Trustees and Elders of Bridge of Allan Church


The Elders of Bridge of Allan Church included successive ministers John Reid (1837–1900) and Duncan Cameron (1869–1929) – ministers were 'teaching elders'. 1 Although women were not admitted to the eldership until 1966, the Bridge of Allan Church would not have been able to commission organ improvements without the large donation by two local women. This, in turn, inspired the chancel refurbishment. 2

Reverend John Reid, from Irvine, was the first minister of the new Bridge of Allan parish, founded 1868. He officiated there from 1865 to 1900, and was described as 'a figure esteemed and beloved', who 'was rarely off-duty'. 3 As the congregation grew, Mr Reid ‘never failed to procure the funds required’ to meet its needs. 4

Duncan Cameron, a Glengarry minister’s son and prominent Gaelic scholar, was chosen from 120 candidates as Reid’s successor. 5 It was said that 'everywhere he went, Mr Cameron was energetic in the improvement of ecclesiastical buildings': he was responsible for the building of Tobermory Church; he fundraised for the Scots Church in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka); and for the enlargement of Kilsyth Parish Church. 6 He also initiated the Cornton Vale labour colony project, and founded a students' residence at the University of Glasgow. 7

The generous local donors were mother and daughter, Mrs Whitelaw and Mrs Douglas. Mrs Whitelaw of Alangrange, née Barbara Forbes Lockhart of Castlehill (c. 1836–1909), was the widow of Alexander Whitelaw of Gartshore, former MP for Glasgow (1874–9). 8 He was partner in his maternal uncles' 'great firm' of William Baird & Co., owners of Gartsherrie Ironworks at Coatbridge, Lanarkshire. 9 Barbara’s father had commissioned the mock-gothic Cambusnethan Priory from James Gillespie Graham in 1819. 10 . Her husband sat on the Church of Scotland’s Baird Trust, which endowed ‘each of two hundred new parish churches’. 11 Barbara, had nine children (her eldest son married Benjamin Disraeli's niece), and was ‘an ardent supporter’ of the Stirling Railway Ambulance Section, and of Cornton Vale, the church's model farm-refuge for destitute men. 12

Mrs Whitelaw’s fourth daughter, Helen Douglas (c. 1867–1946), married Royal Scots officer Gerald H. Fitzgerald of Wallhouse, Torphichen, in 1887, but was widowed in 1895. 13 Like her mother, Helen became a ‘well-known churchwoman’, and declared open the therapeutic ‘market garden [labour] colony,’ at Cornton Vale in 1907. 14 A charitable stalwart, she patronised fundraising bazaars for foreign missionaries, district nursing and Barnardo’s Homes, donated Red Cross prizes, and in the 1920s, became a local Justice.of the Peace. 15


1: R. D. Kernohan, Our Church: A Guide to the Kirk of Scotland, Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1985, pp.72–3, 107; N. M. de S. Cameron, ed., Dictionary of Scottish Church History, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1993, pp. 286–8, 461; Callum G. Brown, Religion and Society in Scotland since 1707, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 18.

2: John C. Nicol, The Mackintosh Connection, Bridge of Allan: Holy Trinity Church, 1990 (leaflet guide to church).

3: Glasgow Herald, 27 March 1900, p. 4; Hew Scott, Synods of Argyll ... and Stirling, Vol. 4 of Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1923, pp. 338–9.

4: Scotsman, 27 March 1900, p. 7.

5: Hew Scott, Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, Vol. 3, Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1920, p. 481; Vol. 4, Synod of Argyll ... and Stirling, 1923, p. 138.Evening Telegraph, 6 August 1900, p. 4; Glasgow Herald, 31 July 1929, p. 13.

6: Glasgow Herald, 31 July 1929, p. 13.

7: Scotsman, 4 February 1909, p. 8; Glasgow Herald, 31 July 1929, p. 13.

8: Census data, [accessed 3 June 2013]; Scotsman, 2 July 1879, p. 7; James MacLehose, ed., Memoirs and Portraits of One Hundred Glasgow Men, Glasgow: James MacLehose & Sons, 1886, pp. 339–40.

9: Scotsman, 2 July 1879, p. 7.

10: Historic Scotland, listed building report 47593, Cambusnethan House, Wishaw, [accessed 3 June 2013]; 'The Late Sir Graeme Lockhart, Bart and Cambusnethan Castle', Glasgow and Lanarkshire Illustrated, Hamilton: Hamilton Herald, 1904, p. 113; Marcus Dean and Mary Miers, Scotland's Endangered Houses, London: Save Britain's Heritage, 1990, p. 122.

11: Scotsman, 2 July 1879, p. 7; James MacLehose, ed., Memoirs and Portraits of One Hundred Glasgow Men, Glasgow: James MacLehose & Sons, 1886, pp. 339–40.

12: Glasgow Herald, 11 June 1938, p. 13; 'Administrative History', Woodhall and Gartshore Estates, 2002, Archives Hub, [accessed 3 June 2013]; Scotsman, 23 September 1907, p. 10; 1 April 1909, p. 7.

13: Liverpool Mercury, 11 January 1887, p. 6; Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 13 January 1887, p. 6; National Probate Calendar England & Wales, 1858–1966, [accessed 3 June 2013]; Scotsman, 24 April 1946, p. 6.

14: Scotsman, 4 February 1909, p. 8; 3 April 1933, p. 10.

15: Scotsman, 13 May 1912, p. 6; 19 April 1920, p. 8; 7 December 1925, p. 9; 29 October 1926, p. 6; 31 May 1927, p. 10; 3 April 1933, p. 10.