History of KMH

Kirkmuirhill Church's history extends back to 1868 when it was first dedicated. The building and surrounding areas has changed substantially since back then but we've managed to snap a few photo's and give you a brief history of the church. This is a work in progress part of the website and we will gradually be tunnelling deeper and deeper into the past to bring all of our history out into the open. 

“Church History is the record of God's gracious, wonderful and mighty deeds, showing how by his Spirit and Word he rules his Church and conquers the world.” 

- Nils Forsander

In the beginning...

In the 1860s, Kirkmuirhill and Blackwood were in the Parish of Lesmahagow and the local Parish Church was in the village of Lesmahagow.  

 

Mr McMeekin, a distinguished leading member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, in Lesmahagow became very active in the area, holding missions and Sabbath schools and public worship sometimes as often as 4 times a week across the district. 
 

In 1867 there was a public meeting in Mr Dalziel's schoolroom in Vere Road, and with Mr John Baxter presiding, the meeting had the aim of ironing out ideas and to consider the building of a church that could be much more easily accessible to locals.

 

As time went on, and plans fell into place, The first Church - Kirkmuirhill United Presbyterian Church - was built and dedicated in 1868. At the time, the village was really very small with the highest  population in Auchenheath.  

 

There were original plans to have the Church building in Auchanheath but the ground was unstable due to a significant mining location.  

 

To assist with a location, Laird of Blackwood Estate offered a suitable site at the junction of two roads which would put the Church in a prominent position  and central enough to serve the surrounding area.

Kirkmuirhill Church in pre 1930 when Carlisle Road was being widened. You will notice that there was no extended hall yet built as this would take place later under the ministry of Rev. John Lyall

And from the Ground it rose, brick by brick....

In the 1860s, Kirkmuirhill and Blackwood were in the Parish of Lesmahagow and the local Parish Church was in the village of Lesmahagow.  

 

Mr McMeekin, a distinguished leading member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, in Lesmahagow became very active in the area, holding missions and Sabbath schools and public worship sometimes as often as 4 times a week across the district. 
 

In 1867 there was a public meeting in Mr Dalziel's schoolroom in Vere Road, and with Mr John Baxter presiding, the meeting had the aim of ironing out ideas and to consider the building of a church that could be much more easily accessible to locals.

 

As time went on, and plans fell into place, The first Church - Kirkmuirhill United Presbyterian Church - was built and dedicated in 1868. At the time, the village was really very small with the highest  population in Auchenheath.  

 

There were original plans to have the Church building in Auchanheath but the ground was unstable due to a significant mining location.  

 

To assist with a location, Laird of Blackwood Estate offered a suitable site at the junction of two roads which would put the Church in a prominent position  and central enough to serve the surrounding area.

A call to Ministry...

The First Minister, inducted in January 1869, was Mr William Thomson of Burton -on Trent.

 

Revd. John Meiklejohn became the second minister and left due to ill health in 1888.  He continued his ministry in Australia where he became Australia's first Moderator General.

 

His successor was Revd. Robert Kerr inducted in 1889, who served for 47 years. Til now, there have been ten ministers in the 150 years of the Church at Kirkmuirhill.

 

After Mr Kerr,  

  • Revd. Alexander McVicar 1937-47,  

  • Revd. John Fleming 1948-52,

  • Revd. John Bell1952-58, 

  • Revd .John Lyall 1958-73, 

  • Revd. David Young 1974-2004,

  • Revd. Ian Watson 2004-2014

  • Revd. Andrew Rooney 2019-

Denominations...

In 1898, the United Presbyterian and the Free Presbyterian Church united under one banner, and in 1929 the United Free Churches joined together and our Church became Kirkmuirhill Parish Church. This moulded into the current Church of Scotland denomination we have at present.

 

There was, by this time, a much bigger community in Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill and because of the increase in railways, many stone buildings were being built in the early part of the century and a huge growth in the construction of council houses in the early 1920s as the village recovered from the horrors of World War I.

 

Aside from worship, there were village organisations using the Church premises and, of course, there were also plenty of church organisations. The small hall (built in 1899) eventually became too small for all that was going on and a new large hall was built in 1966 at a cost of £6200. 

Women in the Church

Women have always played an important role in Kirkmuirhill Church from the beginning, making goods to sell at their annual sales of work and raising a big part of the cash needed for the upkeep of the buildings and financing new projects. It was only in 1937 that the Guild became affiliated to the Church of Scotland Woman's Guild.

 

After the First World War a memorial was erected in the front vestibule of the church and after the Second World War the names of the fallen in that conflict were added for their memory. Each 11.11, the Church service is dedicated to the remembrance of those who gave their lives in both conflicts. 

More recently, the prominence of women in leading and managing the church has been significant. Since 2014, women have been called to lead Holiday Club, girls and boys brigade, finance, property, bible studies and a variety of youth activities across the spectrum. There have also been 2 female Interim Ministers at Kirkmuirhill during the period of vacancy.

Children and Youth

The children of the church have always been a priority, and there was a Sabbath School in Auchenheath and also at Draffan even before the church was built, and in 1906 there were 197 scholars and 14 teachers.

 

The Sunday Schools and various other youth groups continued and a Girls' Guildry was started in 1958. The Boys Brigade Company was formed in 1961.

 

The Youth Fellowship started during the ministry of John Lyall in the 1950s and then the Covenanters and Jucos during David Young's ministry in the 1970s.

 

Also in the 70s a Holiday Club was started and has run for a week in August each year ever since. This is continually attended by well over 100 children each year.

...Sing a new song...

Music in the church at Kirkmuirhill has varied very much over the years. At first there was a precentor who led the worship and in 1899 a harmonium was installed.  In 1956 a pipe organ was donated and the whole front of the church was re- furbished. 

 

A new pulpit was built and a new communion table and chairs were given. The choir had been in the middle of the church and was now moved to a new choirbox at the side. There have been large choirs and small music groups and quite a few organists and choirmasters for varying lengths of time.  In 2006 funds were raised to buy a new digital organ.

Music continues to evolve and develop at KMH and there is a mix of contemporary and traditional hymns sung at both morning and evening services

A time to grow...

The grounds of the premises have changed quite a lot over the years.  Mr Kerr was a noted botanist and planted a beautiful garden. The glebe (for the use of the minister to feed his horse), has also been used as garden plots for the community during the food shortages of the war years. John Lyall planted trees along the Carlisle Road and at the front of the church.  Originally there was a wider frontage onto the Carlisle Road but this was reduced due to road widening in the 1930s.

 

Stained glass windows were installed in the south gable in 1941, donated by the widow of William Forrest formerly of Burnfoot, in 1954 Mrs Stewart of South field donated the window on the Auchenheath side and in 1986 the family of Robert Kerr donated the window on the Carlisle Road side of the church.

 

The millennium was commemorated by the installation of cushions for the elders' chairs and pew cushions, designed by Pat Hodgson who also designed the banners which were made by the banner group and are used to decorate the church at various points around the church.

In 2019 for the 150th Aniversary of the church, a poignant statue was erected in the grounds and can be seen as you drive past or walk through the gates of the church.

Additionally, there have been some changes to the manse which has now moved location to vere road, and the future of older building which still stands in the church grounds has still to be negotiated.

In 2014, a decision was made by the minister in office, to vote on the future denominational position within the congregation. Two options were presented to the congregation at the time: remain in the Church of Scotland or leave and become a member of the Free Church of Scotland.

 

After many days and weeks and months of Prayer, the majority of the congregation decided to remain within the Church of Scotland. Whilst this was a difficult process for the Church, and for the Parish, the following two years has seen the congregation flourish and, thanks to the faithfulness and mercy of our loving God, go from strength to strength ensuring that Kirkmuirhill continues in its position as the local parish church.

Difficult Times...

Looking ahead in Christ...

After the Church split in 2014, the church benefited from a variety of different leadership in the form of interim ministers and moderators who helped oversee the spiritual welfare of the church and invested their time in helping build a strong foundation of faith within the congregation. We were delighted to have welcomed for significant periods of time Rev. Harry Findlay, Ms Ann Lyall DCS, and Rev.d George Lind. Through their mission, dedication to the Work of Jesus Christ in our Parish, and their continual prayers the church has continued to thrive by the Grace of God.

 

In 2019, the Nominating Committee of Kirkmuirhill Parish Church followed Gods guidance to Rev.d Andrew Rooney who was called to Kirkmuirhill and was ordained on 12 March 2019. Andrew and his wife, Steph, took up the post of serving the Christ in this village and we thank and praise God for the blessings that this new ministry will bring. 

© 2019 by Kirkmuirhill Parish Church
kirkmuirhillchurch.co.uk © Kirkmuirhill Parish Church is a Charity Registered in Scotland Reference SCO14451

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Kirkmuirhill Parish Church

Lanark Road
Kirkmuirhill
ML11 9RB

 

Church Office
01555 895593