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- Category: B
- Date Added: 31/08/2009
- Local Authority: Dumfries And Galloway
- Planning Authority: Dumfries And Galloway
- Parish: Balmaclellan
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NX 65169 79125
- Coordinates: 265169, 579125
CHURCH: begun 1753, with later additions, William McCandlish, 1833, and 1886 (see Notes). 5-bay, T-plan church, situated on small rise within surrounding churchyard. White painted harl with red sandstone skews and bellcote. Corbelled eaves. Narrow, round-arched window openings. S elevation with central, slightly advanced gable and lower, projecting entrance porch. To W gable apex; square-plan bellcote with round-arched openings to sides and steep, pyramidal stone roof. Crosses to other gable apices.
Predominantly plate glass fixed pane glazing with coloured glass margins. Graded grey slates. Raised skews; skewputts.
INTERIOR: white painted interior with fine open-timber roof, with elaborate crossing formation with hanging pendant. Dado-height timber boarding and timber pews, Communion table and pulpit. Stained glass window by Gordon Webster, 1928 depicting Christ as Lord of All. 6-panelled timber doors.
CHURCHYARD: surrounds church. Contains a variety of 17th, 18th and 19th century gravestones including rare, civic Crimean War Memorial, circa 1856. Some 18th century stones with carvings of memento mori, including angel heads, skulls and plants. Number of table stones, including 18th century memorial to Covenanter, Robert Grierson. Further 18th and 19th century carved stones, obelisks and Celtic crosses. 1840 statue of Old Mortality by John Corrie set within boundary walls (see Notes).
CRIMEAN WAR MEMORIAL: square-plan, red sandstone Memorial with base course, cornice and gabled capping stone. Inscription to each face commemorates 5 local men.. Carvings to the capstone include cannon, rifle, crossed swords and cannon balls.
BOUNDARY WALLS: Coped rubble walls surround churchyard.
Statement of Special Interest
This 18th and 19th century church with its associated churchyard is situated on a small hill within the village of Balmaclellan and is an important part of the landscape. The churchyard in particular is notable for its diversity of 18th and 19th century gravestones and the inclusion of a rare, civic Crimean War Memorial. The church is of a simple T-plan and has some decorative details in the crosses, bellcote and corbelled eaves. There are a number of notable examples of carved memento mori on the 18th century stones within the churchyard.
The simply designed Crimean War Memorial is rare monument, thought to be the only one of its type in Scotland. It commemorates five local men who died in the War. Civic commemoration like this only became popular after the First World War. Before this, most war memorials were dedicated either to individual men, erected by their families, or to regiments. Other gravestones in the churchyard include the tombstone of a Covenanter, Robert Grierson and the tombstone of Robert Paterson, a local stone carver, immortalised by Sir Walter Scott as Old Mortality. A statue of Robert Paterson with his pony, carved by a local sculptor, John Corrie, is set within the boundary walls of the churchyard. Dating from 1840, it was moved to this site in 2000.
A church is thought to have been on this site since the 15th century, but the main body of this church was built in 1753 with the North aisle being added in 1833 by the local builder-architect, William McCandlish (circa 1779-1855). The bellcote is also likely to be from this period. In 1886 the slightly advanced gable centre and projecting vestry were added to the South elevation, as were the corbelled eaves and the round-arched windows.
Gordon Webster (1908-87) was the son of the well known stained-glass artist, Arthur Webster was killed in the First World War. Gordon worked from his studio in Glasgow and produced stained glass windows for many of Scotland's churches.
The Old Mortality Statue was formerly listed as a seperate item under statutory address, 'Holm Farm, Old Mortality Statue Group' before being relocated to Balmaclellan Church.
1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, 1854-8. H Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, 1995 p629. J Gifford, Dumfries & Galloway, Buildings of Scotland, 1996, pf114. Information from www.scran.ac.uk (accessed 15-04-09) and www.ukniwm.org.uk (accessed 05-05-09). Other information courtesy of minister and local resident.
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