Telford Parliamentary church

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Telford Parliamentary church also known as the Telford Kirks is a presbyterian church in Scotland built with money voted from the parliament of the United Kingdom as a result of the Church of Scotland Act 1824 for a grant of £50000, designed by the surveyor William Thomson and built by the Scottish stonemason and architect Thomas Telford.[1][2]

History[edit]

At the beginning of the 19th century, the provision of churches in the whole of Britain, and in the Highlands in particular, no longer matched the spiritual and religious requirements of the population. Most Highland parishes were large areas of rough mountainous land, and many parishioners, especially those who had been cleared from the land, or who lived in one of the new villages that were coming into existence around that time, lived so far from the parish kirk that they could not attend worship regularly, which was seen as a bad thing. Besides gaps in the provision by the Church of Scotland, there were also pockets of other religious denominations, including Roman Catholic and a variety of minor sects, which were seen as undesirable by the Church of Scotland and by the government.[3]

After the Napoleonic Wars, Parliament made available £1,000,000 in 1819, with a further £500,000 in 1824, for the building of churches and chapels for the Church of England, as an expression of gratitude to God for victory. 214 "Commissioners' Churches" were built or refurbished; one of these alone is said to have cost the best part of £77,000 (equivalent to £6 million in 2014), though much of this was not government money.[3]

A similar proposal to provide £200,000 for the Church of Scotland was delayed for years by various political difficulties and obstruction, and when an amended Bill was eventually passed in 1824, it provided just £50,000 for the whole of the Highlands. No more than 30 kirks with manses were to be built, and no more than £1500 (equivalent to £125,000 in 2014) was to be spent on any one site. A similar Bill for the Lowlands failed altogether in 1825. So the whole of Scotland got a Parliamentary grant of less than was spent on one single Church of England; and the majority of parishes, and parishioners, in Scotland got nothing at all.[3]

The task of selecting the sites and overseeing the work was entrusted to the Commissioners for Building Highland Roads and Bridges, and in particular to their Chief Surveyor Thomas Telford. The Bill required that the heritors, should apply for a new kirk to be built on land that they would make available, and in August 1825 the Commissioners considered 78 applications; eighteen more were received by June 1826, and eventually, and not without difficulty, sites were chosen for 32 kirks and 41 manses, the extra manses to be provided where there was already a kirk, but no manse.[3]

Design[edit]

Between 1823 and 1830 Telford was responsible for the management of construction of the highland churches northwards from Islay to the Shetland.[4] In the year between 1823 and 1824 he prepared estimates, plans and specifications for a standardised structure that was based on one submitted proposal of his three surveyors,[4] James Smith, Joseph Mitchell and William Thomson.[2] Thomson had asked his three surveyors to submit designs for a kirk and manse with a specific budget and caveat that the kirk had to be constructed in a manner that would resist a stormy climate.[2] The eventual plans that were adopted came from William Thomson and considered austere in design.[4]

The layout of each church followed a simple rectangular or a T-plan design each with small belfry. In a rectangular design the tall lattice windows are located in the side walls. For the T-plan, an extension was built at the rear with the lattice windows are on the side walls.[2] The standardised windows design was used so that they could be supplied ready made by James Abernethy of Aberdeen. Original window frames survive in several churches e.g. in Croick, Iona and Ullapool.[2] The doors also standardised, used four-centred arches for support.[5]

Building[edit]

List of churches by location[edit]

Telford Parliamentary church
Name Parish Image Formal name Built by Built date Grant Declared Reference, location and notes
Acharacle Kilchoan, Argyll Acharacle Church of Scotland - Eaglais Ath-Tharracail - geograph.org.uk - 1004356.jpg Acharacle Parish Church William Thomson 1829 £1478 12s 7d Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 8 June 1859.[6] 56°44′55″N 5°48′13″W / 56.748732°N 5.803508°W / 56.748732; -5.803508 (Acharacle Parish Church)[7][8]
Ardgour Kilmallie, Lochaber Church at North Corran, Ardgour - geograph.org.uk - 52901.jpg Ardgour Parish Church John Davidson and Thomas Macfarlane 1829 £697 17s 3d Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 31 December 1845.[9] 56°43′36″N 5°15′13″W / 56.7267312°N 5.253481°W / 56.7267312; -5.253481 (Ardgour Parish Church)
Berneray Kilbride, Harris Church ruins, Berneray (geograph 2044712, cropped).jpg Converted into a private house John Davidson and Thomas Macfarlane 1829 £1500 for kirk and manse 57°43′22″N 7°10′19″W / 57.722737°N 7.17193°W / 57.722737; -7.17193 [10]
Berriedale Latheron Berriedale Church - geograph.org.uk - 225480.jpg Berriedale Church William Davidson 1826 £1473 18s 1d Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 9 December 1846.[11] 58°11′21″N 3°29′46″W / 58.189167°N 3.496111°W / 58.189167; -3.496111 (Berriedale Church)
Carnoch Contin Carnoch Parliamentary church.jpg Unused John Davidson and Thomas Macfarlane 1830 £1500 Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 16 March 1864.[12] The last parliamentary church built in the highlands.[12] 57°32′33″N 4°51′20″W / 57.542508°N 4.855508°W / 57.542508; -4.855508 (Berriedale Church)
Croick Kincardine, Ross and Cromarty Croick Old Parish Church - geograph.org.uk - 68634.jpg Croick Parish Church James Smith 1830 £1426 10s 11d Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 4 March 1846.[13] 57°53′10″N 4°36′16″W / 57.886183°N 4.604583°W / 57.886183; -4.604583 (Berriedale Church)
Cross Parish of Barvas, Ross and Cromarty Cross Parish Church.jpg 1829 £1470 Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 27 May 1857.[14] Demolished.
Duror Appin, Argyll Duror Parish Church - geograph.org.uk - 1356844.jpg Duror Parish Church John Gibb and William Minto 1827 £1470 Declared a Quoad sacra parish in 1827[15] 56°38′47″N 5°16′26″W / 56.646278°N 5.273959°W / 56.646278; -5.273959 (Duror Parish Church) [16]
Hallin Kilmuir, Inverness-shire Old Church in Hallin - geograph.org.uk - 120637.jpg John Davidson and Thomas Macfarlane 1829 £1470 Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 14 July 1847.[17] 57°32′26″N 6°36′03″W / 57.540556°N 6.600833°W / 57.540556; -6.600833 (Old Church in Hallin)
Iona Kilfinichan, Argyll Iona Parish Church - geograph.org.uk - 580051.jpg William Thomson 1828 £1503 4s 56°19′57″N 6°23′40″W / 56.332625°N 6.394314°W / 56.332625; -6.394314 (Iona Parish Church)
Keiss Wick, Caithness Keiss, Caithness, Church of Scotland - geograph.org.uk - 222980.jpg James Smith 1827 £1459 6s 6d Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 9 December 1846.[18] 58°31′58″N 3°07′16″W / 58.532778°N 3.121111°W / 58.532778; -3.121111 (Keiss Parish Church)
Kinlochbervie Eddrachillis Telford Kirk, Kinlochbervie - geograph.org.uk - 819626.jpg William Davidson 1829 £1452 6s 2d Declared a Quoad sacra parish in 1834 58°27′34″N 5°03′05″W / 58.459326°N 5.051455°W / 58.459326; -5.051455 (Keiss Parish Church) [19]
Kinlochluichart Contin Kinlochluichart and Strathgarve Church.jpg James Smith 1827 £1489 3s 3d Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 16 May 1864.[20] 57°37′22″N 4°49′09″W / 57.622717°N 4.819167°W / 57.622717; -4.819167 (Keiss Parish Church)
Kinlochspelve Torosay and Kinlochspelve, Isle of Mull Kinlochspelve, Mull, Scotland, Sept. 2010 - Flickr - PhillipC.jpg William Thomson 1828 £1492 5s 3d 56°21′55″N 5°48′09″W / 56.36527°N 5.80244°W / 56.36527; -5.80244 (Kinlochspelve former church)[21] A rather austere three bay two storeyed manse was built by Telford in Barachandroman.[21] The manse faces west towards Loch Uisg. The church been converted to a private house and is now used as a holiday let.
Knock, Eye Peninsula, Isle of Lewis, Ross-shire Steornabhagh Remaining archival material included the elevated plan of the floor and a series of manuscripts are stored at the Canmore more archive at the National Record of the Historic Environment, part of Historic Environment Scotland[22] 1829 £1470 Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 27 May 1857.[9] 58°12′22″N 6°17′26″W / 58.206149°N 6.2905146°W / 58.206149; -6.2905146 (Knock demolished church) Demolished.[23]
Lochgilphead Glassary, Argyll Several archive items exist at Canmore for the demolished church, including an image of the former manse.[24] Other interesting archive items are the floor elevation, manuscripts original to the period and archaeological nomenclature.[25] John Gibb and William Minto 1828 £1474 14s 2d 56°02′22″N 5°25′58″W / 56.039440°N 5.432679°W / 56.039440; -5.432679 (Lochgilphead Parish Church, Oa, Islay)[26] The church was demolished and a new church built on the same location at the top of Argyll Street.[27]
North Ballachulish Parish of Kilmallie An archive from the parliamentary church has an image with an intimate view of the former graveyard.[28] Other items in the collection include an elevation plan of the church, maps and manuscripts.[29] John Davidson and Thomas Macfarlane 1829 £1500 Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 31 December 1845.[30] 56°42′02″N 5°11′38″W / 56.700552°N 5.193803°W / 56.700552; -5.193803 (North Ballachulish Church) Rebuilt
Risabus or Oa Kildalton, Argyll Risabus Church, Oa, Islay - geograph.org.uk - 17230.jpg The Oa Parish Church, Risabus John Gibb and William Minto of Aberdeen 1828 £1470 Declared a Quoad sacra parish in 1849 55°36′44″N 6°16′03″W / 55.612189°N 6.267417°W / 55.612189; -6.267417 (Risabus Parish Church, Oa, Islay) The church is was set on fire in 1915 and finally closed in 1930.[31][32]
Plockton Lochalsh, Ross and Cromarty Plockton church (Architect, Thomas Telford) - geograph.org.uk - 1266656.jpg Plockton Parish Church John Davidson and Thomas Macfarlane 1827 £1480 15s Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833.[33] 57°20′11″N 5°39′15″W / 57.336389°N 5.654167°W / 57.336389; -5.654167 (Plockton Parish Church)
Poolewe Gairloch, Ross and Cromarty View of Poolewe Parish Church from SW.jpg Poolewe Parish Church John Gibb and William Minto 1828 £1470 Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 3 December 1851.[34] 57°20′11″N 5°39′15″W / 57.336389°N 5.654167°W / 57.336389; -5.654167 (Poolewe Parish Church)
Portnahaven Kilchoman, Argyll Portnahaven Parish Church (geograph 2570387).jpg Portnahaven Parish Church John Gibb and William Minto 1828 £1513 15s 10d Declared a Quoad sacra parish in 1849[35] 55°40′52″N 6°30′24″W / 55.681056°N 6.506667°W / 55.681056; -6.506667 (Portnahaven Parish Church) [35]
Quarff Brassa, Burra and Quarff, Burra, Shetland Easter Quarff kirk - geograph.org.uk - 1762502.jpg Quarff Parish Kirk John Davidson and Thomas Macfarlane 1830 £1498 12s 7d Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833.[36] 60°06′05″N 1°13′52″W / 60.101389°N 1.231111°W / 60.101389; -1.231111 (Easter Quarff Kirk)
Shieldaig Applecross, Ross and Cromarty Church of Scotland, Shieldaig.jpg Shieldaig Parish Church John Davidson and William Macfarlane 1827 £1480 15s Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833[37] 56°43′36″N 5°15′13″W / 56.7267312°N 5.253481°W / 56.7267312; -5.253481 (Ardgour Parish Church) Original church found to unsafe, so new church built on the remaining one or two foot of walls remaining.
Steinscholl Kilmuir, Inverness-shire Kilmuir and Stenscholl Church - geograph.org.uk - 1335941.jpg Skye, Staffin, Stenscholl Parish Church John Davidson and William Macfarlane 1829 £1470 Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 14 July 1847.[38] 57°37′34″N 6°12′21″W / 57.626111°N 6.205833°W / 57.626111; -6.205833 (Kilmuir and Stenscholl Church)
Stoer Parish of Assynt, Sutherland Ruined Church, Stoer - geograph.org.uk - 227129.jpg William Davidson 1829 £1470 6s 2d Declared a Quoad sacra parish in 1834.[39] 58°12′08″N 5°20′10″W / 58.202222°N 5.336111°W / 58.202222; -5.336111 (Kilmuir and Stenscholl Church)
Strathy Parish of Farr, Sutherland Strathy Parliamentary church.png James Smith 1828 £1470 Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 4 February 1846.[40] 58°33′33″N 4°00′14″W / 58.5592°N 4.0039°W / 58.5592; -4.0039 (Strathy Parish Church) Now converted to a house
Strontian Kilchoan, Argyll Strontian church - geograph.org.uk - 412686.jpg Strontian Church of Scotland William Thomson 1829 £1502 10s 8d Declared a Quoad sacra parish in 1833 56°42′07″N 5°34′11″W / 56.702019°N 5.569700°W / 56.702019; -5.569700 (Strontian Parish Church) [41][42]
Tobermory Kilninian and Kilmore The Canmore archive has a single image which details the plan, and elevation of the church and specifically a plan for a one-storey manse or a two-storey manse choices. The choice of which manse to built makes the plan unusual as there is no evidence of dual choice in any other archaeological plan.[43] William Thomson 1828 £1539 10s 5d 56°37′25″N 6°04′13″W / 56.623582°N 6.070196°W / 56.623582; -6.070196 (Tobermory Parish Church) Replaced with a Victorian Gothic church in 1897.
Tomintoul Kirkmichael, Banffshire Tomintoul Church of Scotland - geograph.org.uk - 1301259.jpg Tomintoul Parish Church John Gibb and William Minto 1827 £1486 5s Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833[44] 56°37′26″N 6°04′17″W / 56.623847°N 6.071421°W / 56.623847; -6.071421 (Tomintoul Parish Church) [45]
Truimsgarry North Uist Truimsgarry Telford Parliamentary church.png John Davidson and William Macfarlane 1829 £1470 Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 11 June 1845.[46] 57°39′14″N 7°15′15″W / 57.653799°N 7.254220°W / 57.653799; -7.254220 (Truimsgarry) Roof missing
Ullapool Lochbroom Ullapool Museum Telford Church 02.JPG Lochbroom & Ullapool Parish Church 1829 £900 Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 and erected as such by the Court of Tiends on 16 March 1859.[47] 57°53′47″N 5°09′47″W / 57.896389°N 5.163056°W / 57.896389; -5.163056 (Lochbroom & Ullapool Parish Church) Now houses Ullapool Museum.[48]
Ulva Kilninian and Kilmore St. Ewan's church on Ulva - geograph.org.uk - 270350.jpg Salen and Ulva Parish Church William Thomson 1828 £1495 14s 1d Declared a Quoad sacra parish by an Act of Assembly on 25 May 1833 56°28′49″N 6°09′55″W / 56.480361°N 6.165278°W / 56.480361; -6.165278 (Ulva Parish Church)[49] a new church replaced the Telford church in 9 July 1899. It cost £1300 and seated 260 being substantially bigger.[50] The church was dedicated to St Elvan of Ardstraw.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]