A detailed description of the fabric

A detailed description of the fabric of the church.

Architects:       Weddell and Thomson, Glasgow

The basic meaning of the word “church” is to refer to the “People of God” gathered in a place, and it reminds us that however beautiful—or otherwise—a building may be, it is worship and prayer that gives it an atmosphere of peace and the presence of God.

The most striking features of the old church in Springburn were the sanctuary apse and the fine wooden roof, with white painted brick walls, exhibiting simple yet pleasing decorative work.  The new church has the same three features.

Mr Thomson the architect has skilfully blended in some of the original furnishings from St James and St Andrew-by-the-Green, together with the stained glass windows which came originally from two Glasgow churches and which were made available to us by the Glasgow District Council.

All these together with the generosity of the Scottish Province and the Congregation itself have enabled a far more beautiful church to be built than compensation alone would have permitted.

The Large Celtic Cross

Set against the outside wall of the building, it was brought from St Andrews-by-the-Green.  It stands as the memorial to Ellen Sennett, and as the church’s Foundation Stone.

The Belfry

Hidden from view at the peak of the west roof are four bells, which once hung in the ancient city steeple.  Removed from there in 1881, they were acquired for Saint Andrews by Dr Gordon at a cost of £43.  After being inscribed, they were dedicated and hung, as the following extract from the Minute Book recorded:

1884. Nov. 2, Dedicated these Bells, bought by me for £43, which were hung in the Cross or Tolbooth Steeple.  The Belfry was placed with contents in front of the Altar, in presence of large congregation at the 7pm Vespers, and a special Office of Benediction was used, followed by a Sermon of Bells.

The largest, or No. 1 Bell, D, weighs 1cwt. 1qr. 26lbs, in diameter, 19ins, having this inscription: “C & W Mears, Founders, London.  We 4 hung at the Cross till 1881 J.F. X S.G. Andrea”

No. 2, G, weighs 0cwt. 2qrs. 9lbs.  In Diameter, 14ins. having the inscription: “Glasgow, 1735.  Martha D. Robb, Ob.7 Nov. 1851.  S. Mark x. 14”

No. 3, A, weighing 0cwt. 1qr. 26lbs., in diameter, 12ins, with this inscription “To the memory of my infant grandchild Buchanan, and my first wife 1735.  Elspeth.  ob. 25 July 1849.—ob. 1 Aug. 1875.  I.H.S.”

No. 4, B, weighing 0cwt. 1qr. 22lbs. Diameter 11 1/2ins.

NB: St Mark x 14., “But when Jesus saw it he was moved with indignation, and said to them, Suffer the little children to come unto me; and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.

The Sandstone Font

This stands by the west door, thereby symbolising that entry into Christ’s Church is through Baptism.  It was brought from the old church.

Churchwarden Wands

Near the Font are two silver tipped Churchwarden Wands.  Historically these were for chasing dogs out of Church!  These wands came originally from Christ Church, Bridgeton.  That church once had a large congregation, but the devastation of Glasgow’s East End forced its closure in 1978.  The inscription and the design on the tops are unusual and is a pictorial representation of part of the Athanasian Creed.

Processional Cross

The silver and enamel Processional Cross (if on display), like the Churchwarden Wands, came from Christ Church.  Dated Easter 1911, it is in memory of Edward Montgomery Nedham.

The enamels illustrate: top—St Mungo; left—St Cuthbert; right—St Columba; bottom—St Paul; and centre—Our Lord blessing the children.

Bishop’s Chair

In the Sanctuary, beside the old St James Altar, is a finely carved oak Bishop’s Chair.  The original Bishop’s chair of St Andrew-by-the-Green had been destroyed by a fire in 1884 and this replacement chair was gifted by a Mrs Main of Kelso, who as a Miss Slate had been a member of St Andrews.

During the difficult years of the late 1960s, Miss Sylvia Lamb was one of those who fought for the congregation’s survival.  When she died suddenly in 1979, it was a spontaneous wish of the congregation that a permanent memorial to her be placed in the new church.  The brass Altar Rail is that memorial.  On the Brass Eagle are recorded the names of those from St James who fell in the Great War.

The Stained Glass Panels

Found in the Sanctuary, the Stained Glass Panels are the work of the Pre-Raphaelite artist, Edward Burne-Jones, and came from Woodlands Parish Church, when that church was taken over by the Free Presbyterian Church.  Reading from left to right they represent the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The other stained glass panels in the church all came from Claremont Street Congregational Church—now the home of the S.N.O.

On the south west wall, the Greig Memorial illustrates from left to right: Christ blessing the children, Sermon on the Mount and The calling of Peter and Andrew.

On the north west wall, the Johnstone Memorial, from left to right illustrates: In the Wilderness, In the Judgement Hall and Gethsemane.

The Wall outside the Chapel

On the wall outside the Chapel is the gilded wooden rafter cross from the old Church; a brass replica hangs over the sanctuary and was gifted by the architect.

The Chapel

The Chapel is dedicated in honour of St Andrew in recognition of the part played by St Andrews-by-the-Green in the life of the Church in Glasgow and of St James’ inheritance from them.

“May all who seek thy presence here go forth with the light of Thy hope in their eyes and Thy faith and love in their hearts”.

The Altar and Panelling

The altar and panelling are the High Altar from St Andrews.  (Extract from historical notes from St Andrews-by-the-Green).

The altar was designed by the Glasgow Artist, Mr A McLellan, who taught in the College of Art, and the woodwork was carried out by a member of the Vestry, Mr R W Reid, Master Carpenter.  It was dedicated by the Very Reverend M B H Hutchison, DD, Dean of Glasgow and Galloway, on St Andrew’s Day, 1907.

On the front panels of the altar are depicted, from left to right: St Andrew, St Mungo, St Columba and St Margaret, Queen of Scotland, and these are the work of Mr McLellan.

The Reredos and Panels

The reredos and panels were added in 1908.  Although the minutes do not record the names of the designer or craftsman, they are obviously the work of those who executed the High Altar: Mr A McLellan and Mr R W Reid.  About 1940 the artist came out of retirement to restore the gesso work painting of the altar, reredos and panels.

On the front of the Altar-shelf are depicted the Twelve Apostles, and two Angels keep watch beside the Tabernacle, that on the left being St Michael.  The scene in the apex may be the Feeding of the Multitude (note the basket in the background) or an allegorical representation of Christ, the Bread of Life.

The subjects of the panels on either side of the altar are linked in pairs, the lower panel depicting an Old Testament prophet, and a text from the Book bearing his name; the upper panel depicting an incident from the New Testament related thereto.  From left to right across the back:

1 Lower Isaiah xii.3 “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation”.
Upper John iv. The Samaritan woman at the well.
2 Lower Jeremiah xxxi.22 “The Lord hath created a new thing in the earth. A Woman shall compass a Man”.
Upper Luke i. The Annunciation.
3 Lower Ezekiel xxxvi.25 “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you”.
Upper The Baptism of Jesus in Jordan
4 Lower Zechariah ix.9 “He himself meek and riding upon an as”.
Upper The Triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

On the left hand wall:

5 Lower Micah ii.10 “Arise ye, and depart for this is not your rest”.
Upper Gethsemane
6 Lower Hosea vi.2 “In the third day he will raise us up”.
Upper The Resurrection.  (Note the sleeping guards).

The Altar Stone

In the centre of the altar (not normally visible), the altar stone is the last piece of the old High Altar of the Abbey of Iona.  It was brought from the island by the celebrated Dr Johnstone during his famous tour to the Hebrides.  The Doctor lodged at the Saracen’s Head Inn, and was there visited by Dr Stevenson and Dr Reid, professors of Glasgow University, and by Dr Anderson, founder of the Andersonian University in George Street (which is now the Anderson School of Medicine beside the Western Infirmary).  Dr Johnston gave the piece of Iona Marble to Dr Anderson, and it was kept in the Museum of the Andersonian University (now Strathclyde University).  About 1864, the then Principal, Dr Scouler, disposed of much trivia in the Museum, and the Iona Marble came into the possession of Dr J F S Gordon, Rector of St Andrew’s.  On June 4th of that year, he had it set into the Altar of St Andrew’s.  In the closing years of the last century, two small pieces, together not more than a third of the whole, were cut off.  One piece was sent to the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, New York, to be set in the Altar there, and the other was sent to the University of the South, Tennessee, where it was set in the Altar of the Chapel.

The Altar Cross

The Hovell Memorial was gifted shortly after the opening of the new church.  It is a brass replica of St John’s Cross, which stands just outside Iona Abbey.

The Stained Glass Windows

The windows depict:

  • St Columba, who first founded a monastery on Iona in 563 AD.
  • St Margaret, Queen of Malcolm III, who restored the Abbey in the 11th century.

Both panels came from the former Woodlands Parish Church.

The Chapel Pews

These are the choir seats from the old church and the Altar Rail is one half of the old rail and is the Rollo family memorial.  Canon Rollo was Priest in Charge from 1889-1901 and Rector from 1901-1913.

The Altar Frontal Box

This was given to St James on the closure of St Saviours, Port Dundas, in the 1950s.

The Wooden Candle Stick

This was one of a pair.  The other “vanished” at the closure of St Andrews.  A brass plate on the base bears the inscription “Base made of oak from the foundations of Stockwell Bridge erected by Bishop Rae in 1345.  Upper portions made of oak from Bishop’s Castle or Palace, which stood at the west end of Glasgow Cathedral.”

Presented to St Andrews Episcopal Church, Glasgow, by James Robb.  June 1860.

The Baptismal Bowl

“St Andrews Chapel 1816 Baptismal Basin” and the wording “Until 1846 when the stone Font was introduced, 40,126 were baptised from this basin.”

The number of baptisms during this period is quite staggering.  It possibly reflects two things: the refusal by the Presbyterian Church to baptise indiscriminately; and the rapid influx of Irish immigrants into Glasgow when there was no Roman Catholic Church in the city.

The St Andrews Alms Box

This beautiful brass bound wooden box was part of the original furnishing of St Andrews-by-the-Green.  It bears the marks of the various assaults made on it throughout its use.  The plaque associated with it is inscribed “Alms Chest, St Andrew’s Chapel, Willow Acre, Glasgow, 1750.  Freely ye have received, freely give”.  It is still used today for special collections and appeals.

The Pictures

  • The sketch of St Andrews shows that church in 1937.  The Altar and Reredos can be seen in their original setting.
  • The Architect’s plan of 1890 for the old church when it was enlarged and the small hall added.

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