cumnock

Sir Charles Granville Stuart Menteth (1769-1847) , father of Sir James,  acquired the lands of Mansfield in the parish of New Cumnock in the early 19th century and in 1838 he became the 1st Baronet of Closeburn and Mansfield. Sir Charles worked the coal, lime and clay reserves on his Mansfield estate and was recognise as a major land improver in the county.  He passed away in December 1847, aged 78 years.

Sir James Stuart Menteth (1792-1870) succeeded his father as 2nd Baronet of Closeburn and Mansfield. He and his wife Jane Bailey lived at Mansfield House, where Burns’ nursing chair was no doubt a talking point. Two years after Sir James had penned the above memorandum, he passed away at Mansfield House, aged 78 years old.

The Stuart-Menteth family remained at Mansfield for many years while Robert Burns’ nursing chair, described as a ‘low-seated deal-chair’ was later re-housed back at Poet’s birthplace, Burns Cottage, Alloway.

It can now be found at the National Trust of Scotland’s “Robert Burns Birthplace Museum” and the name of Sir Jas Stuart Menteth still visible on its frame.

Check it out here on the National Trust web-site Robert Burns Nursing Chair

Acknowledgements

  • Life and Works of Robert Burns, P.Hately Waddell (1867) – Notes Critical and Historical to Last Editions
  • National Trust of Scotland