The Church of Scotland Cumbernauld Old Parish Church
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at 11.00am

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History - page 1 of 5
Building Interior Kirkyard Ministers Balloch
The Parish Church building
(many thanks to Jim Walker FSA (Scot) for the following text)

Cumbernauld Old Parish Church line drawingThis ancient building owes its foundations to an early chapel built by the Comyn family at the end of the 12th or the beginning of the 13th century.

The feudal barony of Kirkintilloch had two motte castles - one at Peel Park, Kirkintilloch and the other here in Cumbernauld. The baron was responsible for providing a place of worship within his 'fief'. The parish church of the area was St. Ninian's in Kirkintilloch but to cover the outlying areas there were also local chapels, known as 'chapels-of-ease', one of which was here in Cumbernauld.

A brief notice appears on record in 1500 when Cumbernauld, like other places in Britain, was badly hit by the plague - the 'Black Death'. The village was so decimated that the surviving inhabitants had great difficulty in carrying the bodies for burial to the parish burial ground at the old kirk of St. Ninian's at Kirkintilloch. The parishioners made an application to the See of Glasgow, within whose jurisdiction Cumbernauld fell, for permission to open a new burial ground at the Chapel of Cumbernauld.

With the advent of the Reformation the old chapel fell into disuse and soon became roofless and ruinous. In 1621 the Earl of Wigton made application to the Commissioners for the Plantation of Kirks to have a church erected on his estate at Cumbernauld. The application was refused but the earl's chaplain began to hold regular services in the hall of Cumbernauld castle. As a result the parish of Lenzie was divided into two - Easter and Wester Lenzie, which became the parishes of Cumbernauld and Kirkintilloch respectively. It was necessary for the new parish to have its church erected as quickly and as cheaply as possible. This was done by the repair of the old walls of the original chapel ruins and the erection of a new roof upon them.

The 'new' church was ready for occupancy by the end of the following year - 1650.

Section of Church wall showing '59'The population within the parish continued to grow and by 1659 it was necessary to increase the size of the church by adding the North Aisle. This allowed the minister to have the pulpit in the middle of the south wall and thus see all sections of the kirk at once - a common arrangement in those days, and still in use today.

Picture of Church from southBy the end of the eighteenth century growing prosperity and an increase in population within the parish resulted in the church being further enlarged by adding an additional storey to the main block and wing. The erection of galleries with outside stairs to serve them and the insertion of two fine tall windows to the south completed these alterations.

In 1810 the roof was strengthened; heating was introduced in the form of two stoves; wooden porches were erected at the top of the outside stairs. Later the earthen floor was covered with flagstones.

Picture of Church from north-eastIn 1931 before the property was handed over by the Heritors, another major scheme of renovation work was embarked upon. Most of the woodwork was renewed and a wooden floor was laid on the flagstones. During the repairs several tombstones of notables buried inside the church were removed and placed against the outside east wall where they remain today.

ęCumbernauld Old Parish Church of Scotland; Registered Scottish Charity SC000877