Carriden Parish Church

Carriden Church circa 1900
Carriden Church c1900, looking north-west.

(SMR 151, 286 & 287)   

NT 0247 8079

NT 0188 8122

NT 0190 8128

TIMELINE:

10th century: Part of a Celtic or Anglian cross of this date was reused in the graveyard as a gravestone.

12th century?  The remains of the earliest known church at Carriden were partially uncovered by the West Lothian History Society in the old graveyard to the south of Carriden House.   Its length was approximately similar to that at Kinneil and it too consisted of a nave and chancel, in this instance of the same width.   The ruins were still visible in 1911.

1243: David de Bernham, bishop of St. Andrews, consecrated a church at Carriden.

15th century: There are many references to the “dominical lands of Carriden” prior to the Reformation.

The church is said to have had two lofts, the “seamens” and the “colliers”, as well as the “Grange Isle” and the ordinary oblong floor space.   The floor was of clay.   Seats were supplied, on permission, by those attending, the Elders’ seat being next to the pulpit.

1765:  The church and church dykes were said to be ruinous and so a new church was planned for the village of Bonhard-pans.   The move is said to have been assisted by Colonel Campbell Dalrymple of Carriden House.

1766:  New church in simple Georgian Gothic style built on Carriden Brae.  It was T-shaped in plan with galleries, including a sailors’ loft.

1771:  The north wall of the church has an aedicule to protect the monument of Sir William Maxwell of Carriden.  It has a pulminated laurel frieze carried on capitals of the Ionic order.

c1850: Gothic tower with spire to the east and a session house added to the west.

1890: Mission Hall built in Cowdenhill Road, Grangepans (NT 0094 8147), to seat 400.

Carriden Mission Hall
Mission Hall in Cowdenhill Road looking south-west (SMR 1498).

William Gardner Rowan, architect.  It is built of rubbled stone with a pitched slated roof featuring fleche.  The gabled asymmetrical entrance elevation faces onto the road with a large traceried central arched window and a bellcote at the apex.  There is an arched entranceway to the right hand side.

1890?  Parishes of Carriden and Borrowstouness united.

1906:  Church building in such a poor state of repair that the congregation were forced to use the Mission Hall whilst their new church was being erected.

1909: The 1766 church abandoned for the new church which was built immediately to the north.  The foundation stone for a new church building had been laid on 3 Oct 1908 by the Duke of Hamilton.  The new church designed by P. MacGregor Chalmers.  It is a simple Romanesque structure with an aisled nave, chancel and apse.   A four stage tower with a pyramidal stone spire stands at the west end of the church.  The session house, which forms the south “transept”, has a Baronial turret attached to it.

1909 Carriden Church
The 1909 Carriden Church looking south-east.

Inside, the plain massive columns of the six bay nave and the half round timber ceiling are the main features.  The baptistery chapel lies in a widened section of the north aisle.  It has a mosaic floor and a half domed apse en­tered under a chevroned arch.

The contractors were Peattie and Wilson, the foreman stonemason being David Aitken, with Peter Morton and James Mann also working on the masonry.   The stone was brought by horse from Deanfield Quarry.  The famous pitch pine barrel-roof was the work of Turnbulls of Bonhard.  Cost £6,500.

1948: Mission Hall extended by the addition of the Lund Hall.

1951: The old Episcopal Church at Blackness, which had been the Garrison Church for the army units stationed at the castle, was bought to serve the needs of the villagers who had worshipped at the former school near the castle.

2009: Mission hall put up for sale, but later removed.

MANSE

In 1630 lands were taken from those of Grange to form a glebe with a manse to the west of Burnfoot.

When the new church was built in 1766 an excambion or exchange took place between the old glebe and new land from Admiral Hope’s holdings at Cuffabouts.  A manse was erected to the east of the new church in 1818.   This was later demolished and replaced by a building known as “Advorlich” in Grahamsdyke Road in 1936.  In 1944 “Muiredge” was acquired.  This had been built half way up Carriden Brae for the Kidd family.

FITTINGS

A pre-Reformation collection plate is impressed with a bishop’s mitre.   A silver  chalice  in  the  form  of an inverted  candlestick  is  still  in  the possession of the church,  it is inscribed:  “This cup pertaineth to the Church at  Carridin  1660″.   A second cup was acquired in 1831 inscribed”Parish of Carriden, 1831, Rev David Fleming, Minister.”  The church also has a pewter platter and a flagon with the date 1825 and a similar inscription to the second cup.   In 1967 the church also received two chalices and a silver flagon inscribed “Mariners Church, Leith, 1840, Scots Kirk, Rangoon, 1947 to 1966”.

The 1766 church had an oak pulpit that had been transferred from the older church, like that in the Bo’ness Parish Church it derived from Holland, and bore the date 1655.

 It too had a model ship that belonged to the Carriden Seabox Society.   It is thought to represent a seventeenth century ship and is called “Ranger”. It hung in the West Gallery of the 1766 building.   It was refurbished in 1857, 1900, 1909 and 1946.  The 1909 church has an oak pulpit, lectern, precentor’s box and communion table.  The stone baptismal font was made by the masons who erected the church.  Concealed flood-lighting.

ORGAN

1943:  Obtained from the Gorbals John Knox Church after the building had been damaged in the Blitz of 1941.  Only the pipe facade of this organ remains.

BELL

The second church had a Peter Ostens bell, which was transferred to the new church.   It bears the inscription:  “PIETER OOSTENS GOOT ME TE ROTTERDAM AD 1674”.  Almost 17ins in diameter it bears two bands with patterns of grapes and vines.

WINDOW

See separate entry on stained glass in Bo’ness.

SEATING

1766: Seating for 458 people.

CHURCHYARD

1767:  Disquiet when the local gentry ‘persuaded’ a family to bury their child in the graveyard by the new church instead of the old churchyard.

1802: The road from the old church to Blackness was closed and attempts made to remove the burial ground.

1819: The boundary wall around the old graveyard removed and replaced by a 2 ft high wall surmounted by a 4.5 ft iron railing.   The north-east corner of the yard was rounded off, there being no graves there.   Only the west wall was retained as it had gravestones set against it.  The gate was transferred to the south-west corner from the south-east and new gate pillars provided.   All this work was carried out only after agreement with local representatives by Mr Gib, mason.

1838:  An attempt was made to close the burial or kirk roads from the west and replace them by a straighter track.

MINISTERS OF CARRIDEN PARISH CHURCH

1561

Hamilton, Alexander  

1563

Leslie, John 1564

1564

Minister of Kinneil officiated?

1621

Aug 1621

Keir, Andrew 1648

1646

Steedman, Robert 1651

Apr 1663

Adamson, James 1664

Jun 1665

Park, John Aug 1690

1687

Steedman, Robert Sep 1701

Jan 1704

Todd, John Jan 1720

Oct 1725

Pyott, Alexander Oct 1733

Sep 1735

Gair, James Apr 1739

Apr 1740

Ellis, George Mar 1795

Jan 1796

Bell, John Dec 1815

Aug 1816

Fleming, David Jan 1860

Jun 1861

Smith, Edward Mar 1887

Sep 1887

Dundas, William Nov 1931

May 1932

Robertson, Robert Reid Aug 1942

Mar 1943

Lund, Thomas Waterton Jan 1949

Dec 1949

Dyer, Thomas James Jun 1962

Nov 1962

Leckie, Joseph Logan Mar 1965

Oct 1965

Swan, Norman Stanley 1978

1978

Robertson, Iain MacLaren 1993

1993

Reid, R Gordon