Buchlyvie & Gartmore

Parish Churches 

A Window on Buchlyvie … a search for the past.

Taken from an article by the Reverend John Lang in the Brigg - October 1981.

A chance remark made in a parishioner's home brought to light an interesting photograph, taken in 1872, of Buchlyvie Parish Church. It shows the minister, he Reverend John A. Macdonald, standing beside a wall on he south side of the Church. Today roughly al the point Where the minister is standing, there are gates at the top of the steps leading down to the main door of the church. This door gives entry to the porch, which did not exist when the small photograph was taken, but which, one assumes, must have been built al the same time as the chancel and trancepts. The small window on the west gable of the church, you will notice, was bricked up at this time also.

The search begins
This photograph was a happy discovery, for it confirmed local lore. I had heard that the church had contained a gallery and a window behind the gallery, and that both had been removed when the reconstruction of the church was done.
Having made this interesting discovery, I tried to determine when the chancel and trancepts were added. The obvious source of this information ought to have been the appropriate Kirk Session Minute Book. Little did I think I was now embarking on a Quest which was just a degree less difficult than the search for the Holv Grail. 

Chink of light
To my chagrin I found that the Kirk Session Minute Book which should have supplied the answers I was looking for was not where it should have been in Register House. Not only did I want to know when the enlargement of Buchlyvie Parish Church was begun, I wanted to find information about the stained glass window in the chancel; the name of the artist, the year it was installed and so on. However, a chink of light appeared in the darkness quite unexpectedly. The element of chance (or was it Providence?) comes into the story again. 
One Saturday forenoon a few months ago, a Glasgow gentleman rang the manse door-bell. He asked if he might see the interior of the church, as he noticed that it had a stained glass window, and stained glass windows were his special interest.

Various avenues have been explored in the hope that these facts would be revealed. A visit to the Glasgow School of Art a letter to the Head of the stained glass department of another College of Art, a search of copies of the Stirling Journal of years near to the death of the person commemorated by the stained glass window all no avail. When he had studied the three sections of the window he suggested that it contained features reminiscent of the style of Charles Stewart. who. along with his father, worked for William Meikle and Company of Glasgow until 1907. In that year they established their own studio in Elmbank Street.

Search continues
This window was commissioned by the brothers and sisters of the William M'Onie whom it commemorates and whose father, Sir William M'Onie, was at one time Lord Provost of Glasgow. It depicts Christ in majesty in a posture of blessing. Beneath Him are gathered some of the disciples, two mothers and two children as well as a very old man, a wistful touch. The window bears the legend "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God". The moral of this laic is twofold. It stresses the need to see that all church records are passed from one office-bearer to anolher when changes occur in clerkships and secondly, the need to observe punctiliously the General Assembly injunction that all records be deposited for safe keeping centrally and that this be done without delay. I live in hope that the missing details may yet turn up to enable a fulI and accurate historical account of this Church to be written. Perhaps a reader might have some of the information that I am seeking!?