The Shields

Jack Shields

Born in 1854 John (Jack) Shields was the third child and first son of Hugh Shields, a locally-born man of several trades, and Galston-born Janet Borland, wh would die early in 1878. In 1861 Hugh was a "Wright Master", in 1871 he was an innkeeper, the Crown Inn, and joiner, in 1881 he was just a joiner and he passed in 1891, a licenced grocer and cabinet-maker living on Main St., Newmilns, aged sixty-eight. As for Jack he was a scholar in 1861, not at home, perhaps in Nottingham a decade later at sixteen, then at twenty-six in 1881, back in Newmilns he had started his lace-manufacturing business, employing three 

men, two women and three boys and in 1901 he is simply listed as a married lace-curtain manufacturer. And on his death in 1917 still in the town at his imposing house, Glenrosa, he was a manufacturer, granting his substantial, £46000 legacy to his third wife and widow, Mary, and the three of his four brothers, who worked alongside him, Thomas Shields of Barcelona, William Shields of Burnbrae, Newmilns and James Shields of Belmont, also Newmilns. He is buried in Newmilns Cemetery.

Tom Shields

Tom Shields was born in 1863, the third surviving son of  Hugh and Janet. In 1871 he was a scholar, in 1881 he is away, perhaps with his mother, and in 1891 he was the manager of a lace-factory, his brother's. 

And this was just before in 1894 he left for Barcelona, where he was to manage his brother's new factory, La Escocesa one of the main motor's of football in that city and was a decade later the organiser of Catalonia's first Cup, the Macaya. And he remained in the Spanish city, perhaps off and on with his daughter, Nettie, dying there in 1913, until at least 1917, perhaps as late as 1921, only then returning to Langfield, his house in the home village. 

And it was there, recorded as a lace-manufacturer, he died in March 1925 at the age of sixty-one, again to be buried in Newmilns Cemetery with his daughter and his wife, Susie, whose death followed his the next year.

Willie Shields

Willie Shields, the fourth of Hugh and Janet's boys, was born in 1865, again on Main St., Newmilns. In 1871 he was still there but curiously staying, lodging with an elder sister and brother with an Ann Miller. Nor apparently was he there in 1881, as now the whole family were unrecorded. But he was back in 1891, living on Main St. once more, now married to Mary Lawson Findlay from Darvel, with two young daughters and working as a Design Reader. And in 1901 Willie is again recorded as a Lace pattern Design Reader now living still in Newmilns at Burnbrae, the house from which his then 10 year-old younger      

daughter, Jessie,would fifteen years later leave to marry a certain Galston-boy, and Scottish football international, Andy Cunningham. In fact William Shields would remain at Burnbrae until his death, just a few months before his brother Thomas in 1925. And like his brother, indeed brothers,s he too, Mary and their son John, born in 1902, are buried in the village cemetery, all three siblings in separate graves but close, as they were in life, working and otherwise, not least in each of their involvements, both indirect and direct, with football at home and abroad.

James Shields

And finally there is the youngest of the Shields boys, James. Born in 1868 again on Main St. he was the company Lace Designer, staying in Newmilns for his entire life. He married an Edinburgh girl, Agnes Veitch, in 1896. They were to have three children, living from about 1900 until their deaths, she in 1941 and he in 1946, at Belmont, a house sharing the same address at 27, Darvel Road as Willie's Burnbrae.

And it is James, who had perhaps the greatest and certainly the most obvious association with local football. Newmilns F.C. was formed in 1887, playing for most of its eight years before dissolution in 1895, at West End Park between the village school and Gilfoot. It was more than likely the source of the players that during that period took the game both to Sweden and Barcelona. And a certain James Shields, aged eighteen perhaps nineteen on formation and quite possibly then a player himself, would be its Honorary President.     

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