Calderbank Primitive Methodist chapel

the first connexional chapel in Scotland: Airdrie ML6 9SG

The Primitive Methodist magazine for January 1857 contains an account by Thomas Bennett of the opening of Calderbank Primitive Methodist chapel, the first connexional chapel in Scotland.

Calderbank was a village of several thousand people, mostly employed by the Monkland Iron and Steel Company.  It was first missioned around 1846, and met at weekends in one of the company school rooms.  Evening meetings were held in houses.

A site was obtained at a nominal rent from James Baird, MP, and a foundation stone laid on June 8th 1856 by William Murray, Esq., one of the partners of the Monkland Iron and Steel Company. Preachers at the services and tea meeting were Rev. H. Yoole, of Alloa, RevS. Loxton, J. Stroud, J. Buckle and Rev. John Wilkie, of Holytown. “The collections were pretty liberal, considering the recent strike of the miners, etc. During the last quarter we have had a goodly number of conversions. We have formed a juvenile class of thirteen members.”

The chapel was opened on October 19th 1856 with three sermons by Rev James Macpherson of Blackburn (England).  On the following day there was, of course, tea for 250 people and services. Preachers included Rev Dr Gillan (Glasgow), J Macpherson, P. Maddocks, J Stroud, J Buckle, W Elstone and T Bennett.  R Innes preached the following Sunday.  “Collections (all circumstances considered) were liberal”.

Total cost was £400, of which they had raised £180.  They would have raised more, “but for the miners’ strike”. Donations came from the Company, James Baird, DCRC Buchanan, Colonel Elphinstone and John Webster, who also “obtained for us the use of a quarry to raise stone for the erection, free of lordship.”

The building was 49′ x 34′ and was the only chapel or church in the village. Built of stone and with a boarded floor, it seated around 280.  There was a vestry too which seated 50 or 60 people.

I’m not sure about its location; on the 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey map of 1886 it is clearly labelled as “Primitive Methodist” on Main Street.  By 1898 the label simply says “church” with a manse, opposite the newly built school. On Google Street View in 2010 it is the Church of Scotland located on the site.  Can anyone clarify please?


Primitive Methodist Magazine August 1856 p.503

Primitive Methodist Magazine August 1857 p.58

Comments about this page

  • The former chapel is at the top of Park Road on the south side. It was converted to a house about 10 year ago, is in private ownership and rented out at present. There is a local intention to have a plaque put on the property relating to its use as a Primitive Methodist Chapel.

    By Dr I A Glen (02/10/2017)
  • Thanks for the update.  It would be great if you could let us have a photograph that we could add to the page.

    By Christopher Hill (02/10/2017)

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