Bo’ness Burgher Church

(SMR 295 & 294)      

NS 9982 8156;  NS 9986 8134

TIMELINE:

1747    Bo’ness Associate Congregation                    1820

Bo’ness Burgher Church

1820    Bo’ness United Secession Church                 1847

Bo’ness United Associate Congregation

1847    West United Presbyterian Church                  1900

1900    Craigmailen United Free Church                    present

 

1747: First meetings held in Linlithgow.   The church at Craigmailing, south of Linlithgow, became the mother church.

Bo'ness Burgher Church
The 1795 building lies on the left at the top of the Brae.

1795:  A petition in April 1794 from members of the Linlithgow Burgher Church living in Bo’ness for disjunction was signed by 205 people.  In May 1795 they formed the Burgher Congregation of Craigmailen.  A meeting place was built on Providence Brae on the northern boundary of the glebe.  This was a simple rectangular building with ashlar dressings and angle margins.  It cost £500 and the mason was Nisbet of Edinburgh.

Craigmailen Church
Craigmailen Church looking south from Glebe Park

Access  was  from Providence Brae through a door with pointed arch  and  raised rybats,  above  this is a Venetian window whose central light is  pointed;  and above  that  again a circular vent.   At some late date a porch has been erected over the west door.   Inside the church a stair to the left led to galleries on the west, north and south sides.  The south elevation had two tall central windows with pointed heads and Y-tracery and two smaller windows of similar style, set one above the other, on either side.   The north elevation contains similar central windows and a smaller one at first floor level to the east.   At the east end is a blocked door with a Venetian window above, reflecting that of the west.  The roof is slated.  In 1989 the site was disused and the building in an advanced state of decay, but it has since been renovated.

1820: Union with the Anti-Burghers.

1837: Galleries inserted to seat 400 in total.

1847: The United Secession and the Relief Synods became the United Presbyterian Church.  This made little difference as there was no Relief church in Bo’ness.

1883:  New church built in Jane Terrace, Braehead Road in the simple Early English Gothic style.   The masonry is squared snecked rubble with ashlar dressings.   It has a three-bay buttressed nave and aisles with a 130ft tall angle buttressed tower, having paired belfry lights and a crown spire at the north-west.   The main door is in the north gable under a pointed arch carved with vines. Above this is a tall plate traceried window with cusped lancets, trefoils and a vesica.   On entry there is a gallery stair to the left with an east gable.   There are three pairs of plain lancets to the nave.   The nave itself is three-bayed, arcaded, with galleries over the aisles and to the north.   The boarded roof is painted with flowers and stars.   The architects were McKissack and Rowan.  The cost was £4,000.  Completed towards the end of 1884 and formally opened 17 January 1885.

 1889: The old church had been bought by G.C. Stewart and served as the Institute Hall.  In 1889 it was bought by the Catholic Church and opened in August that year as St. Mary’s Church.

1900: Union with the Free Church.

1984: Repairs carried out to the spire.

BELL:

1892: bell donated by John Paul.

MANSE:

1880: The manse to the new church lay on ground immediately adjacent to the east.

WINDOW

See separate file on stained glass in Bo’ness.

SEATING:

1883: 600.

MINISTERS OF BO’NESS BURGHER  CHURCH

Sep 1795 Morton, James
Aug 1796 Harper, Archibald Apr 1834
Jan 1835 Connet, David
Connell, Archibald Browning Jul  1867
Stewart, M Oct 1869
Jun  1874 Sleath, Samuel 1907
Nov 1907 Young, David Gill 1941
1941 Fraser, C 1949
1950 Lewis, WG 1953
1955 Findlay, JC 1961
1962 McIlwain, J 1969
1972 Mitchell, D. Ross 1980
1981 Anderson, Brian 1984
1986 Tait, Stuart 1990
1992 Marshall, Jim G 2003
2004 Hartley, Frank present