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Our history

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Holy Trinity Scottish Episcopal Church Archives

Holy Trinity’s extensive church archives are now in the care of Stirling Council’s Archives Service.

History of the Episcopal Church in Stirling

This account includes an extensive revision of material from The Episcopal Church in Stirling: A Centenary Brochure for Holy Trinity 1878-1978, compiled by C. E. Saunders B.A., supplemented by much new research. See below for a detailed narrative of each period in our church’s history:

  • The church in Stirling before 1694
  • The suffering century: 1694-1795
  • The Episcopal Chapel, Barnton Street: 1795-1845
  • Trinity Church, Barnton Street: 1845-1878
  • Holy Trinity Church, Albert Place: 1878 onwards

History of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC)

A Church for Scotland

Before 1874 (editing in progress!)

Secondly, the word is Brythonic, belonging to the P-Celtic language group of which only Welsh and, to a lesser extent, Cornish and Breton, now survive. The church may therefore date from at least the 7th century when Brythonic was supplanted in central Scotland by Gaelic. Taken together with the name, ‘St Ninians’, we may speculate that a church was founded here either by St Ninian himself in the 5th century or by one of his later followers while the area was still Brythonic-speaking. The old church and cemetery at St Ninians might therefore have been a Christian site for at least 1,400 years. Another ancient church of St Ninian at Kirkintilloch may well belong to the same era. It would certainly have been on the direct route between St Ninians and the important church of St Kentigern at Glasgow.

Christianity in the area might also have been influenced by St Columba of Iona (c.521-597), especially once it became Gaelic-speaking. The monastic foundations of St Columba and his followers stretched from Ireland through much of Scotland to Northumbria.

David, also known as St David of Scotland, founded an astonishing number of religious houses during his 29-year reign. Around 1140. two important foundations were made near Stirling. These were Dunblane Cathedral and Cambuskenneth Abbey, which was endowed to Augustinian Black Canons from Arrouaise in France. The Canons were priests who lived as a monastic community but who also ministered to lay folk in the outside world. St Ninian, St Columba, St Kentigern, St Margaret and St David of Scotland are all depicted in the stained glass within Holy Trinity.

During the 13th century, the Augustinians and Benedictines were joined in Stirling by Black Friars (or preaching friars) of the Dominican order. Remains of the foundations of the Dominican Friary in Stirling were recently rediscovered, lying between the railway station and the foot of Friars Street. Unlike monks, friars went out and about in the community, preaching and ministering to lay folk, and also maintained themselves and their friary by begging for alms. In the 15th century, another group of friars, the Observant Franciscans (also known as Grey Friars or Friars Minor), were introduced by Mary of Gueldres, wife of king James II. The site of the Franciscan Friary is now occupied by the Stirling Highland Hotel. Pilgrims’ hospitals and a home for lepers were also established at various times.

The parish church, a wooden construction, was damaged by fire in 1414 and again in 1452 and 1455. The last two fires arose from acts of defiance against King James II by adherents of the powerful Douglas family. A new stone church was then erected, financed partly by the burgesses of Stirling, the king and the Abbey of Dunfermline. The church was built in two phases, the first between 1456 and 1470 and the second between 1507 and 1555. Around 1545, it became a collegiate church – staffed by a group or “college” of priests – one of a number created in this period.

The suffering century: 1694-1795

Both Rev. Hunter and Rev. Munro continued to minister to the “faithful remnant” of Episcopalians, first in a meeting house at St Ninians in 1694, with Rev. Hunter as the incumbent. This was suppressed under the anti-Episcopalian penal laws in 1696. Rev. Hunter was forced to leave Stirling and retired to Edinburgh for the time being. Rev. Munro preached a final sermon on the aptly-chosen text, “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

A second meeting house opened in St Ninians with Rev. Robert Lockhart as presbyter, but this was suppressed in May 1698. A third meeting house opened in August 1703, with Rev. Adam Peacock as the incumbent, but it was closed almost immediately. These meeting houses operated illegally and were closed down when detected by the authorities. Thereafter Stirling’s Episcopalians worshipped clandestinely, with Rev. Hunter back as incumbent until he was imprisoned in 1708.

The Toleration Act of 1712 gave some respite, making Episcopal ministry legal provided the clergy prayed for Queen Anne. Congregations that accepted these terms were called “Qualified Chapels”, most of which were established after 1745. However, Qualified Chapels were not recognised by the Scottish bishops, who remained ‘non-jurors’, that is, people who would not swear an oath of allegiance to Queen Anne or to the Hanoverian succession. ‘Non-jurors’ were permitted to worship, but only in private houses and only by using the English Prayer Book. A Qualified Chapel did arise in Stirling, but the date of its foundation is unknown. Rev. Hunter returned to his charge as a ‘non-juror’.

Stirling was surrounded by the homes and estates of Jacobite families, notably the Murrays of Polmaise, the Setons of Touch, the Steuarts of Allanton, the Abercrombys of Airthrey, the Moirs of Leckie, the Grahams and Dunmores of Airth. The Stirlings of Keir and Kippendavie were also sympathetic to the cause. These families gave their support to the next few incumbents, the first of whom was Rev. Walter Stirling, who arrived in 1713 and continued in office until around 1727. It is unclear whether this support was given openly or covertly.

Many Episcopalians sided with the Jacobites in the disastrous rising of 1715, and this led to the Penal Act of 1719, whereby no Episcopal priest could minister to more than nine people at a time, in addition to his own family, unless he took an oath renouncing the exiled Stuarts and promising to pray for George I. This also led to the final removal of nearly all Episcopal priests still in possession of parish churches, most of whom were in the Highlands and north-east Scotland. During this period, it is likely that the congregation met in private houses, perhaps belonging to sympathetic landowning families.

Around 1727, Rev. Stirling was succeeded by Rev. Ninian Niving, who opened a meeting house in Torbrex around 1738. Therefore, Rev. Niving was incumbent at the time of the rising of 1745, which ended even more disastrously than that of 30 years earlier. Again, many Episcopalians supported the Jacobites. This led to the imposition of harsher rules under the Toleration Act of 1746 and the Penal Act of 1748. Priests who did not swear allegiance to George II, pray for him by name and register their Letters of Orders were forbidden to minister to more than four people (“the prescribed four”) at any one time. The penalty for a first offence was imprisonment for six months, thereafter, the penalty was transportation to the West Indies plantations for life. Penalties for laypeople worshipping at Episcopalian services included being prevented from holding any public office, deprivation of the right to vote and being barred from admission to universities and colleges. Further persecution followed quickly – no clergyman ordained by a Scottish bishop could “qualify” to conduct ordinary and open worship.

In the wake of the failed 1745 rising and imposition of the penal legislation, some Episcopalians, especially landowners and merchants, decided that they no longer wished to be ‘non-jurors’, people who would not swear allegiance to the Hanoverian monarch, and supported Qualified Chapels. These were independent congregations, not recognised by the Scottish bishops, presided over by English or Irish priests who accepted the Hanoverian succession and retained an Episcopalian style of liturgical worship using the English Prayer Book. A qualified chapel was formed in Stirling, but nothing appears to be known about it beyond the fact that it came back into the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1804.

As Rev. Niving would thus have been banned from conducting public worship, the meeting house in Torbrex was almost certainly his own home, possibly made available to him by a sympathetic local landowner. The law on “the prescribed four” was evaded in Stirling, as elsewhere, by dividing large rooms into small sections separated by partitions that contained openings through which the minister’s voice could be heard by the whole congregation. No more than four people were in each partitioned area.

Rev. Niving struggled on under the penal laws until 1763, when he was succeeded by his son-in-law, Rev. George Cheyne. The congregation then moved to two houses in the Old Town. One was in Spittal Street, a house with a private staircase once known as Glengarry Lodge, and the other was in Broad Street, on the north side, now bearing on its restored frontage the motto Nisi Dominus Frustra (shorthand for Psalm 127, verse 1: Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem frustra vigilavit qui custodit – unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain). The congregations continued to meet in these houses after Rev. Cheyne handed over to his son, Rev. Hugh James Cheyne, in 1781.

The Episcopal Chapel: 1795-1845

Rev. George Gleig was minister in Stirling for fifty-six years, within which he was a bishop for thirty years and Primus for twenty-one. In Stirling, he found congenial intellectual company and, presumably, a fitting centre for his many labours. He was consecrated Coadjutor of Brechin in 1808 and Bishop in 1810. In 1816, he was elected Primus. He remained incumbent at Stirling until 1831, Primus until 1837 and Bishop of Brechin until his death in 1840.

The church building for which he was primarily responsible was built in 1794-95 and occupied a piece of land known as Fryarscarse (a reference to the former Dominican friars), which lies at the junction of Barnton Street and Maxwell Place and is now occupied by shops. This land was given by Dr Walter Stirling ‘for the purpose of building a chapel or place of worship for the Episcopal congregation’, the relevant documents being handed over to James Stirling of Keir, John Stirling of Kippendavie, Dr Robert Moir of Leckie, John Wilson of Murrayshall and Rev. George Gleig himself. The chapel appears on John Wood’s town plan of 1820 as ‘The English Chapel, Bishop Gleig’.

An unknown Stirling historian, writing in 1794, described it as an ‘elegant place of worship’; Dr Galbraith, who gave a long life of service to Stirling, looked back on it many years later as a ‘humble and unpretentious structure’, which might seem nearer to the truth, since the total sum raised to build it was £597:5:0d (£597.25) and the final balance was £3:1:7d (£3.08). All the subscriptions are recorded, the accounts having been transcribed into the first Minute Book, purchased in 1808 and now in the Stirling Council Archives.

The first items in the accounts of 1795 were as follows: ‘By 1 lb gunpowder 1/4d (7p); match paper 2d (1p). To two quarriers employed for fourteen days at 1/6d (8p) per day each in blasting the rock for the foundation’. The quarriers’ total payment for the fourteen days would have been a guinea (£1.05). Dr Moir of Leckie would hardly have been unaware of the Biblical overtones of these entries when he made them (Matthew 7:24-25, Matthew 16:18, Luke 6:48).

The subscribers included members of all the families already referred to, as well as two groups of officers and civilians living in India, and probably connected with the garrison at the Castle. There is little evidence of extravagance in the expenditure; some of the furnishings already in use were cleaned, thereby saving £1:11:6d (£1.58). They did, however, buy a silver communion cup, gilt inside, a plated paten with silver edges, and a bell, which, according to Dr Galbraith, having been cracked, ‘gave Bell 1795 forth no very melodious summons to worship’. This bell stands at the back of the present church, bearing the date 1795 and the words Audite. Procul Profani. Literally, this seems to mean, “Hear! Keep away all you who are unholy.” However, ‘It has been suggested that the intended meaning may be “Listen and come to worship, you who are currently far away from God”. A large brass salver or plate with an interesting embossed design, still in use today for receiving the congregation’s offerings, is thought to have been given by the Stirlings of Kippendavie.

On 25 March 1795, lectern-sized copies of the Holy Bible and Book of Common Prayer were presented to ‘the new Scotch Episcopal Chapel of Stirling’ by William Rind, a Purser in the service of the East India Company. These copies are still in the church’s care.

No authentic picture of the first Barnton Street chapel is known to exist. A drawing in the Stirling Council Archives is probably an imaginative reconstruction. Dr Galbraith said it was oblong, with a small spire. There was no chancel, and the communion table was in a small side aisle to the east of the church. The central aisle led directly to a three-tiered pulpit or reading desk in which the clergyman and clerk ‘conducted a kind of dialogue, the congregation taking little or no part’. According to Miss Helen Graham, daughter of the deputy governor of the Castle, who kept a diary, Bishop Gleig regularly preached what were long and difficult sermons. But he was an ardent advocate of the Book of Common Prayer, to be used without change or interpolation of other matter, and it was presumably in this usage that Miss Graham and others found satisfaction.

His congregation included members of the land-owning families and residents from The Terraces (Melville/Pitt Terraces) that were being built at that time. There were several well-known Jacobite ladies who closed their books as noisily as possible when the obligatory prayers for king George III were said. Soldiers also made their way down from the Castle. Although the Castle had ceased to be a royal residence in 1603, apart from fleeting visits by James VI (1617), Charles I (1633) and James VII as Duke of Albany and York (1681), it had remained a major fortress and army base. The garrison’s spiritual needs were attended to by chaplains of the established Church of Scotland, whose Kirk of the Holy Rude was near at hand. Nevertheless, from 1707, English and Irish regiments were based at the Castle from time to time and may have had their own Anglican chaplains. Scottish regiments also contained some English and Irish soldiers, many of whom may have been members of the Church of England or Church of Ireland. British army chaplains were mainly Anglican, and Scottish soldiers would have become familiar with this style of worship. Many soldiers from the Highlands and from Aberdeenshire and Banffshire came from the Episcopalian tradition, which had remained strong in these areas.

In 1804, the Stirling Qualified Chapel united with Bishop Gleig’s church. Nothing appears to be known about this chapel beyond the fact of its existence.

Bishop Gleig lived a simple life with his family, first in lodgings over a shop in Baker’s Wynd and later in an unpretentious house in Bridgegate. Here he edited the third edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and wrote articles for literary magazines. He presumably did most of the organising of church affairs himself, as no official representative body met until September 1809, when a Committee of Management was formed, the predecessor of all subsequent Vestries. They drew up rules and kept minutes – these minutes were continued with only one break until the present day, and the whole growth of the church as an organised community can be traced in them.

The first act of the committee was to commission the newly chosen treasurer to collect Bishop Gleig’s stipend, ‘a practice highly improper and indelicate for him to have had to carry out himself, and also, because of the rise in the cost of living, to raise that salary which was ‘very far from adequate to his useful labours’. The figure they set is not recorded. The revenue came from pew rents, gifts and the weekly collections.

[Gleig memorial]
Bishop Gleig was a familiar figure in Stirling. A fellow bishop wrote, ‘It was a pleasant picture to see the trim old gentleman pacing along the street with his shovel hat and gold-headed staff’. According to his son, his fellow clergy ‘feared more than they loved him, but he was a true man… and if somewhat impatient of mediocrity, was generous and even tender in his feelings’.

Gleig retired in 1831 and was replaced by his assistant, Rev. Robert Henderson. Legend reports that when, in his old age, he still took a daily walk beside the river, the townsfolk placed a large stone on the footpath of the road which leads from the old Stirling Bridge to Causewayhead. It was about half a mile from his house, and he used to rest upon it before returning. It was long known as the Bishop’s stone. He died on 9 March 1840. According to W. Walker’s Memoirs of Bishop Gleig, he was buried ‘in a chapel attached to the Greyfriars Church, Stirling (now the Church of the Holy Rude), which belongs to the Graham Moirs of Leckie.’ In an early document now in the Stirling Council Archives, a pencilled note states that the burial service on 17 March 1840 was conducted by Rt Rev. Michael Russell, Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway.

Bishop Gleig’s memorial tablet, inscribed in Latin with one line of Greek, can be seen at the west end of the south aisle in the present building. The Greek inscription reads, Αποθανὡν ἔτι λαλειται, which means “things above”: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Trinity Church: 1845-1878

[Barnton Street Church 1845-1878]
In due course, the congregation outgrew the chapel, and it was decided to replace it with a larger church on the same site. Rev. Henderson was presumably a prime mover in bringing this about. A photograph of this second building can be seen in the foyer of the present church, and a detailed description of it was given in the Stirling Journal of 21 February 1845 in the account of its consecration by Rt Rev. Charles Terrot, Bishop of Edinburgh. By this time, the Oxford or Tractarian Movement in England was making itself felt far beyond the bounds of its original home and was welcomed in Scotland precisely because its promoters were seeking to maintain principles for which the Episcopal Church had contended through many decades. One aspect of the Oxford Movement was a revival of the mediaeval or Gothic style in architecture, converting churches from ‘the preaching boxes they had become to meaningful articulated structures, possessing all the parts, adornments and fittings deemed to have been customary in former times’.

The architect of the second Barnton Street church was John Henderson (1804-1862). He was well known for his studies of standard works on Gothic architecture, and his knowledge is reflected in the various churches he built in Scotland. Only two years after his work in Stirling, he was commissioned to design the School and College of the Holy Trinity, Glenalmond, a foundation sponsored by men of known Tractarian sympathies, including the future prime minister, W. E. Gladstone. This may have provided Holy Trinity with its patronal title, no known reference having been found for its progress from ‘the chapel’, ‘the congregation’, ‘the society’ to the time when the minute book first refers to Trinity Church in 1851.

The second Barnton Street church was a much more elaborate building than the first, containing

a spacious nave and north aisle, and a chancel in the form of an apse’, with stained glass windows presented by the countess of Dunmore. Much of the work within was of polished stone, giving the building an appearance of great substantiality and richness.

Whereas no records of the consecration of the earlier chapel have been found, we have a full account of the consecration of the second church in the Stirling Journal, together with testimony to the increasing prestige of the Episcopal community. ‘Upwards of forty gentlemen afterwards dined together at Gibb’s Hotel (now the Golden Lion), and the gathering was chaired by John Stirling of Kippendavie, who, though not a member himself, expressed great pleasure in its growth and development, remembering that his grandfather had been one of its earliest founders.’

[Rev. R. H. Henderson]
The minute book next deals with the organisation of the congregation. Under Rev. Henderson, whose ministry lasted for forty years, a Vestry was formed, as was the case in almost every other congregation, and a constitution was drawn up. Its first three permanent members were Sir Henry Seton-Steuart of Touch, Lt Col. John Murray of Touchadam and Polmaise and Lt Col. John Stirling of Gargunnock. The first two of these played a large part in developing the church community for many subsequent years and are indeed still referred to as being among the ‘founders’ of the present building. By 1862, an Episcopal School existed in St Mary’s Wynd, subject to inspection and receiving government grant under the system of payment by results.

Although he was incumbent for only a few years, three notable events occurred while he was in post. Firstly, a memorial window and plaque were erected to the memory of Col. Edward Priestly of the Black Watch, who died in 1868. This is now the oldest of Holy Trinity’s military memorials. Secondly, in 1869, a parsonage was bought at 10 Clarendon Place. Thirdly, in 1872, the 91st Argyllshire Highlanders, mustered for the first time at Stirling Castle in 1794 (as the 98th), became ‘Princess Louise’s Argyllshire Highlanders’ and subsequently established a permanent depot at the castle. This was to be significant to the future development of the church.

In December 1873, the late Rev. Wilson was succeeded by Rev. Clement Leigh Coldwell, a graduate of Pembroke College, Oxford and one of the most remarkable of the church’s incumbents. He had been ordained deacon and priest by Bishop Lonsdale in Lichfield Cathedral and, before coming to Stirling, had been Vicar at Pemberton, Lancashire. The last words of the last sermon that he preached in the Barnton Street church before moving to the present building in Albert Place were:

Change is everywhere at work and moves quickly. Whither shall God by all these changes lead us? We know not. Time will reveal His will, but we must continue to keep His word and not deny His name. Built on that Rock, nothing can shake us.

1874-1903 Rev. Clement Leigh Coldwell, MA

Architecture and building

The architect of the new building was one of Scotland’s most famous architects, Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, later first president of the Scottish School of Architects, designer of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and, in 1893, restorer of Dunblane Cathedral. Small wonder that Holy Trinity, when completed, made a considerable impression in the neighbourhood. Perhaps there was a certain amount of criticism too since speakers on various occasions justified the use of art as the “handmaid of religion”. “Nothing”, said Rev. Coldwell, “could ever be too beautiful or costly to be employed in worship”, so long as externals are “aids to a more spiritual worship in the inward heart of holiness.”

The main form of the completed church was essentially as we see it today. It was built of stone from the Bannockburn quarries. Inside, it comprised nave, chancel, north and south aisles, organ chamber and vestry. The chancel was raised above the level of the nave by four steps, the altar by three more, thus making the sanctuary the focal point of the whole building. There was a large window at the east end and another in the west. The clerestory had ten windows, each of a single light and each side-aisle had five lancet-shaped windows. Outside, the west corner allowed for the erection of a tower or spire, but this was never completed. The choir seats were of “the finest red pine from Pensacola”, though not the oak which the Vestry members had wished for but could not afford.

Not surprisingly, the raising of money for such an enterprise was a major task. Though everyone concerned contributed “according to their means”, the final result could never have been achieved without the bank loan. Its interest was paid throughout by the three guarantors, or rather the first two of them, Mr Home Drummond having died in 1877. His heir later gave a large donation. Sir Henry Seton-Steuart and Col. Murray continued to discharge their obligations and by their contributions and gifts to the various subscription lists certainly earned their description as “founders”; their devoted service to all the business involved and the subsequent affairs of the Vestry perhaps gives them an even better entitlement. The total cost was almost £11,000, excluding the gifts of windows and furnishings.

The glass of the great east window was already installed at the time of the consecration. It was given by Lady Seton-Steuart of Touch. The windows given by the Countess of Dunmore to the second Barnton Street church had been transferred, presumably to the east end of the north aisle. At the west end, also transferred, was the window erected to Col. E. R. Priestly by his brother officers in the Black Watch. Otherwise, all the windows were clear. The lectern, still in place today, had been given by Mrs Home Drummond and the font and ewer by Mrs Honeyman Gillespie, in memory of their respective husbands. The altar and reredos, made by Kempe of London, were given by Col. Murray of Polmaise and Mrs Murray of Gartur. Anonymous friends had given other furnishings and the Bishop’s chair and prie-dieu were given by Mr and Mrs Couper of Craigforth. The pulpit was given by Mrs Ernald Smith, nee Murray of Polmaise. She also gave a set of tubular bells, which are no longer in use. The chancel screen was given anonymously, although later on, it was divulged that the donor was Captain Pitt-Taylor.

The church’s consecration

The Bishop’s chair was occupied at the consecration ceremonies on 12 September 1878 by Rt Rev. Dr Henry Cotterill, Bishop of Edinburgh, the diocese to which Holy Trinity at that time belonged. He was accompanied by Rt Rev. William Scot Wilson, Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway, his Dean, the Bishop of Colorado (USA) and many other clergy. So large was the procession they had to robe in a neighbouring house and they entered, the clergy and choir “in surplices for the first time in Stirling”, by the west door, singing Psalm 124 — “Had not the Lord been on our side”. The two founders handed the Bishop the title deeds “which deeds he laid on the altar”. After the consecration sentences were read, there was Morning Prayer, using chants composed by Dr Allum, the organist, followed by Choral Communion.

Later a festive lunch was held in the Golden Lion Hotel. The guests included the Earl of Mar & Kellie, representatives of the Church of Scotland, of the burgh council and the army, as well as the builders and contractors. There was also a “brilliant gathering of ladies”. Such an assembly testified to the position which the church had gained, being now “a body of some size and significance”. One speaker reminded them of the poorer, smaller and often scattered Episcopal congregations existing elsewhere in Scotland and the Earl further observed that although the church included many wealthy people, it did not neglect the poor, for many of them belonged to their community.

Pastoral concerns

Rev. Coldwell was greatly concerned with the poorer members of society. By this time, many of the large mansions in the Old Town, once town-houses of country gentry, or dwellings of rich merchants, had fallen upon evil days and were rapidly turning into tenements, some of which housed very poor families living in very poor conditions.

Rev. Coldwell had a succession of curates, but he needed other help and, in 1881, he took the bold step of asking the Mother Superior of St Margaret’s Community in Aberdeen if she would allow some of her Sisters to come and work here. She agreed that Sister Faith should come for a trial period. Sisters of the Scottish Episcopal Church, wearing their habits, were at first eyed with some suspicion in Stirling, but Sister Faith and Sister Harriette Mary who later joined her, rapidly earned the respect and love of those to whom they ministered. After occupying various temporary apartments, always known as “the Home”, they rented a flat at 32 Baker Street (now Dalgleish House) where they stayed until they were finally withdrawn in 1918. Before the days of district nurses and social workers their devotion to the sick and needy, particularly in the Old Town, was invaluable. They also took various classes at “the Home” and in St Ninians and Cambusbarron. Their funds were quite separate from those of the church, though the church contributed, and so greatly were they valued in Stirling that many local firms and tradespeople also subscribed.

One of the “founders”, Sir Henry Seton-Steuart, died in 1881. Although he held many public offices, he never failed in his important vestry duties, or in generosity to his church’s needs. His distinguished ancestry was well known, as was his family’s unswerving loyalty to the Jacobite cause. He was succeeded by his nephew, Sir Alan and after him by his younger brother, Sir Douglas, the last of the line. Both were loyal office-bearers and Sir Douglas, who had the longer period of service, was invariably one of the chief advisers in church concerns.

The Primary School

Rev. Coldwell is said to have “founded” Holy Trinity Primary School in St Mary’s Wynd, but this probably relates to his rebuilding of the school premises, for an Episcopal School existed there in 1862, before he arrived in Stirling.

The 1872 Education (Scotland) Act created non-denominational state schools, as well as making education compulsory for all children aged 5-13. The schools were administered by area school boards and all religious education within them was according to the forms of the established Church of Scotland. The Episcopal schools generally chose not to join the state system, although encouraged to do so, due to concerns about the secularisation of general education and Presbyterian dominance of the religious elements that remained, such as school assemblies and religious education. The independent or “voluntary” schools, however, did receive some grant funding. They were also assessed by inspectors of schools and teachers were expected to have been trained to meet certain standards.  

The property itself must have been in a poor way, for when it was assessed, Holy Trinity School, though praised for its work and atmosphere, found in 1882 its premises virtually condemned, with a considerable loss of grant. So anxious was Rev. Coldwell to keep his school as “an outpost for carrying on the Holy War against sin and ignorance” that instead of handing it over to the School Board, he determined to rebuild it, even though the church debt was not yet cleared and many additional expenses had to be met. Through tremendous efforts, he achieved his aim. In March 1884 the site and its new buildings were made over to the congregation “for its use and behoof” and secured as church property in perpetuity.

With the help of his curates, Rev. Coldwell provided services in Cambusbarron and Gargunnock. No detail was too trivial for his attention, no parishioner lacked his care. He prompted his people, too, to charitable efforts outside their own domain, notably the Kaffarian and Chanda missions. He instructed his flock by the articles he wrote in the church magazine and encouraged the use of music in church. In his time, too, societies flourished and many happy treats and outings took place. In fact, the whole church community flourished.

The Castle Garrison

During Rev. Coldwell’s ministry, Holy Trinity was well supported by members of the Castle garrison, particularly those serving in the 91st Argyllshire Highlanders, which had its headquarters there. Soon after Holy Trinity was consecrated, the regiment left to take part in the Zulu War of 1879. In many campaigns of this time, more soldiers died of disease than died fighting. There is a commemorative plaque to Major W. P. Gurney who died at Mauritius in January 1880 of illness contracted on the Zulu campaign.

In 1881, the 91st amalgamated with the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders to form the 1st and 2nd Battalions of Princess Louise’s Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. Several officers of the regiment from Rev. Coldwell’s time are commemorated in a series of military memorials which reflect its close connection with the church: Capt. William Darling Caudwell, who had served as Paymaster in the Zulu War and died in 1883, Lt David J. A. Dickson, who had served in the Zulu War and died of bronchitis in 1883, Capt. Alexander Duncan Sim, who died in 1893, Capt. Robert de Crespigny Boyd, who died of pneumonia in 1894, Lt. Col. William Salmon Mills, who had served in the Zulu War and died in 1898 and Col. Ormellie Campbell Hannay, killed in action in South Africa 1900.

The circumstances of Col. Hannay’s death were exceptional. At the battle of Paardeberg, Hannay’s brigade of mounted infantry was positioned in front of a Boer laager, or fortified camp. At around 3 pm. on 18 February 1900, he received a written order from Lord Kitchener: “The time has now come for a final effort. All troops have been warned that the laager must be rushed at all costs. Try and carry Stephenson’s brigade on with you. But if they cannot go, the mounted infantry should do it. Gallop up if necessary and fire into the laager.” 

Hannay interpreted this poorly-drafted order to mean that he should charge the laager immediately, which Lord Kitchener later said was not his intention. Hannay then led all the mounted infantrymen that he could muster in a charge that, although carried out with determination, had no chance of success. The laager was about 500 yards away, but Hannay’s horse was killed under him and, when he tried to continue on foot, Boer sharpshooters riddled him with bullets. Two officers and a few men reached the laager, where they were immediately taken prisoner. That so senior an officer as a brigade commander should lose his life in this fashion indicates the rigidity of the idea that an order had to be carried out, no matter how absurd it seemed.

Why should soldiers be drawn to this particular church? Within the British army, there was a strong Anglican tradition, even in Scottish regiments. Wherever a soldier was serving in the Empire, the set liturgy and frequent celebration of the Eucharist offered the comfort of participation in a familiar and reassuring act of worship, full of symbolism and meaning. For soldiers, this comfort and reassurance could be crucial. Much of army life was positive. It brought great comradeship, travel to far-flung corners of the empire, excitement, a sense of shared purpose, square meals and, most of the time, a roof over the soldier’s head. However, in a war against courageous, well-disciplined and highly effective fighters, such as Zulus and Boers, often in conditions where it was difficult to distinguish enemies from non-combatants, there was plenty of scope for mental, as well as physical, wounds. Soldiers could suffer deep emotional turmoil: feelings of doubt about what they were fighting for, fear of death, of being maimed, of disease, of letting comrades down, of showing weakness, anger at the enemy’s brutality or at commanders’ mistakes, grief over the loss of comrades and a burning desire to avenge them, guilt at having let comrades down, about acts of cruelty carried out or witnessed, or about failing to stop them happening, anguish at experiencing the agonising deaths of friends, enemies and people who got in the way, revulsion at the sight of dead bodies, some horribly disfigured or partly decomposed.

For soldiers, Christianity could be both a restraint and a comfort, providing a guide to right and wrong, a check on cruel, immoral or unjust actions and a means of admitting failings and expressing remorse. A good army padre or a clergyman in a garrison town could help a soldier come to terms with emotional dislocation, without him losing face in front of comrades, superiors or subordinates. Most comforting of all was a belief in the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, no matter what horrors had been seen or done. Faith was a rock to which a soldier could hold and an anchor preventing him from doing that which may later bring agonies of remorse.

New technology

In 1888, the Vestry experimented with new technology. The minutes for 29 February record: “With respect to a lawn mower for cutting the grass in the church grounds, it is proposed in the first place to borrow a machine in order to ascertain how it would suit on the church grass, and if found to work satisfactorily, to be worked regularly by Elliott.” However, the minutes for 1 May state: “As it appears that Elliott is unequal to the labour of working a lawn mower, it was resolved that, in the meantime, the grass will be cut with a scythe.” 

Dr Galbraith, who was Clerk to the Vestry for over 20 years, died in 1900. He began his career as a medical officer in convict settlements in Australia and also practised in New Zealand. He is commemorated by a window in the clerestory.

Rev. Coldwell died on 7 July 1903, after an illness of three days. Tributes were paid to him from all quarters. His funeral was conducted by Rt Rev. John Dowden, Bishop of Edinburgh and attended by a large gathering, including many local clergy. On the following Sunday, there was a memorial service for him in the West Parish Church (the western end of the Church of the Holy Rude) when, in conclusion, the choir sang a setting of “Crossing the Bar”. Thus, although the gap between Episcopalian and Presbyterian forms of worship had widened over the past hundred years, it had narrowed where respect and mutual esteem were concerned and continued to do so.

Col. Murray survived Rev. Coldwell by one month. He and his family had also been loyal workers and generous benefactors. The great west window was given by them in memory of Elizabeth, widow of John Murray of Polmaise, who died in 1889. Another window later commemorated Col. Murray himself. His two brothers followed him in succession, both serving on the Vestry; his nephew, the last of the line, a 2nd Lieutenant in the Cameron Highlanders, was killed on 14 September 1914 at the battle of the Aisne.

1903-1905 Rev. William Perry, MA BD

Rev. Perry recovered and became Rector of St John, Selkirk, in 1906. He later enjoyed a glittering career as Dean of Edinburgh, Principal and Pantonion Professor of the Theological College of the Episcopal Church, Canon and Chancellor of St. Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh and author of standard works on the Scottish Liturgy and the Oxford Movement in Scotland. He continued to keep in contact with his charge that might have been.

His most famous book, The Scottish Liturgy: Its Value and History, published in 1922, can be accessed online.

Photo courtesy of Paul Laxton, University of Liverpool.

1905-1917 Rev. Robert Percival Brown, MA

Rev. R. P. Brown]

Rev. Brown had come to Holy Trinity as curate in 1904, having previously been priest-in-charge at Ockley, Surrey. Like his predecessors, he cared greatly for those members of the poor who could not help themselves, working closely with the Sisters, but he also looked towards his working men, especially in the Old Town, to do their share towards church expenses.

While he could hardly have foreseen the almost complete disappearance of the more wealthy benefactors, he devised means whereby the poorest wage earners might identify themselves with the whole of the Church work, not so much for the sake of the amount that they would raise, but for developing a real sense of responsibility and participation. He called a meeting in the School Room to explain how the funds were raised and spent and a scheme was adopted whereby every member should promise in writing, for one year at a time, a weekly subscription of not less than 1d, to be placed in an envelope and dropped into a box in the Church, the fund to be divided on a fixed basis among all the funds of the church. Thus was born a Freewill Offering Scheme which has continued in various forms ever since. He also began his Christmas Day Communions at 4.30 a.m., encouraging all who worked on that day to come “in their working clothes” and obtained attendances of upwards of fifty persons. At that time, Christmas Day was a normal working day in Scotland.

His Magazine letters show a delightful sense of humour. He encouraged social activities, including children’s outings in decorated lorries, always preceded by a piper and, indeed, some of the most pleasing characteristics of a seemingly stable pre-war world are here displayed for the last time.

Two military memorials were added. The first, designed by Princess Louise, was to Major Thomas Irvine in 1908. The second was to Capt. Henry Craigie Macdonald, who had served in South Africa, Nigeria and India and died in 1909 at St Petersburg, where he was buried with full military honours on the instructions of Tsar Nicholas II. Stained glass windows were also added, one to Lady Clerk of Penicuik given by her daughter, the wife of Sir Alan Seton-Steuart, one to Dr Galbraith, by his daughters, in the clerestory, the Coldwell windows and one to Margaret Murray of Polmaise in the chancel. When Sir Alan Seton-Steuart’s wife died in 1908, he paid off part of the mortgage on the Parsonage as her memorial. “this”, he wrote, “helps the church more”. From then on, no more windows were added until around 1937.

From 4 August 1914, when Britain declared war on the German empire, Rev. Brown had to deal with the impact of a conflict largely unanticipated by the general population. Many young men had joined the Volunteers, reorganised in 1908 along more professional lines as the Territorial Force (later Territorial Army), in order to enjoy something of its comradeship, excitement and sense of shared purpose on a part-time basis. These young men would be the first to be called upon to fight after the regular army. The need for a special kind of spiritual strength was well understood by soldiers and their families, but now the emotional turmoil of war descended upon the British people as a whole.

By the end of November, British casualties amounted to 86,000 out of the 160,000 men engaged. Junior officers, who were expected to lead their men from the front in the thick of the fighting, were especially vulnerable. Three young officers from our congregation were killed in this phase of the war: Lt Rollo Aytoun, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders on 28 August, as the British II Corps fought a determined rearguard action near the town of Le Cateau; 2nd Lt Alastair Murray, newly commissioned in the Cameron Highlanders, on 14 September as a British advance faltered in front of well-prepared German defensive positions on the north side of the river Aisne and 2nd Lt Norman Fairlie, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, on 21 October in an attempt to capture the industrial town of Armenti�res. After this, and other clashes at Ypres, La Bass�e and Messines, both sides dug in. Trench warfare had begun.

In December came the famous Christmas truce. For much of the month, British and German soldiers could hear each other singing hymns and carols in their respective trenches. From around 20-26 December, in various places along the line, soldiers from both sides met in no-man’s-land and exchanged Christmas greetings, acknowledging their common humanity and shared hardships. Higher command on both sides, fearing a lack of resolve or even mutiny, issued no fraternisation orders and brought the episode to a close.

In the same month, Rev. Brown reflected contemporary attitudes when he recorded,

Our testing is still in progress. It has yet to be proved whether our young manhood is manly and patriotic enough to furnish all the strength for which the country calls in defence of her right. For my own part, I believe that we shall answer to the test, as the need and that cause are more widely understood. And the dullards and laggards who are left behind will in after years reproach themselves that they lost their chance today of making history.

At this point, around 80 members of our congregation were serving in the forces.

In the spring of 1915, the British launched a series of attacks which demonstrated the futility of trying to break through entrenched positions without subjecting them to heavy bombardment beforehand. From our congregation, Capt. Alexander Bell, Royal Scots Fusiliers, was seriously wounded at Neuve Chapelle in March, dying in London about a month later. Capt. Arthur Martin, Highland Light Infantry, and L. Cpl James Reynolds, Gordon Highlanders, both died in the Battle of Festubert in May, while Pte John Cherry was killed in July.

The territorials and volunteers making up the new armies had now arrived at the front in considerable numbers. As British strength built up, the high command planned what was called “The Big Push”, now referred to as the Battle of Loos, in an attempt to break the deadlock. The attack started on 25 September 1915 and, in the first three days, six members of our congregation were killed, including 2nd Lt Patrick Drummond, King’s Own Scottish Borderers, who had left Stirling before the war to become a rubber plantation manager in Malaya. In this attack, Pte Charles Oliver, Black Watch, sacrificed his field dressing to help a wounded colleague. The attacks were initially successful, but the British suffered such severe casualties that German counter-attacks could not be contained and most of the newly-won ground was lost.

Around this time, a soldier expressed to Rev. Brown the kind of relief that the church could provide: 

As I may not be able to see you before I go, I felt that I must write and thank you for the great help you and your Assistant Priest have given me by having such very reverent services. It has been of more help to me than I can express in words . . . it has always been a relief to enter your church doors and here feel the quiet peace . . . and also that within have been said so many prayers by saints of God.

The Stirling Observer Christmas Annual for 1915 featured the Counter and Gwynne families, each of which had five sons serving on the front line. The Counters were a military family, George Counter, senior, having been Sergeant Major of the Stirlingshire Militia (3rd Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders) until his death in 1898. John Gwynne, Senior, was a miner from Greengairs, Lanarkshire, who, on his marriage at Holy Trinity in 1877, moved to Stirling to work in a carpet factory, subsequently training as a carpet weaver. However, the Gwynne boys may well have been attracted into the Territorial Force by Holy Trinity’s military connections. Three of the Gwynne and Counter brothers returned at the end of the war. The Adams and McArthur families also lost two brothers each.

By the first six months of 1916, most men who were killed on the Western Front died in localised over-the-top attacks aimed at gaining some battlefield advantage or in artillery bombardments. Coy. Sgt. Major William Crichton, Gordon Highlanders, a former Primus, or dux, of the Queen Victoria School, Dunblane, who had received the school colours from Edward VII and also attended the coronation of George V, was killed on 2 March in the recapture of “The Bluff”, an old spoil heap adjoining the Ypres-Comines Canal, which was an important observation point.

On 23 March, the War Diary of 2nd Bn, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders recorded: 

At about 3 p.m. the German Heavy Minerwerfer came into action against the Brick stacks and Brick stack Keep occupied by B Company. About 20 Minerwerfer bombs fell in this quarter, doing very great damage, throwing immense numbers of bricks into the air, and destroying dug-outs and shelters. From about 4 p.m. till 6.30 p.m. heavy guns continued the bombardment. The casualties with regard to the damage done must be considered light. One Officer – 2 Lieutenant A. F. Boag and seven men were killed, and ten men slightly wounded or severely shocked. The Company stood its punishment with the greatest steadiness, and a number of gallant acts were performed. 2/Lieutenant A. F. Boag and three men met their deaths in the act of digging out buried comrades in a place exposed to certain danger.

Among the dead lay Lce Cpl James Gwynne, one of the five brothers serving in the army.

On 1 July 1916, the first day of the series of actions making up the Battle of the Somme, 20,000 British soldiers were killed and 40,000 wounded.  Between July and November, there were to be around 420,000 British casualties. Five men of the Holy Trinity congregation had been killed by the end of September: Sgt Graham Bremner, Pte George Counter, Pte Charles Oliver, Pte James McKenzie and Gunner William Adams. On 15 November, the War Diary of 7th Bn, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders recorded: 

At 9.30 a.m. A, D Coys with B Coy in support were ordered to advance and attack MUNICH and FRANKFORT trenches, other Divisions on right and left were attacking simultaneously. Our artillery barrage opened short and fell on our jumping off trench but despite this the Coys advanced meeting with heavy bombing and M.G. fire. They advanced across MUNICH TRENCH . . . and part of D Coy entered FRANKFORT TRENCH and proceeded to bomb outwards. They bombed the dugouts full of Germans and killed many others, but as the attacks on the right and left had failed they got no support and eventually had to retire.” 

Casualties were 24 men killed, 100 wounded and 19 missing. Among the dead were Pte Alfred Gwynne and Pte Thomas Neilson.

Relatives looked forward to letters from loved ones at the front, but, as the deaths began to mount, they came to dread more official ones. Early in September 1916, John H. Oliver, an Ordnance Dept. clerk living at 10 Abbey Road Place, Stirling, received the following two letters. The first was from Lance Corporal Neil Ritchie, a neighbour from 7 Abbey Road Place, advising him that his son, Charles, had been killed. Oliver and Ritchie had joined up on the same day and had consecutive service numbers. Three months later, Ritchie was killed in the capture of Beaumont Hamel during the Battle of the Somme. Oliver and Ritchie were both aged 18.

Dear Mr Oliver,
It is with deepest regret I convey to you the sad news that Charlie, your youngest son, died of wounds on Thursday, 24th August. He was wounded on Tuesday 22nd, by a heavy shell going through the roof of his dug-out in the firing line. He became unconscious almost immediately, so he did not suffer much pain. This will be an awful blow to you all at home, and I hope that God will give you sufficient strength to carry you through. Charlie was a perfect soldier in every respect, and a lad the regiment was proud of. He proved his abilities to me when engaged in the big push by attending to many of the wounded, and he even went the length of sacrificing his emergency field dressing to comfort them in their pain. He was of a good-natured and cheery disposition, and could always smile no matter what came in his way. He lived a noble life, and laid down his life for his King and country in this awful conflict against the barbarians, for the right and for the freedom and safety of all his dear ones at home.
I am, yours faithfully,
N. Ritchie
P.S. – I got a parcel for Charlie yesterday, but I could not send it to him, so I divided it amongst as many of the boys as it would go over.

The second letter was from a military chaplain, trying his best to comfort the family, a role that would then fall to Rev. Brown. The cemetery he refers to is Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, France, where Pte Oliver still lies in grave no. 11.

Dear Mr Oliver,
Doubtless by this time you have been notified of the death of private Charles Oliver, No. 2744 of the 1st/6th Black Watch.
I am just writing these few lines to let you know the circumstances surrounding his death as far as I know them, and also to express my deepest sympathy with you in your sad loss. I am writing to you from the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station at which place he died. When he arrived here he was unconscious from the severe wound in his head and shoulder. There was only a very faint hope of saving his life, but though everything was done for him, the hope proved futile.
We laid his remains to rest in the little cemetery surrounded by trees attached to the station. His grave number is eleven, and a cross with full particulars marks the spot where he is laid. It will perhaps comfort your hearts to know that the cemetery has two men attached to it, and their particular duty is to keep everything neat and tidy. The sisters of our hospital daily put flowers on the graves. The body was accorded a military funeral and the Last Post was sounded.
If I can give you any further information or help you in any way will you please command me.
Yours in deepest sympathy
Rev. F. T. Cleverdon, Chaplain

Beyond the trenches of France and Flanders, the most significant theatre of war was Mesopotamia, the largest part of which is now called Iraq.

On 14 March 1916, 2nd Lt Hugh Forrester of Annfield House, Stirling, aged 19, disembarked at Basra to join his unit, the 2nd battalion Black Watch. This was part of a British and Indian force attempting to relieve an Indian division besieged in the town of Kut-al-Amara. Forrester was one of a number of replacements for casualties sustained in a costly assault on Turkish positions at Sheikh Sa’ad on the River Tigris.

On 18 April, a further assault was launched on Turkish positions at Bait Aisa, at which was killed Pte Robert Adams, 1st battalion, Highland Light Infantry, aged 23, in peacetime a Co-op van man from Cowane Street. Four days later, Forrester’s battalion was thrown into a last desperate assault at Sannaiyet.

A Black Watch officer recorded: 

“A final attack was planned for that day to be made by two Brigades, but at the last moment the Brigade on our right found the ground impassable due to the rising of the marsh. Consequently in the assault we were exposed to a heavy fire from our right flank as well as from the front. Nevertheless, the gallant Highlanders swept across the muddy ground, drove the enemy from the first line and assaulted the second. Lieutenant Forrester led his platoon against the third line, but from that gallant assault none returned.” 

Forrester had been in Mesopotamia for forty days. In total, 48 men of the Black Watch emerged unscathed out of an attacking force of 842. A week after Forrester’s death, the garrison at Kut surrendered, having exhausted its food supply and lost 2,000 of its number during the five-month siege, mainly to disease, malnutrition and starvation. A further 4,500 died in the harsh Turkish captivity that the relief force, at a cost of 23,000 casualties, had fought so desperately to spare them.

On the afternoon of 31 May 1916, Ordinary Seaman James Munro of 89 Baker Street, Stirling, was serving on the battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable, part of the battlecruiser fleet commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty. The fleet comprised six very fast, but lightly armoured, battlecruisers, supplemented by the five fast, fully-armoured battleships of the Fifth Battle Squadron.

British signal intelligence had indicated that the German High Seas Fleet was planning a sortie into the North Sea. Admiral Sir John Jellicoe had therefore taken the British Grand Fleet to sea to intercept it. At 14:25, the light cruisers Galatea and Phaeton signalled that they had sighted and were opening fire on enemy cruisers. At 14:30, Beatty flagged his eleven ships to turn towards the enemy position, but the five battleships failed to observe the signal. Beatty, therefore, went into action with only his six battlecruisers. At 15:30 he sighted a squadron of five battlecruisers commanded by Vice Admiral Franz Hipper, who opened fire at 15:48. At 16:00, Beatty’s flagship, HMS Lion, was hit. A catastrophic explosion was prevented only by a Major of the Royal Marines ordering a magazine to be sealed and flooded.

At the same time, Indefatigable suffered severe hits from the battlecruiser Von der Tann. One salvo penetrated her thinly armoured deck and another hit her forward gun turret, setting off a catastrophic explosion in the forward magazine. At 16:02 she turned over and sank, taking James Munro and 1,000 other men with her. There were two survivors. An officer on HMS Lion recorded that the main explosion started with sheets of flame, followed immediately afterwards by dense, dark smoke, which obscured the ship from view, then, he wrote, 

All sorts of stuff was blown into the air, a 50-foot steam packet boat for example, being blown up about 200 feet, apparently intact though upside down. 

Later in the battle, the battlecruisers Queen Mary and Invincible were lost to similar explosions. These losses were later discovered to be due to a design flaw by which, in the event of a direct hit on a gun turret, fire could travel down the turret trunk – the tube for bringing shells up into the turret – and ignite the main magazine. German ships had been modified to avoid this following a fire on the battlecruiser Seydlitz in 1915, but the British had failed to learn the lesson from a similar incident on the cruiser HMS Kent during the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914.

Many Christians agonised over whether this war, or any war, was just. They accepted that Germany had invaded Belgium without warning, but did this make it right to kill other people? At first, people who felt that it was not could simply stay out of the war. However, in 1916, the government introduced conscription – compulsory military service, initially for unmarried men between 18 and 41, but later extended to married and unmarried men up to age 51.

Recognising that some people held genuine objections to war, that they would be unlikely to make good service personnel and that they may even foment pacifism in the forces, the Military Service Act 1916 incorporated a clause whereby anyone who had a “conscientious objection to bearing arms” could be exempted from military service. The most strong pacifist religious groups were the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Quakers had been exempted from Militia service as far back as 1757. However, individual Christians of all denominations, along with socialists, internationalists and other pacifists and political objectors could also invoke the clause. All objectors had to argue their case before a tribunal. Usually, the objection was based on a genuinely held belief, but some people did not want to leave their businesses, elderly parents, children, etc. in order to serve in the forces and thought that grounds of conscience would be more likely to earn them exemption.

Many conscientious objectors were willing to do war work – even in munitions factories – while others accepted unarmed front line service in the Non-Combatant Corps or Royal Army Medical Corps. Absolutists, however, refused to do anything that would support the war effort. The No-Conscription Fellowship stated:

We cannot assist in warfare. War, which to us is wrong. War, which the peoples do not seek, will only be made impossible when men, who so believe, remain steadfast to their convictions. Conscience, it is true, has been recognised in the Act, but it has been placed at the mercy of tribunals. We are prepared to answer for our faith before any tribunal, but we cannot accept any exemption that would compel those who hate war to kill by proxy or set them to tasks which would help in the furtherance of war. . . What shall it profit the nation if it shall win the war and lose its own soul?

Reports of tribunals appear in wartime editions of the Stirling Journal and Stirling Observer, but no conscientious objectors connected with Holy Trinity have been traced. It is unlikely that this particular church, with its strong military connections, would have been sympathetic to them. However, as Christians, the church members, both within and outwith the forces, would have to have been convinced that they were fighting a “just war”, that is, a war that passed the basic tests of natural justice expressed centuries before by St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas.

At the end of 1916, Rev. Brown expressed the sentiment in these terms: 

We believe as a nation that we are engaged to uphold righteousness against brute force. We are not only justified in speaking of the battle of right against might – or the more pathetic contrasts of Christ and Odin, of “the mailed fist and the nailed hand” – but we are bound to regard it in this light. Of course, at this time we have no ground for self-righteousness as a nation. We have by no means lived up to the spiritual standards which we profess . . . We have fully deserved such a judgement of God as the war entails upon us, and it surely cannot fail to call us to repentance.”

Early in January 1917, a new offensive started in Mesopotamia under Gen. Frederick Maude, which was to end with the British in possession of Baghdad. However, Lt Col. Henry Stirling of the 59th Scinde Rifles, an Indian unit associated with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, fell at the Battle of Mohammed Abdul Hassan on 9 January. Meanwhile, to the north, a force commanded by Gen. Sir Edmund Allenby sought to destroy Turkish power in Palestine. Pte Donald McArthur was killed at the 2nd Battle of Gaza on 20 April, while serving with this force.

In March, the Germans withdrew to a new series of fortified positions that the Allies were later to call the Hindenburg Line. A determined French offensive led by Gen. Georges Nivelle was supported by a British attack at Arras. These attacks failed to break through the immensely strong German defences and in them died Lt William Bell and 2nd Lt Evan Wilson. Feeling they had been deceived by Nivelle’s false optimism, many French units mutinied, refusing to mount any further assaults, while pledging to defend their positions if attacked. The Allies stood mainly on the defensive until late July, when the British, with French support, attacked in what became the Third Battle of Ypres, better remembered by the evocative name of a Flemish village in the sector, Passchendaele. Four members of the congregation died in this battle.

During the previous three years, Rev. Brown had become immersed in such practical matters as arranging services for the various troops stationed in the district and, in general, helping his people to accept the gradual involvement of the whole community in the war effort. He kept in close contact with the men at the front, as is shown in various moving letters he received from them and he kept an ever-lengthening Roll of Honour just inside the main door. Its final replica is still there today. After 1916, he had no curate and, at last, in August 1917, he felt he could no longer continue. He relinquished his work with regret, believing it could be best tackled by a new and younger man, and accepted the living of Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland, offered him by the patrons of his old Cambridge college.

1917-1926 Rev. George Stephen Osborn, MA

Rev. G. S. Osborn]

Rev. Brown’s successor, Rev. George Stephen Osborn, previously Vicar of St Peter’s, Oldham, saw out the final year of the war and was subsequently involved in the making of the War Memorial Chapel, the only major change in the church building since 1878.

An economy he gladly accepted was the provision of a smaller house. The Parsonage, now in need of constant repair, was sold and 6 Gladstone Place was substituted as ‘a fixed and well-known abode for the minister’. On his arrival, Rev. Osborn had openly admitted his need to acquaint himself with the Scottish Liturgy, whose advantages he readily acknowledged, and was greatly helped by Canon Perry’s recent book.

Rev. Osborn’s arrived at the beginning of 1918, as the war entered its most critical phase, as the outbreak of revolution in Russia and accommodation between the Bolshevik and German governments had allowed the Germans to transfer many divisions to the Western Front. On 21 March, they launched the Kaiserschlacht offensive, aiming to break through to Paris before large numbers of fresh American troops could deploy in Europe. The attack broke through the Allied lines and threatened Amiens and the Channel Ports. Bitter defensive fighting by British, French and newly-arrived Americans exhausted the German effort and the Allies were able to regain the initiative. Starting at Amiens in August, the Allies began an almost continuous advance until the Germans called for an Armistice in November.

Holy Trinity’s last casualties of the war were Rifleman Richard Counter and Pte Mark Fawley. Counter was demobilised from the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders at the end of hostilities but re-enlisted in the Queen’s Westminster Rifles. He died as part of the British garrison in Cologne, Germany in February 1919, aged 26. The circumstances of Fawley’s death are unknown. He died in March 1919, aged 22, and is buried in Hawick.

The war cost Holy Trinity’s congregation an immense amount of pain. A high proportion were regular soldiers, reservists or territorials and their families. Some survivors no doubt suffered from what today is called post-traumatic stress disorder, where anger is the dominant emotion. The bereaved looked for comfort to the church and to Rev. Osborn, who had arrived early in 1918. A magnificent memorial chapel was created and dedicated in 1921, in which the names of the sons of Stirling’s landowning families – the Buchanans, Murrays, Stirlings and Youngers – intermingle with those of the coalman, laundryman, miner and van man, as do their souls before God.

Despite his wartime preoccupations, Rev. Brown had, before leaving, found time to approach the architect Sir Ninian Comper about converting the east end of the north aisle into a prayer chapel, the need for which both he and his successor felt. This space was being used as a kind of sacristy, concealed from public view by a curtain. An appeal went out to the congregation and, in 1920, a committee accepted a scheme submitted by Sir Robert Lorimer, once Sir Robert Rowand Anderson’s pupil and later his colleague, for converting the available space, without any structural alterations, into ‘an impressive shrine’ to the war dead. The committee also had the help of Sir D. Y. Cameron, a well-known Scottish artist, who lived in Kippen.

The chapel was dedicated on 13 November 1921: General Erskine of Cardross unveiled it and Rt Rev. George Walpole, Bishop of Edinburgh, then consecrated it. An altar had been given with a cross and candlesticks, the work of the Artificers’ Guild. Sir Robert Lorimer designed the oak roofing and upon the north wall were oak panels where the names of the fallen and their regiments or service were inscribed.

The stained-glass window, by Bewsey of London, shows St George, St Michael and St Victor of Marseilles, each under a tall canopy. Over St George’s canopy are the figures of the Virgin and Child and beneath the main figures are the arms of Scotland, St George and the Diocese of Edinburgh, to which Holy Trinity belonged until 1991. Eighty years after their creation, the clarity of the colours and the light the glass admits still create a considerable impression.

Bishop Gleig’s memorial tablet, brought from the second Barnton Street church and hitherto in the curtained ‘sacristy’, was removed to its present position on the west wall at the end of the south aisle. New marble flooring for the chancel was given at the same time by Major and Mrs Murray in memory of their only son, 2nd Lt Alastair Murray, whose memorial tablet is sunk in the top altar step. The design was also by Sir Robert Lorimer.

A year later, a wrought-iron screen for the Memorial Chapel was presented by Sir George Younger. Designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, it was felt that ‘it would give the chapel a certain seclusion without cutting it off or obscuring the window’. Seats and kneelers were already given and it now appeared more like the chapel it was intended to be.

Rev. Osborn had meanwhile been dealing with matters affecting the Home and the School. After the Sisters left, Deaconess Mary Malden took charge of the former, but when, at last, a curate, Rev. J. D. Bisset, was appointed, it was financially impossible to employ both. The Deaconess took a post in Queensferry and a lady worker, Miss Houston, was appointed in her place.

The Education (Scotland) Act 1918 offered the Voluntary Schools much better terms than the 1872 Act had done. The School could now be transferred to Stirling County Council, which would meet all expenses, but the Vestry could still ensure the appointment of teachers who would be qualified to give the Episcopalian religious education desired. The Rector said that this was a victory rather than a defeat for those who had maintained their school against all odds in times of rising costs, declaring ‘Your reward is that you are now to have a real place and recognition in the national system of education.’

The school site and buildings were valued in February 1921 at £4,150. Since the school premises were church property, the money could be used as the congregation wished. They decided to buy 32 Baker Street (Dalgleish House) a part of which had been used as ‘the Home’ for so long. This afforded rooms for the Sunday School and the religious and social gatherings still being carried on in the Old Town. Another share went to building the much needed additional vestries and the remainder was invested. Thus, the school was secured as a Church School, the Home, thereafter called Church House, was now their own and the church building was much as we have it today. Holy Trinity Primary School eventually closed in 2004.

Miss Tasker, a well-known and valued worker in church activities became, in her own right, the first woman member of the new Local Education Committee. Women were first eligible as Vestry members in 1925. Thereafter, women played an increasingly large part in church work, not merely in dispensing hospitality, but in administrative and business matters, in which such personalities as Miss Belford, Miss Dundas (who maintained a beautiful church garden), Miss Tasker and Mrs Thomson showed acumen no less effective than their male predecessors had done. This process culminated in the appointment of the first woman Rector, Rev. Alison Peden, at Holy Trinity in 2003.

1927-1931: Rev. Kenneth Malcolm Sutherland-Graeme, MA

1931-1937: Rev. Humphrey Churchill Money

At the time of Rev. Money’s appointment, a main concern of the church was how, while holding to essential faith and practice, to adapt to the social and economic change throughout the country brought about by World War I and, locally, to particular changes in Stirling. The Old Town, with its decaying tenements, had had to be tackled at last by the Burgh Council, but before anything structural could be done, new housing estates had to be provided, the first of these being the Raploch estate. Rev. Money quickly grasped some of these problems when he decided to institute a Sung Eucharist at 9.00 a.m.

In a district such as ours, where only one of our churches is within reach, it is right that so far as possible the varieties of churchmanship among us should all find their accustomed helps.

On this basis he planned his pattern of services. He soon became aware of the needs of Raploch, “whither so many of our folk have emigrated”. An attempt was begun to hold a Sunday school in a private house, but this soon proved inadequate. A proper building would be required. Mr Couper of Craigforth gave a site and by May 1943, a hut was being erected.

Progress was swift, and there was an official opening by Miss Dundas in September, all the final clearing up having been done by Toc H, the organisation with which Rev. Money was so intimately connected. Provision was made for about one hundred Sunday scholars; in November, a Men’s Fellowship was formed and later a branch of the Mother’s Union. Thenceforward regular services were held there and, within the community, echoes remain of the societies, the happy social gatherings and the spirit of fellowship that prevailed. In 1939, the lease ran out, but the war gave it a reprieve, and it remained in the possession of the church until the mid-1960s, though latterly used chiefly for letting to other bodies.

In 1935 it was decided between the Rector and the Director of Education that the Advanced Division of the Day School should be transferred to Riverside where better facilities would be available. The church, however, retained its right to give its own religious instruction there once a week. The Education Authority was to enlarge and modernise the existing building, but the plan was postponed by the onset of World War II.

The 1930s were not prosperous times. Rev. Money disliked pew rents but could not do without them. He wondered if holders would voluntarily remove their name cards while still subscribing, but nothing came of this. He could not do all the visiting he would have wished. Sunday school continued at Cambusbarron and Bannockburn, and it seemed probable that Throsk would soon be added to the charge.

Falling attendances were also of concern, and the congregation agonised over whether it was right for the church to advertise in the press. Rev. Money wrote in the church magazine for March 1932:

There is to be a discussion on ‘Should the Church advertise?’ In a time when the newspapers are always shouting about the decline in Church attendance, it should be interesting to hear the pros and cons of attracting people to church. Some think advertising cheapens the Church’s work which is salvation. Others maintain that its message must be made known just as any other message is communicated to our present age – by calling people’s attention to it – by advertising.

In 1936, Charles Thomson was elected to the Vestry and, as Secretary to the Finance Committee, he applied himself to the best disposal of already existing income derived from endowments and legacies, holding this office with only one break until his death in 1951. Mrs Thomson placed in the south aisle a memorial window to her parents and sister. This particularly striking and beautiful window, portraying St Bride of the Isles, was designed by a local artist, Miss Isabel Goudie, and produced by Miss Chilton and Miss Kemp, who had a studio in Edinburgh. There they were rediscovering the skills of the mediaeval glass painters. Polish craftsmen did some of the firing.

1937-1947 Rev. Richard Elual Kerrin, MA

Rev. R. E. Kerrin]

In 1937, Rev. Money resigned to become Rector of Steeple (with Tyneham and Grange) in Dorset. His successor, Rev. Richard Elual Kerrin, had been Rector at Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, for twelve years.

Rev. Kerrin was educated at St Marnan’s Episcopal School, Aberchirder, Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen and Aberdeen University, graduating MA in 1920. He received his theological training at the Scottish Episcopal Theological College and, in 1922, won the Luscombe Scholarship.

During World War I, he served in the ranks, on home service, with the Royal Flying Corps and the Artists’ Rifles. In 1922, he was appointed assistant curate at Old St Paul’s Church, Edinburgh, and he remained there until he became Rector of St Mary’s Inverurie. While there, he was also in charge of St Anne’s Mission Church, Kemnay, where he played an active part in the building of a new church.

Rev. Kerrin was inducted to Holy Trinity on Thursday, 30 September 1937. The service was conducted by Rt Rev. Harry Seymour Reid, Bishop of Edinburgh. The Dean of Edinburgh, Very Rev. William Perry, a previous Rector of Holy Trinity, was also present. After the service, Rev. Kerrin was introduced to the congregation at an informal reception in the Girl Guide Headquarters, Glebe Avenue, by Mr T. W. Donald, the senior member of the Vestry. Afterwards, the ladies of the church served tea to the company of about 180.

Rev. Kerrin had only two years of uneasy peace before meeting the stresses of World War II. During that time, he had to face problems that might affect the tenure of the Hut and also the possibility of selling Church House, whose usefulness appeared to be on the decline.

World War II has not yet been researched at Holy Trinity to the extent of World War I. What is currently known about the members of the congregation who lost their lives in the conflict appears on the Roll of Honour page [not currently available].

One member of the congregation deserves special mention. Major Peter Samwell MC recorded his experiences of war in North Africa and Sicily in a book entitled An Infantry Officer with the Eighth Army. It is what blurb writers would call “a rollicking good read”. Samwell relates an astonishing variety of experiences: the tension and utter confusion of an infantry assault, a long spell wounded in a trench with an equally wounded Austrian, a conversation with a captured German, touring Egypt with a bizarre guide, conversations with soldiers and civilians of many nationalities and political outlooks, being lost in the desert and running through a minefield, recuperating from wounds, petty corruption in the Catering Corps and bumbling incompetence in the Allied administration of Sicily. Almost every aspect of army life is mentioned somewhere, accompanied by wry observations and thought-provoking comments. 

The support of the church, or a padre, was often very important to soldiers, and Samwell gives a very perceptive account of an instance where this support fell well short of expectations: 

On Christmas Day there was a compulsory church parade, held in the local cinema. What could have been a really cheerful and satisfying service turned out to be a dreary repetition of the cathedral service in Cairo. The few carols we did sing were almost unknown to us, a meaningless lesson was read from the Old Testament and the sermon consisted of a series of mixed platitudes, and only a vague passing reference was made to the Christmas message. What a chance was missed to put over a real Christian message to this crowded congregation! for it consisted of men who would shortly be once more engaged in bitter fighting, and for many of whom this was to be their last Christmas.

Samwell was tragically killed in Belgium on 12 January 1945 in the final phase of the German Ardennes offensive. His death is recorded thus in the Battalion history: 

During the advance of the Argylls the leading tank of the squadron of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, which were in support, was knocked out and a considerable amount of spandau and mortar fire was coming from the high ground on both sides of the road, and from the wooded area west of Lavaux. At this stage the opposition became rather sticky, and Acompany of the Argylls was temporarily held up by some Panther tanks in the wooded area. Here several casualties were sustained, including A company commander, Major Peter Samwell, M.C., who was killed.

At home, Rev. Kerrin found himself dealing with the practical problems of the black-out of church premises, provision of fire-fighting equipment, removal of some of the more valuable objects for safe-keeping, arrangements for the occupation of Church House, first by classes from the Roman Catholic School and later by soldiers. Then came the inevitable casualties and the pastoral care of their relatives. Members of the congregation joined with other churches in providing canteens for soldiers. Others received evacuees, but many of these soon returned home, since Stirling was so much of a military centre that it appeared more dangerous than what seemed, and ultimately were, more obvious targets for the enemy.

Some improvements were made in the church itself, including the provision of the wooden altar rail and of additional prayer desks for the servers. The railings outside were sold in 1940, never to be replaced. This was a compulsory purchase, but it brought in some revenue, of which there was always too little. Pew rents were said to have declined so much by 1944 that there was an abortive proposal to do away with them and substitute some sort of membership fee. However, the army vacated Church House in June 1942, and it was decided to get what war damage compensation was available and sell it. It was bought by the community of Youth Organisations in Stirling for £800.

Mr Kellock, who had seen long service as a Vestryman, died in September 1940, leaving a quarter of his estate to the church. This money was invested as the basis for a fund to provide a new hall on the church grounds. A considerable sum of money left by Miss K. Galbraith was similarly set aside.

Rev. Kerrin resigned in May 1947 to become Rector at Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire. He had served through difficult and painful years, culminating in the addition to the Memorial Chapel of the names of members of the congregation killed in World War II. By the time he left, rejoicing at the Allied victory was already being tempered with anxiety for the future worldwide.

1947-1955 Rev. Wilfred Bennetto Currie, MA

Rev. W. B. Currie]

Rev. Kerrin was succeeded by Rev. Wilfred Bennetto Currie, previously Rector at Longside, Aberdeenshire. Rev. Currie became engaged in certain processes of reconstruction. An appeal went out to all members to increase their free-will offerings. Charles Thomson was made a member of a newly-formed finance committee and Secretary to the Vestry. A new committee consisting of Miss Dundas, Mrs Childs and Mrs Hinves was formed for the Raploch Hut. No such committee had sat since 1938. Miss Dundas and Miss Belford were also asked to make a new inventory of church property.

Chancel during Rev. Currie's incumbency

Rev. Currie moved into the rectory at 6 Gladstone Place with his wife and 10-month-old daughter, Marjory. The curate Leslie Dover and his wife, Connie, also lived here, with the two families having separate kitchens. In 1950, Leslie Dover became priest-in-charge at Bo’ness and was replaced by Bill Lunn, who moved in along with his wife, Sheila.

The Vestry was obliged, under the terms of the Spurway Trust, to erect a memorial window to the Spurway family. They also wished to put memorial windows in the side aisles to Mr Kellock and Miss Galbraith. Miss Goudie, who had designed the window depicting St Bride of the Isles, was no longer available, but the Vestry found Miss Chilton still at work, and she made the Spurway window (St Elizabeth of Hungary), the Kellock window (St Francis) and the Galbraith window (St Mary Magdalene). Mr Thomson died suddenly in 1951, deeply mourned by all who knew him, and Mrs Thomson erected the St Columba window in his memory.

In January 1955, Mrs Livingstone added, again from Miss Chilton’s studio, the St Andrew window in memory of her two sons, both of whom had grown up in the Church. Ian, an RAF pilot, was killed over the Netherlands in 1942 and Charles, a civilian pilot, died in a plane crash when returning as a passenger from Cyprus.

All this modern glass greatly enhances the appearance of the side aisles. One other additional memorial was added during this period: to the Memorial Chapel was added the name of Capt. Neil Anselan Buchanan, 1st Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, killed in action in 1950 during the Korean War.

Captain Buchanan was the son of Col. and Mrs E. P. Buchanan of Touch. Educated at Cargilfield and Rugby, he was commissioned in 1947 and served in Palestine and Hong Kong. On 6 September 1950, while approaching a Korean village, his 14-man patrol came under heavy fire on three sides. In the ensuing engagement, two men were killed and at least five wounded, including Buchanan himself, who was hit in both legs. He ordered the patrol to withdraw, leaving him behind as carrying him would make them too vulnerable. Armed with a Bren gun, he then fought a single-handed rearguard action, thereby enabling the rest of the patrol to escape until he was overwhelmed. The ground was later regained, but no trace of him was found. Posthumously awarded the American Silver Star, he was aged 23.

Two “finds” took place during Rev. Currie’s ministry. He was given permission to open a parcel left in the Bank of Scotland in the name of Miss Campbell and found there in 1944. It contained a large solid silver ewer and a paten, given to the church by an anonymous donor in 1845 and bearing inscriptions to that effect. There was also a chalice, probably the one bought for the first Barnton Street Church.

Bishop Gleig’s bell was discovered in the possession of a Mr Askom, who had apparently found it in a coachbuilder’s establishment. Miss Tasker was sent to buy it back, but it was given without payment. Col. Buchanan of Touch supplied wood for a stand to erect it at the west end of the Church, where it can still be seen.

In 1952, 18 Abercromby Place fell vacant and, after inspection, was bought for a new Rectory. The old one at 6 Gladstone Place was sold the following year.

This event was also attended by Rev. and Mrs Currie, as well as an old lady of the congregation called Mrs Munro of Auchenbowie. Mrs Munro had been married before and, as often happened in Victorian times among landed or professional families, she had in her teens married an elderly widower. 

Mrs Munro was presented to the Queen because her first husband, General William Forrest, had led the 4th Dragoon Guards in the Charge of the Heavy Brigade, the first phase of the Battle of Balaclava, which went on to include the “Thin Red Line” and the Charge of the Light Brigade.  

Marjory Currie can still remember Mrs Munro and is fascinated at having known someone whose husband took part in a battle so long ago.

In the last years of his ministry, Rev. Currie received new purple vestments from an anonymous donor, and Sheriff Murray’s wife gave the church its Christmas Crib. In March 1955, Rev. Currie resigned to become Provost of St Ninian’s Cathedral in Perth.

1955-1960 Rev. Geoffrey Edmund Rundell, BA

1961-1973 Rev. Gordon Budd

Rev. Gordon Budd]

Rev. Rundell was succeeded by Rev. Gordon Budd, previously Rector at Bacton (with Wyverstone), Stowmarket, Suffolk. During his incumbency, Stirling’s new housing estates expanded still further. The old town, completely rebuilt, was now housing large numbers of council tenants with various religious allegiances, or none. The houses in the Terraces were gradually being vacated by individual families and turned into flats, many of them becoming offices. The army ultimately withdrew from the Castle.

These changes affected the congregation under its new incumbent. He inherited the Church Hall project, which must have dominated the first years of his ministry in Stirling. Difficulties were gradually overcome and the Hall came into use, though the costs far exceeded the original estimates and the revenue for letting it was never as great as was hoped. Nonetheless, church life could hardly have continued without it.

During Rev. Budd’s incumbency, a Stewardship Campaign was initiated which, for a time, improved the revenue. The Scottish Episcopal Church sign was placed on the south external wall and notices of services were placed in hotels and in the Stirling Observer, to make the church known to visitors and copies of the Scottish Liturgy were obtained, primarily for their use.

Mr Kinnear resigned in 1961 after forty years as organist and died in the following year. Ladies were now singing in the choir wearing, at their own request, purple robes similar to those of the boys.

Also in 1961, Rev. David Redwood left to become Curate at Christ Church, Glasgow and Warden of Mile End Social Centre. However, he returned to preach again during the centenary celebrations of 1978 and, on 6 August 2006, made a surprise reappearance to lead his first Sung Eucharist at Holy Trinity for forty-five years!

A mission had earlier been established at Throsk, primarily organised for the community which had grown up around the Royal Naval Armament Depot at Bandeath. Services were held in the Depot’s Training Centre – a building that hosted many and varied activities ranging from the Ladies’ Club to motorsport film shows – and which was sometimes even used for the purpose for which the taxpayers had financed its construction in the first place!

Jonathon Lord recalls: 

Our family moved to Throsk in 1963 and the services, conducted at that time by Gordon Budd, were already well established by then.  My father soon became Secretary to the Vestry at Holy Trinity and, looking through his diaries, I notice frequent references to evenings spent writing the minutes of meetings – something which I do myself over forty years later for St Bride’s in Glasgow. The regular Eucharists twice a month were complemented by a service of Lessons and Carols each Christmas which was well attended by Throsk residents, many of whom had no Episcopalian connections. 

On Saturday mornings my father would rope me and my brother in to go and set out the building for the following day’s service. This was worth the effort, because sometimes he would let me drive his car round the substantial network of Depot private roads afterwards: a great treat as I was well under the legal age for driving on the public road at the time.

The Raploch Hut was disposed of in 1964. The Old Age Pensioners’ Association would have used it, but repairs were too costly, and it was eventually removed by the Robert Burns Club at Bannockburn to be used as a youth centre. Thus the Raploch members of the congregation were left with no place of meeting, but the Rector made a great effort to organise means of transporting them to church. For a time he made similar arrangements for them, and for a St Ninians group, to attend on Christmas night. Many of these members were now becoming elderly and Rev. Budd kept in touch with them by visiting them in their homes and in hospitals.

In December 1964, estimates were sought for a complete cleaning and redecoration of the church, but this proved beyond the congregation’s means. Nonetheless, on 4 November 1965, it was formally listed as a building of special architectural and historical interest.

As the financial situation deteriorated, the endowments were once again reviewed and some of them re-invested. The deed of covenant scheme, which had been publicised sometime before, was again commended to the congregation with some measure of success. Rev. Budd resigned in 1973, to become Curate-in-Charge at St Ninian’s, Aberdeen.

1974-1994 Rev. James Whitelaw McIntyre, BD

Rev. J. W. McIntyre

After an ‘interregnum’, during which Holy Trinity was served by visiting priests, Rev. James Whitelaw McIntyre or “Father Jim” as he was affectionately known, became Rector. His previous charge was the Church of the Holy Name, Cumbernauld, to which Holy Trinity’s congregation had been asked to subscribe.

Rev. McIntyre always preferred to be addressed as ‘Father’, for reasons which he expressed as follows: 

For me, however, I had a larger family than the one at home. I saw the whole congregation as my family. I stressed this point [in 1974] when, for the first time, I addressed my Christmas letter to the members as “my dear family”. It was this concept of my relationships with church members which partly explains why, since my priesting, I had adopted the custom of using ‘Father’ as the way in which to address a priest. It may seem strange to admit now [in 1993] that I wasn’t always comfortable with this custom, since I actively encouraged it. But it was a custom I had met with from the time I had joined the Episcopal Church (having left Presbyterianism) thinking, then, that this was the normal usage of Episcopalians (which it isn’t).

But I recognise that there were various factors which may explain why I adopted and used this custom. I had been brought up as a child NOT to address adults by their first names. In my days of Scouting, our leader was NEVER addressed as ‘George’ but as ‘Skipper’ (I once got a terrible row at a Scout Camp for addressing a visiting Scouter by his first name). At the Theological College I attended, the clergy were all termed as ‘Father’. To have gone through my ministry as ‘Mr’ would have seemed, to me, formal and unfriendly, and my Scottish upbringing still makes it difficult for me to accept the modern tendency to be on first name terms at first introduction. Hence, ‘Father’ was, for me, the simplest and most courteous solution.

Fr McIntyre came from a Presbyterian background and practised as a quantity surveyor before entering the ministry. With his wife, Rachael, and young family, all devoted to the service of the church, he soon made an impact in his new charge, improving the finances, gaining new members and, above all, encouraging a feeling of fellowship among long-term members and newcomers alike.

Fr McIntyre preached his first sermon at Holy Trinity on Sunday 28 April 1974, taking as his subject ‘congregational participation’. He was eager to establish from his earliest days a ministry that was not a ‘one-man band’, but a whole ministry of all the members of the congregation. He saw his part as that of an ‘enabler’, encouraging members to use their gifts and to minister in partnership with him.

Matins had been the main diet of worship at Holy Trinity, sometimes followed by a service of Holy Communion and sometimes replaced by a ‘Family Service’, with a Sung Eucharist once a month. Fr McIntyre had a strong preference for a Sung Eucharist as the main act of worship and, at his interview with the Vestry, he established that this is what he would bring to Holy Trinity. At first, the change was resisted by some members of the congregation who were accustomed to the established pattern, but it was eventually accepted. Matins continued to be offered at 8.30 a.m. on Sundays, followed by Holy Communion at 9.00 a.m. and the Sung Eucharist at 11.00 a.m., with Evensong at 6.30 p.m. During the week, Holy Communion was offered at 7.30 a.m. on Wednesdays and 11.00 a.m. on Fridays, with Evening Prayer daily at 6.30 p.m.

At this time, a ‘communicant’ member of the Scottish Episcopal Church was a baptised member who had been ‘confirmed’ by the laying-on of hands by a Bishop and who would come to receive Holy Communion at regular intervals. Ideally, each confirmation would be preceded by a period of instruction at a Confirmation Class. Fr McIntyre’s course lasted eighteen weeks, with a break after the first nine weeks. The first nine-week period was concerned with ‘What we believe as Christians’ and the second with ‘How we behave as Christians’. Over time, the classes became less formal. The role of confirmation has changed in recent years and it is no longer regarded as essential to church membership.

Early in his ministry, Fr McIntyre took a keen interest in the charismatic Scottish Churches Renewal movement, whose aims were to pray and prepare for spiritual renewal and revival. Several renewal rallies were held in Holy Trinity and the themes of ‘renewal and revival’ were to permeate the rest of Fr McIntyre’s ministry.

Inspired by the renewal movement, Holy Trinity’s first public healing ministry was held on Sunday 2 November 1975. A similar evening service of healing was initially on the second Sunday of each month. It then came to be offered each month at both a Sunday morning Eucharist and at a weekday Communion Service.

For several years, Fr McIntyre had been in touch with the Society of St Francis, a religious community within the Anglican Communion, whose members seek to follow Christ in the way of St Francis, that is, in the spirit of humility, love and joy. The order is open to men and women, ordained and lay, married or single, who feel called to live out a Franciscan vocation in the world. Though mainly from within the Anglican Communion, members are also drawn from other Christian traditions. As a result, Brothers Damien and Malcolm came to preach at Holy Trinity on Sunday 28 September 1975. This was so well received by the congregation that it was followed up by a ‘Franciscan Week’, held over the period 6-15 March 1976.

The week’s activities included home group meetings for prayer, Bible study and discussion; a film portraying the life of the Church of the Redeemer, Houston, Texas; a congregational conference and a musical evening featuring The Fisherfolk, a music group from Houston, who were based for a time at the Cathedral of the Isles, Millport. 

Fr McIntyre wrote of the week: 

Although the programme was drawn up by Br Damien I had a large say in arranging it and in making sure that the right kind of emphasis was stressed. Hence, many of the items stemmed from my interest in the Renewal Movement. This brought about some consequences that had not been originally anticipated. The whole idea was that the congregation would benefit spiritually and practically by this Visit. And we did. But the Team also benefited – greatly. The introduction of the principles of the Renewal movement to St Margaret’s Convent, Aberdeen, came about because the Sister who was part of the Team experienced a renewal, herself, in Stirling, and this had a lasting effect.

On Sunday 30 May 1976, Fr McIntyre initiated a series of ‘parish days’, day conferences that were to be held periodically throughout his ministry. These were held at Scottish Churches House, Dunblane, Stirling University Chaplaincy Centre and other locations. Among the themes were church growth, young people and ‘sharing our life together’.

In the summer of 1976, Rev. Duncan Sladden, lately Rector of St John’s, Johnstone, came to stay in Stirling. He had become heavily involved in the Renewal Movement and, like Fr McIntyre, was actively committed to the work of Scottish Churches Renewal. Having felt that God was calling him to encourage renewal prayer groups throughout Scotland, and knowing that no such opportunities were provided in the Scottish Episcopal Church, he had decided to go, as Fr McIntyre described it, ‘freelance’. Rev. Sladden knew of Fr McIntyre’s interest in renewal. Therefore, Stirling was not only a very centrally situated town from which to work — it also had an Episcopal Church and Rector that he could count upon for support. Following discussions with Fr McIntyre, who took the matter to the Prayer Group and Vestry as well as to the Bishop, Rev. Sladden, his wife Margaret and their three children moved into a house in the Torbrex area of Stirling.

Fr McIntyre wrote of him: 

From the very outset I appreciated and valued his assistance, and we quickly found that, despite some differences, naturally, in emphasis and churchmanship, we were both very much on similar wavelengths. What he taught, both by sermon and example, was in keeping with my own teaching – Bible based, emphasising the role of prayer, and encouraging membership participation.

By 1977, the numbers attending services at Throsk had dwindled to the extent that it was no longer thought practical to offer regular formal worship there. 

Jonathon Lord recalls: 

The services at Throsk came to an end shortly before the closure of Royal Navy Armament Depot at Bandeath in 1978. My father was the last Officer in Charge and ensured that the Church fittings and plate were transferred to Holy Trinity for safe keeping.

From 1977 until 1980, Fr McIntyre was supported by Rev. C. Martin Reith as honorary assistant priest. Rev. Reith had a distinguished career in the Scottish Episcopal Church. In 1964, he had been a founder member of the Company of the Servants of God, an order dedicated to a disciplined prayer-life within a parish ministry. While he was serving at Holy Trinity, his book Beyond the Mountains was published by the SPCK.

By 1977, the congregation had become aware of the work of The Leprosy Mission and, year by year thereafter, gave both its prayer and financial support. A member of the congregation was given charge of a regular collection and special plastic phials and ‘L’ boxes were issued for people to take home and fill with coins. The Leprosy Mission’s intercessions booklet was made available in the church along with the Mission’s magazine. Reading and praying about this work helped to maintain the congregation’s interest and support and, on a certain Sunday in most years, a speaker would be invited to explain the Mission’s work. All these activities helped to ensure that The Leprosy Mission would remain an important expression of the congregation’s ongoing concern for others.

The Harvest Service of September 1977 introduced a musical innovation: the ‘Trinity Singers’. This was a group of people from within the congregation who could provide folk-style music by guitar, cello, flute and piano. The group produced an audiotape of their music as part of the centenary activities in 1978 and they were invited to perform in other churches and at a Diocesan Festival. Another innovation in this period was an exhibition display by the Colorado Sacred Dancers. In later years, there would be musical evenings featuring performers such as Alva Brass Band.

Not all members of the congregation, however, favoured the use of folk-type music in worship and, when some key participants moved away from Stirling, the ‘Trinity Singers’ fell silent. This, in fact, beset several initiatives at Holy Trinity. The church tended to attract people who had moved into Stirling for career or other purposes, often because they had an existing Anglican-Episcopal connection. These people brought fresh talents and ideas but, unfortunately, they were prone to moving on again. Several initiatives in this period faltered as key individuals left the area.

The year 1978 marked the centenary of the church building and a series of activities took place during that year. New cassocks were bought from congregational donations and a production of Murder in the Cathedral was staged. A specially-printed centenary booklet was compiled by Miss C. E. Saunders was produced, upon which much of the historical text in this website is based. Before coming to Stirling in 1969, Miss Saunders was on the staff of Bishop Lonsdale College of Education, Derby. By a remarkable coincidence, it was Bishop Lonsdale who had ordained Rev. Clement Coldwell, Holy Trinity’s first Rector, into the priesthood. Photographs for the brochure were taken by John Ewart of Falkirk College of Technology. A Centenary Celebration Week was held from 9-16 September. From Saturday 9 – Monday 11 September, a magnificent flower festival was mounted involving members of the Stirling Floral Art Club. On 10 September, Rev. David Redwood, a former curate, preached. On Tuesday 12 September, the date of the building’s original dedication, a Thanksgiving Service was held with the Primus, the Most Rev. Alastair I. M. Haggart, as the preacher. The week concluded with a Centenary Gift Day on Saturday 16 September.

While these events were all highly successful, Fr McIntyre was sometimes frustrated by the time and effort that he had to put into the care and maintenance of the large 100-year old building.

He expressed it thus: 

Although it is necessary to have a building for worship and to maintain that building, it nevertheless seems a misuse of a priest’s time, efforts and abilities to be forever concerned about dry rot, slating, heating systems and organ repairs.

Nevertheless, his care for the fabric of the buildings led to much excellent voluntary work being done, in an attempt to make up for the restoration and cleaning schemes to which the congregation aspired, but which it could not afford. Similarly, the Church Hall was refurbished and became a place of many friendly gatherings.

Barbeque lunch at King's Knot

Barbeque lunch at King’s Knot, Stirling.
If you know what year this took place, please get in touch!

Late in 1978, a Stirling Council of Churches was formed, in which Fr McIntyre participated enthusiastically. An exchange of pulpits was arranged with the minister of Viewfield Church of Scotland on ‘Unity Sunday’ in January 1979. This arrangement was later expanded to include the Methodist Church.

By the end of the decade, Fr McIntyre had laid all the new foundations to which he had aspired on coming to Holy Trinity in 1974. Of the period 1981-85. he wrote: 

Having been at Holy Trinity for seven years, much of what was being done was mainly of a repetitive nature. Certainly, some new ideas or new approaches were introduced, or old ideas were given a fresh emphasis, but in the whole, thinking back, there was by now a kind of ‘normality’ about our regular worship; my pastoral visiting; my method of preaching; my wish to get more of the congregation involved in the sharing together of a corporate ministry; the nature of Vestry meetings; administration and concern over building maintenance; and other normal ecclesiastical activities.

Fr McIntyre had adopted the Experimental Liturgy of 1977 – known by the colour of its cover as ‘The Orange Book’ – the first modern language Scottish liturgy to appear. He then went on to use ‘The Blue Book’, which appeared in 1982. This liturgy remains in use at Holy Trinity.

In 1985, Rev. Duncan Sladden left Stirling to become Rector of St Mark’s, East Kilbride. However, the resulting gap was filled in the following year with the arrival of Rev. Stuart M. Coates in a non-stipendiary ministry.

1986 was to be significant for two other reasons. One was a second mission from the Society of St Francis, which had been planned and prayed for throughout the previous two years. The other was Fr McIntyre’s discovery that he was suffering from the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease. He expressed it in these terms: 

It was on the 25th March 1986 – Lady Day – that I was told the result of the diagnosis. I had Parkinson’s Disease. My reaction to that information was mixed. It can be a nerve-wracking experience anticipating a brain scan, wondering all the time what would show up on the scanner. So, my first reaction was to offer up a prayer to God of thanksgiving that it was ONLY P.D., and nothing worse. My next was to admit to my own ignorance about an ailment which, till then, I had associated with geriatric patients. I could not believe that, at the age of almost 49, one could have Parkinson’s disease. I was certainly uncertain for the future, for my ministry long term, and even for the immediate affairs of Holy Week and Easter which would be upon me almost immediately, followed thereafter by the Franciscan Mission which had been arranged for April, post-Easter time.

“The second Franciscan Mission took place over the period 6-20 April 1986. Its theme was ‘The Key to Life’. During it, the congregation looked at themselves, with an emphasis on ‘The Body of Christ’. The mission was led by a team of four, comprising Br Peter-Douglas (Team Leader), Br Christopher and Sr Jeanette-Margaret, all from the Order of St Francis, and Fr Robert Stretton of the Society of the Sacred Mission.

The team, house group leaders and congregation were commissioned by the Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, Rt Rev. Michael Geoffrey Hare-Duke, himself a member of the Tertiary Order of St Francis, on Sunday 6 April 1986. Holy Trinity was still part of the Diocese of Edinburgh at that time, but the Bishop, Rt Rev. Alastair I. M. Haggart, had recently retired and his successor had not yet been elected. It was, therefore, appropriate that Bishop Michael stood in.

The photograph shows, from left to right,
Fr McIntyre, 
Br Christopher,  
Bishop Michael,
Br Peter- Douglas,
Sr Jeanette- Margaret 
and Fr Robert Stretton.

The main events consisted of three Mission services conducted on the Sunday evenings, a social evening on the first Wednesday, a ‘Question Time’ panel game on the second Wednesday and, at the heart of the Mission, nine house groups that met twice per week. Attendance at all of these was most encouraging, especially the number of guests and visitors who joined the members of the congregation at house groups and other events.

The ‘Question Time’ panel was a distinguished one consisting of Iain Collie, Director of Education for Central Regional Council, Lord Kilbrandon, Rev. Dr Margaret Stewart of the Iona Community and Br Peter-Douglas. It was chaired by the local Methodist minister, Rev. J. Jones, who was chairman of the Stirling Council of Churches. When a debate arose over the ordination of women, strong views were expressed by members of the Mission Team, revealing that they held opposing positions on the issue (two for and two against). Fr McIntyre was disappointed that they had entered into this debate, particularly as it had previously been agreed to avoid the issue. For most people, however, the debate would simply have enlivened the evening.

The house groups were the main focal point of the Mission. The groups met four times and were led by members of Holy Trinity with a Team Member sitting in to assist. Four question papers were used in the groups, with the questions designed to make participants think more deeply about their faith, what it means to be a Christian – a member of the body of Christ – and how they could become more effective members of that body. Altogether over 100 members of the congregation and guests took part. At the end of the fortnight, Br Peter-Douglas declared in a stirring address that the congregation’s mission was now beginning. Several existing members of the congregation remember the 1986 Franciscan Mission and look back on it with great fondness. 

Franciscan missionThe photograph shows, from left to right, Stewart Palmer,
Sr Jeanette-Margaret, 
Br Christopher,  
Br Peter-Douglas and
Fr Robert Stretton on a visit to Stirling Castle.

House groups continued beyond the Franciscan Mission at Lent and for a two-year course following the ‘2/7’ programme devised by an evangelical organisation called The Navigators. The name 2/7 was derived from Colossians 2:7.

Later in 1986, the Vestry decided to sell the Victorian Rectory at 18 Abercromby Place and buy a modern, easily-maintained house in Torbrex, not far from where the Episcopal congregation had gathered in meetinghouses during the eighteenth-century persecution. Fr McIntyre and his family moved into this house in November 1986.

The last seven years of Fr McIntyre’s ministry were dominated by his valiant efforts to maintain his high standard of preaching and teaching despite his progressive deterioration in health due to Parkinson’s Disease, for which treatment was much less effective then than it is now. A sound system was installed in the church so that his voice would still to be heard clearly if it started to fail. He also suffered the loss of his highly-valued non-stipendiary assistant, Rev. Stuart M. Coates, who left in 1989 to take up duties at St Mary’s, Aberfoyle and at St Modoc’s, Doune, where he became priest-in-charge in 1994.

However, there were still some high points. In 1990, Rev. Duncan Sladden retired from St Mark’s, East Kilbride and, with his wife Margaret, moved to a house in Dunblane. This was of great help to Fr McIntyre, who recorded in April 1993, “Because of their past links with Holy Trinity, they came back into membership of our congregation and again their presence and friendship proved to be most supportive of what we were still trying to do at Holy Trinity. In particular, when it was decided that I would have to retire, on health grounds, Duncan agreed to take on the responsibility of the congregation until a new Rector was appointed.” Their valuable contribution to life at Holy Trinity continues to this day and their daughter Kathleen jointly runs The Ark Imkerhof, a children’s home and Bible school in Namibia, with which the congregation remains closely linked.

Also in 1990, Rev. Alan Gray retired as Rector of St Ninians, Alyth, with St Catherine’s, Blairgowrie, with St Anne’s, Coupar Angus and moved to Stirling with his wife Caroline. They also joined the congregation and became much-valued members. They knew the area well as Rev. Gray had previously been Rector at St Andrew’s, Callander (1966-74) and St John’s, Alloa (1974-77). He was able to carry out priestly duties as well as bringing his strong singing voice to the choir.

In 1991, a most successful and strikingly beautiful Flower Festival was held, organised by the Women’s Fellowship, who also involved members of other Stirling congregations. Although this Flower Festival was primarily intended to raise money for the Parkinson’s Disease Society and Christian Aid, it also provided an opportunity for Christians of different denominations to unite and for general outreach to the people of Stirling.

Flower Festival
Flower Festival
Flower Festival

 Images from the 1991 Flower Festival

In the same year, Holy Trinity was transferred from the Diocese of Edinburgh to the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, to become the responsibility of the Bishop, Rt Rev. Michael Geoffrey Hare-Duke, who had commissioned the Franciscan Mission Team in 1986.

At the beginning of August 1992, Fr McIntyre staged an outreach event called Come and See. It was intended to offer an open door to the public, inviting them to ‘come and see’ what the church was all about. It featured a display of the church’s banners, a display from the Sunday School, old Minute Books and Registers, an area emphasising the importance of prayer, the playing of organ music at certain times, a bookstall and, throughout the church, beautiful floral arrangements.

Come and See was to be a final flourish for Fr McIntyre, who wrote: 

During my summer holidays of 1992 I discovered that my walking had become worse than it had been, due to my Parkinson’s Disease. I hoped that I could persevere for quite a while longer, but doubts about the wisdom of this were beginning to creep in. In January 1993 I attended the Diocesan Conference in Perth . . . It was obvious to the other clergy attending, including the bishop, that my health had deteriorated greatly in the past twelve months. In February the bishop visited me to ascertain how I really was keeping. It became inevitable that the question of how much longer I could continue to be Rector of Holy Trinity would arise. The bishop was most caring and sensitive towards me and more or less left the decision to me. At first I felt . . . that I wouldn’t ‘give up’ before April 1994 which would be the 20th anniversary of my ministry here in Stirling. However, it became obvious to me after much prayer and consideration that it would be fairer – to the congregation, to Rachael, my wife, and to myself – to retire on health grounds much sooner than April 1994.

Fr McIntyre retired from 31 December 1993 but was on sick leave from 25 July. He preached his last Sunday sermon on 11 July, officiated at his last Sunday Eucharist on 18 July and performed his last duties as Rector of Holy Trinity, and as a priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church, at the service of Holy Communion on Friday 23 July 1993, following which he was presented with farewell gifts.

Rectory garden

Fr McIntyre was well-respected on account of his liveliness, energy, hopeful disposition and forward-looking attitudes. The congregation was greatly saddened at his having to retire on health grounds at the age of 56. He left behind a 144-page account of his time at Holy Trinity entitled Personal Thoughts and Reflections on Twenty Years of Preaching and Teaching. This document makes clear the kind of preaching and teaching that lay at the centre of his ministry – Bible-based, emphasising the role of prayer, encouraging membership participation and inspired by the spirit of renewal and revival. He expected his congregation to learn and to apply their knowledge long after he had departed. He would not have been disappointed.

1994-2003 Rev. Christopher Jarman, BA

Rev. Kit Jarman

During Fr McIntyre’s 5-month sick leave, his priestly duties were diligently attended to by two retired priests: Rev. Duncan Sladden, assisted by Rev. Alan Gray. The new Rector was Rev. Christopher (Kit) Jarman, previously a Chaplain with the Royal Marines.

Rev Jarman had undergone a gruelling six-month commando course to join the Royal Marines in 1973 and spent the next 20 years serving with the crack troops before leaving to join the Scottish Episcopal Church.

A crucial decision facing the church during his incumbency was that of whether to retain the church building, which was in need of expensive restoration or to dispose of it in some way and relocate to smaller premises.

After much deliberation by Rev. Jarman, the Vestry and other members of the congregation, the decision was taken to retain the building and raise the funds required to restore it, even though a total sum in the region of £750,000 was required.

The 64-year old Rev. Jarman started the fundraising campaign in August 2002 by leading a sponsored walk around the church building. He circled it 220 times, covering the same amount of ground as a full 26-mile marathon. “I was determined not to let the Corps down – even nine years after I left”, he said. “That was one of the things that kept me going”.

Rev. Jarman also wrote to 600 other ‘Holy Trinity’ churches in the British Isles, asking for help with the huge appeal. In it, he described himself and the growing Stirling congregation. He received a handful of positive replies and one rebuff: a Welsh Holy Trinity wrote back saying: “We also have an over-50, overweight vicar and we need to meet bills similar to yours. If you’ve got anything left over at the end, perhaps you could remember us”.

The first wave of fundraising brought in more than £3,000 and further initiatives followed, Eventually, financial support was obtained from Historic Scotland, the Lottery Heritage Trust and other bodies.

Rev. Jarman retired in 2003 and moved to Oban. During the ensuing ‘interregnum’, the Rector’s duties were carried out mainly by Rev. Duncan Sladden, assisted by Rev. Alan Gray, both of whom were retired priests who had joined the congregation in hope of a quiet retirement!

2003-2014: Rev. Dr Alison Mary Peden, MA DPhil MTh

content to come

2016 – Present: Rev. Christoph Wutscher, MA

content to come

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