For whom the bell tolls

There’s a wonderful account written in 1859 about the 1793 church, which used to be located in the Kirkton Cemetery. It reads as follows:

1863 Church at Kirkyard

1863 Church at Kirkyard

“A stone building capable of containing a Congregation of between four & five hundred. It was built about 50 years on the site of the old Ph. [Parish] Church. (Paul writes, actually it was 1793) There is a Vault on the south east side of the Church said to contain the remains of one of Lord Blantyre’s Ancestors. It is altogether of modern date.

The present (1859) Bell belonged to an even older Church once also at that location. It is said to have an unusual sound which, as stated by the Revd: [Reverend] S. Patterson, a tradition of the neighbourhood accounts for in the following manner :— The Royalists, after the Battle of Bothwell Bridge, pursued the Covenanters in the direction of the Church, when the bell was rung by the inhabitants to arouse the neighbourhood. The Royalists, to silence it, fired at & hit it several times but without effect, except that of changing its tone, which has remained the same ever since. — There is no part of the present Parish Church older than fifty years.”

I can only imagine in 1679 the bell ringing out after the battle of nearby Bothwell Bridge!

Despite the account suggesting the church wasn’t older than 1809, the church was actually built in 1793. It had an earthen floor and by 1863 was in a deplorable condition, which led to the construction of the current Old Parish Church. Pictured is the old church before demolition in the early 1860s.

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