Histories of Parish and Village
Photos from days gone by
articles to do with the opening of the Old Church
articles to do with the opening of the New Church
Paul's, Milton of Campsie:
The history of St Paul's, Milton of Campsie, is for the most part
the history of St Machan's,
Lennoxtown. Until the mid-1960s the villagers walked to Lennoxtown
for Mass and other services. The first Mass in Milton was offered
by Canon Michael Whelahan (Parish Priest of St Machan's, Lennoxtown)
in the Village Hall on 10th July 1949, for the dedication of the
War Memorial. However, it was not until 8th December 1965 that
the celebration of Sunday Mass in Milton (again in the Village
Hall) was begun on a regular basis.
The modest, simple narrow building had seating for 150
worshippers. An altar table of solid oak was provided, and accommodation
for the tabernacle was made available in the wooden panelling,
up on the wall behind the altar. The name of "St Paul's"
was chosen in recognition of the fact that the church at Lennoxtown
had been known by that name from 1846 until 1881 (when it became
"St Machan's"). The people of Milton of Campsie chose
St Paul as their patron in tribute to their mother parish.
William Canon McCabe |In 1967 Canon William Maccabe, the Parish
Priest at St Machan's at that time, acquired the house and
grounds at 16 Birdston Road. Father Michael (later Canon)
McCullagh, Assistant Priest at St Machan's, moved in to
take charge. A native of Belix, County Tyrone, he had been
educated at St Mary's College, Blairs, and St Edmund's,
Ware, and ordained in 1947 in St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh,
by Archbishop Andrew Joseph McDonald. Following appointments
in Portobello and Dunfermline, he served as Assistant Priest
at St Machan's before becoming the first resident priest
in Milton of Campsie, in 1967.
In the presbytery grounds stood a building that had begun
life, around 1909, as a grainstore and stable. Later it
had been employed as a factory for
the production of tartan cloth, for which purpose it was
provided with four looms, two broadlooms and a winding
machine. As well as tartan, it produced white twill and
cloth for butchers' aprons, before closure around 1950.
The weaving shed soon deteriorated into a very neglected
state, but it was destined to become the first Catholic
church building in Milton of Campsie. Father McCullagh
organised a voluntary workforce of parishioners to convert
it into a small church. The looms and other fixtures had
already been removed, allowing the men to commence work
immediately, although the low roof needed to be raised
before work could begin in earnest. The volunteers transformed
the building into a beautiful little chapel.
In September 1968 Archbishop Gordon Gray of St Andrews & Edinburgh
formally blessed and opened the church at Milton. He praised the
skill and industry of the volunteers in transforming the old building
in a few short months. Canon Maccabe of Lennoxtown and Father
McCullagh were also praised for their roles in establishing the
church. At the con-celebrated Mass Archbishop Gray was assisted
by Father Michael McCullagh, and by Father Charles Brodie, a former
curate at Lennoxtown. After the solemn ceremonies were over the
parishioners retired to the Village Hall, where they had an opportunity
to meet and talk with the Archbishop. At the time Father McCullagh
was quick to acknowledge the limitations of the new church, clearly
intended as a temporary provision only. As he observed (as quoted
in the Catholic Universe of 27th September 1968):
Our church is only temporary, as the villages of Milton of Campsie
and Lennoxtown are re-scheduled for re-development as part of
the Glasgow overspill. When that comes, a much bigger and permanent
church will be required.
With this in mind, the congregation continued to make voluntary
subscriptions, and the Parish Committee organised fundraising
activities, including a wastepaper collecting service and monthly
concerts, to boost the Development Fund.
Father McCullagh moved to Stoneyburn and was succeeded by Father
John Archibald, a native of Loanhead who had been educated at
Blairs and Propaganda Colleges and ordained in 1957, in Rome.
After various appointments in the Archdiocese of St Andrews &
Edinburgh he came to Milton of Campsie in April 1976.
(Above) Voluntary workers at St Paul's, Milton of Campsie.
Some of the male parishioners who worked to convert a
former weaving shed into the first Catholic church in
Milton of Campsie.
With the continuing growth of the village at that time, and a
corresponding increase in the number of Catholics, the small church
could no longer cope with the demands placed upon it—clearly
a new church building was urgently required. In mid-1980 the Archdiocesan
Finance Committee approved a plan for a church to be built by
Lanner Ltd (who subsequently went into liquidation). Fleming Timber
Buildings took over the project in December 1980 and began building
operations (to a modified plan) on 15th June 1981.
The official opening of St Paul's, Milton of Campsie, took place
on Monday 25th January 1982, with Cardinal Gordon Gray of St Andrews
& Edinburgh in attendance. Other clergy present were Bishop
James Monaghan, Fathers John Archibald, Michael McCullagh (preacher),
Daniel Boyd, Dennis O'Connell, David Barr, Joseph Portelli, P.Capaldi,
Michael Bell, S.Donohue, David Brown, Desmond Lynagh, Peter Gallacher
and Edward Gallagher, and Monsignor James Brennan. Other invited
guests included Provost Gerard McCormick of Strathkelvin District
Council; Charles Kennedy (Community Councillor); A.McGregor (Clerk
of Works); R.Murray (the Clerk of Works who began the project);
J.Burrows (Managing Director of Fleming Timber Buildings); H.Allan
(Designer); R.Etherson (Landscape Designer); John Carter &
Alex Stirling (Plumbers & Electricians); Rev. Euphemia Irvine
(Milton of Campsie Parish Church); Major Seymour (Salvation Army,
Baldoran); Sister Bernadette McGinty and her Rev. Mother; Miss
M.Meechan (Headteacher, St Machan's Primary School); Mr E.Connor
(Hayes & Finch) and Mr & Mrs Paul Cortopassi (representing
Mr & Mrs Francis Goldie of St Ninian's High School, Kirkintilloch).
The organist was Miss Annie McGarrigle, with Father Ryscard Holuka
as Master of Ceremonies.
After the Blessing of the Church and readings from St Paul (read
by Andrew Gallagher and Pamela Murray), the first Resident Priest
in Milton of Campsie, Father Michael McCullagh, gave a short history
of Catholicism in the area. Father McCullagh told of the traditional
links which the Catholics of Milton of Campsie had with Lennoxtown.
The people had walked there from 1831, when Father Paul MacLachlan
established a Mass Centre there, until their own Mass Centre had
been set up in the Village Hall. Father McCullagh concluded by
praising the parishioners and also the people and priests of St
Machan's, for all their help, and asking God's Blessing for them.
In his reply Cardinal Gray congratulated the parishioners on their
hard work, patience and generosity. He said that he had been unable
to visit the church during the building process and that it was
a wonderful and delightful surprise to see the completed building.
He added that it was a "lurking ambition" of many priests
to build their own church, and although he had opened nearly 50,
he had not had the opportunity to watch any "grow".
The service continued with the Prayers of the Faithful, which
were read by Martin Thompson, Geraldine Mclvor, Ella Young, Ken
Fitzpatrick, John Burke and Hilda Slavin. The offertory gifts
were brought forward by Jimmy Leeson, Elizabeth Hendrie, Jimmy
Brinkins, Theresa Ridgeway, John Brown, Maureen McKenna, Julie
Marsh and Lara Bartlett. Holy Mass followed, and after the solemn
blessing and recessional hymn to St Paul refreshments were served
in the old church, to conclude the evening's celebrations.
Opening of St Paul's, Milton of Campsie, in September
1968. Left to right: Father James Falconer; Archbishop
Gordon Gray; Father Charles Brodie; Father Michael McCullagh;
Canon McGarvie; Father Michael O'Connell; Canon Kelly
and Father Peter Gallacher.
The main contractors were Fleming Timber Buildings of Lenzie.
The roof is constructed from laminated timber beams, forming a
pyramid, and is lined on the underside with Scandinavian parana
pine timber boarding. It was the first church built by Flemings
with this style of roof. The church's size and design suited the
site, which is fairly restricted in area. The interior walls are
of plasterboard, finished with emulsion paint and hessian featured
panels at the altar. The tabernacle is placed on a small plinth.
The altar table is made of wood and has an unusual and beautiful
circular base, consisting of a wooden carving of the Last Supper.
On the right-hand side of the altar there is a large crucifix
and the electric organ. On the left there is a wooden baptismal
font. The floor covering is of carpet and vinyl, with a tiled
entrance way. The entrance porch has a cloakroom area. A direct
entrance to the Sacristy leads off from the porch. The confessional,
quiet room and principal entrance to the Sacristy are on the left-hand
side of the church. The Stations of the Cross, which were taken
from the old church and re-modelled by pupils at St Ninian's High
School, Kirkintilloch, are all, unusually, on one wall above the
quiet room. The older church now serves as a parish hall.
to a history of St. Machan's Lennoxtown
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|Milton of Campsie
(or 'Milltown', as occasionally spelled) is thought to be a comparatively
modern name, although some of the local mills were hundreds of
years old. There were at least three corn mills near the village,
all attached to large estates, namely Glorat, Lochmill (for Antermony
Estate) and Frenchmill (for Kincaid). There were in addition at
least two other mills, both lint mills for the processing of flax
for the linen industry. Perhaps it was Fre nchmill, very close
to the village, that gave rise to the 'Milton' name, although
this is unclear.
A great leap forward took place in 1786, with the opening of
a calico printing works at Kincaid. This signified an important
change in the local textile industry, from linen to cotton.
Kincaidfield, as it was known, was soon providing employment
for a large number of workers, and the village of Milton began
to grow significantly in size.
A second printfield was opened at Lillyburn during the 1790s.
It was converted to a whisky distillery in 1826, but soon reverted
to calico printing. Throughout the nineteenth century the local
textile printing industry continued to flourish, but Kincaidfield
closed in 1901 and Lillyburn in 1929. The works at Kincaid was
demolished, but Lillyburn was converted to a pulp packaging
manufactory, and continues to fulfil this function at the present
time, although somewhat scaled down.
Milton of Campsie derived great benefit from the opening of
a centrally-placed railway station in 1848, on a branch line
built during that year from a junction on the Edinburgh &
Glasgow Railway, at Lenzie, to Lennoxtown. It served the village
well for over a century, until closure in 1951, by which date,
road transport options had been greatly improved.
Visitors to Milton today should perhaps make a point of visiting
Kincaid House, the ancient seat of the Kincaids of that ilk.
So much of Milton's history is closely linked to that of Kincaid.
It was the Kincaid estate mill at Frenchmill that seems to have
given the village its name, and it was on the Kincaid estate
during the 1780s that the calico printing industry, so important
to Milton's economy during the nineteenth century, was first
The owner of Kincaid estate during the 1830s, John Lennox Kincaid
Lennox, inherited nearby Woodhead and combined the two estates.
He built Lennox Castle to serve as an appropriate dwelling for
the inheritor of extensive landed property.
When in the Lillyburn area, visitors should remember the important
McNab family who once owned the calico printing works there.
Alexander McNab (1819-97) was responsible for the supply of
gas and running water to the village of Milton and provided
funding for the building of a public hall, in 1887. His framed
portrait can be seen at the hall, in Craighead Road. Another
significant local family, the Stirlings of Glorat, still own
the Glorat Estate.