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AIRTH PARISH CHURCH 


Link : List of Ministers to Airth Parish Church 

TIMELINE
                Airth Parish Church                        1929

St. Peter’s Church

1929   Airth North Church                          1956

1956   Airth Old Parish Church                 present

1120s: Bishop Robert of St Andrews consecrates a new stone church.

1128: Church granted to Holyrood Abbey by David I.

1146: "church of Hereth along with the land pertaining to the same church and with all the land which I added and gave to it as my officers and worthy men perambulated it and handed it over to abbot Alwin along with a saltpan in Hereth and 26 acres; which church and fore-named land I wish that the regulars of Holy Cross should have and possess for all time freely and peacefully, and I sternly prohibit anyone from unjustly molesting or disturbing the monks or the men belonging to them who remain on that same land or from unjustly  exacting from them services,  aids or customs.   I wish also that the monks should have the liberty of making a mill on that land and that they should have in Hereth all the customary privileges..."

Airth Old Church 1

 Interior of the Church looking east.

12th century: The remains of three arcades in the Transitional style can be attributed to the late twelfth century.   These stand in the west part of the body of the existing church and would have formed part of a nave aisle.   The eastern respond of the arcade survives intact with its moulded base, keel-shaped pillar, and capital, and the western one remains in part.  A later round arch of two plain orders connects the eastern respond with the first pier of the nave arcade, and centrally between this and the western respond there is a fragment of what appears to be the base slab of the other free-standing pier.  This completes the three-bay system.   The responds and the circular pier show an early form of water-holding base, the profile of the lower roll being flat and semi-elliptical.   The capitals have square abaci, but whereas the pier capital is formed with plain concave sides which are crudely carved with simple foliage the one belonging to the eastern respond is an accomplished piece of masoncraft, wrought from a harder stone, with a waterleaf design.

1450-1487: Airth aisle added by Alexander Bruce of Stenhouse and Airth, possibly as a chaplainry.   The east and west walls contain, respectively, an aumbry recess in the south-east corner and a small but deeply moulded square-headed window, divided into two lights by a mullion.   In the south gable wall there was originally a large traceried window, but only the form of its equilateral arch and chamfered surround survives, together with a fragment of the tracery, as it was contracted - presumably in the seventeenth century, to judge by its hollow chamfered surround - in order to match the other work of that date.   Beneath the south window there is a segmental-arched tomb-recess, with a hollow chamfered surround, in which now lies a mutilated female effigy.

The outside of the aisle gable is provided with a splayed plinth, cut off square with the two side walls and also interrupted, just west of the equilateral window, by an inserted doorway, now blocked up.  A recess for the door in its opened position can be seen in the inner face of the west wall of the aisle.   The plinth continues along the west wall at a lower level.   The equilateral window retains its external hood-mould, with carved, foliated stops.   On the east jamb-stone of its contracted opening is incised an early form of sundial or mass-clock.   Beneath the gable coping there occurs a series of carved flowers, very irregular in their size and disposition, and at the apex a wasted finial.   The skewputs bear shields charged for Bruce:  A saltire and chief.  On the exterior of the east wall there is a niche for a statue with an ornamental canopy and bracket.  The bracket is carved with a shield charged, for Bruce: A saltire, on a chief two mullets.  At two points near the south end of the east wall there can be seen, respectively, the initials RB and a crudely scratched cross; both are very indistinct as a result of weathering.

1593: Elphinstone aisle built by Alexander Elphinstone.   It lies just west of the Airth Aisle, separated from the nave by a semicircular arch of two orders, the inner one being chamfered.  The aisle contains several fine tombstones, the earliest of which is dated 1593, which appears to be the date when the aisle was built.   The gable is crow-stepped and has cavetto-moulded skewputs.   The side walls are finished with a moulded eaves-course of similar section, and at the base there is a splayed plinth similar to that on the Airth Aisle.  Centrally placed in the gable wall is a plain square-headed window with rounded arises, which has been contracted on its east side by the insertion of a chamfered jamb.   The lintelled doorway, at the south-west corner, also has rounded arrises.   An armorial panel set in the gable above the window is now virtually illegible through weathering, but a drawing published in 1896 shows it to have been parted per pale and charged for Elphinstone and Livingstone: Dexter, a chevron between three boars' heads erased; sinister, quarterly, 1st and 4th, three gillyflowers, 2nd and 3rd a bend between six billets.   It is flanked by the initials M/AE for Master Alexander Elphinstone, who became the fourth Lord Elphinstone in 1602, and IL/ME for his wife Jane Livingstone, Mistress Elphinstone, daughter of William sixth Lord Livingstone.   The date 1593, which appears below the shield, is presumably the building-date of the aisle.

1614: Bruce aisle added by Sir James Bruce of Powfoulis on the north side of the nave, opposite the Airth Aisle.   It is a plain structure with a crow-stepped north gable.   A splayed base-course extends along the gable wall and part of the east wall, where it ends at the north-east re-entrant angle overlapping the splayed base of the early buttress.   On the lintel of the door in the north gable are the initials S/IB and D/MR for Sir James Bruce of Powfoulis and his wife, Dame Margaret Rollox of Duncrub, with the raised inscription THE LORD IS MY TRUIST.   Above the doorway is a moulded panel containing the Bruce arms with the letters SIB over it; the moulded surround appears to be old but the shield and letters seem to be of comparatively recent date.   On the west skewput of the gable the letters SIB and DMR occur again and the east one bears the date 1614.

1630: / .... Continued here

 
 
   
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