Falkirk Baptist Church

Falkirk Baptist Swords Wynd(SMR 1101)

NS 887 801

NS 890 799

NS 8871 7989

NS 8896 8013

TIMELINE

1808: An already existent congregation is recorded as having met in an upstairs room in Kirk Wynd.

1820: There were also two Scottish Baptist Churches in Falkirk.

1835:  The  old Congregational Church in Bank Street (NS 8884 8000)  bought  by Robert  Walker, shipmaster, Grahamston, who fitted it up with a baptismal  font and let it to the Baptist congregation for £6 annually.

1842: Bank Street Church closed.

A breakaway of twelve members met in a house in Callendar Riggs (sold in 1849).

Other brethren met in Wilson’s Hall.

The two Scottish Baptist Churches united and built a church in Callendar Riggs.  They later moved to Swords Wynd, where through lack of funds, they were forced to dissolve.

1864: William Downs, shoemaker, built a two storey block in the Howgate adjoining Swords Wynd and gave the congregation the use of the upper floor in May (NS 8871 7989).  This united the two factions but only for three weeks.

1866: Meetings collapsed after prolonged arguments.   Downs left the town, as did the pastor, McDonald.

MacDonald returned and meetings resumed at Bainsford Bridge Hall; then at Falkirk Town Hall; then the Masonic Hall; the Town Hall again; and the Oddfellows’ Hall, Grahamston.

1870: Congregation dissolved.

1883: Some of the Baptist congregations united and with the support of James Wilson of Bantaskine appointed a minister.

1885: Building in Callendar Riggs for 150 people (NS 890 799).

Falkirk Baptist Melville Street1885, Jan: Iron church opened in Melville Street.   It measured 60ft (72 with the function rooms) by 36ft, and sat 400 with a 4ft wide central aisle.  Built by Messrs Crogan and Co, corrugated iron manufacturers, London, for £500.  Half of the cost of the structure was paid for by James Wilson.  Wood and felt were also used in the construction, but it became known locally as the “tin kirk”.  (It was later used as a cinema and then an agricultural building near Edinburgh).

Falkirk Baptist Weir Street1897:  New church erected in Orchard Street on the corner of Weir Street and opened in October.   Built in the Gothic style in red stone from Locharbriggs Quarry, Dumfries, with English green slate on the roof.  An open barrel roof of pitch pine.   There was a choir platform, and above that a pulpit platform fitted with a baptismal font.   South of the church were ladies and gents retiring rooms, so arranged that they could be amalgamated to form a schoolroom or church hall.  Behind these was a vestry and kitchen, with lavatory accommodation.   The main entrance to the church is on Orchard Street through a small porch in the gable, with a secondary entrance on Weir Street.   The porch is of ashlar inside and outside, with an elegant tracery window above.   It is contained in two of the buttresses, which are finished on top with pinnacles.  The church is unusual in having a sloping floor.  Total cost £2000, of which half was again contributed by the Wilson family.  Designed by G Deas Page, and executed by John Gardner, mason.

The church is part of the English Baptist Union.

1904: Church of Christ building erected in Weir Street.   This church is the natural successor to the Scottish Baptists.

1905: In September two new halls were opened along with a vestry, ladies and gents rooms and a deacons’ room (which had been the former vestry, but now forms part of the kitchen).  George Deas Page was again the architect and again the Wilson family contributed £2,300, being half the cost.  In March the following year the church sanctuary was re-opened with the addition of two transepts.  The extended platform now contained a new pulpit and an open baptistery made of Sicilian marble.  The south transept replaced the original hall.

MANSE

1923: Up until this year the church had rented a house in Cochrane Street.  In April “Ingleside” in Woodlands Crescent was bought for £750.  Part of the money for this came from the rental of the church halls to the Employment Exchange.

FITTINGS

1897: Silver communion plates “Presented to Falkirk Baptist Church by Mrs A McIllwraith in memory of her father James Towers.  November 7th 1897.”  Communion cups “Presented to the Falkirk Baptist Church by Mr & Mrs AA Skeene, Larbert. 10th Oct 1897.”

1957: Communion table “In loving memory of Mr and Mrs Andrew Balfour Gray, for many years worshippers at Falkirk Baptist Church. Gifted by their daughter Mrs Gladys M B Hardie. 25th June 1957.”

WINDOWS

See separate entry for stained glass.

SEATING

Callendar Riggs 150

1885: Melville Street 400

1897: Orchard Street 320 including the choir.

MINISTERS OF FALKIRK BAPTIST CHURCH

1809

Dunbar, Daniel 1835

1837

Smith, Alexander

1865

Gibb, Peter
Downs (stood in)
McDonald, John

1868

Spence, John Lang Jan 1870
Fisher, George
Wilson, George
MacPherson, Duncan

Oct 1883

Mathams, Walter J. Oct 1888

Sep 1889

Paterson, Alexander May 1922

Oct 1923

Lyle, Graham Nov 1926

Dec 1926

Crawley, Frederick Jul 1935

Dec 1935

Paterson, William Oct 1940

Apr 1941

Cook, Mathew Oct 1954

May 1955

Lyons, John Oct 1980

Mar 1982

Reed, Ian May 1987

Jan 1988

White, David May 1991

Aug 1992

Cameron, Colin

G.B. Bailey (2019)

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CHURCH OF CHRIST

NS 8867 7923

NS 8922 8013

Arose out of the ashes of the Scottish Baptists.   Worship in Lorne Hall, Burns Court, then in Rankine’s Hall.

1870-74: Occupied the Howgate Chapel and sold it to the E.U. Church.

1904: Church built in Pleasance Gardens for £420.  Demolished 2017.

G.B. Bailey (2019)

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