Stories of the People of the Manse
Life in the old Manse
This manse to give it its correct term for much of its life, and its minister occupants since 1860, have always fascinated me.
So, it was a real pleasure to host a group of lady Dunningites for afternoon tea who used to come to the manse in the 1960’s for choir practice and had stories to tell.
They described the dark corridors which led from the side of what is now the garage into the back scullery, which is now part of the kitchen, and the narrow passages through into the hall. The old courtyard and kitchen are probably the only parts of the house that have needed to be significantly altered to meet our modern day living needs.
The Ministers at home
The manse has historically had an air of seriousness in keeping with its status in the village and that of its minister occupants. There were only four ministers in residence between 1861 and its sale into private ownership in 1973.
John Wilson, the first minister, was a learned man publishing the book “Dunning: It’s Parochial History” (we have an original copy) and was instrumental in bringing water into the village. He had six children and three resident domestic staff so the manse rooms would certainly have been well used.
The second minister, Peter Thomson, was also a serious, well-educated man who contributed to a volume on the history of Strathearn. We were delighted to meet a relative of Rev. Thomson who came visiting the village.
I understand even in the later years under Rev. McKinnon the house continued to have an air of seriousness and purpose and yet all visiting parishioners were welcomed with good hospitality. James Campbell McKinnon married the Dunning district nurse; a gifted lady keen on amateur dramatics. The romance and marriage must have been a happy event for the village. He lived and worked in the house for 47 years!
Soldiers and evacuees
Also of course the arrival of the Nissan huts with army personnel in its grounds (now The Glebe) and the evacuees from Glasgow who stayed in the house must have changed its character and lightened its reputation. I would love to hear from any evacuees that stayed here.
Also we had exciting find when we discovered one of the owner’s children had left a note inside a maid’s bell pull in her bedroom over 30 years ago. She wrote how she loved the village but having recently moved missed her old friends; she had posters on her walls and seemed a typical teenager!
I’ve put a note in another bell pull and hope someone picks that up in another few decades.