Places of Worship

Places of Worship

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Mearns Parish Kirk

A church was established on this site in the late 12th century. The first priest was Helia de Perthic (Partick ), the brother of Robert de Pollok.  Helia ‘gifted ‘ the church to the monastery at Paisley which had been founded by Walter Fitzalan, the High Steward of Scotland, in 1163. It is clear that religious activity took place on this site from Celtic times for there exist several references to an altar to St Bride (452A.D-525A.D.). One is to be found  in an endowment of an altar to St Mary by Herbert de Maxwell dated 1273.   Herbert provided six merks of silver from his mills in Mearns for the provision of the altar and for the supply of a priest. Also, Captain George Maxwell left two cows in support of the altar to St Bride of Mearns and one cow in support of St Mary in 1522.

Mearns Parish Kirk

The present church building dates from 1813.  In 1932 a chancel, vestry and session house were added to the building. The square building on the left of the entrance was the original session house. Two sentry box like structures stand at the entrance to the church. These were erected  to discourage grave robbers - click here to view the video.

An account of a grave robbing from the Kirkyard is contained  in Reminiscences of Glasgow and the West of Scotland written by Peter Mackenzie and published in 1866. A copy can be found in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow.  From unpublished diaries it is clear that there was still considerable alarm about the resurrectionists  in the Mearns community as late as 1858.  

An incident in relation to the appointment of a new minister in the 1830s caused dissension amongst the parishioners of Mearns Kirk. A description of the incident is contained in the diary of William Allison* of Malletsheugh Farm, who was ordained an elder in Mearns Kirk in 1830. William Allison (1787-1866) and his wife Ann Bennie (1797-1863) lived at Malletsheugh Farm from 1830 until 1836 when they moved to Thorn Farm, East Kilpatrick. The extract below, written at Malletsheugh Farm, is from his diary which is lodged in the William Patrick Library, Kirkintilloch:

“After the death of Dr McLatchie (August 13th 1833) it was expected that the parish would have had their choice of minister as at the late  election for Parliament the electors exerted themselves much in returning Sir Michael Stewart, the patron, in return for which he promised to give  them the first favour in his power.  Regardless of all however he presented Mr McKellar to the Presbetry to be minister of the gospel at Mearns  Kirk: this ungrateful conduct excited several disgust however Mr. McKellar was well  approved by the Presbetry & generally approved by the  parish in his trial sermon & consequently received peacefully and  of course on Feb 20 he was ordained at Mearns Kirk.”

Mearns Kirk has been served by thirty-nine Ministers since its foundation, eight prior to the Reformation.

 
Newton Mearns Parish Church

The origins of Newton Mearns Parish Church are to be found in the Secession Church which recognised the Praying Society of Mearns, which had existed from 1643 and had joined with the neighbouring societies of Eaglesham and Neilston in 1739. The first church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church, was built in 1743 in the Main Street of Newton and a two storey manse built next to it. The first minister, Andrew Thomson, was ordained on 26th March 1746, three weeks before the Battle of Culloden.

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In 1747,  the Burgess Oath which required the citizens wishing to become a burgess to sign an oath stating that they agreed “to profess and allow the true religion presently professed by the realm” and to renounce “the Roman religion called Papistry”. They believed that the wording of the oath indicated a swearing of allegiance to the Established Church. Those in the Secession Church who supported the Oath and viewed it as a vow of loyalty to Protestantism termed themselves Burghers and those against who believed that in signing it they were approving  the “Established Church with all its corruptions” were termed Anti-Burghers.

Andrew Thomson, the minister in Mearns, and his congregation initially sided with the Burghers but within a short time Thomson and some of his congregation changed to side with the Anti-Burghers. The Burghers claimed ownership of the church and manse and there began a legal dispute which went as far as the Court of Session. This culminated in a victory for the Burgher faction who took over the church premises. Mr Thomson and the Anti-Burghers, with the support of James Pollok of Over Balgray, built a second church and manse which they occupied in 1754. This manse latterly became a private house, known as Newton House. It stood in the area now occupied by the north car park of the shopping centre and  was demolished in 1967.

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The Burgher congregation subsequently diminished and was unable to maintain the original church and manse. In 1760, they offered the properties back to the Anti-Burgher congregation who accepted the offer of the church but preferred to continue to use the new manse they had built. 

Newton Mearns Parish Church
The third church which could seat 400 people was built in 1836
Manse
The third manse was built at 204 Ayr Road in 1866. It is now a private house.
The third church was demolished in 1938 when the present church was built on the same site.
The third church was demolished in 1938 when the present church was built on the same site.
In the vestibule, there are two stones dated 1743 and 1759, the dates of the foundation of the first and second churches
In the vestibule, there are two stones dated 1743 and 1759, the dates of the foundation of the first and second churches

 

The Church of Broom

In 1941, Broom Church was initially a church extension project. The building, which was a dual purpose church and hall, later became known as the Ninian Hall.  The site  was chosen because of proposed housing development in the area.  The building went ahead, but the church building was soon too small for the growing congregation. In April 1958,  building  of a new Church began. The sanctuary was dedicated on Friday 15th May 1959.and in 1962 side rooms were added to the church hall.  In 1967,  a new hall,  the Columba Hall, was opened by Very Rev. Lord MacLeod of Fuinary.

The Church of Broom

 

Maxwell Mearns Castle Parish Church

The origins of Maxwell Mearns Castle Parish Church go back to 1864 when the original Maxwell Church, sited in Pollok Street on the south side of Glasgow, was founded. When the M8 was being constructed, the church had to be demolished to make way for the Kingston Bridge. The congregation were given temporary accommodation in Kirkhill Primary School in Newton Mearns where, for a few months, they held services until a suitable location was found for the new church at Mearns Castle. Services in the hall of the Castle began in June 1970 and members from the old Maxwell were joined by a growing number of local people while the new church was  being built adjacent to the castle. Once the church was completed the castle was no longer used.

Maxwell Mearns Castle Parish Church

 

St Cadoc’s Catholic Church

A small Church in Barrhead Road was built in the early 1900s to provide for Catholic families, many of whom were descendants of  Irish and Highland immigrants  who  had found employment in the local cloth processing works in the 19th century. This building was used until the present St Cadoc’s Church was opened in Fruin Avenue in 1981.

St Cadoc’s Catholic Church
St Cadoc’s Catholic Church

Newton Mearns Baptist Church

Newton Mearns Baptist church started life in 1982 when twenty-four people from Queens Park Baptist Church answered a call to start a new church in Newton Mearns.  As word got around, the church outgrew the first  two temporary homes - Capelrig House and Crookfur Primary School - before spending almost ten years at Eastwood High School.  In 1997 the church finally moved into the present, purpose built church building.

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Newton Mearns Hebrew Congregation

Newton Mearns Hebrew Congregation is an orthodox community established in 1954. The congregants originally met in a hall on the Ayr Road, which is now the site of Glasgow New Synagogue. Later, services were held in Fairweather Hall. The former building at Larchfield Court was constructed in 1968 and its foundation stone was laid by Arnold Berkley. This building was destroyed by fire in 1973. The Walton Family laid the foundation stone for the new building. Today, there are around 425 members.

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Glasgow Reform Synagogue

The Glasgow Reform Synagogue has been in existence for over seventy-five years. It is sited on the Ayr Road in a building with an interesting religious history. It was originally built as the hall for Mearns Parish Kirk in 1910. When the new church hall was opened in 1971, the old hall was used for worship by  the Newton Mearns Hebrew Congregation until they built their new synagogue nearby. Currently, the building is the only Reform Synagogue in Scotland  and has over 350 members.

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