Middle – Lennel Kirk Internal – 25 – Goldie/Morgan/Gibson
To the memory of REV THOMAS SMITH GOLDIE who for nearly 30 years was Minister of this Parish who died 5th July 1859 aged 61 years. Also to the memory of JANE GILLOCH MORGAN his wife who died 15th May 1858 aged 45 years. And of MARGARET GIBSON his daughter who died 31st October 1845 aged 8 years.
Taken from 'Second to None: A History of Coldstream'. Today Trafalgar House is somewhat of an embarrassment and has fallen into considerable decay having been boarded up and moth-balled some seven years ago. It has, however, undoubtedly had its good times and the main story starts with the local Minister. Between the years 1830-1859, the Parish Church had a colourful Minister by the name of Thomas Smith Goldie. He apparently was very forthright and at the very outset of his Ministry he refused to live in the Manse provided for him, asserting that it was uninhabitable and he demanded from the heritors that a new Manse be built. The ‘offending’ Manse was the one in Duns Road, in an area where the Housing Association flats are today. Prior to the Duns Road Manse, the Manse had been at Lennel, halfway down the pathway leading to the Tweed. When the heritors found themselves, much to their annoyance, compelled to build a new Manse for the outspoken Reverend, they threatened to build a Manse so large, the Reverend would not be able to furnish it. Fortunately this threat was not carried out. It was built in 1833-34 as a Manse for the Established (now the Parish) Church and according to a later Minister, the Reverend William Browne, ‘that in respect of fineness, beauty of situation, elegance of structure, perfect symmetry, central chimneys, protruding eaves and its pillared entrance, the Manse of Coldstream was second to none’. He thought that the architect who designed it must have had a soul, and was no ordinary architect as ‘its lofty rooms and delicate cornices and spacious windows revealed a taste which was not common in the early part of the nineteenth century, certainly not common in church architecture’.
The Reverend Goldie thought it was a lovely building too (otherwise he may have left!) and he was particularly proud of the magnificent chestnut trees in front of the Manse, and the avenue leading up to it. It was the proud boast of the Reverend that he had carried these trees as saplings on his back, walking all the way from Haddington, and he planted them himself in the Manse grounds (later to be referred to as the ‘Glenesk’). Sadly, these trees are no longer there, making way for a garage, Guard’s Road and progress. In 1862 the Manse was listed on the town map as number 42 High Street, it had surrounding outbuildings, which aren’t there now and it had a field in front of it, which would be the Minister’s Glebe, where he kept his horse(s). It boasted a lengthy drive leading up to it, which would be roughly where Guard’s Road is now. Reverend Browne was the last Minister to use the Manse and it was subsequently sold as a private house and its name changed to ‘Trafalgar House’. Much later it was purchased by the Berwickshire County Council and made into a very valued and welcoming Residential Home for the Elderly. This was in 1969 when the Council modified it into a 25-bed home. ‘Traffy’ House existed as a happy home for the elderly until the Regional politicians (of the West and Central parts of the Borders) got their hands on it in the late 1990s. Sadly, they decided it was superfluous to requirements and it was closed. Right up to 2010, Coldstreamers have had high hopes for it to be put to constructive use, but it has deteriorated into a moth-balled shell, the bane of the local authorities and townsfolk alike. Maybe the Reverend Thomas Smith Goldie would have something strong to say about it now!