CIRCUMSTANCES have permitted me little more than six months to gather together the particulars embodied in the accompanying sketch, which I have undertaken at the request of the Church Management. To make it as satisfactory as could be wished the writer would have needed, considering the multifarious duties of a minister’s calling, almost as many years. Much interesting information connected with the district is no doubt likely to reward an exhaustive study of authorities. The examination which, of necessity, I have been able to give them, was but a hurried one, and this must be my apology for any serious omissions or mistakes.
My thanks are due for valuable assistance to Mr. Hugh M. Robertson, Messrs. Andrew Paul & Company, writers ; Mr. Walter Buchanan, Dunclutha, Tollcross; Mr. James Mair, B.Sc.; Mr. Adams, Mitchell Library ; and Mr. William Roy, Tollcross Road.
I have in the writing of these pages sought to avoid everything that might appear to be a raking amongst the ashes of extinct controversies, or that could be construed into an offence against tender susceptibility.
Mr. Robertson furnishes the sketch of the late Mr. John Kinniburgh.
CARMYLE AVENUE, TOLLCROSS,
CROSS OF “SCHEDINESTOUN”
THE rights and customs granted to the burgh of Rutherglen at its erection into a burgh royal by King David (1126), and confirmed by King William some forty or fifty years later, extended over what was once nearly the whole of the district of Glasgow, then only a bishop’s burgh, and not until the seventeenth century entrusted with the election of its own magistrates. Consequently a collision of interests between Rutherglen and Glasgow became inevitable. But Alexander II granted (1226) to Bishop Walter a charter which forbade the provosts, bailies, or officers of Rutherglen to take tolls or customs in the town of Glasgow, or nearer then the ” Cross of Schedinestoun,” as ” they used formerly to be levied.”(1 – Reg. of Glasgow, p114) Sir James Marwick supposes the object of this charter to have been the prevention of future disputes. If so, it was not wholly successful, since for long afterwards Rutherglen continued to oppress the bishop’s burgh. William, Bishop of Glasgow, complains (1449) of disturbance and impediment to trade, and James II issued an ordinance forbidding “any hurtying and prejudice to the privileges and customs granted to the kirk of Glasgow of auld tym.” “Nane of yhour said burrows, na nane vtheris cum wythin the barony of Glasgow, na wythin ony landis pertendand to Sanct Mungoe’s Freedome to tak’ toll or custom be watter or land.” (2 – Glasgow Reg., pp. 369-70)
This “Cross of Schedinestoun” has been variously located. The probability is that the situation was at the west end of the village of Tollcross. At this point the road from Rutherglen via Bogleshole Ford—a very ancient crossing—and Shettleston to Falkirk and Stirling, intersects the old Roman road to Glasgow, which in the village forms Main Street. This road was one of the two great arteries of traffic which ran into Scotland from the south. The view here given is somewhat supported by Sir James Marwick. “That portion of the lands of Shettleston on which the cross stood (3 – There are, so far as I can discern, no traces of a symbolic stone cross ever having stood at the place where toll was exacted, although the likelihood is that such a stone was once in existence) was probably what was known as the ‘ two-merk ‘ land of ‘ Towcorse,’ now called Tollcross.”(4 – Charters and documents relating to the City of Glasgow, p. 526)
The name is ancient although the village is comparatively modern. The old spelling is various Towcors, Towcorse, Towcross. The first syllable has given plausibility to the supposition that it is derived from the flax which at one period was largely grown and manufactured in the neighbourhood, and from which the Rutherglen authorities would be certain to exact the legal due. But the tol or tax at the cross would be levied on many things other than manufactured flax.
The truth is that the form in the first syllable is old Scottish for the Anglo-Saxon “tol” or “tel,” signifying to count. Tollcross means the cross of levying or exacting by counting goods so as to take the “tol” or “tax.”(5 – My friend Mr. Hugh M. Robertson writes, “The tellers ill our banks are a fine instance of the survival of the ancient meaning.”) Instances are not infrequent showing a connection between ancient crosses and ancient exactions upon trade, and Dr. Stewart specifies two examples which correspond to the “Cross of Schedinestoun.”
The lands of Tollcross were originally much more extensive than in later times, including until early in the eighteenth century Easter Camlachie, which was known as ” the Little Hill of Tollcross,” and is now called Janefield, or the Eastern Necropolis.
As concerns Shettleston there are numerous forms of the ancient name. In a charter dated Jedwarth, 29th October, 1226, it is Schedenstun. In another, of the sixteenth century, dated at Holyrood in favour of Walter, commendator of Blantyre, it is Scheildiston. In a similar document dated at Dumbarton, 26th August, 1591, it is Scheddilstoun. The truth is that in the matter of spelling each ancient conveyancer seems to have been a law unto himself. I have counted no fewer than nine different forms of the word, and there may easily be more, the commonest of which appears to have been Scheddylstoun.
The name seems to be derived from Villa filie Sadin,(1- Origines Parochiales Scotiae) so called as some suppose from a daughter of St. Patrick’s brother, but more likely from some Saxon colonist, and is enumerated among the bishop’s (of Glasgow) possessions so early as 1170. It has, of course, no connection with the industry which in modern times led to the vulgar supposition that Shettleston was a corruption of Shuttleston.
The lands of Shettleston up to the Reformation were held by the bishops of Glasgow under various royal charters. On 12th September, 1241, Alexander II granted to Bishop William Bondington, Chancellor of Scotland, a charter to hold lands around Glasgow. Among those enumerated is “Schedinistun,” with the usual penalty attached of ten pounds (Scots) for offences committed against the vert or venison—so early were the game laws in existence, and so early were there poachers, (2 – Register of Glasgow, p. 147 )
The ancient surface of the parish was largely a forest of bush land or moss, the memory of which still survives in the names “Eastmuir” and “Westmuir,” in which may have disported the wolf, deer, and wild boar. The valuable work published by the Bannatyne Club entitled “Origines Parochiales Scotiae,” suggests that ” the legend which represents St. Kentigern as miraculously compelling the wolf of the woods to join with the deer of the hills in labouring in the yoke of his plough, may preserve a memory of the fact that those animals abounded there.”
It would appear that in 1170 there was a church or chapel in the village, but no traces of it are discernible in the subsequent records of the diocese. The lands of the Barony of Glasgow, including Shettleston, were confiscated to the Crown at the Reformation, and great lords whose only right was might rushed in to divide amongst themselves the spoil.
Carmyle originally appears as land gifted by Bishop Herbert of Glasgow (1147-1164) to the Cistercian or Bernardian Abbey of Newbotle, to which the Monklands belonged. The earliest occurrence of the modern name of Monkland as applied to land is in a permission of Walter, the Steward of Scotland (1323), to the monks of Newbotle (Newbattie), giving right to passage for their goods and cattle through his barony of Backis to their own, called the Monkland.
The parish as it existed before the Reformation was about twenty miles long, with an average of three in breadth. It was divided about 1640 into the parishes of Old and New Monkland. Long before this date (1 – Statistical Account of Scotland) the lands had been feued out to particular heritors, some of whose descendants are still in possession.
As early as the fourteenth century the parish of the Monklands was so known. But there was a more ancient name which had become lost until comparatively late researches brought it to light. This was Badermanoch or Badermonoc. The ancient church of Badermanoch or Monklands stood on the site of the present church of Old Monkland. Badermanoch, whether applied to church or land, ceases to be met with after 1241. In 1509 the vicar of Cadder, also vicar of Monkland, gave an endowment of twenty shillings “yeirlye to the priest of the Monkland, and to the curat of the Monkland ten shillings yeirlye” to ” pray for him daily in their mess” (mass), and to “compeir in the kirk of Monklands on Salmes daye (All Souls’ Day) eftir nwyn, and thair to say exequias mortuorum, with mess (masi) on the requiem on the morn for his faderis saule and his moderis saule, and his ain saule,” which is the earliest occurrence of the name ” Monklands ” for the church which seems as yet to have been met with.
These monks of Newbattie had a grange at Dunpeldre or Drumpellier, which, with the lands, was granted to them by Malcolm III in “perpetual alms,”,and free from all secular exaction. The larders, cellars, and stores of this Drumpellier grange were doubtless seldom ill stocked; for it seems the monks of Newbotle were excellent agriculturists, excellent fishermen, excellent woollen manufacturers, and excellent miners. They are said to have been the earliest workers of coal in Caledonia, and were never at a loss for good fuel, any more than good flesh, good fish, good salt, and good wool. If they were jolly and well fed, they were also a hard working fraternity, adding in no small degree to the civilization of the country.
Carmyle, Kermil, or Karmyl is said to come from the Gaelic Carr-maol or Cathair-maol, signifying “the bare town.” Should this be the true etymology, the reason may not be difficult to find. The strips of soil immediately in the neighbourhood of river banks were early cultivated—an antecedent, probability, the soil being in those localities alluvial and very rich. It has already been observed that most of the land to the north of Carmyle and Tollcross was originally forest and brushwood alternating with moss, giving excellent cover for wild animals. The lands close to Carmyle being1 alluvial were probably cleared at an early date, so as to give room for successful agriculture. The appellative “bareland” would, in the circumstances be quite appropriate, in contradistinction to the uncleared land lying towards the north. The district was agricultural from time immemorial.
Bishop Cheyam of Glasgow (1268) appears to have purchased the lands of “Kermil” from the monks of Newbotle for the support of three priests to celebrate mass in the church of Glasgow for the weal of the souls of Archdeacon Reginald of Glasgow, and all predecessors and successors. The Carmyle mill, which is still busily grinding, seems to have been a very ancient factory, having been built originally by Bishop Cheyam, and is excepted in that worthy bishop’s dedication of the lands to the above-mentioned purposes.
THE OLD FAMILIES
The lands of Tollcross are associated from a very early period with the family of Corbet. Roger Corbet was a baron of Scotland, and swore fealty to Edward I. (1296). He belonged to the family of MacKersten, a branch of which “for several centuries resided in Clydesdale.”(1 – Ragman’s Roll) This is said to be the Tollcross family.
Archbishop Boyd, under a charter of 1580, grants to “Gabriel Carbart” of Hardgray several lands in feu, including the “two-merk” lands of ” Towcorse,” at that, time occupied by ”Carbart” and his sub-tenants-This grant was confirmed by a charter under the Great Seal in October, 1582. (2 – Reg Mag. Sig., 1580-1592) The Commissary records of Glasgow mention a “James Corbet of Towcors” at the beginning of the seventeenth century. At its close there is a Walter Corbet of “Towcorse,” the armorial bearings of whom are given by Nisbet (1722) in his “System of Heraldry.” A Corbet of ” Towcors” who lived before the American War was an enemy of smugglers, in this antipathy quite out of sympathy with many of the landed proprietors of his day, who would have sided with old Bertram of Ellangowan when he defended the smugglers on the ground that ” people must have brandy and tea— and then there’s short accounts, and maybe a keg or two, or a dozen pounds left at your stable door, instead of a lang account at Christmas from Duncan Robb, the grocer at Kippletringan, who has aye a sum to make up, and either wants ready money or a short-dated bill.” In this Corbet’s time smuggled goods consisting of rum, brandy, tea, tobacco and silks were landed on the Ayrshire coast, carted to Beith, and thence taken to Glasgow on horseback. To pass the old Glasgow bridge would have been to court great risk of arrestment, consequently the round-about route via Dalmarnock Ford was usually the one to which was given the preference. Corbet observing a man on horseback making for the ford, slung across the back of whose animal were two casks, ordered him to halt. The rider paying no attention, Corbet pulled his pistol, and shooting the horse dead, made a seizure of the spirits. Whether Corbet ever gave up the casks to the authorities, old McUre, who relates the incident, sayeth not. The connection of the Corbets with Tollcross terminated finally in 1810. The last of the Corbets of Tollcross were Major James Corbet and his brother, Cuningham Corbet, and their families. (1 – An old pamphlet in the Stirling Library says that the representative of the Corbels succeeding to the estate of Duchal changed his name to Porterlield )
Mr. Walter Buchanan, Secretary of the Clyde Ironworks, supplies the undernoted particulars with reference to the Dunlop family:—
The Dunlop family (originally hailing from Ayrshire no doubt) have been for two centuries or more associated with Glasgow and its environs, Garnkirk, Carmyle, Cambuslang, and Tollcross. They rose to more eminence and distinction at the development of the tobacco trade between Virginia and Glasgow. John the Provost, and James, of Petersburg, Virginia, were pioneers in this business, as also in the early banking houses of the city, and here was laid the foundation of the family fortunes. They became landowners at Garnkirk, Rosebank, and Carmyle long before their immediate association with Tollcross, which arose out of their coal mining industry. They worked coal, in the days prior to James Watt, necessarily at shallow depths, and practically but skimmed the surface of the coalfields of this district, which have since yielded undreamed-of millions of tons of fuel.
In the beginning of last century the farms of Maukinfauld, Easterhill, Braidfauld, and Fullarton were studded over with shallow pits, which worked the thin surface seams and gave employment to most of the small population. The establishment, as an offshoot of Carron Works, of the Clyde Ironworks in 1786, had already increased the working population by an access of tradesmen, chiefly moulders and ironworkers. Guns for use in the Napoleonic Wars were then in much demand, and the Clyde Iron Company was founded primarily to meet this demand.
The original granter of the site for the church William Caddell of Carron—was the chief of the first partners of the company; the name still survives in the ownership of Carron lands. Another name of later importance was that of Outram. Joseph Outram was manager at Clyde, and in 1805 (the year before the feu was given off) there was born to him a son George, who came to be founder, editor and proprietor of the Glasgow Herald. This George was also the author of one or two inimitable Scottish poems, which carry his name down to the present time, and will keep his memory green even longer than his famous journalistic enterprise.
The Corbets of Tollcross or Towcross, whatever their penchant, do not seem to have been ambitious to join in the rising industry of coalmining, and their lands were in 1810 bought by Colin Dunlop of Carmyle, who was later M.P. for Glasgow in the Whig interest, and a noted son of a noted father. It should be remembered that a large part of Tollcross is really on the Carmyle estate, the church itself being on the lands of Auchenshuggle, which are no part of the original Tollcross. This Colin Dunlop, a man of energy and enterprise, soon afterwards acquired the Clyde Ironworks, and thus became the principal, if not indeed the only magnate of the district. His career was chequered. His very energy, like “vaulting ambition,” overleaped itself at times. In popular language he frequently put too many irons in the fire, and spoiled his whole enterprise. Withal this Colin Dunlop was a man of remarkable parts as well as of indomitable industry, and it was in his regime that the remarkable discovery at Clyde Ironworks of the hot-blast system by James Beaumont Neilson was made in 1829, which revolutionised the iron industry of Scotland and the world. If he who makes two blades of grass to grow where one grew before is to be reckoned a benefactor of mankind, then he also who makes one unit of heat do the work of ten may lay in a claim for praise. This practically is what Neilson did under the auspices of Colin Dunlop, and at Clyde Ironworks, Tollcross, in the early years of last century, and the district must be held to have earned a niche in the temple of industrial fame, which will not be forgotten even when it becomes wholly merged in the great city of Glasgow.
Colin Dunlop died at Tollcross in 1837, being succeeded by his nephew, the late James Dunlop, who was a well-known figure to most of the present generation, though it is well nigh three quarters of a century since he took possession here.
I was, for many years, associated with the late James Dunlop of Tollcross, who was connected for a long life-time with Tollcross. He built the present Tollcross house in the year 1852, so that the house is not old as mansion-houses go. It took the place of a house of very meagre dimensions. I have still in my possession the correspondence with architects and builders, and it is of interest to know that the beautiful arrangement of trees in the glen, whereby variegated foliage in Spring is assured, and the fine lime tree avenue leading to the house, was the personal selection of this lover of woodland. Mr. Dunlop had this charming trait to perfection. He was not a horticulturist or a botanist, but he was simply an idolater of the beautiful in trees, and whether in his own estate or in others in which he had interest, woe betide the despoiler upon whom he laid hands.
This James, along with his brother Colin Robert, was of the Edinburgh branch of the family and bred to the law, and took ever a lawyer’s view of business. He practised as a solicitor in London before coming to take partnership with his uncle in Clyde Ironworks some 70 years ago. He was a man of punctilious regularity of habit and life, and of strict, and even at times what might be called by the world quixotic integrity. In 1857, when the Western Bank failed, in which he was chairman of directors, he voluntarily-stripped himself of his whole fortune and gave about £100,000 (which at that time was a very large sum) to the bank’s creditors. Other wealthy directors were not so generous, and the case being taken to Court, it was held they were in no way legally entitled to meet more than their ordinary shareholders’ responsibility. But Mr. Dunlop was unaffected by the decision. To him it was a matter of honour to do as he did, and so it remained. It turned out in the sequel that had others done as he did the bank’s credit would have been restored, and probably not a penny would have been lost to any one in that great disaster.
He was autocratic and even severe in his dealings with men, but never consciously unjust; and perhaps he was unfitted in many ways for commerce. He had not the old Dunlop instincts for bargaining in the marketplace, and he lacked, not the shrewdness or balanced judgment of the man of affairs, but rather the quick perception of personal advantage which goes so far towards commercial success. As a magistrate and county squire he was in his element, and he brought to public duty a conscientiousness and distinction which magnified the office and dignified the layman’s administration of justice. Proud and reserved in manner, he was still of most kindly disposition, and had a happy humour that bubbled over in anecdote and reminiscence in company. The finer traits of his character came into fuller blossom in the later years of his life, and it is matter of great regret that Mr. Dunlop, with his unique accomplishments, did not leave behind some book of reminiscences of the period in which he figured. It would in all probability have been of abiding interest and rivalled the best things of the kind which the nineteenth century has produced.
Dr. J. O. Mitchell writes (1- Old Glasgow Essays, p. 341)—”Beyond the grimy suburb of Parkhead a high wall, with gates and lodge, skirts the turnpike road on the north. Forges and foundries, coal pits and ironworks have vanished; the only building in sight is a turreted mansion standing in a wooded demesne; a burn winds between sloping banks with shrubs and flowering trees; rabbits scurry among the bushes, and rooks wheel above the tall elms.” The Tollcross policies are now a public park, the property of the Corporation of Glasgow, one of the most beautiful of the city.
The Grays of Carntyne seem to have been proprietors of the lands of that name for several hundred years. In 1628 a John Gray succeeded his brother, and in 1678 acquired three quarters of the lands of Dalmarnock. He was a Covenanter, and the persecuted ministers in the “killing times” found in him a protector. He was the first to work the Carntyne coal. He lived to a great age. His grandson vigorously prosecuted the mining industry at Westmuir Colliery, which was among the oldest in the West of Scotland. This grandson was a namesake of the old Covenanter, but he apparently did not cherish his ancestor’s sentiments, for he was a Jacobite, and showing some disposition to join the ranks of Prince Charlie in 1715, a sound-minded governess in the person of a worthy spouse, Elizabeth Hamilton of Newton, gave information of his intentions to the authorities, in-consequence of which he was thrown into prison. He died in 1742.
Robert Gray, who died in 1832, was Deputy-Lieutenant for Lanarkshire and an active magistrate. The son of this magistrate used to tell a story which shews that the Covenant and Presbyterianism seem to have run in the family blood, notwithstanding the errancy of one scion of the house. When the Episcopal Chapel near the Green—the first place of worship to have an organ after the Reformation—was in the course of being built, his aunt, who was a Mrs. Hamilton, happened to be taking a walk in the Green during the masons’ dinner hour. She saw their mallets lying about, and hiding one in her huge muff she marched away with it muttering, “If ilka ane would do as I am doing this day, the house of Baal would not be biggit for twelve months to come.” (1- Old Glasgow Essays. The prejudice against Episcopacy had not yet died down amongst the worthy Presbyterians of Glasgow, being almost as strong as their prejudice against the theatre) Robert Gray was succeeded by his only son, Rev. John Hamilton Gray, vicar of Derbyshire, dean of Chesterfield, and an accurate scholar and genealogist. At his death (1867) the male line of Grays became extinct.
The Bogles are in evidence in the district from very early times, and had farms on the bishop’s lands at Carmyle in the beginning of the sixteenth century.
“Then I straightway did espy, with my slantly, sloping eye
A carved stone, hard by, somewhat worn,
And I read in letters cold—Here lyes Launcelot ye bolde
Oft ye race off Bogile old Glasgow borne.”
They became proprietors at Shettleston, Daldowie, and Bogleshole, having previously been rentallers or tenants. George Bogle of Daldowie became connected, by marriage with a daughter of the house of Sinclair of Stevenston, with the Earls of Crawford. He was Lord Rector of Glasgow University in 1737, 1743, and 1747. The old portion of Daldowie House is said to have been built by him before 1745.
Daldowie was in the Bogle family just one hundred years, and after being held by John Dixon of Calder Iron Works, was sold in 1830 to James McCall, a respected merchant in Glasgow, whose descendants still hold the property.
Of the Bogles of Shettleston there were four Roberts, the third of whom married Jean Carlyle. Their second son Archibald was ancestor of Gilmorehill, and had a daughter Margaret, who married the novelist Michael Scott, author of “Tom Cringle’s Log.” The Robert Bogle of Shettleston who died in 1790 married a Miss Wood of Largo. The government at Edinburgh gave her ancestor—Sir Andrew Wood—the Largo estate for his services against the English at sea in his vessel the Yellow Garvel, against whom Sir Andrew was frequently victorious. The third son of this couple was postmaster in Glasgow, and died in 1806. Shettleston estate passed in 1762 to James McNair of Greenfield.
The Findlays of Easterhill or Easter Dalbeth acquired the property from Hopkirk of Dalbeth in 1784, who bought it from Archibald Smellie in 1783. Smellie obtained the estate in the middle of the eighteenth century, built the mansion-house, and resided in it for many years. Smellie was a merchant in Glasgow, one of the ” Kings of the Causeway,” and Dean of Guild, 1769. The Wardrops of Dalmarnock held Easterhill in the time of Queen Anne, which formed in ancient times part of the lands of Easter Dalbeth.
The first Findlay of Easterhill was Robert, merchant in Glasgow. He was the son of Dr. Robert Findlay, professor of Divinity in Glasgow University. He was Dean of Guild in 1797. His wife was a daughter of Robert Dunlop, fourth son of the second James Dunlop of Garnkirk. His son, also Robert, was an eminent merchant and banker. Dying in 1862, at the age of 78, he left the property to the late Mr. Findlay, whose widow resides in the neighbourhood of Lanark, at Bonnington House. Mrs. Findlay was a Buchanan of Greenfield, Shettleston.
The Buchanans of Mount Vernon have their origin from Drymen—”the Buchanan country.” They were the Buchanans of Gartacharan or Gartacharn. George Buchanan, merchant in Glasgow, acquired Mount Vernon about 1756, and built the older portion of the mansion, house, afterwards altered and improved.
The name of the estate is recent. The ancient name for Mount Vernon was Windyedge, which was altered by George Buchanan to Mount Vernon at the time of his purchase (circa 1756). The Buchanans were Virginian merchants. The Virginian tobacco plantation of the Buchanans was bounded by that of the elder brother of George Washington., which was called “Hunting-creek,” on the banks of the Potomac. Lawrence Washington had served under the fine old British Admiral Vernon, when he was on the American station. In mutual compliment to the British hero, Washington and Buchanan changed the names of Hunting-creek and Windyedge respectively into Mount Vernon. The estate is still in the hands of the Buchanan family. The late Col. Carrick Buchanan of Drumpellier was George Buchanan’s great-grandson.
The Hutchesons were associated with the district of Nether or Wester Carmyle, Thomas Hutcheson (1579) having come into possession of this portion of the Carmyle lands. Thomas was the father of George and Thomas Hutcheson, founders of Hutchesons’ Hospital and schools. The youngest of his three daughters was married to a Ninian Hill, who followed the brothers in the ownership, and is ancestor of Dr. Hill, of Messrs. Hill & Hoggan, and clerk of the Hutcheson Trust.
The Sligos of Carmyle have held the estate for a considerable period, but they do not properly belong to the old Glasgow families connected with the district. A hundred years ago John Sligo of Carmyle took an interest in the Tollcross Church, and was indeed the highest contributor to the original church building fund; and in later years representatives of the family sat in the church. The present representative, Mr. Smith Sligo, has his residence in the cast of Scotland, and is a member of the Roman Catholic communion.
INTERESTING PERSONALITIES CONNECTED WITH THE VILLAGE AND NEIGHBOURHOOD
In the burial-ground of the church, underneath a memorial stone placed in the north wall of the cemetery, lie the remains of William Millar, the poet of childhood, author of the well-known “Wee Willie Winkie.” Millar was born in the Bridgegate of Glasgow in 1810, and spent his early years in the village of Parkhead. Disappointed when a lad of sixteen, through severe illness, of entering the university as a medical student, he was apprenticed to a wood turner, in which craft he attained to great proficiency. His poetic reputation chiefly rests on three pieces—” Wee Willie Winkie,” “John Frost,” and the “Sleepy Bairn.” The first was described by the late George Gilfillan as “the greatest nursery song in the world,” in which he is sustained by Robert Buchanan. This eulogy of Millar’s effort was pronounced at a meeting in the City Hall, at the close of which Gilfillan was accosted by a tall old man who, with moistened eyes, said he was the author of the song. His collected works appeared in 1863, and in 1902 a new edition was published. A monument was erected to his memory in Glasgow Necropolis, which has led to the general supposition that he was buried there; but this is an error, the fact being as has been stated above. He died at Glasgow on 20th August, 1872.
David Wingate was a poet of genius, who, in the leisure hours snatched from a busy life, devoted himself to literary composition of various degrees of excellence. For several years he resided in Tollcross, where his family still remain. He died at Mount Cottage in the village on 7th February, 1892, and was buried in the churchyard of Dalziel. Mr. Eyre-Todd in his “Glasgow Poets,” says that Mr. Wingate was born at Cowglen, near Pollokshaws, in January, 1828. He had very early to go to the pit, having lost his father when he was five years old, and was practically self educated. A lover of nature, he delighted in long rambles into the country, when he generally carried with him a plaid with which to cover himself, should need arise to spend the night in the open. Wild flowers were his hobby. He wrote stories, poems and songs, which appeared in the Glasgow Weekly Herald, Glasgow Citizen, Good Words, and in Blackwood. His first volume, published in 1862, established his title to the name of poet, and was highly praised by Lord Neaves in a review which appeared in Blackwood’s Magazine. His reputation expanding, he became acquainted with men of letters, which gave him the means of attending the Glasgow School of Mines, by which he qualified himself for the position of colliery manager, which he filled successively at various places, and finally at Toll-cross. Several volumes issued from his pen, and in 1883 Mr. Wingate in recognition of his literary work received a civil pension of £50. He was twice married, the mother of his children being his first wife. His second wife, Margaret Thomson, was a descendant of Robert Burns.
John Breckinridge was a poet and good-humoured songster to his native place; to the outer world, a famous maker of fiddles. He wrote some fine poetry, amongst other pieces ” The Humours of Gleska’ Fair,” but he never could be induced to publish them. The only poem that became generally known was the one just mentioned, which was published against his will. This was done by a singer called Livingstone, who made the song exceedingly popular, and the author never forgave him for his action. Old Gibbie Watson, the Parkhead baker, was a cronie of the poet, and when Watson was on the eve of starting his bakery, a number of friends assembled in the “Black Bull” to give him an auspicious send off. Gibbie stood the pies, and the others the porter. Breckinridge was called upon to open the concert, which he did in the following verses :—
It’s auld Ne’er-day nicht, an’ we’re met i’ the ” Bull,”
Wi’ our hearts dancin’ licht, an’ a bowl flowing full,
Let envy and spite throw aff a’ disguise,
And drink to young Gibbie that’s gi’en us the pies.
Noo, here’s to us a’—man, wife, lad and lass—
In peace and good humour this nicht let us pass,
An’ when on the morrow we think on the fray,
May conscience against us hae nothing to say.
Breckinridge was born at Parkhead in 1790, and, like almost every other man in the village, was a handloom weaver. In his early manhood he joined the Lanarkshire Militia, and served a term of five years in Ireland. He was a small, rotund, dark-eyed, blithe man, a lover of fun, and would dress as a foreigner and pass through the village playing his fiddle without recognition. One of his dying acts was to cause to be cast to the flames the monuments of his genius and humour—poems, songs and epigrams. He died towards the close of 1840, and was buried in Tollcross Church-yard.
James Beaumont Neilson was a native of Shettleston, where he spent the early years of his life as a working mechanic. One of the chief causes of the rise of the district was not only the abundance of black-band ironstone, but the substitution of heated for cold air in keeping up the blast. Neilson became manager of the Glasgow Gasworks, and while holding this position he discovered the advantage of applying air at a high temperature to smelting furnaces. The patent was tried with complete success, first in Clyde Ironworks, and immediately adopted at William Dixon’s Calder Ironworks; and from that time onwards dates a vast development in smelting operations. “In 1829 Clyde Ironworks were using eight tons one hundredweight made in coke for the manufacture of one ton of iron. Two years later they were enabled by means of the hot blast to double their output and use two tons five hundredweight of coal in its raw state per ton of iron.” Neilson was born in 1793, and died at Queen’s Hill, Glasgow, 1865.
James Martin, town councillor for a lengthened period, and bailie of the City of Glasgow, and also for a time a manager in the Main Street Church, built a house in the outskirts of the village, in which he lived for many years. Bailie Martin kept the Town Council lively. Like Bailie Moir before him, he amused, provoked, or instructed that august assemblage. His wife was connected with distinguished families of the Church of the Relief. They both lie in Tollcross churchyard.
George Honeyman was the biggest man in the village of Parkhead, and perhaps in the city, his weight being enormous. He was the keeper of a flesher’s shop and of a tavern. He came to Tollcross Church regularly, but he never sat down, preserving a standing position throughout the lengthened services, which were a feature of the worship of those old times. The size of Mr. Honeyman, together with the posture, made him a very prominent figure in the congregation of his day, and he never could be forgotten by any who in his time frequented the church. The only other man who could put in any claim to approach Mr. Honeyman in size, although this was but at a distance, was the father of Mr. John Cherrie, late of Clyde.
SOCIAL CONDITION OF DISTRICT TOWARDS THE CLOSE OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
The close, as contrasted with the commencement, of the century marks a striking change for the better. The poverty-stricken appearance of the people no longer obtruded itself. The cultivation of the soil was conducted on more scientific principles with more satisfactory results. Farms had risen greatly in value. A farmer at the beginning of the nineteenth century would have jumped at the offer of land at two and sixpence an acre which, a hundred years earlier, a competent authority declares would have been rack-rented- at half that sum. (1- Graham’s Social Life of Scotland, 18th century) It could no longer be said that the lairds might “have a pickle land, a mickle debt, a doocot and a lawsuit, but never a full purse.” It was not difficult to find capital to improve the soil, and skill to drain it. A century before he might be deemed lucky who could find change for a £10 note within half a dozen county towns ; now he could get it in any country village.
Rye-grass and clover—formerly despised as “English weeds”—potatoes and turnips were conspicuous on every countryside. Better farming yielded heavier crops; heavier crops yielded larger profits. To assist the growing prosperity, the roads, in contrast with their state at the beginning of the century, were no longer mere tracks, fit only for cadgers with their creels, but highways in the proper sense. When the tumbril, holding somewhere about as much as a big wheel-barrow, carried (1723) a load of coal to Cambuslang from East Kilbride, it was a miracle to see, and crowds came out to have a look at the wonderful machine. In 1800 carts and wheeled carriages were familiar objects. With greatly increased means of communication there came a greatly increased commerce, and the farmer was able to get much more easily to market. The produce of the field, the produce of the factory, the produce of the mine could be taken into town “at a tenth of the former cost in a tenth of the former time.” And as a result better buildings housed a people more accustomed to greater comforts; better food appeared on the table, and better clothing covered their backs.
The increase of wealth and of demand for labour brought about increase of wages and enhancement of prices. The average wage (1750) for the best ploughman was equal to £7 a year. The weaver or mason had sixpence a day, the collier about tenpence. Ten years before the church was built the wage of the ploughman was about £15 a year, the weaver or mason had one and twopence, and the miner two and sixpence or two and tenpence a day. Sheep sold at the beginning of the century at two and sixpence each; at the close they fetched from nine to eighteen shillings. Ayrshire cattle at the end of the century yielded “twelve pints (Scots) of milk a day, as compared with two, and at the highest three, at the beginning.” Horses cost about from £3 to £7 in 1700; in 1800 they were worth from £15 to £20.
There was also a revolution in the style and efficiency of agricultural instruments and general farm requisites. There were better ploughs, better harrows, better saddles and harness; and in particular the stupid old Scottish prejudice against the introduction of novelties—so marked in isolated communities—had sensibly declined. No farmer at the beginning of the nineteenth century, however pious, would have dreamed of rejecting an improvement on grounds such as his ancestors of a century earlier rejected the use of Meikle’s fanner, described by Mause Headrigg as “that new-fangled machine for dichting the corn “—to wit, it was an uncanny thing which “raised the devil’s wind.”
Manufactures kept pace with agriculture, and even outran it. In 1782 Menteith made muslin in Glasgow. Muslin weavers crowded Parkhead, Tollcross, and the neighbourhood; the noise of the clatter of the shuttle was heard throughout the villages; all found employment, there being plenty to do and plenty to win.
In ilka house, frae man to boy,
A’ hands in Glasgow find employ;
E’en little maids, wi’ meikle joy,
Flow’r lawn and gauze.
Or clip, wi’ care, the silken soy
For ladies’ braws
Their fathers weave, their mothers spin,
The muslin cloak sae fine and thin,
That, frai the ankle to the chin
It aft discloses
The beauteous symmetry within—
Limbs, neck and bosies ! “(1- John May, 1759-1836)
Cotton bleachfields were set up in the city (1785), and not long afterwards appeared the bleachfield at Carmyle. The Forth and Clyde Canal was completed (1790) ; the Clyde began to be altered into a deep waterway admitting vessels of size ; Henry Bell’s Comet commenced (1812) to ply on the river ; and Tennant founded (1801) the chemical industry, ” the highest chimney in the world marking the site.”
The causes which in general gave so strong an impetus to trade and agriculture did the same for the coal industry. Pits were fitted with modern gearing, and shafts to new mines were sunk. The steam engine now aided the coalmasters’ enterprise. The mines of Carntyne had long supplied fuel to Glasgow. In 1768 the first steam machinery erected in the West of Scotland for drawing off mine water was erected in Carntyne, taking the place of the ponderous and insufficient windmill previously in use, and blown to fragments in the wild storm of the ” windy Saturday.”
There is a tradition that an old thorn tree once grew on one of the Carntyne farms under which a large copper pot had stood when the plague was fierce in the city. In this pot the money from the town to purchase coal was boiled for purposes of disinfection. The hillmen at the pit received the money in long-shafted iron spoons, by the instrumentality of which it was thrown into the pot.
An early factor in the prosperity of Glasgow and our district was the rise of the “tobacco lords,” many of whom became lairds in the neighbourhood, such as the Buchanans, Bogles and Dunlops. They imported cargoes of tobacco and rum from the colonies of Virginia and Maryland. For a time nearly the whole of the tobacco trade of the country, and a wide portion of the Continent, was in their hands. They grew excessively rich, became magnates of the city, set up banks, led society, gave themselves airs and assumed superiorities. Strutting on the “plain stanes” of the Trongate as “Kings of the Causeway,” no humble tradesman dared set his foot on the same pavement. It was a fine and gallant show they offered as they marched up and down the causeway with high heads, clad in their “cocked hats, knee breeches, powdered wigs and scarlet cloaks.” Their collapse came with the first American War; but the city suffered only temporarily, and by the close of the century it and the districts surrounding had resumed their march towards a larger and more widespread wealth than ever.
When the village began to grow, the manners of the people had become less coarse, and the tyranny of ecclesiastical rule less stern. The “seizers” or “compurgators”—namely, the elders and deacons—who traversed the town or village streets, peering in at the doors and windows to arrest idlers and desecrators of the Sabbath, had ceased out of the land. The kirk session records no longer contain such charges as ” throwing clods on the people in time of worship; ” neither is there necessity any more to ” cause make a lash with a long handle, considering that herds and boys make disturbance during divine service in the loft.” The severe discipline of an earlier and more uncivilised age would no longer be tolerated, which compelled offenders to stand at the church door clad in sackcloth, bare legged in a tub of water during the ringing of the bell. The myriad-headed sermon was curtailed, and the theology softened.
The ministry shared in the benefits of an increasing prosperity. Principal Lang of Aberdeen instances cases in the end of the seventeenth century, in which the “minister of Campsie—’ ane auld man ‘—rejoiced in a stipend worth about £9. The minister of Lowrie was poorer by £2, and the minister of Cadder, for want of a house, lived in the church steeple.”(1- It must be remembered that the ministers of those days were practically also farmers) The case of the teacher was even harder than the minister; but in the period under notice, while minister and teachers’ support was far from being generous, it was a great advance upon that of the earlier time.
Unfortunately, amidst all the changes for the better, which are manifest at the close of the eighteenth century, education had not proportionately advanced, nor indeed for long afterwards; and the writer has a lively recol¬lection of the straits to which he was driven when marrying couples, by the inability of bridegroom and bride, or their witnesses—sometimes of all together— to subscribe their names in the marriage schedule. As for the drinking habit, it increased instead of diminishing as the eighteenth century advanced.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE VILLAGE AND DISTRICT
The origin of the village dates from after the middle of the eighteenth century. In a statement by a witness for the defender in the well-known Harvey-Dyke case (1823), before the Court of Session, it is affirmed that “the villages of Bridgeton, Parkhead and Tollcross have all been built within the memory of men” still living.
The village owes its existence to the general developments sketched in the former chapter—to progress in methods of agriculture, to new inventions, such as those of Arkwright, James Watt and Stevenson, to the establishment of crafts and manufactures, especially handloom muslin weaving and cotton bleaching, to coal mining, [and to the construction of the Clyde Ironworks.
The original Tollcross seems to have been made up of a house or two situated in ” High Dennistoun,” a house or two standing in ” Low Dennistoun,” (1- Low Dennistoun marked the site of that building which Mr. Shaw, flesher, occupies as a shop) and a small hamlet at the west end which has been partly removed, although some of the old relics with their outside stairs are still in evidence. In Easterhill Street, on the lands of Auchensuggle, there is also a trace of old Tollcross, in the house once occupied by the late Miss Reston. As the village had its origin subsequent to the middle of the eighteenth century, the original houses, far removed as they are from our modern ideas of convenience and comfort, are not to be confused with the houses of the preceding generation in the landward districts of the country. Humble and incommodious as they were, they marked a very distinct advance on the hovels which had preceded them all over the country.
The district immediately before the development of the village was agricultural and sparsely populated. Not more than twenty houses, it is said, could be “seen for a mile around it. In the eastern or Old Monkland portion a considerable breadth of flax was sown, which the women spun in the evenings, and which when woven into linen they stored away for future use. Every thrifty and well-to-do housewife was the possessor of finely bleached linen which filled all her depositories. The flax raised in the neighbourhood was for a time highly remunerative to all concerned. It was ready for pulling about the beginning of August. Nine women at tenpence a day could harvest an acre of it, and according to the Statistical Account profits so large that they seem to be an exaggeration could be made (1750) from its cultivation. As the cotton and muslin industries developed, the flax growing and linen industries gradually declined.
A writer, quoted in the New Statistical Account, describes the eastern or Old Monkland portion of the district as having the ” appearance of an immense ‘ garden,” and no doubt the landscape was then, as it is still, very beautiful, notwithstanding tin’ disfiguring changes which industrial enterprise has made in Its appearance. At the head of Carmyle Avenue, and around that neighbourhood grew a considerable quantity of wood.
Until recent years the prosperity of the village was largely identified with the Clyde Ironworks and the pits connected with them. The first iron furnace to be erected in Scotland was built—strangely enough—on Loch Etive in the West Highlands (1754), but the ironstone came by sea from England, and the smelted iron returned to England. The first real ironworks in Scotland were those of Carron, begun by Messrs. Roebuck, Caddel & Company in 1760. The works of Carron were the best of their day. The whole product of their furnaces was used up in articles of their own manufacture. From those furnaces came the pieces of ordnance known as “carronades” and other guns, down to such articles as grates, stoves, pots and pans. The battery train guns of the Duke of Wellington all came from Carron. Roebuck of the Carron Company was associated with James Watt in his steam engine patent.
The Clyde Ironworks were an extension of those of Carron, and were erected about 1780 to relieve the pressure there. The same kind of manufacture which distinguished Carron was, at least for a time, produced at Clyde, and relics of the old ordnance may to this day be seen by any visitor to the ironworks. The extension from Carron began originally as a foundry, employing about one hundred men. It was built on the lands of Bogleshole, on ground which anciently had been a burying place. When digging for foundations various urns were discovered containing ashes mixed with human bones, on some of which were the traces of fire.(1- New Sta. Ac. of the Monklands) Four furnaces were in blast as early as 1786.
The Clyde Works remained in the hands of the Caddels of Carron till 1810, and the same family, a branch of which is resident in the neighbourhood of Bowness, are still associated with the Carron works. Colin Dunlop, afterwards M.P., was working the coals in the district of Carmyle. In that year he bought the ironworks from Mr. Caddel. Mr. Dunlop, ever alive to new ideas, had Neilson’s patent tried, as already observed, some eighteen years later with complete success—a patent not altogether new in principle, but by Neilson first applied to the fusion of iron.
The blaze from the furnaces, especially when in full operation, illuminated the district for miles around; and when ultimately the progress of science showed the way to new and more economical and profitable methods which necessitated the darkening of it down, the want of it gave a dismal character to the night never before experienced by the natives, and especially to those of them whom it used to light home when
Owre late out at e’en.
It was in happy allusion to the illumination shed abroad over the country-side by these furnaces that the Bridgeton poet, Alexander Rodger, wrote—
The moon does fu’ well when the moon’s in the lift;
But oh! the loose limmer tak’s mony a shift:
Whiles here, and whiles there, and whiles under a hap—
But yours is the steady licht, Colin D’lap.
Na, man! like true friendship, the mirker the nicht,
The mair you let out your vast columns o’ licht,
When sackcloth and sadness the heavens enwrap,
‘Tis then you’re maist kind to us, Colin D’lap.
The mansion-house of the Dunlop family, although Mr. Colin lived at Clyde, was, up to 1852, the old mansion-house of the Corbets. In this house the great speculator, James Dunlop, father of the Member of Parliament, died in 1816. It is described as “a good and substantious house, with gardens and enclosures.” The drawing room opened on a trim bowling green. On a stone bench in the open porch sat in old times the familiar “gaberlunzies,” or privileged beggars, waiting for the laird or the “leddy.” The grounds in which the mansion-house stands appear to have been from ancient times in the possession of the proprietors of Tollcross, and nothing the writer can find encourages the theory that the bishops of Glasgow had at any time a palace in the park. Many of the Corbets lived and died in the ancient mansion-house. The town house, castle, or palace of the bishops adjoined the cathedral; and from the beginning of the fourteenth century until the Reformation their manor-house was Lochwood—the “castle of the lake “—six miles north and east of the city, in the vicinity of their ancient forest, near the shores of the Bishop’s Loch, and then within the Barony.
Bishop John Cameron died on Christmas Eve, 1447, at Lochwood. He did not bear a good character in the countryside, nor in the country generally, and was reputed to be of the sort whom maternal superstition might readily turn into a black bogle with which to frighten fractious children. Poor Cameron has very likely been served worse than he deserved. Buchanan the historian paints him with a very black brush, retailing the legend that while asleep in his country house at Lochwood, he seemed to hear “a loud voice summoning him to appear before the tribunal of Christ. Suddenly awakening in great perturbation, he roused his servants and ordered them to sit by him with lighted candles; and having taken a book in his hand began to read, when a repetition of the same voice struck all present with profound horror.” When, for the third time it sounded louder and more terrible, the bishop gave a deep groan and was dead, “his tongue hanging out of his mouth.” This Buchanan calls “a remarkable example of divine vengeance for many acts of cruelty and rapine.”
The district is not particularly rich in historic incident. The Covenanters, retreating (1679) from their unsuccessful attempt on Glasgow, drew up on “Tollcross Muir, about a mile or two from the city.” There is also a tradition that Prince Charlie encamped on the rising ground above the farm of Hollowglen in Shettleston in the ’45.
Some thirty years afterwards (1774) the church of Shettleston was erected as a chapel of ease, Shettleston at this time being included in the parish of Barony. It had a population of about seven hundred and sixty-six. The old manse which was ultimately burned, but not before part of it had been degraded to the uses of a stable, stood on the road to the ” Wellhouse; ” a figure of Christ is believed to have been carved on its walls. Besides the chapel of ease there was formerly a Reformed Presbyterian Church. After the Disruption a Free Church was erected in Eastmuir, the pastor of which was Mr. Stewart, the minister of the chapel of ease being Mr. Thomson. Stewart’s parents kept the old tavern of “The Ram,” but his wife served at the bar, her husband being bedridden. During the ministry of Mr. Reid the congregation removed to Sandyhills, where it still worships.
Before 1828 the well-known Dr. Black, ultimately colleague to Dr. Burns of the Barony, was minister of the chapel of ease. Dr. Black was born in the neighbouring parish of Cadder, and descended from a good old yeomanry stock. Principal Marshall Lang, formerly of the Barony, tells a story to the effect that people used to say to Black when colleague to Burns, “Mr. Black, you’ll be wearying for Dr. Burns’ death.” To which he would reply, “Not at all; I am only wearying for his living.” The Roman Catholic Chapel was built in 1857.
The colliery of James McNair claims to be the first on which was erected in the West of Scotland a steam engine for drawing off water, the date being given as 1764. Another authority states that the earliest steam engine for this purpose was put together on the Carntyne-Colliery of Mr. Gray in 1768. It has been affirmed that about the same time there existed a colliery at Mount Vernon said to be sixty fathoms deep; but this is very unlikely.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century a single dwelling house which still stands, marked the Sheddens of Shettleston. The houses were thatched, low and earthen-floored, and many were beneath the level of the street; they had long strips of garden behind. Houses stood also in Eastmuir, which in the days of the Edinburgh coaches had an evil reputation for bad smells; but ultimately it got its character cleared by an official report of the authorities of Glasgow in which it was declared to be as sanitary a village street as that of any suburb of the city. Water was introduced into Shettleston in 1869, the population then being about 2,500. The pits before this had supplied the water to the inhabitants, who carried it away by means of the once familiar “stoups”—things unknown to the present generation.
Some few years after the Church of Tollcross was built, wages had made a considerably forward stride. Miners were paid from two and ninepence to three shillings a day; weavers had ten to fourteen shillings a week, and some experts had even twenty shillings; labourers at the harvest had from one and fourpence to one and sixpence, and women one shilling a day; domestic servants received from £6 to £10 a year.
Valiant attempts at education seem to have been made in Shettleston. A school was taught by a person of the name of Kingham, whose successor was Andrew Garrand, registrar and session-clerk. One shilling a quarter was charged as school fee. Another day school is said to have stood opposite the parish church.
The “Tollcross Muir, about a mile from Glasgow,” supports the inference already noted that the lands of Tollcross were formerly more extensive than in the present time. As a matter of fact Janefield, or Jeanfield, which is more correct, was part of the Tollcross estate. Now a cemetery, it was first occupied as a farm and then as a nursery, James Corbet (1751) having feued it to a William Boacher of Edinburgh, nurseryman, a daughter of whom became the wife of the celebrated Robert Foulis, printer in Glasgow to the University.
Jeanfield, in extent about twenty acres, was afterwards purchased for £81 by a Mr. Patrick Todd, merchant in Edinburgh. But shortly afterwards (1758) it fell into the hands of the shrewd and eccentric Robert McNair, whose peculiarities have immortalised him in Glasgow annals. McNair bought Jeanfield for £100, and built thereon a mansion (1764), which was a burlesque of architecture, and the laughing stock of every passenger entering Glasgow by the Edinburgh and London coaches. The story of McNair’s purchase is to the effect that, having been asked for a bond for the price, he pulled from his pocket a greasy leather bag, and pouring out its golden contents upon the table, exclaimed, “Na, na! Nane o’ yer gauds for me! Here’s Jean’s pouch; gi’e me the papers! “(Jean was his wife.) Hence the origin of the name. “The little hill of Tollcross, by this transaction, became the field of his wife Jean, or Jeanfield.”
Although not strictly pertinent to the purpose of this sketch, we may be pardoned if we pursue McNair a little further. The name of Jeanfield may be no improvement upon that of the Little Hill of Tollcross, but we are indebted to this amusing personage for an important change in the legal customs of the country, about the value of which there can be no doubt whatever. In those days it was a discreditable custom of the Crown, when successful in Exchequer trials, to pay each juryman a guinea, and treat him to a supper.
McNair getting somehow entangled with the Excise, an action was raised against him in Edinburgh. The Lord Advocate, addressing the jury, concluded by reminding them that in the event of bringing in a verdict for the Crown, they would have the usual fee and the usual feast. McNair, turning to the jury, replied with the ready permission of the judge, “Gentlemen, you have heard what the learned Advocate for the Crown has said. Now, here am I, Robert McNair, merchant in Glasgow, standing before you, and I promise you two guineas each and your dinner to boot, with as much wine as you can drink, if you bring in a verdict in my favour.” He gained his case. The Crown never made another attempt after this fashion to bribe a jury. Jeanfield was finally sold in 1846 to the East Cemetery Joint Stock Company, of which Mr. James Dunlop was a director.
The village was thrown into no small excitement by the passage through it (1788) of the first direct mail coach from London on the 7th July. The end of the journey was the Saracen’s Head Inn in Gallowgate, at the time the fashionable inn of the city. On that day the landlord, accompanied by a crowd of horsemen, rode out as far as Tollcross to meet it. The expected coach in due course appeared, gay with its red-coated driver and guard in scarlet livery, armed with cutlass and blunderbuss; for the roads, particularly to the south of the Border and in the neighbourhood of the towns, were with some reason deemed far from safe for the unarmed traveller. This coach ran at the rate of eleven miles an hour—an excellent speed that has seldom been surpassed then or since.
But there appears to have been coaching between Glasgow and London earlier than 1788. An advertisement in the Glasgow Mercury of 31st May, 1781, conveys the announcement that the diligence would set out “as usual,” from the Saracen’s Head, going by Moffat and joining at Carlisle the London diligence. This was a. three-seated chaise drawn by two horses, and the fare to Carlisle was twenty-five shillings. The proprietors engaged to take passengers to London in four days. This earlier service seems, however, to have involved a change of coaches at Carlisle, whereas the later offered the convenience of taking passengers onward without change.
McUre states that the magistrates of Glasgow (1678) entered into a contract with William Hume, coach proprietor, for the establishment of “ane sufficient strong coach to run between Edinburgh and Glasgow, to be drawn by sax able horses, to leave Edinburgh ilk Monday morning and return again (God willing) ilk Saturday night.” The fare was eight shillings in summer and nine shillings in winter, each passenger to have the liberty of taking a bag, to receive clothes, linens, and “sic like.” In 1749 the diligence ran twice a week, fare nine shillings and sixpence, with a stone of luggage, and performed the journey of forty-two miles in twelve hours. Thirty years afterwards (1779) John Gardner started from the Buck’s Head Inn, Glasgow, a four horse coach to Edinburgh which did the journey in six hours, reduced still further in 1840 to four and a half.
Travelling at that period was both expensive and adventurous. The poor could not travel by coach at all, and when the rich left home it was with more concern than they now prepare to visit the ends of the earth. They arranged their affairs, in many cases made their wills, and took along with them male servants armed.
Scotland was too poor a country for the ambitious and swell highwayman, but the roads were by no means secure from lower and more brutal depredators; and the outskirts of our peaceable and law-abiding village were not entirely immune from their unwelcome pranks. At the northern end of Carmyle Avenue the road at this period passed through a small wood. The practicability of robbing the coach occurred to some bold thieves, and it was judged that this spot might be a favourable one for the execution of their enterprise. The coach was expected to pass the head of the avenue early on a winter morning, and the brilliant idea suggested itself that a strong rope tied to one tree and carried across the road to another on the opposite side, at a height sufficient to entangle the coachman and guard, would throw them from their respective seats owing to the rapid motion of the vehicle, when in the confusion they would have their chance. Unfortunately for the success of their designs, it happened that a waggon of hay was accidentally on its way that morning to the city, which, being stopped by the rope, the contemplated robbery was frustrated. There are traditions of various robberies of the mail coaches connected with the district. There is the story of an old woman who was said to be murdered at the head of Carmyle Avenue, in a house at the “Flush “which is still standing. The perpetrator of the crime is said to have been nearly caught, but his pursuer tripped just at the moment he was in the act of laying hands upon the murderer, who got away leaving no trace until this day.
Another tragedy is believed to have happened at the southern end of the avenue. Two mutual friends, according to the tradition, fell in love with the same fair maiden. Friendship, as is common in such circumstances, turned to jealousy, and jealousy to hatred. The friends quarrelled, fell to angry words, and in hot excitement drew swords against each other—they all carried swords in those days—when one of them sank to the ground mortally wounded. The other, horrified at what he had done, destroyed himself. They were buried in the same grave, digged at the place where they died; and it has ever since been known as the “Bluidy Neuk.” According to an old lady of Carmyle, the place is “no canny.” It is said to lie between Carmyle mansion-house and the little row of cottages at the opposite side of the field beyond.
A cause celebre which, some two or three generations ago set the whole of East Glasgow by the ears, was the law plea known as the “Harvey-Dyke” case. Thomas Harvey, or “lang Tam Harvey,” as he was commonly called, began the world as a carter at Port-Dundas. Thinking not without cause that a “change-house” would serve his ambition, which was of the “o’er-vaulting” order, much more readily than the loading of waggons and driving of teams, he gave up the carting and took to whisky selling. Soon Harvey’s change-houses or “divans,” as they were called appeared all over the city and became celebrated as first-rate in style and order. He quickly grew rich and bought Port-Dundas distillery for £20,000.
The ambition of Harvey expanded with his fortune, which was only in keeping, as he imagined, with his personal appearance, he being large and muscular, with short hair and red whiskers. He bought Westhorn in 1821, and furnished the mansion-house at a cost of £10,000, although he was a bachelor. He died poorer than when he began life, and is said to have ended as an actual pauper.
A public footpath ran along the northern bank of Clyde from the city to Carmyle—a distance of about five miles. Harvey to preserve the amenity of his property erected (1822) a thick stone wall on the west across this public footpath, which he carried down into the river and armed all along its extent with stout iron pikes. This wall the people demolished as an interference with their ancient and undoubted rights and liberties. Harvey rebuilt the wall, and the people again destroyed it.
On the second occasion (21st June, 1823) the destroyers were surprised about the time their work was finished by a detachment of dragoons. Some of the people were taken on the spot, some were arrested on the roads, forty-three in all, and a lad received a cut from a sabre in the arm. The throngs were tremendous. The whole of the highway between Tollcross and Camlachie was alive with people during the entire night—friends were anxious for their relatives, and the curious had itching ears.
James Duncan was a bookseller in Glasgow and also a landed proprietor. He organised the public opposition to the high-handedness of Harvey. Alexander Rodger, the Bridgeton poet, fanned the popular fury. Along with them a committee, amongst whom appear the names of George Rodger of Barrowfield Printworks, John Kinniburgh, feuar, Tollcross, James Reid, feuar, Parkhead, and Alexander Brechin, feuar, Carmyle, resolved to carry the matter to the Court of Session. Subscription sheets were heartily and extensively signed in Tollcross, Parkhead, Bridgeton, and elsewhere. James Bogle, writer in Glasgow, Colin Dunlop, member of the Faculty of Advocates, and Mr. McNair of Greenfield, gave evidence in favour of the contention of the people. The public were successful, but Harvey was not satisfied, and carried the case to the House of Lords, which finally (July, 1828) set the matter at rest by unanimously affirming the judgment of the Court of Session. As an example of the extraordinary interest and excitement which this famous law suit evoked in the district, it is recorded that when the witnesses on behalf of the community, many of whom were old men, were informed that the case had been gained, some of them burst into tears of joy, saying that they would have run any risk— it was a period when, owing to the extreme cold, travelling for aged people involved no little danger to health— in order to get back their favourite walk.
It has already been observed that the district was full of handloom weavers. They were a shrewd and respectable class, radicals in politics, led by “Colin D’lap,” and no inconsiderable theologians. Many of them might not be able to read, but they could lay down the principles of orthodoxy to the minister, and point the erring shepherd to the exact spot at which he had begun to lead astray the flock. In their cottages regular family prayers fed the fires of piety and virtue. The miners lived in fairly comfortable houses with a “but and ben;” went to and returned from their ill-vent dated pits, lifted an honest wage, and contracted the miner’s asthma, which brought them to old age at fifty years. Nevertheless, some of them lived to a very advanced period of life, proving not only the possession of strong constitutions, but strictness of habit and moderation in all things. They sat on their hunkers when their work was done, and gave in many a lengthened sederunt what contribution they could to the conversation and knowledge of their class.
Upon the ground they hunkered down a’ three,
And to their crack they yoked fast and free.
The old Scottish miner was, in general, a hard working and virtuous individual. He loved respectability as he loved his family, his dram, and his fishing rod. The off-day found him by the banks of the river searching for, and maybe finding a fine salmon, or in lieu of that dainty dish, the beautiful small par or fry of the salmon, thus rivalling the Rutherglen weavers, who “scourged the Dalmarnock Ford at a great rate.” It may be here said of this ancient river crossing, that pearls, not it must be admitted of a highly superior order, have been found taken from brown mussels embedded in the river, which the boys called cluggie-dhus or clubbie-dhus.(1- McUre’s Glasgow Facies, II., p. 815: Glasgow Past and Present, p. 282 )
Strange to say, a species of slavery existed amongst the colliers down almost to our own times. The collier became the property of the owner of the colliery when he entered the owner’s employment, and was bound to particular servitude in that particular work. The master could not sell the miner off the land to another, but if the owner alienated the ground on which his colliery stood, the collier passed over to the new owner.
Moss Nook was an old man, alive in 1820. Originally belonging to the estate of McNair of Greenfield, he was in that year in the service of Dunlop of Clyde, to whom he had been transferred many years before by McNair in exchange for a pony. But as the law then stood this was an illegal transaction. (1- Domestic Annals of Scot., III., 250)
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, while, public manners had become more refined as compared with those of a generation or two earlier, there still remained room for improvement. Among all classes cock fighting was a favourite pastime. Cockfighters had (1807) a temporary building in Queen Street, from which they were expelled by the authorities, and a spacious one (1835) in Hope Street. It is said that George Anderson, M.P., used to indulge in the sport, setting the birds to mortal combat on the flat of the top of his mill in Garngad Road. Around the village the cockfighter was in evidence. In earlier times boys were taught a love for the degrading sport in the very school itself. Every little fellow who could afford to bring to the school at certain times a fighting cock, was encouraged to produce it, when two of the birds were pitted against each other in presence of the gentry of the neighbourhood. The cocks slain in mutual fight became the property of the schoolmaster, who frequently had more benefit from the spoils of the cockfight than from the amount of the school fees.
When such was the character of the education received by the rising generation, it is not surprising that that rising generation’s children and grand-children should manifest some rather rough and brutal proclivities, or that session records should be disfigured with charges of brawling, outrageous conduct, or the use of violent and abusive language. The old minutes of Tollcross session are much the same as those of other kirk Sessions throughout the country. They are far from being pleasant reading. In truth, the piety of the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries was to a certain extent, of a morbid order—unction and evangelical sentiment not being always dissociated from a morality that was comparatively low toned.
The Dunlops fostered education, and a school was early in the village. The church in Tollcross also realised, to some degree, its responsibility, and gave its countenance and support, almost from its origin, to day schools and Sabbath schools. Yet, it is singular that while educational conditions were such that a church might well deem it a duty to assist schools and school teachers in every way, it threatened a half-starved teacher with legal proceedings for rent which he was unable to pay.
In Carmyle there are traces of attention to education in the latter half of the eighteenth century. James Bogle in evidence given before the Court of Session states that before going to the grammar school in Glasgow (1782) he was educated at the reading school in Carmyle, and traces of a schoolmaster in that village are found so early as the sixteenth century. An endowed school-house and teacher’s house were built in 1822 on a feu purchased by the trustees of William Lyon who, dying twenty years earlier, bequeathed a sum of money “for the education of poor children in the parish where he was born.” In Tollcross, Fullarton Hall and the church session-house were for many years utilised for educational purposes, and the teachers were in several cases excellent characters and very competent for their work.
In former times the colloquial expressions of the peasantry of the district, particularly in the Old Monk-land portion, where it was mainly agricultural, are exceedingly curious, and abound in grotesque phrases and epithets which to an outsider would be as unintelligible as an unknown tongue. Infidel was the word employed when it was designed to describe an idiot. To say, “Do you think I am an infidel?” was to say “Do you suppose I am a fool? ” “Will you never deval?” is “Will you never give over?” The man of questionable reputation was a “nomalistic” character. Filthy accumulations of animal or vegetable matter were “combustibles.” The different varieties of coal were distinguished as “yolk” or “cherrie,” “parrot,” “humph,” and “milk “coal. (1- Old Sta. Acc)
Home-brewed ale was the ordinary if not the sole drink of the peasantry up to 1750. It afterwards began to be partly supplanted by whisky, with bad results. In many districts drinking was described as “pewtering,” from the “two-penny” being served in pewter vessels. The practice which prevailed at the close of the Saturday pre-communion preachings, of the minister of the church to ascend the pulpit, and after giving out intimations, to give a lengthy resume of the Fast Day and of that day’s sermons, got the strange name of “Pirliecuing.”
Water was obtained in the village, as in Shettleston, from pits and wells. In 1806 the city was empowered to take it from the Clyde at Dalmarnock, which for many years thereafter supplied the wants of the citizens on the north side of the river, until the completion of the Loch Katrine scheme. The writer well remembers how, after a spate, the water taken from the Clyde was as brown and drumlie as pea soup.
THE CHURCH OF TOLLCROSS
The church of the Relief originated in the deposition of the Rev. Thomas Gillespie of Carnock in 1752. He was a pious, conscientious, and altogether worthy man. It has been erroneously supposed that Gillespie was deposed on account of his uncompromising opposition to patronage, which was then working much havoc in the Church of Scotland. In reality patronage was but a branch of a wider question. The great principle for which the father of the Relief contended involved a denial of unlimited obedience to church courts when ministers were persuaded in conscience that church-court sentences were contrary to the word of God. The principle at stake was ecclesiastical and religious liberty.
The genius of the spirit of Gillespie has all along been characteristic of the church of the Relief. He was far in advance of the times in Scotland, and in no way in sympathy with the close principles of sectaries. “He desired that church courts should be consultative rather than legislative and authoritative.” This latitude of opinion became a marked feature, the church of the Relief having always been broad and liberal, and the authority of its synod “mild and lenient even to a fault.” (1- Struthers’ History of the Relief Church) At his first communion after deposition he declared, “I hold communion with all who hold the Head, and with them only.”
Gillespie stood for six years alone, but was supported by a letter of sympathy from President Edwards. He was then joined by the Rev. Thomas Boston of Jedburgh, whose father, author of the ” Fourfold State,” bore a name that was a household word among all the pious families of Scotland. The next congregation to go over to the cause of Gillespie was that of Colinsburgh in Fifeshire, the minister of which was Thomas Collier. Those three—Gillespie, Boston, and Colliers-formed the first presbytery “for relief of persons oppressed in their Christian privileges.” Several other congregations shortly followed, among them being Bellshill in 1763, the first Relief Church in the west; Albion Street in 1765, the first in Glasgow; followed by Anderston in 1770, and East Campbell Street, 1792. Greenhead was formed in 1805, and Tollcross a year later. The first Relief Synod met 1773.
From causes which have been indicated the village had grown, and the population of the district had increased, but no provision had been made for the religious wants of the augmented population. For three or four miles around the village, as well as for the village itself, there was but one church—the chapel of ease at Shettleston—which was overcrowded and totally inadequate. People who had inherited principles of spiritual and ecclesiastical independence; people who looked with disfavour on the high-handed action frequently at this time practised by the Moderate party in the Church of Scotland ; people who were already members of the Relief Church, and connected with churches in Glasgow, especially East Campbell Street, which had an elder’s district in Parkhead and another in Tollcross and Carmyle ; people who did not appreciate the ministry of the occupant of the pulpit in the chapel of case, formed a large proportion of the population.
The movement which issued in the formation of a new congregation at Tollcross originated, however, speaking in general terms, with those who were in the habit of attending the chapel of ease, and they were instantly followed by a large multitude.
It took definite shape in 1805 at a meeting of the inhabitants of the village and neighbourhood, when it was determined that a church should be built in Tollcross in connection with the Relief Synod, the minute setting forth that “many persons and families cannot be supplied with seats in the chapel at Shettleston.” A committee was formed for the purpose of carrying out the resolution of the meeting, and subscribers to the building fund to the number of two hundred and fifty came forward, so that the fund then or shortly afterwards reached the total of fully £682. The largest subscriber was John Sligo of Carmyle ; and following him, Thomas Watt, weaver, Tollcross ; John Pettigrew Wilson, Green; Thomas Cullen, Dalmarnock ; Alexander Reid, Shettleston ; A. B. Dennistoun of Westhorn ; George Reston, farmer ; and Alexander Cleland. In the list of subscribers appear numerous names still familiar in the church, showing a family connection with it for the whole of the century.
The first managers and office-bearers were elected at a meeting of subscribers held on the fifth day of August, 1805, within the school house, namely, Alexander Cleland, Alexander Reid, John P. Watson, Robert Goldie, John Walker, Alexander Miller, Peter Drew, William Young, Peter Mann, George Reston, Thomas Nisbet, James Brash, Gilbert Watson, David Muir. Mr. Cleland was elected preses, and Mr. Reid treasurer. To these were shortly afterwards added to assist them in the management, ” on account of the smallness of their number and the business lying heavy on them, Thomas Paterson, James Naismith, Thomas Watt, Hugh McCulloch, William Boyd, Robert Donaldson, and Thomas Cullen.”
Many of the Secession and Relief Churches were, and still are, situated in the obscure streets and back lanes of towns and villages. And occasionally congregations might be found worshipping in the upper flat’ of a building the ground flat of which was devoted to the purposes of a shop, store, or even a tavern. A church thus situated over a tavern gave rise to the old epigram—
There’s a Spirit above and a spirit below;
A spirit of joy and a spirit of woe.
The Spirit above is a Spirit Divine
The spirit below is the spirit of wine.
The reasons that may be assigned for this peculiar location of not a few of the non-established churches are that the people composing the membership were usually if not actually poor, at least without superfluity; the lairds were frequently unaccommodating and indisposed to grant suitable sites; and the kingdom of heaven, many of them believed, in a sense not intended by the sacred writer, ” cometh not with observation.” The originators of Tollcross Church, on the other hand, were numerous and many of them well to do ; they did not believe in the eclipse, but in the manifestation of their spiritual Zion, and the owners of the land were sympathetic and not difficult to deal with. A site was therefore fixed upon, which was central, public, and, in fact, the best possible.
None, of course, now alive can remember it as it originally was; but in 1882 two old members were present in the church, one of whom recollected to have danced as a young girl on the green sward where the building stands, and the other the services connected with the opening.
The building with its steeple is a prominent object, and can be seen from a great distance, while its capacity is great. The fact befits the circumstances, since for many years it has been the rallying place of worshippers from opposite and far separate abodes. A member whose memory goes back as far as that of any one now living, writes—” Nearly all those who were of my time have gone over to the majority. I remember when Tollcross Church was a very central church. There was no church in Baillieston or Uddingston, and Shettleston had only the Parish Church. The members of Tollcross Church came from Uddingston, Baillieston, Broomhouse, Shettleston and a good bit beyond, Carmyle, Parkhead, Cambuslang and Glasgow; and it was no modern Sabbath service in which some of them engaged. There was a morning class from eight to nine ; the sermon from eleven till one, and from two till four ; the Sabbath school from four till half-past five ; and then, part of the year, the minister’s class from six till half-past seven. Some of the young people from districts the farthest away engaged in all these services.”
The church is a substantial and massive structure, finely proportioned, well preserved, and of inward elegance and beauty. Andrew Fairservice said of Glasgow Cathedral — “Ah! It’s a brave kirk, nane o’ your whigmaleeries and curlieworlies and opensteek hems aboot it—a’ solid and substantial, well-jointed mason-wark that will stand as lang as the warld, keep hands and gunpowther off it.” The same admiring language might be used of this less imposing and much humbler, but still substantial and venerable, structure.
The meeting, which elected the first managers, authorised them at the same time to ” purchase or feu a piece of ground in the most convenient place to be found in or about Tollcross,” with the view of building thereon a church to contain from thirteen to fourteen hundred people. Mr. Caddell of the Clyde Ironworks was at that time proprietor of the lands of Auchensuggle, and an acre from these lands was very generously granted by him (November 23, 1805) to Messrs. Cleland & Reston representing the subscribers, on which to build a church and lay out a burying ground, on condition that Mr. Caddell should have, ” free of all charges, one front pew with another immediately behind it in the gallery, and the two northmost table seats in the pit.” These terms showed the kindly interest of Mr. Caddell in the undertaking, and constituted him the first benefactor of the church—a fact which has just been appropriately, if somewhat tardily, commemorated by a stained glass window recording it having been put in the south wall of the church. The architect of the contemplated structure was Mr. Brash. The mason work was given to Messrs. Hay & Russell at £402, and the wright work to Messrs. Glen & Thomson at £1,209 – in all £1,611 on the ninth day of June in the following year the managers dealt with a petition ” signed by a few subscribers ” praying for sermon, with the result that on the first day of July, 1806, the Presbytery granted the request of ” Alexander Cleland as the preses of a large body of people in and about Tollcross, who are building a house for public worship, and craving that the said body of people may be received as a forming congregation of the Presbytery, and also a supply of sermon ; ” and they appointed the Rev. John Brodie, minister of Dovehill Relief Church to preach in Tollcross on the third Sunday of July, and Mr. Robert Brodie on the fourth. (1- Minutes of Relief Presby., 1st July, 1806) Where the people met when the congregation was constituted, and afterwards until the church was finished, is not stated, but there is a tradition that previous to the completion of the building they assembled in the grave-yard, and, at least on certain occasions, on the rising ground to the east of the village which is now a sand pit.
The building seems to have been completed about December. It had 1,231 sittings, and cost £2,300. The burying ground was contemporaneous. In November, 1806, Mr. George Reston was appointed to take charge of the sale of lairs, and to act as graveyard treasurer, the graveyard being the property of the managers. The original price was—for those on the ” dyke £2 10s, and for those off the dyke £1 10s.” The charges for the common ground were one shilling and sixpence for “the body of a full-grown person, and one shilling for that of a child.”
The church was organised under the old system of proprietorship so common in those days, especially in the Relief connection. It was by no means ideal. The members who formed the congregation had neither voice nor control in the secular or business affairs of what they loved to call the “society.” The proprietors might not be members of the congregation at all, but they elected the managers and could dictate the policy to be adopted with reference to finance and all matters which did not fall properly under the supervision of the session. They fixed the stipend of the minister and the salary of the precentor. The system proved vexatious and unworkable, and was ultimately abandoned, the proprietors having surrendered their rights in the interest of the members with one exception, which remains an old relic of former conditions.
THE KIRK SESSION
The members of the first session were ordained on the second day of August, 1807, and consisted of John Smellie, James Allan, Robert Ramsay, John Lawrie, James Stevenson, Peter Drew, James Kinniburgh, and James Marshall, who resigned on becoming beadle.
Four ministries fill up the century. The most prolonged was that of Mr. Auld, the third pastor. The first was Rev. William McIlquham. He was elected “by a great majority” on the second day of March, 1807, and inducted at Tollcross on the twenty-first of May. Mr. McIlquham had been Relief minister of Milngavie for eight years, and at the time the Tollcross call reached him, the newly-formed congregation of Greenhead invited him to become their minister.
The minister lived at Carmyle in a house in a house belonging to Mr. Williamson. All vestiges of it have long dis-appeared; in the early years of the present ministry the plough was drawn over the site. The house stood in the neighbourhood of the new church there.
Mr. McIlquham was highly appreciated, being a minister of the best type, and left a memory which was levered as saintly. He was dignified and yet kindly; attentive to his people, he was beloved in return. A minute of session, drawn up at the time of his decease, states that “they could not describe his worth, nor record their sorrow.” On a public occasion Mr. Auld characterised him as “the godly and venerated Mr. McIlquham.” He was shrewd, and cultivated a measure of wise reserve. He used to say, “The less people know about the minister out of the pulpit the better,” yet he was greatly sought after for private social gatherings. He possessed some considerable power as a preacher. He died on the second day of September, 1822, and was buried in the churchyard, he and his eldest daughter Ann being interred at the same time in the same grave. The congregation erected a tablet to his memory in the east wall of the churchyard over his grave. His widow continued to reside in the house at Carmyle, and lodged the candidates who preached during the vacancy. Their son was for many years manager of the Clyde Ironworks, and was an office-bearer and a preses of the church.
Mr. William McDougal was elected by a large majority to succeed Mr. McIlquham. In connection with this election the Presbytery and congregation had some trouble with each other. The congregation wished every sitter above eighteen years of age, possessed of good moral character, to have the right of voting for the minister. This the Presbytery would not allow, as being contrary to the rules of the church. Ultimately the congregation gave way.
Mr. William Ney, preacher, was elected minister by a substantial majority, and was ordained at Tollcross on the twenty-fifth day of May, 1824, Mr. McDougal having declined the Tollcross call. At the outset Mr. Ney’s ministry was exceedingly prosperous. A fine preacher, he attracted crowds. Dr. William Anderson of John Street used to say of him that there was ” no man in the Relief body of whose abilities and commanding eloquence he entertained a higher opinion.” A managers’ minute of 1825 says, “All the seats let this day, except some table seats, and more are wanted.” The ” folding boards “—i.e., seats carried across the passages and let down when the pews were full—that had previously been removed, were replaced; and as seat rents and lairs had been raised in price, the congregation felt justified in setting new schemes in operation. It was in this year the vestry was built and shortly afterwards the construction of a manse was determined upon, which was finished in 1827. Before the manse was built Mr. Ney lived in the cottage of Dalbeth, belonging to Mr. Hopkirk. Mr. Ney’s complaints led to the building of the manse.
The personal popularity of Mr. Ney and the congregational prosperity did not long continue. It is pathetic to hear of the folding boards having to be taken off, the sacramental expenses reduced, complaints against the minister for numerous absences, and other charges still more serious. Then came proposals for libelling him, which were only held back by his resignation on the eighteenth of October, 1831. The Presbytery (8th November, 1831) suspended him, sine die, on account of “his incapacity to discharge the duties of his office, and also of many charges affecting his character as a man.” He died in his father’s humble cottage in Kilsyth somewhere about a year afterwards, at the age of thirty-seven, having been married two years.
The Rev. William Auld was elected minister by a majority of sixty votes on the twenty-first day of November, 1832, and ordained on the twenty-eighth of February, 1833. There was an ordination dinner in the session house, for which the charge was 2s 6d, the elders being free of charge. The congregation, which had been reduced to a somewhat low condition during the latter portion of the late ministry, began anew to show signs of revival. The communion roll rose in three years four hundred, and reached a total of nine hundred and sixteen. The funds improved by at least £100. At this period a fourth of the congregation came from the parish of Old Monkland, and forty-five families came from more than two miles. Of the membership a fifth were handloom weavers, and a fifth miners. As at the beginning of Mr. Ney’s ministry the people were encouraged to build a vestry and a manse, so now they were induced to proceed with a steeple and a bell.
Mr. Auld was son of the Rev. William Auld, ultimately minister of Sir Michael Street Relief Church, Greenock, and was born at Glassford in the year 1806—the year of the origin of the church over which he was destined to preside as pastor. He studied at the University of Glasgow, where he was a creditable student, from which he passed to the Relief Theological Hall at Paisley, under the instruction of the Rev. Mr. Thomson. With a band of young men, the names of many of whom afterwards became well known in Scotland, he formed a lifelong friendship. At the age of twenty-six he was licensed to preach. The life of the probationer was not—in those days of few conveniences and comforts in travelling —what it now is, when travelling is a luxury ; and many are the stories of hardship which those wandering lights of the church (as in no ill sense they may be described) had to put up with. Mr. Auld’s period of probation was not protracted, but it lasted long enough to be a test of his physical endurance. Once he walked from Glasgow to Peebles—forty-one miles—and once he plodded on foot from Stranraer to Ayr to catch the coach for Glasgow.
Mr. Auld’s ministry was long and successful. He had a fine presence and voice, of which he had every command, and preached a powerful discourse based upon the old lines of evangelical theology. He jealously guarded his pulpit from all latitudinarianism, as he called it, and on one occasion vetoed the permission of the managers for an evening sermon because a “Morisonian” minister was to be the preacher. He was an authority on Presbyterian Church law, and for a number of years was clerk to the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow. Dignified and reserved towards strangers, he was kind at heart and exceedingly hospitable. He was blessed with a good wife—previously Miss Macdonald—who aided him not a little with his pastoral work. His manse at Parkhead was for many years a busy marrying centre; and on the Friday of the Glasgow Fair and Hogmanay he would sometimes have ten to fifteen couples attending at his house in order to be made happy. He was sometimes compelled to resort to the device, in order to save time, of marrying them in batches. They came on foot, sometimes accompanied by a long train of marriage guests. On those occasions Mrs. Auld used to say that the house was like a fair, and subjected to tests that no carpets could stand. He bad ultimately to resort to the practice of charging half-a-crown to such as—not being members of his church had no claim upon his time.
Mr. Auld’s hours of relaxation were given to gardening, of which he was very fond, and to fishing off the Arran coast with his friend, Mr. Stirling of Coatbridge, when the holidays came round, the disappointments and exploits of which he was never weary of relating.
In 1870 he was presented by the congregation with a handsome gold watch and appendages, together with a silver tea set and other articles in silver to the value of £100. His jubilee was celebrated on the twenty-fourth of October, 1882, when addresses were presented from the Presbytery and also the session, managers and members of the church, together with a cheque for £100 and a gold pearl brooch and silver salver to Mrs. Auld. He died at the manse, Parkhead, on the seventeenth of April, 1885, in the seventy-ninth year of his age and fifty-third of his ministry, and was buried in the churchyard behind the vestry. A very handsome obelisk was subsequently erected to his memory by former members and friends of the church resident in the city, in conjunction with a large number of members of the church. It is of Aberdeen granite, and bears on the east side, in bronze relief, an excellent representation of his features. His wife lies beside him. A large family was reared in the old manse. One of his surviving sons is the Rev. James Auld, who was ordained by the Glasgow United Presbytery (22nd February, 1875) as a missionary to Caffraria. For some years the station at Elujilo was under his charge, but since he has laboured at Columba in the same colony. He was lately honoured by being chosen moderator of the South African Church.
The Rev. Charles MacEwing of Stornoway was elected by a majority, after successive voting’s, on the second day of October, 1876, and was inducted on the eleventh day of December of the same year; he is still minister.
The theological students who were either natives of the church or connected with it during their student curriculum were James Henderson, who left in August, 1847, was ordained minister in Duntocher, March, 1850, afterwards minister in Australia; David Malloch, some time elder in the congregation, left (1855) to be missionary in Greenock, afterwards minister in Largo; Walter Buchan, for many years a minister in Ireland; Gavin Struthers Alston, son of Andrew Alston, a former preses; John Kinniburgh, nephew of Mr. John Kinniburgh, or “The Dominie,” with whom he lived from boyhood, passed his divinity course in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, was taken on as probationer by our Synod, called to an Irish church, but never ordained, after a few troubled years as tutor in Greek, Hebrew, etc., died early; James Auld, already referred to, son of the late minister, went out as missionary to Caffraria, became a moderator of the South African Synod ; John Hart, a gentle and lovable youth, who died before receiving license to preach ; Samuel Harvey MacEwing, B.D., minister of Drymen United Free Church, son of the present minister.
Mr. J. H. Cameron was the first of three missionaries employed by the congregation. He ultimately also became a minister; was first in Newburgh, and then in New Zealand. The next was a Mr. Peacock, from the Glasgow City Mission, who is said to have become a Methodist preacher. The third was a Mr. Elston, also from the Glasgow City Mission. His services proving unsatisfactory he was discharged, and the congregation were not in a mood to elect another.
OFFICE-BEAKERS AND OFFICIALS
FOURTEEN managers have held in succession the office of preses. Mr. Alexander Cleland was closely connected with the origin of the congregation. He signed the minutes, for the last time, on the nineteenth day of June, as already stated, 1807. William Young succeeded, 10th October, 1807; Alexander Reid, 6th August, 1811 ; James Hunter, 3rd August, 1813 ; John Walker, 4th August, 1818 ; James Naismith, 15th August, 1820 ; William Innes, 13th August, 1822; Duncan Ferguson, 1830; James Glen, 2nd August, 1831 ; Andrew Alston signs minutes as preses from 6th August, 1833, and was elected 1834; John Meikleham was elected 30th July, 1845. In absence of the preses, Alexander Deans signs the minutes, pro tempore, from 26th August, 1862. At Mr. Meikleham’s death he becomes preses in 1863, and is succeeded by Mr. John S. Kirkwood in April, 1891. Mr Hugh M. Robertson was appointed, 16th February, 1892; and Mr. Archibald Logan, who has held the office ever since, was elected preses on 29th March, 1897.
Mr. Cleland, the first preses, was a farmer in the neighbourhood; later in life he was engaged in business in the east end of Glasgow. He was one of the commissioners from the subscribers to the Relief Presbytery when the subscribers petitioned to be received as a congregation and requested supply of sermon, the other commissioner being Mr. George Reston. Being preses, Mr. Cleland’s seat in the church was covered with green cloth, on the principle, it may be presumed, according to which they place two imposing and dignified street lamps in front of the residences of burgh provosts—to mark the seat of distinction. Mr. Cleland ceases to sign the managers’ minutes after the nineteenth day of June, 1807; it is therefore probable that about this time he removed to the city. A high authority informs the writer that he died about ninety years ago, and was buried in the Ramshorn churchyard. But an Alexander Cleland signs a petition to the managers in 1828 praying that a shelter might be erected in the graveyard for those whose turn it might be to guard the graves from violation. Of course, this might be another Alexander Cleland. Mr. Cleland was a man of character and piety, and held the respect and confidence of the community. He was well fitted for the somewhat onerous duties which necessarily devolve upon a preses of so large a congregation at its inception. He was the maternal grandfather of Robert Gourlay, Esq., LL.D., late manager of the Bank of Scotland in the city, and an ex-Dean of Guild of Glasgow.
William Innes was highly and justly esteemed by the congregation and greatly lamented at his death in 1830.
Andrew Alston was a godly and altogether fine type of man, devoted to the church, and gifted with much good sense. His wife was the originator of the Dorcas Society, and took deep interest in missionary work. The Alstons came to Tollcross about 1830.
Mr. Buchanan supplies the following particulars with reference to Mr. Meikleham:—
John Meikleham (he did not like to be called McIlquham, in fact, he hated it, and could not help showing it, which was a weakness), was long an honoured name in Clyde Ironworks and in Tollcross. He was manager at the Clyde Works, going back to old Colin’s time, and coming down to a time quite within living memory. He remained a bachelor, and was born in Carmyle, where his father (the minister of the church) resided; he died at East-thorn, Tollcross, which house he had then just recently built. He was a most successful manager, and obtained, in spite of some acerbity of temper, the respect alike of master and men. His rule was strict and exacting, and he kept even his employers (the Dunlops) in wholesome fear of giving offence. The tablet in the vestibule of the church testifies to the high respect of the late James Dunlop, and it may be said to differ from the proverbial epitaph in being unquestionably true—from an honest man to an honest man. Along with the late Dominie Kinniburgh, Mr. Meikleham started a local library, of which he was first president, and interested himself in books and science at a time when science was less approved than now.”
Alexander Deans held office for the longest period, having been preses for twenty-eight years. Mr. Deans died in the spring of 1891. He was a faithful friend and servant of the congregation, a wise and cautious guide, not very fond of changes, rather conservative from a church or ecclesiastical point of view, and widely known and respected throughout the community: he died lamented. He was for many years a Sabbath school teacher and also a member of session, and held for a lengthened period the office of session clerk and treasurer. The minutes of session say ” his name has been long identified with congregational work, and his memory will remain a pleasant recollection . . . being faithful in duty, wise in counsel, firm in conviction, and a lover and maker of peace.”
John S. Kirkwood, during a very trying and critical period, did valuable work, bringing to the service of the church a particularly clear, calm, and accurate judgment, a firm will, a genial humour which was wont to scatter, like a breeze the darkening cloud, those misunderstandings and tempers which gather even amongst the best regulated. Hugh M. Robertson is a son of the well-remembered old Tollcross precentor. During his term of office a mind of singular penetration, exactitude, and resource was bestowed upon the work of the management, with particularly solid and fruitful results. Schemes large and bold, from the skilful execution of which the church has reaped great benefits, owe in the main their origin to him. Under the diligent presidency of Archibald Logan numerous substantial improvements have been introduced, amounting almost to revolution, in the conducting of which to successful issues prudence and patience were sometimes demanded, for the display of which qualities he has to be accorded no little credit.
We cannot pass from these brief references to the man-agers of the church without some notice of one whose own fault it entirely was that he was not one of them; but who had the unique distinction of being their clerk for an unbroken period of forty-seven years. This was the late Mr. John Kinniburgh, principal schoolmaster in Clyde Ironworks Public School, Fullarton. He was a native of the village, having been born in it on 29th January, 1792, and he died where he had lived his long life of public usefulness on 7th February, 18%). His individuality was very marked, and was expressed in his physical bearing as well as in his mental qualities. His spare figure was somewhat over the average height, and the head was so thrown back that his face was nearly skyward. No one could meet him without being impressed by his singular staidness or self-reliance, which seemed to say that this man would mean anything that he said, and do anything that he meant. He was bred to the now extinct trade of weaving, which was still in his youth a fashionable occupation; but after reaching maturity, with characteristic determination, he went to Glasgow University for several sessions and qualified himself for taking a position in the teaching profession, for which he was well adapted and in which he was very successful. As was not uncommon in his time he did not spoil pupils by sparing the rod, but even when his Spartan discipline ended, as it sometimes did in “battle royal”—for it was not babies who went to school in those days—he would come out of a contest which had taxed his utmost strength with as much seeming, if not real, calmness, as if he had just concluded his opening prayer.
In the troublous political times of his early manhood his ever prominent public spiritedness took the, to him, naturally practical form of privately drilling the Chartist weavers with which the village then abounded; and there is good authority for believing that, with or without the knowledge of the church authorities, he caused graves in the churchyard to be used in a manner which completely defeated the domiciliary visits in search of arms which were then not uncommon. But his public spirit and personal fearlessness found what was perhaps a fitter vent during what is known as the first visitation of cholera to this country. That terrible calamity found the authorities wholly unprepared to cope with it, and it was in keeping with Mr. Kinniburgh’s practical nature that he voluntarily went through the village visiting the stricken; and by his calm undaunted helpfulness in the most menial offices shamed and inspired relatives to give the needful attention to the dying and the dead, which not a few of them, panic stricken, fled from. Such heroic and disinterested services could not but win respect from the generation which witnessed them, and the ” Dominie,” as he was popularly and affectionately called, by his steadfast continuance in welldoing, especially on behalf of the poor, retained the esteem which he had long before earned, to the end.
In 1868 his old scholars gave him a public complimentary dinner, which was so successful that it was repeated for several years, and finally issued in the formation of Tollcross Native Benevolent Association. He greatly appreciated this form of recognition, and the society continues its work to the present day, and is his best monument; but the stone monument to him in the old churchyard testifies truly that ” Prudent in counsel, upright in conduct, benevolent in disposition, he spent a life of singular devotion co the best interests of his native village.”
The precentors are James Stirling, Alexander Simpson, John Ferguson, Robert Bowes Robertson, Thomas McWhinnie, James Elder, and David Pollock, who was the last of the succession, being followed by Daniel Patterson, A.R.C.O., A.T.C.L., organist. The precentor or “Letter-Gae,” as he was formerly styled in many districts in Scotland—Allan Ramsay calls him the ” Letter-Gae of haly rhyme “—once an important personage in Presbyterian worship, has of recent years been compelled to descend from his seat of dignity immediately underneath the minister’s book-board. Supplanted by leaders of choirs and by organs he now sustains a precarious existence only in a few primitive congregations in the towns and cities, and in some isolated rural communities ; and is likely at no distant date to pass from sight altogether as a functionary of the church.
Before the advent of the middle of last century inability to read was a common incapacity, rendering necessary some such device as what was known as ” the lining ” of the psalms, or the reading of the metrical version, line by line, by the precentor, in order that the people might enter intelligently into the singing. James Stirling, the first precentor, who had a salary of £8 a year, gave some trouble by negligence in this part of his duties. A minute of 1809 arms the preses with authority to remonstrate with him “for not having lined the introductory .psalm,” and inform him that “the managers consider it improper, and that they expect him not to omit it in future.”
Stirling does not seem to have given complete satisfaction in other respects. The managers complain of frequent absentings of himself from the ” desk,” and he offends the susceptibilities of several members by the singing of a tune called ” Dalford; ” while later they forbid him to strike up our old friend “Desert”—a bit of interference with his judgment which he seems to have resented, for he writes a letter which causes the managers to resolve that ” Mr. Stirling had vacated his office in this church.”
The trouble with Stirling induced the managers to determine to elect the precentor annually—a practice that has since held throughout the history of the congregation. But from this contest with the precentor they did not emerge with altogether flying colours, as in the following year the subscribers elected him anew.
In connection with this election the extraordinary proposal was made to the subscribers by the session and managers that the privilege of voting should be extended to every sitter in the church of good character above the age of fourteen. The second minister put a stop to the practice, and in the re-election of John Ferguson those only were allowed to vote who were church members.
Alexander Simpson was an innkeeper in Tollcross.
Robert Bowes Robertson was a man of high character and strong individuality. He was born at “Little Tollcross” (1784), the eldest son of a family whose forbears had, for at least three generations, resided in the district. Music was his specialty and chief vocation. At twelve years of age he is said to have “precented” for his father in Shettleston Parish Church. In his seventeenth year (1801) he was appointed to the College Church in High Street, where he remained until he , became the chosen of Tollcross (1829), the praise of which congregation he led till within a week of his end (August, 1:854).
The church of St. Thomas in Gallowgate was opened by Dr. Thomas Chalmers, who conducted the initiatory services on four successive Sabbaths. It is illustrative of the musical ability of Mr. Robertson that Dr. Chalmers requested Dr. Lockart of the College Church to allow Mr. Robertson to precent for him during all the four introductory Sundays.
Throughout Mr. Robertson’s time the singing was matter of common fame, and attracted many visitors. It was quite a usual thing for the late James Angus of Parkhead, when a young man, and other young fellows of that district, to settle among themselves that they would go to Tollcross and hear “R. B.” Without either instrument or choir, there was in those days a choir in every pew and an organ in the “desk.”
The chief element in this fine singing was the personality of the leader. According to a very capable judge, the two most distinctive personalities in the church in their day were the two life-long friends, John Kinniburgh and Robert Bowes Robertson, or as the pair were universally styled, “the Dominie ” and “R.B.,” pronounced in the vernacular of the district “Er Bay.”
No two friends could offer a greater contrast than those two men. The characteristic of the “Dominie” was calmness; that of “R.B.” was animation. But the animation of “R.B.” was without levity, and sprang from the alertness, almost abruptness of his manner and the unassumed briskness of his expression. Courteous always, it was instinctively felt that he was not to be trifled with. “R.B.” as well as ” The Dominie,” was a schoolmaster, but the schoolmastery of “R.B.” was not the schoolmastery of “The Dominie.” While the latter was administering severe and well-deserved punishment in Fullarton school, “R.B.” does not seem ever to have inflicted chastisement. When he rose from his chair and shouted “Silence!” the stillness could be felt, for there was that in the flashing eye and reddening brow to cowe the most obstreperous.
Without being eccentric, he was constantly doing things in a way of his own. Like the ministers, the Tollcross precentors wore, in those days, Geneva gowns. The vestry affording no accommodation for his robe, it was kept at home, where he usually put it on, to march up the village, thus apparelled, to the church. Once requested by a young friend to be allowed to lead for a day the church singing—the applicant being ambitious of becoming a precentor—Mr. Robertson consented. His young friend successfully raised the tune, but he became pale; and overcome by nervousness, fell back in a faint, to the alarm of all in the church. The singing naturally ceased, but “R.B.,” who was in his pew, had no idea of allowing the praise to stop. He rose from his place, continued the tune himself, walking: through the church and up the stair to the “desk,” singing all the way. It was his habit to go straight to the desk without calling at the vestry for the psalms and hymns. The custom suited Mr. Auld as well as himself, but strangers in the pulpit were astonished when they did not find the precentor putting in an appearance before the hour of worship, and were still more surprised to learn that he needed no previous notice of the psalms and hymns which, for the day, had been fixed upon. It was one of the few conceits of the celebrated Dr. William Anderson—a man who also was sui generis—that he was a good musician and it was his custom to select the tunes as well as psalms to be sung. In giving out the psalm he therefore gave out the tune also. Whether the precentor was mentally occupied at the moment, or whether he resented dictation in a matter which reasonably might be considered his own province, report sayeth not; but “R.B.” raised a tune of his own selection. To Dr. Anderson’s very audible and then still more loud “stop!” twice repeated, as he leaned over the pulpit, no heed whatever was paid by the precentor. The most of the people, observing what could not be hidden, showed hesitation in going on, and Dr. Anderson stood waiting for the end of the verse, when he again interposed; but the second verse went on like the first. The congregation, realising the position, now heartily struck in and gave the worthy doctor a fine specimen of congregational singing. It is said that Anderson resented the incident and complained to Mr. Auld, but the only comfort he received was to the effect that if he knew Mr. Robertson as well as he (Mr. Auld) did, he would not have tried to stop him.
Thomas McWhinnie came in 1855, and sang for the last time at Mr. Auld’s funeral service. He was the first to form a choir and to introduce the singing of anthems, which were more common in the church twenty-five years ago than they are now. He and his choir received a very favourable criticism from the Glasgow Daily Mail when it was publishing articles on church singing. “Both the choir and congregation seem to entertain correct ideas on the subject of psalmody. A choir of eighteen members sat on the platform in front of the pulpit, and the choirmaster beat the time steadily and carefully. Nearly all the members of the choir were very youthful, and the voices fresh and sweet. The congregation entered fully into the psalmody. The time was excellent, and the choir sang with a steady swing, drawing the congregation along with them.” Mr. McWhinnie was in temperament and manner exactly the opposite of his remarkable predecessor, being calm and reserved. He had an accurate and competent idea of music and was a first-rate instructor. Unassuming and unobtrusive, he yet made his authority felt in his choir and classes, although musical classes and choirs are proverbially uncanny teams to drive; for his will was extremely firm, and he was master of his subject. Mr. McWhinnie had character and power, was deservedly respected for numerous virtues, and was esteemed by his choir. He still survives, living at Motherwell.
The church beadle is an important functionary, being the executive officer to a certain extent of the church authorities, and the minister’s man. His duties have, in part, changed with the times. In the days of the grandfathers and great-grandfathers of the men who built the church manners were coarse, people were rude, and law and religion were often hard put to. “Staffs were given to beadles,” therefore, “for keeping quiet in church and comely order,” as they walked up and down the aisles, very much as policemen perambulate their beats, ” and likewise for crabbing unruly children.” That there was some need for the beadle and his staff the history of the First Charge in Glasgow leaves no doubt. (1 – Marshall Lang’s ” Glasgow and the Barony thereof”)
The combination of excellencies required in a modern beadle is manifold, and not usually found complete in the one person. When to the gifts and graces of the church officer have to be added the qualities that belong to an ideal sexton, the problem of fixing upon the right man becomes still more involved and perplexing. The experience of many a congregation like ours, with a graveyard attached, must have taught church authorities to regard with some respect the reputed saying of an old worthy of the beadle order, ” An’ it were ane o’ thae minister bodies, or maybe a precentor callant, a hantle o’ them are aye ready to han’; but a guid beadle’s no easy to get, I’m thinking.”
The succession in Tollcross Church is James Sornmerville, James Marshall, Edward Marshall, James Marshall the second, Robert Brechin, William Anderson, James Morton, and Alexander Young. Poor old James Sommerville was branded with “imbecility ” by the meeting of subscribers in 1827, but much, of course, could not be expected for £5 a year. A side light is thrown upon the growing work of the church in I memorial of Edward Marshall, church officer, setting forth the grounds on which he asks for an increase of salary. He had new work which was not formerly necessary in connection with the missionary meeting on Sunday evenings, with the Bible class on Monday nights, and with the weekly prayer meetings. Edward Marshall and William Anderson were very efficient church officers, and last but not least is the present Alexander Young.
THE CHURCH BUILDING
The church structure was estimated to cost about £1,611. There is reason to believe the actual cost was much more. The amount brought in was something like upwards of £682. Consequently a formidable debt remained to worry managers and cripple the energies of the congregation. Several expedients were from time to time resorted to for the purpose of reducing it, with varying but never quite satisfactory results. The days of bazaars, fortunately or unfortunately, had then not even begun to dawn. Yet, but for this debt, which always seems to have pressed more or less heavily for at least three-quarters of a century, much might have been done that had to be left undone. A second cause of trouble which met every generation of managers, and even called for the action of the session, was the practice of occupying seats for which people did not pay. A number of generous proprietors or sub-scribers gave up the interest of their subscription money to the use of the church, but the debt disease was for a period very acute. An amusing means of increasing the funds of the treasury was by coming down upon negligent office-bearers and making them smart for defective discharge of their duties, it being enacted that a fine of one shilling ” for the good of the funds ” shall be exacted from absentees from managers’ meetings ” without reasonable excuse.” The difficulty in which the congregation was entangled on account of debt did not prevent the church authorities from keeping up the state of the property, or losing sight of certain ideals. The better lighting of the building was under consideration, proposals for the erection of a vestry and a manse were entertained. Neither were the poor of the church allowed to surfer, for they received yearly from £20 to £30. The care and attention which the congregation gave to members in straitened circumstances was urged as a reason for the rejection of a proposal made by the minister and heritors of the Barony (1816) to consider the best mode of supplying the industrious poor without having recourse to legal assessment, ” unless the heritors are willing to remit the poor rates assessed upon the feuars and tenants belonging to the congregation.”
It has already been said that Mr. Ney was an eloquent and popular preacher, and a gleam of extraordinary but very temporary brightness sunned the congregation. It was now that they were encouraged to carry out schemes which had long since been in their minds. The vestry was built in 1825 with the stair leading up to it—if the writer is not mistaken—on the outside. The construction of a manse was in view as early as 1807. In the following year the managers resolve that “a house this summer shall be built for the minister.” The execution of the design had to be delayed owing to the “high price of wood.” Shortly afterwards (1810) the subscribers authorised the managers “to take a lease of the house in Carmyle, which the minister now occupies, and also to treat with Colin Dunlop, Esq., for the ground lying immediately to the south of the churchyard wall.” It was thus the original idea that the manse should stand behind the church and churchyard. It was not, however, until December, 1826, that the proposal took definite shape, owing to the repeated complaints of Mr. Ney regarding the discomforts of the house which he was occupying, and which was known as the cottage of Dalbeth. Two plots were considered as suitable, the one adjoining the churchyard, now enclosed within the late extension of the burying ground, and the other on the lands of Wester Shettleston. The Wester Shettleston feu was preferred by more than two-thirds of the subscribers, and the money for building was borrowed. The house was reported ready for occupation on fifth November, 1827, the feu dating from that year. The amount was £6 a year, with a casualty of £5 additional every twenty-five years. It contained one rood, twenty poles, two yards, but the sizes in the feuing plan and title-deed differed respectively. The ground was all contained within the garden walls and the site of the manse and offices. What is now the avenue seems to have been originally an old road running along the south side of the feu and up over the Muiryfauld hill, and is only a right of entry. There used to be a plantation on the other side of the avenue to the south, which is now built upon. The property was valued in October, 1885, and found to be worth £489, but considerable repairs were put on it since. It seems in the early part of Mr. Auld’s ministry to have been much the object of the attention of thieves, against whom every precaution was taken by the managers, and no private house which the writer has seen was better defended against the visits of night prowlers. It ceased to be occupied as a manse at the death of Mr. Auld, and was ultimately sold for £550 in September, 1896. It had been for a number of years subsequent to the death of Mr. Auld a source of trouble and expense, but it was an old landmark, and was so long associated with the church that many of the members could not readily make up their minds to part with it.
The “watch-house” was set up in 1828. In the April of that year a petition was put into the hands of the preses, signed by upwards of eight hundred persons, intimating that they had agreed amongst themselves “to turn out by rotation in order to prevent violation of the graves” of the dead interred round the church, and at the same time “praying for a place of shelter to screen them from the inclemency of the weather, or to allot them a piece of ground to erect one ;” the petition being ” signed by Alexander Cleland.”
Some explanation is perhaps called for of the circum-stances which gave rise to so extraordinary a movement on the part of so large a number of people. About a twelvemonth before the presentation of this numerously signed petition to the church authorities, the discovery was made that a sloop was lying in the harbour of Glasgow laden with corpses from Ireland for the use of the professors and students in the university.(1- MacGregor’s History of Glasgow) It was, besides, well known that the Cathedral and Ramshorn burial grounds had been violated for the same purpose, to the great horror of the public, and the great demoralization of the students engaged in those ghastly raids.
The panic created was widespread and lasting. Nothing is more calculated to work up public indignation to an extreme pitch than ruthless treatment of the dead. The apprehension of friends for the security of the bodies of their lately deceased relatives was stretched to the racking point. One poor man who lived in Parkhead was so affected by anxiety about his lately buried wife that he regularly every night for a period of five or six weeks walked to Tollcross in order to stand a night-long sentinel over her grave. Iron safes and cages now began to cover the burial places of owners who could afford to pay for them. Those who could not erect costly defences above their dead formed themselves into armed bands called “The Watch” to guard the churchyard during the hours of darkness. Often a small house was erected for their comfort, provided with a fireplace, and it is said that seldom did a lengthened period elapse without exchange of shots.
The crime was called crimen violati sepulchre, and trials frequently occurred in the criminal courts. The last instance of the ancient punishment of whipping at the cart’s tail in Glasgow occurred in 1822, when a reputed leader of the resurrectionist band—a John Campbell— was flogged through the town. (1 – Old Glasgow by Nestor, ifo-163) The atrocious crimes perpetrated in Edinburgh by the infamous Burke and Hare, who decoyed victims to their dens, murdered them, and sold the bodies to the dissectors, led to the passing of the Anatomy Act, which put a stop to the practice.
In the churchyard of Tollcross it does not appear that anything more serious happened than false alarms raised by prank-loving youth, who sometimes indulged their “skylarking” propensities by giving utterance to eerie sounds and whisperings, or by putting things down the watch-house chimney. The duties of watching were nevertheless long regarded as of primary importance. The managers’ minutes repeatedly provide for “a day’s collection at the church doors for support of the church watch,” and the annual meeting of subscribers (August, 1836) resolve to charge “one shilling over and above the ordinary price for the privilege of burying in the common ground,” upon “all who should refuse to watch the churchyard in their turn.” An epitaph on a resurrectionist appeared some years ago in Blackwood’s Magazine to the following effect:—
Here lies an honest man, my brothers,
Who raised himself by raising others;
Anxious his friends from soil to save,
His converse still was with the grave ;
To’ rescue from the tomb his mission,
He took men off to the physician;
And strove that all, whom death releases,
Should rest—if not in peace—in pieces.
So here he waits his resurrection,
In hopes his life may bear dissection.
Long before 1850 the public panic had subsided, for by this time the old watch house had gone to wreck, and in that year was taken down. It had been a little brick, house, nine feet square, standing to the west of the church, slightly to the south of Messrs. Spittals’ ground. About this period, much to the annoyance of good old treasurer George Reston, -Sunday burial seems to have become a common practice. Mr. Reston did what he could to discourage it; until over-ruled by the managers, forbade the opening of graves on the sacred day, and would not accept the monies due for Sunday interments. The churchyard has been several times extended, the last extension (1894) being the most important. The new ground was offered by Mr. Dunlop who had previously wanted £1,000 per acre, and accepted by the congregation for £550, which, with the expense of an additional outlay involved in the planning and laying out of the new portion and other items, amounted in all to some-thing like £651. From a financial point of view the transaction has proved beneficial. The graveyard was originally bounded by a hedge, which gave place in time to substantial walls.
Before dismissing this rather dismal subject some reference may not be inappropriate to burial and other kindred customs of the district and country generally before the era of the building of the church. After the Reformation the terror of Popery was such that no religious service took place at funerals; although, if the minister happened to be present, which was not necessary, he was asked to give and return thanks when the bread and drink went round. (1- Graham’s Social Life in Scotland) The invitation to the funeral was made by the bellman or village crier. ” When one dies the bellman or sexton goes about the streets with a small bell in his hand, which he tinkles all along as he goeth; and now and then he makes a stand and proclaims who is dead, and invites the people to come to the funeral at such an hour.” (2 – Kay’s Itinerary (1661) 13) To absent one’s self was regarded as disreputable; to be without the means of furnishing a respectable funeral was to have reached the last depth of misery, and “when a woman married she proceeded to spin her winding sheet.” The burial devoid of costly appointments, often on a scale totally out of proportion to the means of the individual responsible for the payment, would have been held to be disgraceful. And while it was “a dangerous thing to be ill, an expensive thing to die, it was frequently a ruinous thing to be buried.” (3 – Graham I. 52)
The grim ceremony of “chesting” or “coffining,” which has gone out of fashion among the upper and middle classes generally, is still retained among the working classes of the district. It had a curious origin about the beginning of the eighteenth century or later, and was connected with the interests of trade. To foster the linen industry it was enacted that every corpse should be shrouded in a sheet of linen ; later on, in order to encourage the woollen manufacturer, it was ordained that every corpse should be swathed in a piece of woollen cloth. To enforce the observance of the law it was also decreed that the nearest elder, with a neighbour or two, should be present at the putting of the dead into the “kist.” When the writer first came to the district plates or baskets of sweet cake accompanied by a supply of wine and whisky were in evidence at almost every chesting and funeral, over which the minister, in addition to the ordinary service of prayer, had to ask a blessing— the blessing being in some cases almost as long as the prayer.
Among the industrial classes of the village and neighbourhood it is also a custom not to screw down the body in the coffin till the last moment, in order that all the friends and visitors may view the dead, not even to the exclusion of little children—a questionable if not a reprehensible habit in the case of juveniles, as the impression left upon the youthful mind by the sight of the dead is very likely to remain and efface the image from the memory which the dead had borne when still in health and activity. But something may be said for the practice of keeping the coffin open to the last moment. Well authenticated cases have occurred of decease that seemed real, but which was only apparent, a genuine instance of which the writer was reminded of but the other day as having occurred in his own native town. The coffin was closed, the funeral guests had assembled, the funeral service had finished, the funeral procession had set out towards the burying place, when someone detected or imagined he detected a noise proceeding from the coffin. The escape of the supposed corpse from a premature burial was an extremely narrow one, but it was timely, for the “corpse ” lived for many years thereafter, becoming the mother of several children which she bore to her husband after having been at her own funeral.
In 1831 a gate was put at the entry to the manse avenue, and a little later Mr. Dunlop built a wall to Hamilton Road, and planted trees in a corner of the field in the neighbourhood of the wall in order to shelter the manse. Mr. James Rankin of Helenvale, at his own expense, raised and formed the avenue, besides contributing to the expense of the gate.
Steeples or spires, erected on towers either square or round, are ancient appendages of ecclesiastical buildings. They have a certain appropriateness in connection with churches, as their gradual tapering upwards to a point and vanishing skyward is a fitting emblem of religion and worship. When, at the Revolution (1793), a wave of atheism swept over the French people, Hebert carried a resolution in the municipality of Paris for the demolition of the whole of the steeples in the city, on the ground that they were ” repugnant to the principles of equality,” (1- Alison’s Europe, III., 23) as well as atheistic sentiments.
The earliest steeples or spires were merely pyramidal or conical roofs set on square walls, and may still be met with in old Norman styles of architecture. They were occasionally solid, but more generally hollow, and were early used as chambers that afforded excellent quarters in which to hang the church bell, with, in many cases, its accompanying chimes.
“Utter your jubilee, steeple and spire.” (2- Tennyson)
In rural and obscure parts, when a church tower or steeple was not available, the bell, if any there was, might be found hanging from a tree in the neighbourhood of the church.
But church steeples were used for purposes other than those of offering a home to the bell. Evildoers who had come under the ban of the kirk session were sent lo the steeple. In 1604 a person was steepled for eight days, and the beadle was instructed to let him have nothing “but bread and water, or small drink. (1- Glasgow Fades, I., p. 133) Occasionally “the back gallery or “loft” was made use of as a place of confinement. This was “for some time” the prison of offenders (1634) connected with the church of the Blackfriars.
The Tollcross Church steeple came into being in 1835; but, needless to say, never was employed as a prison where offenders were fed on bread and water. In the previous year it was reported that a sum of £140 had been raised for the purpose, including a bell, and in order to elicit further subscriptions it was agreed, curiously enough, that “all sub-scribers of one pound and upwards to the steeple should be eligible to elect and be elected managers of the church.” In connection with the construction of the steeple Mr. James Dunlop kindly intimated that the interest on the cost of the wall which he had erected at the manse “need not be offered unless he should require it” (the interest had not been paid). It may be here acknowledged that the Dunlop family have always shown the congregation much kindness, and there is a minute of managers of August, 1835, to the effect that “the Hon. Colin Dunlop, Esq., M.P., by his liberal subscription (2- £21) towards erecting the steeple and bell; by his attention lately to the improvement of the manse ; by his generously leaving the coal unwrought beneath the church rather than endanger the property, has laid the society under a lasting debt of gratitude; and that the thanks of this meeting be respectfully presented to him for those instances of his beneficence, as well as for the countenance and assistance he has uniformly extended to it on every occasion that presented itself.” The-steeple is of line proportions and much of an ornament to the building and village. It was struck by lightning, a few years ago (1896), since which time it has been protected by a lightning conductor. At the same time a new vane was put on, the old one having been blown away some winters before in a heavy gale, and other repairs were executed at a cost of about £54.
In former times the church bell was rung for a double purpose. It served as a summons to the church and to the funeral. It is said that on the bell in St. Enoch’s steeple there is the inscription—
“I to the church the people call,
And to the grave I summon all.”
But the summoning to funerals by means of the large bell seems to have had a rather late origin. The bell for this purpose was in early times the altar service bell, which, in pre-Reformation days, the friars rung through the streets of the city for the repose of the souls of the departed, especially those who had been large ecclesiastical benefactors.
The forerunner of the great bell of the steeple was the cymbal or hand-bell, the latter of which gave out a little tinkling sound. This was the character of the “bell of St. Mungo,” which was of the order formerly known as the “Sacryn Bell.” The introduction of bells into Christian churches dates from about the beginning of the sixth century. They used to be styled campana, from which it has been inferred that they were first manufactured in Campania, hence Campanile, the bell tower.
In Scotland and Ireland for a long period the bells were apparently mere hand bells. The most remarkable is “St. Patrick’s bell.” as it is said to have belonged to him. It is six inches high, five inches broad, and four inches deep. It was the fifteenth century before bells began to reach any very large size. The largest in the world is that of Moscow, weighing one hundred and ninety-three tons.
A considerable amount of superstition has gathered around our ecclesiastical bells. They have been supposed to drive away pestilence, quiet storms, extinguish fires, and impart to enemies the spirit of fear so that they are glad to run away. To bells was also attributed the power of putting evil spirits to flight. From this belief, no doubt, arose the custom of ringing the “Passing bell”—a custom which survived the Reformation—the idea being to relieve the dying from the attacks of devils who were supposed to’ be particularly alert about the moment of decease.
The bell of Tollcross was rung for the first time on the evening of November the twenty-third, 1835, which was no doubt a great occasion to the managers and villagers. The casting cost £45 and upwards, the stock and mounting above £14, and other small items about two guineas more, the total cost being £62. The diameter was thirty inches. This bell was reported cracked (1863) and a new one was ordered (1864) to weigh from seven to eight hundredweight. It was hung in the same year, and still rings the people to worship; for “the church bell rings twice on Sundays, and just as loudly for the people as for the minister.”
And one sweet sound runs through it all,
Through hearts and homes, o’er hills and dells;
Through all the land with kindly call—
The faint and far off sound of bells,(1- Forsyth’s Poem)
The statement has been made, and is possibly a general belief in the congregation, that the Tollcross bell was the first to be erected in Scotland in connection with a dissenting church. The writer is sorry to be required in truth to say that the belief is ill founded and cannot be maintained.
” Nestor,” in his ” Old Glasgow,” says that the Burgher church of Mr. Macfarlane, afterwards the Rev. Dr. John Macfarlane of Erskine Church, Glasgow, and ultimately of London, was “the first dissenting meeting-house which erected a bell to call the worshippers at the hour of prayer.” This was before 1831. The parish minister of Tulliallan—Mr. Balloch—applied for an interdict in the Sheriff Court of Dunblane, but the case never came to an issue. This bell dispute originated a piece of doggerel which appeared in the Edinburgh Evening Chronicle, according to ” Nestor,” on Saturday, 13th December, 1831.—
Who’ll pull the bell ? I, says thebull,
Because I can pull; And I’ll pull.
So, quoth old Mr. Balloch. but his day has gone past,
And an end’s to be put to his pulling at Inst;
Or at least, if he’s not to be laid on the shelf,
He’s no longer to have all the pull to himself.
The clock was placed in the steeple in 1837 by Messrs. Breckenridge & Son, Kilmarnock, “of the same description as that of Kilmarnock Relief Church (King Street U.F. Church) at a cost of £88.” It gave full satisfaction and still shows the time of day, although not yet, unfortunately, the time of night.
It has already been observed that the administration of the secular affairs of the congregation was in the hands of a body of subscribers whose power of administration was derived not from a religious or spiritual, but from a financial standing. This was long and reasonably felt to be a wrong condition of things. Circumstances being favourable in 1844 for the introduction of improvement in the constitution of the church, a proposal was made, which was accepted by the subscribers, by which members of the church, being seat-holders, should be ” empowered and entitled to elect annually from among themselves twenty individuals to represent the congregation in the meetings of proprietors —those representatives to attend all meetings of proprietors, to deliberate and vote on all secular affairs, to be eligible to the office of manager, and to enjoy the same rights and privileges and stand on the same footing of responsibility with the proprietors.”
Still this was but a half measure, and fell far short of what was desirable and necessary in the circumstances of the church. It was not reasonable to suppose that people would take much interest in a church, or contribute heartily towards the maintenance of its ordinances, in which, although they were members in full communion and even rented seats, yet, not being proprietors, they had neither right of speech nor vote in important matters of business policy.
In the following year the subscribers resolved to unite with the congregation in an endeavour to raise £1,000 for liquidation of the debt; and the proprietors or subscribers agreed, as soon as the amount should be realised and applied to the discharge of the debt, to surrender to the members all control of secular matters. A great effort was accordingly made to gather together the money. Nothing appears to have been left undone in order to arouse enthusiasm. Great guns were requisitioned from the city, to be fired off when the proper time had come. A social meeting-was organised, and Dr. William Anderson and Dr. Gavin Struthers did their best to stir up the people’s loyalty and liberality. But the effort was only partially successful, and in 1848 it was reported to the proprietors that no more than £560 had been received. They nevertheless agreed to the request of the members to surrender into: the members’ hands their right to control the church’s secular affairs. Rules and regulations suitable to the new situation were drawn up (1848), which with slight modifications, still form the constitution of the church. New trustees were appointed (1849), viz., John Meikleham, John Turnbull, Alexander Deans, Walter Rodger, Archibald Baird, Kenneth Mackenzie, Robert Alexander,: William Campbell, Walter McFeat, Thomas Morton, Gilbert Watson and Thomas Brown. Two only of this number of trustees survived in 1892, and the congregation appointed on the ninth day of February of that year the managers and their successors in office to be the trustees of the church.
The church gate originally stood, not where it now is, but at the south end of the church avenue, or where a person immediately enters upon the churchyard grounds. On the left hand of this position, when one looks southwards or towards the church, stood at one time a little house, facing west, of two apartments or a ” but and ben” of one storey, belonging to Mr. Lawrence Drew. This house Mr. Drew appeared willing that the congregation should demolish, provided they would build a stone wall on the opposite side of the church entry. The house was removed in 1852 ; in the following year walls were built on each side of the avenue, and the gate shifted to its present position; Mr. Drew, however, taking obligation that he was at liberty to restore the original situation. When the late Mr. Hugh Robertson, Foxley, acquired the properties from Mr. Drew’s trustees, he asked an acknowledgment from the managers that his rights were the same as those of Mr. Drew, and this on the advice of their law agents—the Messrs. Kidston—was granted, the lawyers considering that Mr. Drew’s reservation descended and was incontestable.
Gas light was introduced into the manse in 1845, and into the church in 1854 at a cost in the case of the church of £48; the salary of the minister was increased, and £5 over and above the increase allowed him for expenses in attending Synod. In 1827 the church was heated by means of stoves, £30 being subscribed for the purpose, and Mr. John Wilson, Clyde Ironworks, promises to give at least one cart of charcoal annually as long as he remains in the place, ” which was considered a generous offer.” A new method was adopted about 1860 at a cost of £25 or £30, exclusive of fittings. The final and most satisfactory improvement was effected in 1893 in connection with the construction of the new halls, when hot water pipes were spread over the whole ground floor above the flooring at a total cost of £71.
The church building has undergone, several times, alteration and renovation. The most important change for half a century was completed in 1858, when the ground area was asphalted and re-seated. The old pulpit, which was removed, was canopied by a sounding board, ornamented on the top with the carved representation of a pine apple. It had a brass ring at the rim for holding the baptismal basin. All round the pulpit extended two benches, the upper one for men, which was on a level with the precentor’s desk, the lower one for women. Stained glass was put into the large window behind and above the pulpit at a total cost of £58. This extensive renovation involved an expenditure of £35, which was raised by subscription, by borrowed money, by the increase of seat rents, by the proceeds-of evening lectures, and by a donation from the Ferguson Bequest of £150. The pulpit which replaced the old one was a very elegant object. It had at first no railing to the stair, which was not added until 1870; the minister entered it from behind—the vestry being upon a level with the pulpit floor. The joiner work was by old Mr. Alexander Marshall, and the asphalt by Mr. Robertson.
The church was re-opened on the last Sunday of November, having been under repair from the beginning of September. Sometime afterwards the ceiling was strengthened by carrying up two pillars at the corners of the gallery towards the roof, the pews painted, the pulpit painted and upholstered, and a ventilator constructed in the roof all at a cost of about £243.
As early as August, 1834, rumours were persistently set afloat that the roof was in an unsafe condition, and periodically from that time onwards the congregation were kept in a chronic state of anxiety, and the managers compelled to a periodic tinkering. At length in 1884 the cause of trouble was removed, and an entirely new roof constructed, it having been felt that no partial repair would remove the feeling of insecurity or prevent a constant expenditure. The church was vacated for two months, there being no services held in July, 1884. In August the congregation met in Fullarton Hall. The heat of that month was intense; the hall, totally inadequate for the accommodation of the congregation, was stifling ; and the writer remembers what a great relief it was for all when the church was ready to receive; them. The re-roofing, outside repairs, and painting amounted to £325. The attendance at the re-opening services was very large, and the collection taken at the church plate was £67. The next renovation was in 1900, when at a cost of £214 the interior was painted and decorated. The collection on this occasion was again large, amounting to £54.
The final alteration of consequence was in 1904 when what is practically a third pulpit, so much has its appearance been altered, was introduced, the stained glass window swept away, the vestry much altered, improved, and beautifully furnished, and a chamber built between it and the pulpit for the reception of an organ. The instrument, with the necessary and other desirable alterations, altogether cost upwards of £1600.
The session became administrators in 1885 of a sum of £1,000, the annual interest of which, under the will of the late Archibald Allan, Parkhead, is applied in providing coals and clothing annually during the winter months for behoof of “such of the poor of Parkhead and Westmuir, as the kirk session shall from time to time deem deserving of the gift.” The bequest has proved a great boon to many of the poor in those districts.
The organ in Scottish church praise is no new thing, having been in use in Fordun’s time. That earliest of our old chroniclers refers to it in connection with the removal of the body of Queen Margaret (1250) for interment beside the high altar of Dunfermline Church.(1- Thomson’s History of Scot., iii., 40) The great organ or “kist of whistles,” as it was called, belonging to the Cathedral of Glasgow, was removed at the Reformation. The organ did not appear after the Reformation in the city till 1775. The first place of worship to receive it was what then was the new Episcopal Chapel on the Green.
The instrumental music question was first raised in our congregation as far back as about thirty years ago (1877). It arose out of a request by the Sabbath school teachers to be allowed to place a harmonium in the church for the use of the school, which at that period was meeting in the church. To this the managers assented and instrumental music has been in use in the Sunday school ever since. But the mere sight of the “kist o’ whistles” inside the choir railing offended the conservative susceptibilities of one worthy member at least, who at the annual meeting (13th August, 1878) moved that “it be lifted out of the church before Sabbath.” Several members, fearful of the “thin end of the wedge,” gave him support, for twenty-one voted for his motion against another by Mr. Gabriel Muir for the retention of the instrument. Being left in a minority of twelve the dissentient ceased to attend: but his heart was evidently in the old place, for he did not apply for, and never would be persuaded to accept, his disjunction certificate.
The next we hear of instrumental music is in a letter written by Mr. James Robertson, Foxley, asking the session “to take into consideration the propriety of introducing instrumental music into public worship.” The session refused to take action, as “they did not consider that the congregation was ripe for entertaining the suggested change.”
Meanwhile instrumental music as an assistance to church praise was more and more coming into favour, and many churches were introducing the organ. Some amongst ourselves began to ask why, if the harmonium could be used with benefit to the children in the Sunday school, it could not be used with benefit to their parents in the church. Simultaneously with this growth “I feeling, in conjunction with an increasing division of opinion as to the character of the congregational singing, the new halls were projected and completed ; and Mr. James Hume, then of Easthorn, presented a beautiful memorial organ to the Sabbath school, without contemplating that it should be used exclusively for Sabbath school purposes, but providing that the congregation might have the use of it, should they think fit, ” without prejudice to the rights of the Sabbath school.” This organ was used for the first time at the opening of the halls on Sunday evening, ninth day of April, 1893, and gave great satisfaction, the halls building committee stating in their minute that ” it added greatly to the enjoyableness of the inaugural meetings, and will long help to give beauty to the service of praise in the new hall.” The contrast between the singing in the hall and Sunday school, and the singing in the church being very marked, it deepened the dissatisfaction of many of the people with the latter, and the session were compelled to consider the whole subject. They resolved (1894) that, with the consent of the Sabbath school teachers, they would introduce Mr. Hume’s gift in order to assist the praise at the ordinary Sabbath services in future. This action gave rise to much discussion, and some unfavourable criticism, and the session were constrained in the upshot to consult the whole congregation by means of voting papers. The returns were such that the organ question was finally set at rest and the organ permanently installed. At the annual meeting in February, 1896, it was agreed to appoint an organist at a salary of £30, which has since been repeatedly increased. The successful candidate was Mr. Daniel Patterson, A.R.C.O., A.T.C.L.
The last stage was reached in the recent erection of now fine pipe organ now in use, at the cost already stated. Great attention was paid by a competent and painstaking committee to the construction of the organ chamber and to the other changes rendered necessary. The whole was completed in the autumn of 1904, and on Sunday the eighteenth day of September, special opening services were conducted by Professor Orr, Glasgow, and the Rev. John Baird, M.A., minister of the Longrow U.F. Church, Campbeltown; Mr. Thomas Berry, of Belhaven U.F. Church, Glasgow, presiding at the organ. On the following evening, before a large assemblage, Mr. Berry gave an organ recital. The instrument was built by the Messrs. Brindley & Foster, Sheffield, and has given much satisfaction.
The organ committee was presided over by Mr. Malcolm McPhee, Hillside, Mount Vernon, the secretary of the committee being Mr. John S. Kirkwood, Glen Place, Shettleston.
With the progress of the times and the evolution of new ideas and methods it began to be felt that the old session-house was not only antiquated and unworthy of the church, but totally inadequate to the requirements of congregational work. It was, however, one thing to have a clear idea of what was needful and another to fall upon and execute a feasible plan of raising the funds necessary for the provision of adequate hall accommodation. The subject was repeatedly referred to in the session and elsewhere before any practical action could be entered on. The credit of this action is due to the women of the church. A year or two before 1890 a few of them met in the house of the minister, when it was proposed they should organise themselves into a committee of work for a bazaar, which they proposed should be held at no very distant date, but still in the indefinite future. With characteristic energy they set to work and gradually engaged the interest and sympathy of the great body of the people. Meeting! were held, a large committee of gentlemen was formed, which ultimately came under the very able and business like direction of Mr. James Walker, superintendent of the Sunday school, aided by Mr. J. Y. Watson as secretary, and Mr. Charles L. Gilchrist as treasurer. The work of preparation went on for more than a twelvemonth, and no church bazaar preparations could be more wisely or efficiently conducted. The ambition of the committee was to raise £1,000, at which many of the congregation who were not in those days so accustomed as they now are to bazaar methods, smiled and shook their heads, regarding the committee’s aspirations as of the “o’er-vaulting” sort. The bazaar was held in the Art Galleries, in October, 1891, the first day’s proceedings being opened by Mr. Dunlop of Tollcross, and the next by Dr. Robert Gourlay. The attendance was great, the rush of people on Saturday night being such that the doors had to be closed for a time. The committee wanted but one thousand pounds; they received £1,643, and they had in the bank when all accounts were paid £1,512 16s. 4d. With this money in their hands they came to the congregation, which appointed in December, 1891, a halls building committee consisting of from the session—the Rev. Charles MacEwing, and Messrs. T. Wilson, D Thom, Wm. Jack, Jas. Walker, Thos. Conner, D. Baxter; from the managers—Messrs. J. S. Kirkwood, preses, D. Black, J. Y. Watson, A. McAllan, James Blackwood, Archd. Marshall, H. M. Robertson; and from the congregation Messrs. John Boyd, Jas. Hume, C. L. Gilchrist, A. B. Beaton, Alex Marshall, William Crichton, and Robert Brown.
A piece of ground in the most desirable of all situations, lying on the west side of the church avenue, was obtained with some difficulty, the site finally secured having been the third fixed upon; it was purchased from Mr. Robertson, Foxley, for about £500. The cost of the building was £1,473, and the total outlay, including price of site and other incidental charges £2,132. There was originally a bond on the building for £400, which has since been cleared away. The architect was Mr. Robert Clifford, Glasgow. The main hall is capable of seating three hundred and eighty, is a spacious and elegant apartment with massive roof, and is handsomely lighted from above. Adjoining it is the lesser hall with ascending floor to suit the teaching of infant classes. This when required can be added easily to the other, thus giving accommodation for an additional one hundred and twenty. There is besides a suite of rooms embracing a ladies’ room, committee room, library, kitchen, fitted up with every requirement demanded for social meetings, two lavatories and sunk heating chamber. The halls have supplied in a thorough manner the necessities of modern church life, and are used nightly during six months of the year, and so far as the writer is aware, are equal to anything which can be shown by the United Free Church in Glasgow. The Sunday school meets in the large, and the infant class in the lesser hall.
When the new halls were built the old session house was demolished, and the site turned into graves. For the benefit of the young generation it may be stated that it stood at the corner furthest to the east and north of the graveyard, its eastern gable abutting on Dunlop Street. The old house had served its day, and the requirements and tastes of the people had outgrown its powers to please; but it was not without a pang that many of the people who possessed sacred memories of scenes transacted within its ancient walls which they would not willingly let die, witnessed its removal. It had been a centre and focus of instruction and religious inspiration. The figures of revered church fathers were indelibly associated with its homely shelter. Prayers of unction and words of power; pleasant song and edifying and occasionally amusing speech; comradeships and friendships there begun or cemented, never to be broken until death, had endeared it to the heart. Miss Alston, now of Strathaven, daughter of Mr. Andrew Alston, a gentleman who did yeoman service to the church in former times, thus writes—”I remember when the only hall (available for church work) was the old session house. The Sunday school soirees used to be held within it. The tea was made at the one end, and of course there was a great big fire. But in spite of the crowd and the fire, which heated the atmosphere to a stifling pitch, they all appeared to enjoy themselves. The speakers were of the congregation. They were both old and young. The young men generally had a subject assigned them; the speeches of the old, among whom would be Mr. Kinniburgh, Mr. Cross, and my father, with others whom I cannot recall, were reminiscent. And although they may not have been very educative, they were very heart warming.”
The new halls were the scene of much animation and beauty some twelve years later, when the second congregational bazaar was held—on this occasion for the purpose of raising a fund for the purchase of a pipe organ.
The feeling was pretty general that the little organ in use was not powerful enough for the building, and the desire was fairly strong that an instrument in capacity more in keeping with the church should be erected. A congregational meeting was held for the purpose of considering the subject, and was one of the largest congregational meetings the writer remembers. It was agreed to have a great organ, provided that funds should in the first instance be raised, the church being determined not to go into debt over such a matter. A strong bazaar committee was formed under the presidency of Mr. Malcolm McPhee, Hillside, and the second bazaar venture was launched. With an effort that did not appear to tax materially the energies or means of anyone, a three days’ sale produced the very respectable sum of about £1,200. Dr. Robert Gourlay was again among the openers. Although this was a village bazaar held on the church’s premises, in the midst of a period of exceptionally wet and stormy weather in the end of October, the attendance as on the former occasion was particularly gratifying and exceeded expectation.
Quite apropos of the functions of managers was the liberal provision which they made in the olden time olden time for creature comforts.” There is a wide contrast between our modern ideas of what is necessary refreshment of the body, as compared with those of our ancestors at a period of which it might be roundly said “Tis sixty years ago.” To us the customs of that age form a curious and amusing episode. In a minute dated second November, 1812, there is the entry, “the managers authorise the treasurer to purchase napery and other things connected with the sacrament, and also order a bottle of spirits to be kept in the session house for use of those who attend at the plates on the Sabbath days.” In a mood of retrenchment in 1830 it was ordained that “one assistant should be enough for the precentor, and that the greatest economy should be adopted in purchasing articles of entertainment.” ” A little wine and spirits (1833) shall be placed in the vestry for the use of the ministers who assist (at the sacrament), and also a dozen of wine shall be sent to the manse as a present to the minister, which proposal was unanimously approved of, and the treasurer instructed to act accordingly.”
It appears that “meat” as well as drink was provided on those sacramental occasions. In 1835 the managers were of opinion ” that in consequence of the alteration in the form of dispensing the ordinance, there would be no necessity for providing meat to be used in the session house; but that a refreshment of wine and spirits should be placed in the session house for the use of those in attendance, and some refreshment for the ministers should be carried to the vestry. It was also agreed that the treasurer should send one dozen of wine and a gallon of aqua as a present to the ——–” The word “minister” is left out, but that is only because there is no more room in the line. In October of the same year “it was moved and seconded that the preses, treasurer and clerk, and whoever else may be appointed to assist in letting the seats, shall, at every day on which the seats are let, be allowed a refreshment not to exceed three shillings each.” The decision anent this proposal was postponed till the next annual meeting, which seems is to have passed it unanimously in the midst of a batch of motions with reference to an increase of salary to the clerk, making it up to £5, the flagging of the porch underneath the steeple, the putting of a door (since removed) on the entry beneath the vestry, and a unanimous vote of thanks to Mr. Reston for ” his long and faithful services and unremitting zeal.”
By a minute of 1841 the present of wine and spirits made to the minister, the yearly value of which amounted to about £7 12s., was commuted into an annual payment for effecting “an assurance on the minister’s life for behoof of his surviving family in case of his death.” Up to the early years of the present ministry the practice continued of placing in the vestry at each communion a bottle of wine and spirits. Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur inillis. We live in altered days; “the old order changeth.”
RELIGIOUS AND EDUCATIONAL
The history of the church is not exhausted by an account, however important, of its material and financial affairs. Religious and spiritual operations and methods have a first place, and we do not refer to them last because they are least. To worship and preach the word, to inspire the people and maintain them on high Christian levels, to teach the youth, to form human minds according to the Perfect Life is the real function of the church, success in which is her best reward. Matters that more properly come under the superintendence of the session shall form the concluding subject of this sketch.
Those old communions, to which passing reference was made towards the close of the last chapter, were not only serious, but exciting, impressive and prolonged ceremonies. It was then that the “Tent” was set up. Its use was rendered necessary by the great crowds that assembled for the sacramental preachings, when the rural churches were generally too limited for the multitude of people. Services were commonly held simultaneously outside and inside the church, the outside preacher speaking from “the Tent.” A reference to the crowding characteristic of those sacramental occasions is found in the managers’ minutes of the year 1815, when “the managers and elders took into their consideration the disagreeable pressure which is always exhibited at the entrance to the tables . . . and recommend it to the attention of the subscribers to endeavour to fall upon some plan by which the evil complained of might be prevented.”
The twentieth day of June, 1826, marks the disuse of the “Tent” at Tollcross communions. A generation has arisen which is without experience of those old religious festivals—although they still survive in several remote parts of the country—which our grandfathers called the “Occasion” or “Preachings,” and Burns, somewhat frivolously, “The Holy Fair.” The “Tent,” as the writer has seen it in use in the country, was an elongated box standing on end, in shape somewhat like a sentry box, but more roomy, broader at the base and tapering towards the top, with a door in the side or the back for the entry of the minister. In front it was open to the top from about three feet from its floor. At the base of this opening was a slanted board or “desk” to receive the Bible of the preacher. It was roofed above, and was the pulpit used for open-air services.
The sacrament was generally announced four weeks before. The preachings began with the Fast day services on the Thursday, which were nearly as well attended as those of an ordinary Sunday—there was then no escape by steamer or rail, nor any general wish to travel past the church, even if there had been. A few who lived in the city might hire vehicles, but these were marked men. When two quakers who kept confectionery shops in Hutcheson Street essayed to open them on what was known as “the Government Fast,” the roughs broke the windows. (1- Nestor’s Old Glasgow)
In many places there was also a Friday evening service. On Saturday the preachings began at twelve noon, when one of the assisting ministers officiated. At the close “tokens ” or little pieces of pewter, round or square—in the case of this congregation square— with the name of the church stamped upon them, were issued to the communicants by the minister as each passed before him.
On the Sunday the “action” sermon, which was invariably preached by the minister, introduced to the “tables,” at the first of which he presided, his assistants taking the others. Immediately after the “tables,” came, in the rural districts, the closing sermon. The vast emptying of the Tollcross Church when the assisting minister ascended the pulpit induced the writer to propose to the session to agree to an interval, and postpone the last service of the day till half past six o’clock—-a practice that has now been followed for thirty years. A Monday sermon concluded the preachings, the subject of which generally concerned the moral duties. This was known in the city as “bonnet Monday,” from the ladies’ habit of promenading the streets on that day, after sermon, wearing their new spring or autumn headgear—often wonderful to behold.
The January communion was first observed in 1826, and simultaneous communion nine years later. The use of tokens was superseded in 1876, the elders beginning the practice, which has since obtained, of distributing communion cards on each sacramental occasion around their districts. The Fast day was abolished by vote of the congregation in 1879, in favour of a Friday evening service. But the best Friday evening service was never so large as the worst Fast day service.
The lawfulness of private baptism was discussed in the session so early as April, 1833. It was agreed that while “the private dispensing of this ordinance did not appear to be any violation of any law of the church, yet, inasmuch as many numerous advantages to parents, child and spectators, result from the observance of the sacrament in public, no private baptism should take place except on the inability through trouble or otherwise, of the parent or the child to appear in church.” But it was not until about fifteen years ago or less that the practice of private baptism became common. It was no unusual thing in Mr. Auld’s time for the baptismal pew to be filled with from three to six mothers or more with their infants. It is curious to observe how customs alter. The rich (1701-1750) were married at home, and the poor were baptised in church, thus exactly reversing the practice that is coming at the present day more and more into favour, for the rich to be married and baptised in church, and the poor at home. (1- Graham’s Social Life in Scot, eighteenth century)
The style of preaching has, moreover, greatly changed. The people in former times were instructed in the forenoon by a lecture, and in the afternoon from a text in many instances suggested by the lecture; a unity being thus established between the whole day’s preaching. The lecture was frequently one of a series based on consecutive treatment of a particular book of scripture— a custom which enables a preacher to deal, with the smallest danger of giving offence, with subjects from the treatment of which he, might otherwise be disposed to shrink on grounds of delicacy or of personal reference.
There were few half-day hearers. The interest in the Word was keen, and much disappointment was felt when a member, through sickness or the demands of duty, lost his forenoon lecture.
The new collection of the old Relief Church hymns was in use in 1833. In connection with this it may be interesting to note that Scottish sacred tunes, however old, suitable for application to the metrical version of the psalms, did not exist at the beginning of the sixteenth century. (1- Thomson’s History of Scotland III. 40)
The original minutes of session are disappointing reading, and are almost wholly engaged, with few gleams of interesting or amusing incident, with the misdeeds and frailties of Christian professors. Most frequently, so far as the older minutes show, there is no business to be transacted except that of dealing with charges of uncleanness of different shades, drunkenness and brawling, the use of abusive language, disorderly behaviour, cursing and swearing, fraud, or irregular marriage. For the lesser immoralities offenders were generally rebuked before the session; but for the greater they had to appear before the congregation, when they were publicly dealt with from the pulpit. The last case of this kind, so far as the minutes bear,’ occurred at the close of public worship on Friday evening, twenty eighth of July, 1854.
The original method of electing elders, occasionally resorted to even after the present mode of election had been adopted, was not by the vote of the whole church, but by districts of the congregation—each separate section into which, for sessional convenience, the congregation was divided having the exclusive liberty of choosing its own representatives. There was in former times an elder’s district in Camlachie and Glasgow, and another in Baillieston.
A congregational library must have been of comparatively early formation. In 1834 it was agreed among the Relief ministers of Glasgow that they would preach evening sermons once a month by turn throughout the churches within the presbyterial bounds. Coming to consider what was to be done with the collections to be taken at those monthly evening sermons in their own church, the elders and managers had their attention directed to a suggestion that a library would be an object ” well worthy of the support of the society, and it was agreed to that the collections should be devoted to that purpose till further orders.” The minutes do not throw light upon the library development, but in 1851 a committee and secretary were in existence. They do not appear, however, to have greatly served the institution, for the clerk to the managers receives instructions to write to the secretary of the library committee, inasmuch as it is reported that “a certain portion of the books had been carried away by the committee of the library for the purpose of being sold or otherwise disposed of,” and to require that “the said books should be replaced immediately.” Eight months afterwards the library secretary is again written to in similar terms. How the matter ended the writer has not been able to discover. In 1895 such of the old books as remained and were suitable for the Sabbath school library, were handed over to the Sabbath school association, and in the following year the whole library. A juvenile library was in existence in 1834, which was “doing well.” In 1859 the number of books was “far below the number of children attending the school; ” but, with few exceptions, the books were ” in good repair.” To increase the value of the library gentlemen in the neighbourhood were applied to, and a sum of £5 12s was obtained. The report of Mr. Benjamin Hutcheson to the teachers in 1874 is described as “not very encouraging.” Next year the librarian stated that, truly speaking, there was “no library at all.” After falling into a condition which was “nigh unto perishing,” it was resuscitated (1894) by the handsome help of Mr. Hume, Easthorn, who supplied a large number of books, and who was followed in his generosity by a considerable number of ladies and gentle-men. At this time and later the average number of books given out each night was forty-three volumes. Ultimately this fine library became part of the Guild library,” for the use of Sabbath school scholars and teachers, and members of the Guild.” It is well looked after, is in favour with both children and their seniors, and can show an excellent catalogue.
The Sunday school had an origin which probably dates from almost the beginning of the church. The “juvenile library” of 1834 was undoubtedly in connection with the school. Unfortunately the writer has not been able to discover Sunday school minutes previous to 1858, but in 1835 and repeatedly thereafter the managers gave a day’s collection in aid of the school.
A Sabbath school association was formed in 1858. Rules were framed—three different sets at different times. To the first set the following names of teachers and monitors are attached—Andrew Cross, superintendent, Thomas Robertson, Gavin S. Alston, Alexander Henderson, Robert Lawson, Alexander Marshall, Peter Abernethy, David Malloch, Robert Henderson, Robert McMenemy, Walter Buchan, Gavin Johnstone, William Lindsay, Alexander Scott, James Jamieson, Gavin Cleland and John Baird, the last two being monitors. The female teachers were Janet Ralston, Elizabeth Torrance, Elizabeth Lindsay, Janet Pollock, Janet Hall, Janet Russell, Christina McMenemy, Agnes Scott, Isabella Scott, Isabella Law, Janet Wallace. The third code of rules was adopted in 1876. At the formation in 1858 of the association, or its reorganisation, there was a social meeting, when addresses were given by Messrs. John Marshall, John M. Robertson, William Lindsay and Walter Buchan. Mr. Alexander Deans presented Mr. Walter McFeat, who had just been re-elected superintendent and treasurer, with “a handsome silver snuff box,” and then they all “had supper.” In 1874 Mr. William Park was appointed superintendent in succession to Mr. McFeat, who succeeded Mr. William Lindsay. Miss Martha Brown formed an infant class in 1877, which was afterwards for a time carried on by Mrs. MacEwing, followed by various successors, among whom was Miss Speirs, now Mrs. Brown. The class is now, as it has been for many years, taught by Mrs. John Wilson. Mr. Gabriel Muir was elected superintendent in 1878. About the same time the harmonium was first used in the Sunday school. In July, 1881, under the will of the late Mr. and Mrs. Miller, Calton, a bequest of £100 for behoof of the school was left to the session in trust. -The Band of Hope was first organised at a meeting of session and teachers in 1886, and with the exception of one or two breaks in the chain of succession, has remained a powerful instrument for good in the education of the young. A Boys’ Brigade was established in 1889, but only existed for a few years.
In September of the same year Mr. William Paterson moved at a meeting of the Sunday school association that “a branch be formed at Parkhead with consent of the session.” This having been obtained, Mr. Paterson was elected superintendent, and the school, which first met in Westmuir Hall and afterwards in the Masonic Lodge, assembled for the first time in November. The original teachers were Mr. William Paterson, Mrs. William Paterson, Jeanie Brown, Elizabeth Paterson, Elizabeth Hart, Jeanie Gray, Elizabeth Roy, Janet Baird, John Paterson, John Black, Robert Kerr, William Jack, James Laird. After a lapse of several years altering circumstances were said to point towards discontinuance, and it ceased to exist in 1903. In 1891 Mr. James Walker was elected superintendent. A fine American memorial organ was gifted to the association by Mr. James Hume of Easthorn (April, 1893), and in the same year (16th April) the school was removed from the church to the new halls amidst the mutual congratulations of the teachers. On the retiral of Mr. Walker, Mr. Joseph Macgregor was asked and consented to accept the superintendentship in 1898. Some years later he was followed in office by the present superintendent, Mr. Malcolm McPhee. The list of superintendents, so far as the writer has been able to discover, is as follows—Andrew Cross, William Lindsay, Walter McFeat, William Park, Gabriel Muir, Alexander L. Kirkwood, James Walker, Joseph Macgregor and Malcolm McPhee. J Mr. William Paterson was superintendent of the Parkhead branch during the whole period of its existence.
The Shettleston Sabbath School Association, with its hall in Hill Street, was originated by Christian workers who were almost wholly connected with the Main Street Church, either as office-bearers or members; and a Sunday school in Lightburn was long ago carried on by zealous Christians from the same church.
For several years a week-night class was conducted in the old session house by Mrs. MacEwing, in which she was succeeded by Mr. and Mrs. Birrell, Shettleston, who ultimately removed to Dumbarton. This was an interesting gathering of young women engaged in (lie mills. They were invited to come with their work and in their ordinary attire.
Bible classes have existed at least since the early days of the ministry of Mr. Auld. Old Andrew Cross who was for a long period superintendent of the Sabbath school before 1858 carried on a Sabbath morning class in the forties and fifties. He was a very zealous teacher and encouraged in every way the young people to acquire a sound Biblical knowledge. The writer has seen a Bible, the property of an old woman in the village, which bears to have been presented to her as a gift by Mr. Cross when she was a scholar in the school. Of recent years Mr. James Mair, B.Sc, conducted for a few seasons a junior Bible class, the successor of which may be considered to be the class for senior scholars in connection with the Sabbath school, taught by Mr. George Smith, Carmyle.
The Dorcas Society was formed on the twenty-eighth day of November, 1856. The prime mover, there is some reason to believe, was Mrs. Alston, who was an aged lady at the beginning of the present ministry, dying shortly thereafter. It is set forth in the first minute that “a desire having been expressed that a Dorcas Society in connection with the church should be instituted, whose object shall be to provide clothing to those who are in need of it, a meeting was called by circular for this day.” The meeting did business. Mrs. Alston was appointed president, Mrs. Auld treasurer, and Miss Auld, secretary. The committee were Mrs. Baird, Mrs. Steven, Miss Meikleham, Miss Drew, Miss Walker, Mrs. Naismith, Mrs. French, Mrs. Deans, Mrs. Watson, Mrs. Waddell and Mrs. Rodger. The original collectors were Mrs. Auld and Mrs. Alston, Mrs. French and Miss Anderson, Mrs. Watson and Miss Paterson, Mrs. and Miss Waddell, Mrs. Steven and Miss Muirhead, Mrs. and Miss Naismith, Mrs. Baird and Miss Auld. In that first year of the life of the society they collected in all £27 16s 6d for distribution among the poor members in the form of clothing. There was in those days for congregational purposes Baillieston district. It may be worth noting that the jubilee year of the Dorcas Society begins in the approaching November.
But the first minuted meeting of the Dorcas Society was not, in fact, the first meeting. In the letter of Mrs. Alston’s daughter, to which reference has already been made, Miss Alston says—”When the Dorcas Society first commenced Dorcas Societies were just beginning to be spoken of. Mrs. Auld and mother were talking of them and thought that such a society would be a good thing to have in the church. So they requested Mr. Auld to invite a meeting from the pulpit, asking all to it who would take an interest in it. At the time advertised from the pulpit Mrs. Auld and my mother went up and sat for an hour, but no other person having appeared, they came away very crest-fallen. My father met them smiling and said, ‘ I see you have had an unanimous meeting.’ Mrs. Auld in reply exclaimed, ‘ Oh! Mr. Alston, it will not do; no one has come.’ Father said, “Don’t be discouraged at that.“ When the London Bible Society began only two projectors turned up. The couple, after talking the matter over, decided to announce that the meeting had been held and had unanimously agreed to gq on with the work. They sent out written invitations to the next meeting, which proved to be a good one, and great things were done by that society.’ Acting on the suggestion, the two Tollcross ladies issued notes of invitation to those likely to take an interest in their contemplated work, and there was a large meeting, and a large sum was collected. The Dorcas Society did a lot of good.”
There was a Literary Society in existence in 1894, the president of which was Mr. James Mair, B.Sc, with Mr. George Craib for vice-president, and Mr. John Knight as secretary. The meetings were held fortnightly, and the number on the roll was twenty-seven. Latterly it met monthly.
The Guild was organised in 1898. It had occurred to a few members that a society for mutual improvement and social intercourse might be formed, as there seemed to be room and need. A meeting was held in November, under the chairmanship of the minister, and office bearers were appointed, Mr. Joseph Macgregor being elected president. The opening lecture was delivered by the Rev. A. R. MacEwan, D.D., of Claremont Church, now Professor A. R. MacEwan, Edinburgh. At the end of the first session there was a membership of one hundred and twenty. In the first report of the transactions of the Guild it is stated that “a prominent object of the society is to introduce members to each other, especially those who have recently joined the church. With this view the meetings are less formal than usual, occasion being given when time admits for general conversation and music.” The Guild has all along been conducted with great energy and remarkable success, and is still in a satisfactory condition. The list of presidents is—Joseph Macgregor, four years; Walter Wingate, two years; Alexander MacEwing, C.A., two years; and David Macgregor, lately elected.
In response to a request from the directors of the Glasgow Missionary Society the managers granted some time in the thirties or forties a day’s collection, as it was agreed that ”the object was a good one.” This is the first trace the writer can find of congregational missionary effort. Miss Alston writes—” I remember when Missionary Society was started. It would be, I think, in the forties. It originated from the minister’s < ll . They had tried to organise a society some time before, but it did not succeed and was given up. This time we began with great zeal, and it is living still. I was one of the first collectors.”
Unfortunately it is impossible to trace the work of the society with any precision further back than 1873. Then and subsequently for several years it was the custom to have an annual sermon, which was preached by one of the missionaries on furlough. The old arrangement was a good one, which might with profit be revived, together with an annual missionary meeting.
A practice which has been changed for the better, but which obtained for a number of years, was to remit only once a year the amount subscribed for missions by the congregation, and it frequently happened that this sum was not sent away until December—exactly a year after collection. In 1894 the system which has been adopted ever since, to remit quarterly, came into operation.
Contributions for Records were formerly given by means of monthly collections. This was altered in 1894 to a system by which the Records are paid out of the missionary funds, with unfavourable results to the general missionary contributions. The amount paid for Records and Children’s Magazines is fifteen shillings and ninepence monthly.
It may be interesting to mention that from 1873 until the close of last year the congregation has contributed for missionary purposes the sum of about. £1,384, with an additional sum of £130 from the Women’s Missionary Society, making a total of about £1,514. It must be a pleasure to the congregation that this helping hand has been extended to the missions of the church, especially foreign missions, the development of which is an outstanding feature of the Victorian era, in loyalty to the command of our Lord that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations,
For names of secretaries, treasurers and collectors, so far as they can be traced, see appendix.
The Women’s Missionary Society was formed in the autumn of 1892, with the object of aiding the Zenana or women’s work in the mission field. It was felt throughout the church generally that certain departments of mission work could not be satisfactorily, or indeed at all, performed in certain mission fields, without the aid of female missionaries. The society grew steadily from small beginnings, and has proved a source of edification and enjoyment to all who take an interest in the work. The original committee consisted of Mrs. MacEwing, Mrs. Alexander Marshall, Mrs. Walker, Mrs. Munn, Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Archibald Marshall and Miss Thorn, to whom were added in the following year Mrs. Macrae, Mrs. John Wilson, Mrs. Milholm and Mrs. Barrie.
It was the dream of Knox and the Reformers to have a school and school house in every parish; but as a matter of fact education was much less developed in the eighteenth than in the seventeenth century. Large districts were without schools and destitute of the legal means of maintaining them. But in the beginning of the nineteenth century the Schoolmasters’ Act was passed, under which the parish school was to have an increase of not under three hundred merks (£16 13s. 4d.) nor above four hundred merks (£22 4s. 6d.) a year.
As has been stated there was from the beginning of the ironworks a school in the village, and education was better looked after than in most rural districts of the country, Fullarton Hall being devoted to educational purposes by the Clyde works proprietors, in which for many years Mr. Kinniburgh taught. It is not until the year 1826, however, that the writer can find any trace of the session house being used for similar purposes. In that year the church authorities resolved to repair it, turn it into the form of a schoolhouse, and appoint Mr. John Kinniburgh teacher, charging him a rent of £3 a year. Mr. Kinniburgh held the appointment till 1837. On his resignation a Mr. Philip Jamieson was appointed on the same terms. In those days school fees were not only small, but such as they were, many of them were left unpaid. On the ground that the school did not remunerate him, he appealed for a remission of rent, which he did not altogether obtain. The matter ended with a threat to prosecute the teacher for rent for the time during which he had occupied the session house as a school room, with what result I havenot been able to discover.
Mr. R. B. Robertson then took the session house at the same rent in 1841. Mr. Robertson apparently did no better. “Owing to thinness of attendance and deficiency of payments” he was unable to support himself. He then got the house rent free on the condition that he would teach poor children belonging to the church free of charge. Afterwards it appears that a ragged school was held in the session house at the charge of Mr. Colin Dunlop. In 1861 Mr. James Dunlop made a proposal to the church authorities to raise the roof of the session house and better fit it for a school room, the cost, of which he offered to defray, besides giving an allowance of £15 annually in aid of the school funds. Further assistance, it was stated, would be had from the Ferguson Bequest. There was besides a proposal to merge the ragged school into this new one, and a promise that application would be made to Mr. Colin to give his annual contribution to that institution in aid of the school thus united. The meeting considered that a school was “very much wanted in the village,” and agreed to the proposal. This school was opened and a teacher appointed. In 1865 a proposal for a new school house on a large scale in connection with the church was entertained. Although practical action in the direction contemplated was begun ; although Mr. James Dunlop was willing to grant a site ; although a plan of the new school was drawn out, a committee appointed and even subscriptions to the value of £120 raised, the scheme was ultimately abandoned, partly on account of difficulties which had arisen, and partly, as the managers say, because of ” the probability of a suitable provision being made for educational wants by the bill (1869) now introduced into Parliament.” Mr. Kennedy was the last teacher to occupy the old session house. The new halls were afterwards used by the Shettleston School Board for a short time until extension of their own premises was completed.
The district has enormously developed within the last twenty years, and especially since the introduction of the railway, and particularly the tram cars. When the writer’s ministry began there was not a single house on Drumother Hill from the old manse eastwards, nor with the exception of two little tenements within Mr. Dunlop’s grounds, a single house between the old manse and Tollcross, the road being a very lonely one in the winter time after working hours. The writer has frequently traversed it subsequent to ten o’clock p.m. without meeting a solitary individual. The sale of the mansion house grounds to the Glasgow Corporation is a matter of recent history, and still more so is the further extension of the tramway system eastwards, with a projected terminus ad quern at Uddingston.
Embracing a period comprised within a date beginning some ten years earlier than the writer’s ministry, twelve or thirteen new congregations have been organised around Tollcross, in those districts from which the old church drew many of its members.
In closing, the writer would like to add that while the task of furnishing this sketch has been attended with some considerable difficulty and anxiety, owing to the limited time at his disposal and the number and extent of the sources to be examined, it has been one of an ever increasing interest and enjoyment. And if the result shall in any way assist in the deepening of the members’ loyalty and attachment to the old church and, above all, stimulate their desire to emulate the virtues of very worthy ancestors, the writer will feel that his labour has not been lost. “Walk about Zion and go round about her : . . . Mark ye well her bulwarks, that ye may fell it to the generation following.”
William MCIlquhamam, 1807
William Ney, 1824
William AULD, 1833
Charles MacEwing, 1876
Elected 7th July, 1807.
John Smellie, died 1st February, 1847, aged 80; James Allan; Robert Ramsay, left the place and- died at Hawick; John Lawrie; James Marshall, resigned on becoming beadle; James Stevenson; Peter Drew; James Kinniburgh, died 28th November, 1828.
Elected 23rd June, 1811.
John Waddell, died 11th July, 1844; John Morton, left place and died at Coatbridge
Elected 29th October, 1820.
Thomas More, died 31st October, 1861, aged 79; Robert Brownlie; James Mair, died 20th July, 1828; Robert Brysson, died 28th April, 1850, aged 70 ; William Jamieson, died in 1876 ; John Walker, died 3rd February., 1841, aged 82 ; David Lithgow; John Shields, left the place and resigned.
Elected (date undiscoverable)
John Waddell, jun.; Moses Park, died August, 1876; Peter Ferguson, left place; Robert Allan.
Elected September 6th, 1835.
John Carbarns, resigned June, 1859; Andrew Cross, died July, 1857, aged 69: Robert Kirkwood, died 1866 ; Gavin Johnstone; James Alexander, died September, 1846; Alexander Lawson, died 30th January, 1838, aged 59.
Elected January, 1840.
Andrew Kerr, died July, 1856; Allison Miller, resigned 1862; James Meikleham
Alexander Pettigrew died October. 1846; William Roy senior
Elected 2nd October, 1842.
Thomas Henderson resigned on leaving place.
Elected December 1844
Richard Torrance; James Henderson, resigned 1847, on leaving place
Elected 10th October, 1847.
Robert Alexander, resigned; John Leitch, resigned, having left place, February, 1850; John Turn bull, resigned 1855.
Elected 11th May, 1851.
John Park, died 25th June, 1876, aged 68; David Malloch, resigned 1855 ; Peter Abernethy, resigned March, 1872.
Elected 9th December, 1855
Alexander Deans died 6th April, 1891.
Elected nth January, 1857
Walter McFeat; Thomas Brown, died October, 1862; Douglas Baxter, presented with address, 1906, on reaching his jubilee as elder
Elected February, 1858
John Brown, died February, 1876.
Elected March, 1863.
Robert French; Thomas Riddell, resigned October, 1865
Elected September, 1866.
Alexander Waddell, resigned on leaving place, 4th June, 1878; Andrew Kerr, resigned 1st February, 1886
Elected March, 1874.
Daniel Riddell, died 17th June, 1894, aged 72; Robert Baird, resigned on leaving place, 3rd April, 1882 ; William Park, resigned 5th December, 1881 ; George French, resigned 5th March, 1894 ; Gabriel Muir, left the place, 6th September, 1884; John Speirs, died 3rd July, 1886
Elected 6th August, 1877,
Duncan Thorn, died 3rd April, 1903.
Elected November and December, 1878.
Thomas Roy, resigned 6th January, 1890 ; Archibald Marshall, resigned 4th September, 1882 ; Matthew B. Brown, resigned on leaving place, 3rd September, 1888.
Elected 8th April, 1881.
Thomas Conner, William Brown, resigned on removing to London, 2nd March, 1885.
Elected 3rd June, 1883.
James Thyne, resigned 28th September, 1885 ; Gabriel McKinlay, resigned on leaving place, 4th October, 1886.
Elected 10th April,’ 1886
Thomas Wilson, died 26th November, 1893; James Marshall, died 23rd November, 1900, aged 44 ; Peter Salmon, resigned on leaving place, 6th June, 1887 ; James Hamilton.
Elected 9th September, 1889.
William Paterson, jun., resigned 5th February, 1900, Robert M. Milholm, resigned 2nd June, 1902 ; James Walker, resigned 9th January, 1S99 ; William Roy ; William Jack.
Elected 26th June, 1891.
Elected March, 1900
Archibald Logan, John Paisley, John Anderson, Robert Dunsmuir, John Ferguson, resigned, having left the place, 5th February, 1906
Elected i19th June, 1903
Alexander Strachan, David Paterson.
Rev. Charles MacEwing, Messrs. Douglas Baxter, Thomas Conner, James Hamilton, William Jack, William Roy, Robert Speirs, Archibald Logan, John Paisley, John Anderson, senior, Robert Dunsmuir, Alexander Strachan, David Paterson.
James Kinniburgh, 1808
John Waddell, 1829
Andrew Kerr, 1844
Alexander Deans, 1857
William Park, 1877
William Brown, 1884
Thomas Wilson, 1886
James Marshall, 1896
James Hamilton, 1901
John Paisley, 1902
Robert Dunsmuir, 1905
Alexander Cleland, 1805
William Young, 1807
Alexander Reid, 1811
James Hunter, 1813
John Walker, 1818
James Naismith, 1820
William Innes, 1822
Duncan Ferguson, 1830
James Glen, 1831
Andrew Alston, 1834
John Meikleham, 1845
Alexander Deans, 1863
John S. Kirkwood, 1891
H. M. Robertson, 1892
Archibald Logan, 1897
Mr. Logan still holds office.
Alexander Reid, 1805
George Reston, 1807
Andrew Alston 1845
Walter Rodger, 1851
John Baird, 1853
Walter McFeat, 1860
Robert Spittal, Jun 1870
Duncan Morrison, 1881
Alexander L. Kirkwood, 1882
David Black, 1891
James Blackwood, 1892
John S. Kirkwood, 1894
John Clark, Jun 1896
James Conochie, 1899
Mr. Conochie still holds office.
CLERKS TO THE MANAGERS
John Kingan, 1808
John Williamson, 1820
John Kinniburgh, 1830
Alexander L. Kirkwood, assist. 1876-1877
John Speirs, Jun 1882
Hugh Black, 1885
David Black, 1887
Alexander Simpson, 1890
James Y. Watson, 1891
Adam R. Watson, 1897
Thomas McNaughton, 1902
Alexander Cleland, Alexander Reid, John P. Watson, Robert Goldie, John Walker, Alexander Miller, Peter Drew, William Young, Peter Mann, George Reston, Thomas Nisbet, James Brash, Gilbert Watson, David Muir.
To the above list were added three months later, Thomas Paterson, James Naismith, Thomas Watt, Hugh McCulloch, William Boyd, Robert Donaldson, Thomas Cullen.
MANAGERS AT CLOSE OF 1905
William Stobo, Archibald Logan, Hector Dott, Hugh Scott, John S. Kirkwood, Andrew McAllan, Adam R. Watson, Hugh M. Robertson, Thomas McNaught, Henry Russell, Thomas Marshall, John Allan, James Conochie, Malcolm McPhee, Robert Brown.
SABBATH SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS
*Andrew Cross, William Lindsay, *Walter McFeat, William Park, *Gabriel Muir, Alexander L. Kirkwood, James Walker, Joseph MacGregor, William Paterson, Malcolm McPhee (Those marked with asterisk deceased.)
EARLIEST TEACHERS TRACEABLE
Andrew Cross, Thomas Robertson, Gavin Struthers Alston, Alexander Henderson, Robert Lawson, Alexander Marshall, Peter Abernethy, David Malloch, Robert Henderson, Robert McMenemy, Walter Buchan, Gavin Johnstone, William Lindsay, Alexander Scott, James Jamieson, Gavin Cleland, John Baird ; Janet Ralston, Elizabeth Torrance, Elizabeth Lindsay, Janet Pollock, Janet Hall, Janet Russell, Christina McMenemy, Agnes Scott, Isabella Scott, Isabella Law, Janet Wallace.
PRESENT SABBATH SCHOOL TEACHERS
Malcolm McPhee, George Smith, Alexander MacEwing, Daniel Patterson, John Murdoch, Thomas Marshall, Charles Muir MacEwing, John Wingate, Donald Macintosh, Robert Lee, David Kennedy, Alex. Marshall, John Wilson ; Mrs. John M. Wilson, Miss Thom, Miss Gardner, Miss Marshall, Miss MacEwing, Miss Isa Watson, Miss J. Watson, Miss Hodge. Miss Wingate, Miss Russell, Miss Todd, Miss Parker, Miss Crichton.
Mr. Charles Gilchrist, secretary and treasurer.
The Misses Isa Watson, Russell, Jeanie Watson, E. MacEwing, Hodge, Fernhead, Joan Gilchrist, Roy, J, Roy, J. Hamilton, Riddell
NAMES OF THE SECRETARIES AND TREASURERS OF THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY SINCE 1873
1873-1877 Mr. William Park.
1878-1880 Mr, John Brown.
1881-1882 Mr. John Speirs.
1883 Mr. James Dickson.
1884-1885 Mr. Gabriel McKinlay.
1886-1891 Mr. Alex. Simpson.
1892-1895, Mr. Charles L. Gilchrist.
1896 Mr. D. McDonald, Mr. John Black.
1897-1898 Mr. John Black.
1899-1900 Mr. David Gardner.
1901 Mr. David Gardner, Mr. Charles L Gilchrist
1902 till present time Mr. Charles L Gilchrist
NAMES OF THE COLLECTORS OF THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY SINCE 1877
1877-1885 Miss Hart
1877-1887 Miss French
1877-1878 Miss Campbell
1877 Miss Shaw
1877-1878 Miss Crawford
1877-1883 Miss E Hart
1877-1880 Miss Jeanie Brown
1877-1882 Miss Brown
1877 Miss Crichton
1877-1883 Miss Deans
1877-1878 Miss Steven
1877-1882 Miss Naismith
1877-1889 Miss Roberts
1878-1895 Miss Gilchrist
1878-1880 Miss Martha Brown
1878-1879 Miss Bogle
1878-1896 Miss Gray
1880-1885 Miss Kerr
1880-1881 Miss Agnes Brown
1881-1887 Miss Kelso
1881-1884 Miss Wilson
1883-1887 Miss Park
1883-1884 Miss Forsyth
1884 Miss Archibald.
1884-188 Miss Jarvie.
1885-1887 Miss Speirs.
1885-1888 Miss Marshall.
1885 Miss Beaton.
1886-1891 Miss Hume.
1886-1889 Miss Thom.
1886-1889 Miss Black.
1887 Miss Rennie.
1887-1892 Miss Anderson.
1888-1894 Miss J. Deans.
1888-1895 Miss C. Brown.
1888 Miss M. Kelso.
1889-1892 Miss McFarlane.
1889 Miss J. Baird.
1889-1892 Miss E. Campbell.
1890 Miss Bain.
1890-1891 Miss M. Knight.
1890-1903 Miss Paterson.
1890-1893 Miss J. Brown.
1890 till present time Miss Roy.
1891-1893 Mrs. J. Marshall.
1891-1902 Miss M. Hamilton.
1892 Miss Somerville.
1892-1898 Miss J. Dickson.
1893 Miss J. Park
1893 Miss A. Naismith.
1893-1900 Miss Goldie.
1893 Miss Jarvey
1894 till present time Miss Isa Watson.
1894-1895 Miss Mary Campbell.
1894-1897 Miss Marshall.
1894-1904 Miss J. Marshall.
1894-1895 Miss Findlay.
1894- 1896 Miss Baird.
1894 Miss A. Campbell.
1895-1899 Miss Jack.
1895 till present time Miss J. Hamilton.
1896 Miss Fairley.
1896 till present time Miss MacEwing.
1896- 1902 Miss Morton
1897- 1901 Miss R. Russell.
1897- 1905 Miss Riddell.
1898- 1902 Miss A. Thom.
1899-1903 Miss Hodge.
1901 till present time Miss Janet Roy.
1901-1903 Miss E. Hamilton.
1903 till present time Miss Jeanie Watson.
1903 till present time Miss A. Hodge.
1904 till present time Miss Fernhead.
1904 Miss Fulton.
1904 till present time Miss Russell.
1905 till present time Miss Joan Gilchrist.
1905 till present time Miss McNaught.
AMOUNTS SUBSCRIBED BY THE CONGREGATION TO THE VARIOUS MISSIONS FROM 1873 TILL END OF 1905.
National Bible Society of Scotland £31 14 0
Foreign and Home Missions £857 3 9
Other Church Missions £341 17 0
Augmentation Fund £153 3 7
Women’s Missionary Society since its formation (1900) till end of 1905 £130 0 0
£1,513 18 4
Amount paid for Records from 1873 till end of 1905 £313 16 1
£1,827 14s 5d
James Stirling 1807
Alexander Simpson 1821
John Ferguson 1827
R. B. Robertson 1829
Thomas McWhinnie 1855
James Elder 1885
D. H. W. Pollock 1890
Daniel Patterson, organist (still holds appointment) 1896
James Sommerville I807
James Marshall 1829
Edward Marshall 1849
James Marshall 1870
Robert Brechin 1871
William Anderson 1881
James Morton, 1886
Alexander Young 1902
Mr. Young still holds office
ADDENDUM TO APPENDIX
The celebration” of the hundredth year of the church began on Sunday, the thirtieth day of September, in a series of special services conducted in forenoon by the Rev. Principal Hutton, D.D., Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Free Church; in the afternoon by the Rev. Charles MacEwing, minister of the church; and in the evening by the Rev. James Jeffrey, M.A., D.D., minister of Trinity United Free Church, Pollokshields. The spacious building was filled to its capacity by interested and appreciative worshippers. On Monday evening following, a great social meeting was held, and on Tuesday evening there was a large gathering of the children in the church hall, with their teachers and parents, the entertainment on this occasion being given at the expense of the managers. Both church and halls were handsomely decorated by means of large palm trees, chrysanthemums, etc., which gave a fine and pleasing effect. The weather on Sunday was all that could be desired, being mild, calm, and bright, thus affording opportunity for the aged and feeble to be present. It was touching and impressive to observe that not a few met each other on that day who, once constantly associated as fellow-members and workers, had not met each other for years, and who in all probability are not destined to meet in this world again. Old Mr. McWhinnie, a conductor of the choir who retired twenty years ago, was present, together with many of those who had formerly sustained the praise of the church under his able leadership; insomuch that the old choir of a quarter of a century ago might have fairly well filled the choir chairs, had the members been seated in their old places. At the morning and evening services of Sunday there could not have been fewer than upwards of a thousand people, and the scene on each occasion was most impressive and inspiring.
Dr. Hutton preached from the words, “I am the Lord God of Abraham thy Father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.”(1- Gen. xxviii. 13) He introduced his subject by a reference to the interesting circumstances under which the congregation were assembled, and illustrated in a discourse of singular beauty and power the benefits of religious parentage and association.
The Rev. Charles MacEwing conducted the afternoon diet of worship. The children of the Sunday school, with their teachers, filled up the whole area of the church immediately underneath the pulpit; and Mr. MacEwing first addressed himself to them. Thereafter he preached from the words, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on the works of Thy hands.” (2- Psalm cxliii. 17) He said—We were hearing in the morning that there is something in ancestry; something in being the “seed of the righteous;” that heredity is an important factor in the explanation of character. To be descended from what is called ” a good stock; ” to have had a good mother; to have been nurtured in a pure and sweet religious atmosphere; to have family memories that are in their nature elevating and inspiring, is the height of privilege, a bulwark of moral stability, and better than gold or silver.
When to the influence of the home there falls to be added that of the church, with its ennobling associations and grand opportunities, its glorious offers of grace, its purifying hopes, its clear indications of duty, its impressive appeals, its holy and happy memories, its guiding lamp of truth, and its everlasting consolations, those who ‘can recall a hallowed and hallowing home, and those who can look back upon a happy church connection, have every reason to say, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly be glory in the church throughout all ages, world without end, Amen.”
There are times when to forget such blessings would be unpardonable; times when to recall them is an absolute duty. Next to the influence of the home is the influence of the church. Many there must be who date the awakening of the Christian conscience to truth first made effective in this place; many there must be who have here, for the first time, met with God, like Abraham under the terebinth trees of Mamre. To them surely, and to all of us to whom this place has been, at any time or in any degree, a Goschen full of the light of heaven; a temple out of whose recesses spoke the oracle of the living God; a Beer-lahai-roi (1- Genxvi.14) where, in the dark and dismal passes of sorrow or despair, we heard the angel-whisperings of promise; or a Pisgah from which we saw ” the king in His beauty; – the land that is very far off,” (2- Is. xxxi 1) the words of the Psalmist ought to come home,” If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning! “
I. “I remember the days of old.” We like and we love to remember. Visions of the good and venerable pass before us. Visions of a dear but vanished world pass before us. All the more that “the old order changeth,” to make room for what is, no doubt, on the whole, a better, does memory love to linger on the past. Old forms, faces and things we seem to cling to with a kindlier hold that they glide more and more into 1 the remote. We muse upon noble traits with a growing admiration, and upon singularities of character with a less critical and more loving amusement. This place is associated with childhood and youth, when life was fresh and the world was fair, and we had not as yet encountered those hard knocks which teach us that all men are not true, and all life is not a summer-sail. To this place fathers and mothers, now of the “church made perfect,” led us by the hand when we were little children. In this place comradeships and friendships were formed never to be broken until death. Here have we looked upon those who stood to us almost in the place of God. Here have we met with instructors long ago passed away who have bequeathed impressions never to pass away, which have moulded and strengthened our character, and helped us to self-victory in that struggle which tries the patience and endurance cf the heart. Around this place we have laid to rest, until what time is heard the awakening trump of God, the dust that is dear. With the irrepressible joyousness of youth we have gambolled amongst its grave-stones, played at hide-and-seek about its corners, pulled its bell, and practised, childhood’s mischievous yet not malignant pranks. Why should we not dearly love to recall these early, happy days when we had all around us what first we knew when we awoke to the consciousness of an outer world; when our minds and-hearts were soft and impressible, and pure from the knowledge of evil; and we had neither cares nor sorrows to break us down?
II. We should be grateful when we remember. Our congregational genealogy leads us back to general inns of wise, godly, public-spirited, active-minded men. By their provision, exertions, and sacrifices, our fathers, mothers, and ourselves have been born, cradled, and brought up under religious and Christian influences. For more than fifty years this church stood alone in the village. For more than fifty years this church alone sowed the Gospel seed in the village. Men distinguished for wisdom, piety, and social weight were amongst its office-bearers. A succession of ministries, the first noted for its saintliness, the second for its eloquence, the third for its power over the young, filled up a period of more than seventy years.
For a hundred years the spirit of the old Relief Church has here had a home—love of pure doctrine, love of religious liberty, respect for the rights of conscience, belief in the government of the people by the people, and all under subjection to the divine Head, Jesus Christ, our Lord, “to whom be power and glory everlasting.” And what religious life there has been in the village in the past, owes its existence in no small degree to the services of this old church. Nor is this all. Many members of the church came in former times from a distance, as indeed not a few do still. They carried the spirit of Christian activity which had been received in this church, back to the localities in which they lived, A Sabbath School for years in existence in the village of Lightburn, the Shettleston Sabbath School Association, and Christian work in Parkhead, were all brought into being and operation by those, the great majority of whom were members of this church. The church, in conjunction with what was at first the Shettleston Chapel-of-ease, is the mother-church of the neighbourhood.
We have reason to be grateful also when we remember the difference between our time and the early days of the congregation. When our ancestors began the construction of their spiritual Zion, they had to begin, so to speak, at the beginning. There was no such splendid system of education as now obtains, and great numbers could neither read nor write. There were no newspapers as we have them now, and no such libraries. Bibles were expensive. The British and Foreign Bible Society, the Tract Society, the Missionary Societies, the Sunday School Societies, were still in their infancy and forms of church work, deemed essential now, were not so much as dreamt of.
Compared with ourselves they had few luxuries and comforts. They had no sanitation; and fevers, pestilences, and plagues made periodical havoc among the people. There was no artificial heating of the church in the time of winter cold; there was no gas-light, and the candle-flame over pulpit and pews “burned dim.” They had no tram-cars for a wet or windy day; they had no comfortable halls; they had originally no bell in the steeple, and indeed no steeple into which to put a bell, even if they had a bell. They had no steamboats, no trains, no telegraphic and telephone systems, and a form of slavery had just terminated which bound the collier to his pit, he being bought and sold along with the colliery to which he belonged.
A hundred years are a long time; but we scarcely realise what a hundred years mean by simply saying “it is a century ago.” But it may impress us with n sense of how much has happened since the origin of the congregation, to observe that in the year of its formation Nelson was chasing the French and fighting the battle of Trafalgar, and the battle of Waterloo was far away, ten years in the future.
Our ancestors were not men who worshipped, or were enslaved by, the traditions of their past, except in so far as those traditions seemed to be good; nor did they imagine that what their ancestors were satisfied with was good enough for them. They were not afraid to adopt what in their day were innovations and new fangled methods. They threw themselves into all that was best in the fresh evangelical movements of the time. They originated Sunday schools, missionary and Dorcas societies. They established classes and libraries, and gave good heed to the poor. They gave the village and neighbourhood every spiritual advantage within their power. We have much reason to honour their memory, and to be grateful to the God who gave them to us. For their work was the work of God Himself. Man’s best works are always the issue of the spirit of God in men. “I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on the work of Thy hands.”
III. We should remember the days of old with Heart-searching. We have more than our ancestors had —can we show more in proportion? Are we disposed to maintain and develop, as were they, and more than they were, the holy and noble traditions of the past? Those were the days when men put a high value on religious ordinances. Do we value them as highly?
Our ancestors travelled great distances to the house of God, and they came in great numbers. This church was a notable religious centre. The membership was at one time as large as nine hundred. A fourth came from the parish of Old Monkland; forty-five families came from more than two miles. And this is a striking thing, that amidst all the records of the session dealing with faults and failures of every kind on the part of weak brethren, I cannot at this moment remember a case, since only too common, of a member having to be dealt with for neglect of Christian ordinances. The very numbers that filled to overflowing this large old building made the scene impressive and hallowing. Those were times of solemnity, times of inspiration, times of blessing. Would it do us any harm, would it not rather greatly assist the religious life, which in those days seems very much to be smothered amidst the soft pillows of pleasure and luxury, or ground to powder under the mill-stone of earthly worry and distractions, if some of us paid more respect to the call and invitation of the Sabbath bell?
And those were the days in which “godliness with contentment was great gain.” We have many more comforts and conveniences than they. Have we spirits as restful? Have we hearts as peaceful? Have we minds as grateful; or are we not, too often, forgetting in our gifts, the Giver? Have we made the best use of our advantages? Have we benefited as we might have done by all that is best in the example of those “holy men of old?”
IV. We should remember the days of old with Resolution. Our ancestors laboured under disadvantages which are not ours, but they did their part. They built this church; they organised this congregation. It was a great, but it was a laborious work. It is a little pathetic to read in the old, ink-faded minutes— “The work lies heavy on us.” But they built and equipped this church, they fed the fires of devotion they sowed the seeds of life eternal for the generations that were to come.
The country-side, thanks to the development of commerce, mining, and manufacturers, was becoming more and more populous, and the village from having been a mere hamlet in the middle of the eighteenth century, was expanding .into a place of dimensions. The Chapel-of-ease at Shettleston was totally inadequate for the requirements of the people. In these circumstances a number of godly men, anxious for the spiritual wellbeing of the district, met together. They were led by Alexander Cleland, a pious and wise-minded farmer of the neighbourhood, and being immediately well supported, this building was erected in December, 1806, the congregation having been organised some months earlier, William Caddell, proprietor of the lands of Auchensuggle, on which the church stands, of the Carron and Clyde Ironworks, having given the site extending to an acre of ground, and John Sligo of Carmyle having been the largest subscriber.
From that time to this, except for a few Sabbaths on one or two occasions when the building was under repair the church has been occupied, and the gospel proclaimed from its pulpit.
From this gospel we have received lessons in love, truth, morality, and work. What comfort also Hal come to us in our weary or sad moments! We have here found heartening against the world’s depression. We have found under a blaze of love, the solution of the mystery—the secret of human pain and loss, like David, to whom the problems of life were altogether too painful until he went into the house of the Lord.
That has been the history and experience; what now about the resolution? Shall we not say,” We will go in the strength of the Lord I “, Is not this a time which, calling upon us to review the past, calls upon us also to maintain all that is holy and worthy in it ? Is it not a time to gather to ourselves all that was good in their spirit and temper, while rejecting every small imperfection which might have impaired their example and labours? We must not slavishly copy—no one is Master but Christ—we must adapt ourselves to new developments, to fresh religious and social problems of which our ancestors did not so much as dream. But their courage and benignity of purpose; their constancy in works of faith and labours of love; their loyalty to the highest they knew; their aspiration to live very close to the Master, and be pleasing in all things to Him who called them out of darkness into His marvellous light; and their regard for the best interests of the generations to follow—children and children’s children— should be in all our hearts and decisions on this centenary occasion. This “high day” can be little to us if it be no more than a mere remembrance, if it is not also an inspiration for the future. No congregation can afford to live on a history. Each generation has its own work cut out for it. “What do ye more than they?” is the cry which we have to give an ear to. We have received more than our ancestors, and we are responsible for more than our ancestors. The future is all unknown, but it will only be a future worth stretching forward to when it is regarded out of a faithful, strenuous and aspiring present. This old church will live, and deserve to live through the centuries, only as it emulates and surpasses all that is best and truest in the piety and nobility of the past. “Them that honour Me, I will honour.”
Dr. Jeffrey preached in the evening from the words, “We have thought of Thy loving kindness, O God, in the midst of Thy temple.” (1- Psalm xlviii. 9) A fine service was brought to a close by an appropriate reference to the special circumstances of the congregation. Dr. Jeffrey said— a time like this is one of the deepest interest to every member of this congregation. You look back to-day on a long and eventful history. Times have greatly changed since your congregation was founded one hundred years ago. The wrongs from which your forefathers suffered in their church life have to a large extent been redressed. Patronage has ceased, and a more kindly feeling prevails among all branches of the Christian church. The past has witnessed many unions. You have been a Relief congregation, a United Presbyterian congregation, and a United Free congregation. It is deeply interesting to myself that your former minister was the son of my own father’s colleague, who was Moderator of the Relief Synod at the time of the Union with the United Secession Church. A congregation with such a history must have told largely on the life of Tollcross. For a hundred years the glorious gospel of the blessed God has been preached from this pulpit in all its freeness. This church has seen many entering the kingdom of heaven as little children. It has been the house-beautiful in which many a weary pilgrim has found rest and refreshing. It has been a source of unfailing comfort to many in their sorrow. The young have been trained and strengthened here for the battle of life. It lies with you to carry on the traditions of the past, and to seek to adapt your church work to the times in which we live. You have an active and earnest minister, who has proved himself among you; but what one desiderates is the revival of the old enthusiasm for the church which prevailed fifty years ago.
There is a growing indifference, which has been silently spreading in the community, showing itself in the disinclination to attend church or to take part in church work. The young are so given to pleasure that they chafe under the religious influences brought to bear upon them. What you need, and what we all need, is a gracious out-pouring of the spirit of God, that the ministry may be more effective and the members more zealous. May it come now as you enter on a new century of church life. Begin it to-day with God. “O Israel, trust thou in the Lord : He is their help and their shield. 0 house of Aaron, trust in the Lord j He is their help and their shield. Ye that fear the Lord trust in the Lord: He is their help and their shield. The Lord hath been mindful of us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron; He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great.” (1- Psalm cxv. 9-13)
TOLLCROSS UNITED FREE CHURCH, MAIN STREET:
CENTENARY MEETING IN THE CHURCH
On the evening of Monday, the first day of October, 1906, a meeting for the purpose of celebrating the centenary of the church was held within the church, which presented a most inspiriting spectacle, the large building being filled in all its parts. Previous to the hour at which the business of the night was to begin, tea was served in the main hall of the church; and meanwhile, as the meeting assembled, Mr. Daniel Patterson, a.r.c.o., organist of the church, gave organ recitals. The minister of the church, the Rev. Charles MacEwing, took the chair at eight o’clock, and was accompanied to the platform by Robert Gourlay, Esq., LL. D.; William Lindsay, Esq., and the Messrs. Lindsay, his two sons; Rev. John Steel, D.D.; Rev. William Dickie, D.D.; Rev. William Young, M.A.; Rev. William Huie; Rev. John White, M.A.; Rev. Hector Mackinnon, M.A.; Rev. James Allan; Rev. John Paterson, B.D. ; Rev. James Gardiner, M.A.; Rev. Alexander McMillan ; Rev. John Gray, M.A.; Rev. John Wallace Mann ; Rev. Samuel Harvey MacEwing, M.A.; B.D.; Rev. G. Lithgow Wilson ; Rev. John Calderwood, M.A., LL.B.; Messrs. Archibald Logan, James Conochic, and Thomas McWhinnie. The meeting having sung the Hundredth Psalm, the Moderator of Presbytery, Rev. John White, engaged in prayer. The Chairman then intimated that the undernoted gentlemen had sent expressions of regret for inability to be present that evening:—The Hon. the Lord Provost of Glasgow, William Bilsland, Esq. ; Rev. Fergus Ferguson, D.D.; Rev. Henry Bremner, D.D.; Rev. James Kidd, D.D.; Rev. Alexander Kirkland; Rev. Alexander Brunton; Rev. James Barr, B.D.; Rev. Robert Campbell; Rev. James T. Dempster; Rev. William T. Walker, M.A.; Rev. Charles Ferguson, M.A.; Alexander Scott, Esq., M.D. The Lord Provost wrote—” I very cordially desire to convey to you and your congregation my heartiest congratulations, and trust the celebrations will be most enjoyable and inspiring. I send you these wishes with the greater cordiality, being conscious of the many inherited advantages I possess through my Relief Church connection. Looking back over the many divisions in the church, we now can see that they served a good purpose at the time ; and while we can all respect principles we hold dear, it seems to me that our outlook for the present day should be not so much directed to the differences between the various denominations, but the points of agreement and the possibilities of co-operation. All good wishes for a happy and helpful centenary time.”
The Chairman, after several preliminary remarks, proceeded to an explanation of the origin of the congregation, its connection with the Relief Church, and the support which the leaders of the movement received from the community. He also made reference to the origin of the church-yard, and to one or two of the notable personalities buried within it. He spoke of the wide area from which the church in former times gathered worshippers, and how the people got the worth of their toil, and did not think the toil too much for what they got—two hours of preaching in the forenoon, and two hours and more of preaching in the afternoon, for there were few half-dayers in those good old times. And although he has had occasion of late to examine somewhat minutely into the saying and doings, the joys and sorrows of their ancestors, he has never found the least hint or suggestion that any of them died from premature old age on account of their method of spending the Sunday. He characterised in succession the ministries of Messrs. McIlquham, Ney, and Auld, the last of which was the longest, Mr. Auld having been pastor of the church for more than half-a-century. His manse at Parkhead was for many years a great marriage centre. The numerous couples with their large followings caused no small worry to the good Mrs. Auld, whose thoughts ran on lines of household economy, and who in the circumstances was to be excused for considering that, if the congregation insisted on having such ongoings in her manse, they should remember that many muddy feet do little to improve the quality of manse carpets. Having made reference to the numerous alterations and repairs made upon the church building, the extension of church premises, and other changes, the Chairman concluded—” Most and best of all, we start with a century record of good work done, and with inspiring Christian traditions behind us. The future is all unknown; but this we understand, that faithfulness in duty can have but one issue — “They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me.”
Mr. MacEwing, introducing Dr. Gourlay to the meeting, referred to the kindness of Dr. Gourlay in opening, in conjunction with the late Mr. Dunlop of Tollcross, their first congregational bazaar; and, some twelve years later, their sale of work, on both of which occasions Dr. Gourlay contributed most handsomely to the funds, which by these respective efforts the congregation desired to raise. Mr. MacEwing closed his remarks introductory of Dr. Gourlay by saying that Dr. Gourlay was the maternal grandson of the late Mr. Alexander Cleland, their first preses.
Dr. Gourlay, who was received with great heartiness, gave an interesting address. He referred to his connection with the church as stated by the Chairman, and said that’ his mother was born two years after the formation of the congregation, and spent her early years in the then pretty village of Tollcross. His mother had often spoken to him of the first minister, Mr. McIlquham; he himself had been for some years on terms of friendship with their present minister, and had been on intimate terms with Mr. Auld. Dr. Gourlay proceeded to mention some of the most prominent men in the history of Tollcross, and among others his friend, Mr. Colin Dunlop, Mr. Thomas French, Mr. Drew, and Mr. Meikleham, Clyde Manager. After the death of Mr. James Dunlop, who had built and lived in Tollcross House, it occurred to Dr. Gourlay that it would be a good thing if Tollcross Park were secured for the public. He mentioned the matter to Lord Provost Bilsland, then Convener of the Parks’ Committee, and now the park, one of the most beautiful in the city, was in the possession of the citizens.
Mr. William Lindsay, whose address was of a reminiscent and humorous character, referred to his early connection with the church, and the terms of friendship on which he stood with Mr. Auld, the present minister, and many of the members. Mr. Lindsay made the acquaintance of his life-long friend, Mr. Douglas Baxter, at Parkhead Sunday School. Mr. Lindsay attended a meeting which was the origin of the Christian Association of the village, of which he was made Honory President, out of which came six ministers of the gospel, one missionary, one preacher, four schoolmasters, two divinity students, three doctors, and a lawyer. He mentioned that, as a boy, he took the Glasgow Herald, costing 4d, twice a week to the “Horslet,” leading up to which then stood a fine avenue of trees. He spoke with emphasis of the influence of Mr. Auld over his theological views, out of which he never could sec any reason why he should be driven.
The Rev. Dr. Dickie, of Dowanhill United Free Church, followed with a pungent and useful address, in which he advocated a wide outlook and foreign mission enterprise as an excellent medicine for the cure of what the Germans call “Little-villageism,” with which all congregations and all localities are in danger of being more or less afflicted.
Dr. John Steel, of Greenhead United Free Church, was historical, dwelling on the theological ways and worries of our forefathers, and giving some amusing illustrations of the pathos and drollery of the situation created by the ecclesiastical divisions and controversies which so deeply engaged our ancestors.
The Rev. Hector Mackinnon, of Shettleston Parish, in a speech of fine spirit and flavour, introduced his remarks by a reference to the field of Auchensuggle, a word derived from the Gaelic, and meaning the field of rye. Formerly rye grew on the soil on which (lie church stands. But the rye has given place to crops that are better, for now it is men that are grown. Mr. Mackinnon, taking a cue from other speakers who had gone before, referred to the larger unions of the churches which the future would bring, saying he was very glad the subject had been introduced.
Mr. Archd. Logan, the preses, in an effective address, reminded the congregation that a centenary was a time for gilding for the future, and not simply remembering the past. He referred to the prosperous financial condition of the church, and contrasting past and present forms of worship, spoke of the astonishment of the good people of a former time, could they visit the churchy that evening and view their ” kist o’ whistles.” He urged upon parents the duty of bringing their children along with them to church, and said that in bygone times almost every pew had its array of young people besides their fathers and mothers.
The Rev. William Huie, of Bridge of Teith, addressed the meeting as the life-long friend of Mr. MacEwing, and referred to the many occasions, important to their minister, in which he had taken part.
The Rev. James Allan, representing the United Free Church ministers of the neighbourhood, spoke in the most kindly terms, conveying his sympathy and good wishes for the future.
The Rev. Samuel Harvey MacEwing, B.D., of Drymen, proposed the usual votes of thanks, and Mr. James Conochie, church treasurer, having called for a vote of thanks for the Chairman, the Rev. John Calderwood, LL.B., of Carmyle, pronounced the benediction, when a magnificent and long-to-be-remembered meeting terminated shortly before n o’clock.
Mr. Patterson and his excellent choir enlivened the evening by a fine rendering of several anthems, and Mr. D. M. Gilchrist entertained it by singing two solos with great power and effect.
CHILDREN’S SOCIAL MEETING
On Tuesday evening, the second of October, the managers gave an entertainment to I lie the children of the Sunday School. The large hall was filled with young people and their teachers, together with their parents. The Rev. Charles MacEwing; was in the chair, and a varied programme was filled up, consisting of speeches, songs, recitations, and piano and violin fantasias. The Chairman was supported on the platform by Mr. Malcolm McPhee, Superintendent of the Sabbath School, Mr. Archibald Logan, preses of the congregation and also elder; Mr. Alexander Strachan, elder; Mr. Henry Russell, manager; and Mr. James Conochie, treasurer of the church. Besides the Chairman, Mr. Strachan, Mr. Logan, and Mr. McPhee addressed the children. After the usual votes of thanks, proposed by the Superintendent, and the singing of a hymn, the benediction was pronounced; and the last of the centenary celebrations was brought, shortly before 10 o’clock, to a happy close.
In the carrying out of arrangements in connection with the celebrations special acknowledgment is due to Mr. Thomas McNaught, the admirable secretary to the managers, for his thoroughly business like attention to all details that properly fell to his charge, and which contributed in no little degree to the success of the meetings.
Old Parish Registers (for pre-1855 burials) and church records can give details of those interred in churchyards, although these records do not always survive. The Old Parish Registers are among the many resources available as part of the ScotlandsPeople network which you can access in the Registrars on payment of a daily fee.