I was born in 1949 in Strathesk Manse, Lasswade, which was to be my home for the next six years.
Strathesk Manse was fairly typical of Scottish manses of that era, tending to be large, rambling, stone- built houses dating back to at least Victorian times, if not further.
And Strathesk Manse fell into the latter category, having been built in the early 1830s and displaying as it did much that was celebrated in late Georgian architecture. Again typically, it stood in fairly extensive grounds whose abundant foliage ensured not only a large degree of privacy, but effectively cut house and family off from the outside world.
This particular aspect of manse living was to have a fairly profound effect on my developing personality. Being cut off somewhat from the local community made me self-sufficient in my boyish pursuits. Going “out to play” meant spending many happy hours making my own entertainment in blissful isolation from children of my own age.
I would be about four years of age when my parents presumably became concerned that I was something of a loner, despite (or maybe because of ) the fact that I had a sister three-and-a-half years my elder. Anyway, in an attempt to introduce me to the outside world before having to start school, they arranged for a lad of my own age to come and play with me. I can distinctly remember resenting this unwanted intrusion into my private world.
Read more of local historian Bob Hutchison’s look back on his childhood upbringing at Strathesk Manse in this week’s Advertiser, out now.
Second part in next week’s Advertiser.