Polmont Parish Church

Polmont Parish Church(SMR 257 & 258)

NS 9367 7930; NS 9367 7926

Polmont Parish Church yard

1724    Polmont Parish Church

1929    Polmont North Church of Scotland

Polmont Old

TIMELINE

1498:  At Polmonth a chaplain at the chapel of “the Blessed Virgin Mary” is mentioned in a royal charter (Registrum Magni Sigilli vol.II no 2441), as is a high altar.

1649:  Proposals were made to establish a church in the eastern part of the parish of Falkirk.

1724: Polmont disjoined from Falkirk and erected by the Commissioners of Teinds into a full parish on 22nd July.

1730: 7 acres of land bought from Patrick Bennet of Whyteside for the erection of a new church, graveyard and manse.  William Douglass of Edinburgh provided the design for a church.

1731-3: Foundation laid on 22 May, 1731 (stone later built into the south bound­ary wall ofOld Polmont Church ruin the churchyard and then in the porch of the new church).  Dressed stone came from South Queensferry, and rubble stone from Gilston Quarry and Maddiston.  Building completed with three galleries or lofts entered by external stone stairs.  It was T-shaped in plan with the pulpit on the long wall. The main block measures 75ft 9 in from west to east by 30ft 6 in transversely over walls 3ft thick, with the aisle 29ft 9 in wide projecting from the middle of the north side and open to the interi­or.   The masonry is of large rubble with dressed quoins and margins to voids, backset on the south side only.  The walls finish in a cavetto eaves-course and the gables have plain tabling.  The apex of the aisle gable has carried a bellcote, now vanished.  The south side shows a square-headed central door, now built up.   On either side of the door there is a large, high round-headed window, subdivided by plain tracery into two pointed lights; the lower parts of both these windows have also been built up.  Each of the three gables  has  a square-headed central door measuring 6ft 6 ins by 4ft 6 ins, with the  raggle of  a  porch  above and, on the upper level, a high  round-headed  window  with crooks  for  outside  shuttering.  The east and west gables  also  have  square windows, measuring 4ft each way, on either side of the doors; but in the aisle the  corresponding windows are placed in the side walls, with narrower ones  at the  upper level and slightly further to the south.  In the north wall of the main block there are also two similar windows at the upper level, near the junction of the aisle.   Total cost was over £330.  Sackcloth bought.  The architect was Mr Adams (father of Robert).

1735: School built on the opposite side of the road to the church.

1736: Half way up the south wall a sundial was inserted between two windows and above the central doorway.

1738: Tent of 12.5 yds of linen for communion cloth used for communion service.

1757: Robert Heart, stonemason, carried out repairs to the church and school.

1785:  Walls plastered internally and ceiling inserted.   New office houses built.

1807: Repairs to the fabric of the building.

1844:  In April a quarter of an acre of land to the south of the church was bought from Miss Kincaid.  The foundation stone of the new church was laid in the south tower and reads “Founded 10th May, 1844”.  A time capsule, consisting of coins, newspapers and archives was placed behind it.  John Tait of Edin­burgh was the architect and William Thorburn of Polmont did the mason work.  The stone was quarried form Brightons and Maddiston.  The church faces east onto Bo’ness Road with an imposing facade consisting of a gable flanked by twin spires.  It is Romanesque in style.  Cost £2,581.  Officially opened for worship on 20th July 1845, and the unwanted materials of the old church were sold off in the following August.

1899: New hall opened 11th May to a design by James Strang, Architect, Falkirk.

1931: Chancel floor raised when organ put in.

1930s: Session House built on west end.

1959: New session house built at a cost of £2,419 by Dan Ramsay & Son.

1961: 10th September, linked with Shieldhill until 1st November 1963.

1963: Lesser hall opened 18th September at a cost of £3,850.

MANSE

1730s: Built a few years after 1732, Kinneil House is still lived in.   Patrick Bennet, the first minister, lived at his own house of Whyteside and the manse was rented out with part of the rent going to the minister.

1784: Repairs.

1841: Repairs.

1954: Old manse sold and a new one purchased in Main Street.

FITTINGS

1750: 2 cups of solid silver presented by James Murray, portioner.

1845: 2 cups presented by Mrs Spiers, Polmont Bank.

1890: 2 cups presented by William Learmonth, Bowhouse.

1924: 6 silver platters presented by Captain Thomas Harvey, Weedingshall.

Individual communion sets gifted by an anonymous donor.

1928:  Communion table gifted by the congregation, made of Austrian oak in the early eighteenth century Scottish Renaissance style with decoration consisting of sheaves and vines.  Dedicated to Rev McKenzie.

1950: 2 chairs from the family of the Late Captain & Mrs Harvey, Weedingshall, and Trustees of the Boyd family, Little Kerse.

1951: Choir stalls and gold plate dedicated to those who fell in the World War.

1956:   New  pulpit  of  Austrian  oak  with  carved  pillars   enriched   with ecclesiastical  symbols depicting strength,  holiness and beauty.   The central coloured panel is a carving representing the Agnes Dei resting on a book with seven seals, three fishes to the right and a dove to the left.

1964: Baptismal font given by Mrs M. Bell, Northpark, Polmont.

ORGAN

1931: Organ installed.

BELL

1739: Account mentions bell rope and winding sheet.

1870:  New bell gifted by William Logan of Clarkston and hung in the south tower.   It weighs 15 cwt and was cast in London.   “IN memory of William Logan of Clarkston in this Parish, and Janet his Wife; gifted to the Parish Church of Polmont by their surviving sons and daughters 1870”.  The old bell was given to Blackbraes Church.

1969: Crack developed and bell recorded for future use.

WINDOW

See separate entry for stained glass.

SEATING

1733: To seat 607

1844: Accommodate 900 people in the ground floor area and the gallery.

WAR MEMORIAL

See separate entry for war memorial.

CHURCHYARD

1734: Two gravestones of this date can be seen.   There are also two temptation stones.

Polmont Old Parish Churchyard  in detail

MINISTERS OF POLMONT PARISH CHURCH

Mar 1733 Bennet, Patrick Apr 1763
Jul 1784 Finlay, William Jan 1800
Jun 1800 Smith, Dykes Nov 1809
Jul 1810 McFarlan, Patrick Jul 1824
Apr 1825 Ker, John Wightman Jan 1872
Aug 1872 Muir, Pearson McAdam Sep 1880
Jul 1880 Ross, William Oct 1893
May 1894 McKenzie, John Buchanan Feb 1926
1926 Williamson, James Walker Morison Apr 1953
Apr 1954 Talman, Hugh Oct 1987
1988 Thain, Graham M 1998

G.B. Bailey (2019)