West Church History
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Photographs from the book - A Minister's Life (1895) by Rev. Roderick Lawson

West Church Pulpit

West Parish Church, Maybole

 West Church Sabbath School Teachers

West Church Elders

Rev. Roderick Lawson, age 26

Rev. Roderick Lawson, ca. 1895

Click on card to view full size.

Elders of the West Church

 Maybole, June 1890.


Names on the back of the postcard.


James Hannah, James Nisbet, Moses Toner, Rev. Roderick Lawson, Stewart Laurie, William Dunlop, John McMurtrie, Alexander McCreadie, John Pirry. More about this card.


Church Building History: extract from the book - Maybole, Carrick's Capital by James T. Gray
Chapter 12, page 122.
In 1842 the West Church (locally known as the Glen Kirk) was built in Coral Glen, the cost being mainly met by Sir Charles Fergusson of Kilkerran. Once again it was built in what could be described as "The Maybole Kirk" style and there is little to commend it from an architectural point of view. It is a pleasant enough building, however, with an ornamental open bellcote on the gabe facing Coral Glen and its gables and walls are relieved with finely proportioned long arched windows. It was of better workmanship than the two earlier churches and, being sited on top of a hill, rather than on the side of one, there has been little trouble in keeping dampness from damaging it. It serves the west part of the town admirably and has the most attractive surroundings of all the churches in the burgh. It was the church where the Rev. Roderick Lawson preached for so many years and his successor, Rev. Alexander Williamson, was also minister for a long period and both these men were keenly interested in their adopted town and wrote many articles about it."

Short history of Maybole West Parish Church. By William Fielding

The history of a church, like the history of a nation, is the history of its people.

From the records of the church and also from other sources, the following facts have been compiled.

The church was built in 1842 by Sir Charles Fergusson of Kilkerran, who owned the ground, just as the clouds of the Disruption were gathering over the Church in Scotland.

Sir Charles decided to erect the church to supply accommodation for a large number of people who could not find room to worship in the Parish Church.

In 1842 there were only two churches in the whole parish, the Parish Church and the Burgher Kirk at the foot of John Knox Street dating from 1797.

The people of that time were so eager to attend worship that the one building could not hold them all. So Sir Charles took it upon himself to build another church down the Glen.

Unfortunately, or otherwise, about two years later the Disruption took place and in 1844 the Free Church people decided to build a church of their own to worship in.

In this way the Glen Kirk, as it was known, became surplus to requirements and for many years it was a Chapel of Ease, being served by a succession of ministers. One of them was Rev John Rankine, a native of Maybole who became Moderator of the Church of Scotland in 1883.

The church grounds were granted to the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland for a nominal annual charge in 1857 and the Rev John Thomson was called to be minister of the Glen Kirk.

Lady Fergusson of Kilkerran, the mother of Sir James presented the minister and congregation with a handsome Communion Service of silver cups and flagons which are still used by the minister and elders when taking communion.

The appointment of Rev Thomson as minister marked a forward step and the church prospered and grew so much that about 1860 it erected into a parish quod sacra. This was mainly through the efforts of Sir James who succeeded his late father.

The year 1862 marked an important development when Sir James, who was ever generous, granted more ground and built a manse on the rising ground to the south of the church and also portioned off two acres and eleven poles as a glebe. The small hall was built a year later at a cost of £200.

The church has been served by a succession of hardworking ministers, perhaps one of the most ardent being the late Rev Roderick Lawson who was inducted in 1863 and served for about 35 years.

The Glen was the first church to introduce instrumental music as an aid to praise. During that time it was the only church to produce a student or two for the ministry.

Around 1900 the church started thinking about the layout of the interior and reseating and this was completed in 1902 at a cost of £579 17 2 ½.

During the alterations the Town Hall was used for worship for 36 Sundays at a cost of £15 3 2. The most striking of the new furnishings and fittings was the stained glass windows behind the pulpit.

The central one was erected by A & F Dunlop of the USA in memory of their sister Margaret. The smaller two were erected in memory of James Nisbet, an elder at the Glen Kirk for over thirty years.

The year 1920 saw a new pipe organ installed and it was built by H Hilsdon at a cost of £307 10/-. Master Robert Tait was appointed organ blower at an annual salary of £1 10/- and an electric motor blower was installed in 1949 at a cost of £62 10/-.

The minutes from 1859 about the erection of the belfry is worth quoting as a sterling example of self help and enthusiasm. An extract reads “It was reported the handsome sum of £21 stg. had been cheerfully subscribed by the congregation as agreed upon with Sir James Fergusson Bart. for the purpose of procuring a bell for the church, that the bell had been selected, got home, and the price of £6 paid. The meeting, with grateful thanks to Sir James for agreeing to erect a handsome belfry in stone to place the bell in, agrees to hand over the balance to him in aid of the expense of erecting said belfry. The said balance being £5 0 6. The meeting expressed the hope that no further delay will take place in having the belfry erected.”

That bell still calls the people to worship today.

There are two plaques inside the church to the memory of Rev Roderick Lawson and Sir Charles Fergusson.

The baptismal font was donated in 1950 by the Women’s Guild. The flags were gifted to the Boys Brigade by the Guild of the West Parish and Maybole Old.

In 1961 a new hall was built by voluntary labour and when it was completed in 1962 it was dedicated by the Moderator of Ayr Presbytery.

The year 1985 saw the induction of the first lady elders to the Kirk Session.

It was agreed in 2003 to unite the two congregations of Maybole Old and Maybole West and to build a new community church for the town. So on 7th August 2005 the final Service of Closure was held for Maybole Old and on 14th August 2005 a final Service of Closure was held in Maybole West.

List of ministers

Rev John Rankine (later to become Moderator of the General Assembly)

Rev James Gemmell

Rev R Henderson

Rev John White

Rev Alex Inglis

Rev John Crig

Rev John Thomson 1857-1863

Rev Roderick Lawson 1863-1898

Rev George Thomson 1898-1863

Rev W A Reid 1905-1911

Rev W M Lean 1911-1915

Rev A Williamson 1916-1957

Rev S Goudie 1958-1963

Rev G Fisher 1963-1972

Rev J Brown 1973-1979

Rev D Purvis 1980-1985

Rev J Stuart 1986-1995

Rev T Bogle 1996-2003

COMMUNION TOKEN MAYBOLE SCOTLAND 1857 An oval white metal communion token of MAYBOLE Church, AYRSHIRE, SCOTLAND, issued by the minister JOHN THOMSON in 1857. Burzinski 4669, Cresswell 4120, Kerr Lockie 1942-962, Table 3, Fine. Click on the image to view full size.

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