1876 Need for a New Church


1876-new-church-at-stonefieldOn 23rd April 1876, a Blantyre Session House record, recorded by Rev Stewart Wright of High Blantyre commented on the greatly increased population of Blantyre and how it now needed a new church. Rev Wright read out the following proposed letter, which was to be distributed throughout the Parish.

“Every one acquainted with Blantyre is aware of the thorough change that has passed over the parish. A little time ago it was a retired, thinly populated agricultural district, but now it has become the important centre of a vast mining population.

In 1871, the inhabitants numbered about 3500; a census lately taken shows them to have increased to 8000, and we may safely predict, from the evidence everywhere around us, that in five years more the eight thousand will have doubled. In these circumstances the minister and the kirk-session feel that there is the most urgent call upon them to be up and doing, so as to provide church accommodation for this vast multitude.

Within the bounds of the parish there are at present but two churches, Established and Free, both of which cannot accommodate more than 1300 people. The United Presbyterians have a church on the coannes? Which can hold 400 more, and the Roman Catholics are about to erect a chapel for their adherents, perhaps numbering about 700; so there is thus a large and increasing population for whom it is incumbent upon the Church of Scotland to provide, without unnecessary delay, religious ordinances.

Therefore, the minister and kirk-session send forth this appeal to all who love our Zion, and are concerned for the religious instruction of our people, to grant them sympathy and help, that they may, to some extent, meet those spirited demands of their parish.

A site has been promised on the Glasgow and Hamilton Road, in the very centre of the district of Stonefield that is being so quickly populated.

The proposed church is to accommodate 900 sitters, and will cost between £4000 and £5000. Grants in aid are expected from the Home Mission, the Baird Trust, and the Ferguson Request; but others, too, must be willing and ready to contribute as God has given them power, if we are soon to see erected here for His service, and to His glory, a “holy and a beautiful house.” Your name, as a contributor, will be gladly received by Stewart Wright, minister of Blantyre; or Mr L. W. Adamson, Rosebank, Blantyre, treasurer. The manse at Blantyre.”

The action was made to print this letter and to progress with the new Church to be paid for from funds in the Session accounts and refunded by subscriptions, i.e it was to ultimately be paid for by the people of Blantyre.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017

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