Macnamara was a native of Ireland,
born at Crecora, 5 miles south of
Limerick in the diocese of Ossory
in 1862, one of three brothers Patrick ,Cornelius and Thomas,
two of which (Patrick and Thomas) became priests.
He was ordained at the age of 24 at St John's Waterford in
1886 specifically for the diocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh
in Scotland. Upon arrival in Scotland, Fr. Macnamara
was loaned to Dunkeld Diocese and his first posting in Scotland was as assistant
Priest at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Dundee
where he served from 1886 to 1887.
From there like many young Irish Priests his first taste of
St Andrews and Edinburgh came via a period of service again
as an assistant Priest at St Mary's Cathedral Edinburgh where
he was posted from 1887 to 1888. After a period of 5 years of
service as assistant Priest at Lochgelly
from 1888 to 1892, he then undertook a nine year posting as
Parish Priest of Penicuk.
It was then that Father Patrick Macnamara, came to St Patrick's
Kilsyth from the Parish of The Sacred Heart in Penicuk
in 1903 and served as the Parish Priest of Kilsyth for 35 years
The then Canon Patrick
Macnamara (seated) with
his brother Canon Thomas Macnamara (standing).
on any picture to see a larger image
He was made Canon after taking up his duties
at St Patrick's and a short time before his sudden death was
made a Domestic Prelate by the Pope marking him out as the most
senior ranking priest to hold the office of Parish Priest of
St Patrick's Kilsyth. (Although notably a
Cardinal and a Bishop number amongst those who have served as
assistant priests in Kilsyth.)
Fr Macnamara is made a Canon - Glasgow Observer
7th April 1917
on any picture to see a larger image
During Monsignor Macnamara's
stay in Kilsyth, he added a top storey to the school, renovated
the church, erected the high altar and communion rails (the
rails were dedicated as a war memorial to those lost from the
Parish in the First World War) and introduced electric lighting
to the church and presbytery in 1929. During 1923, he had built
the first parochial hall, which was unfortunately completely
destroyed by fire in 1933. He immediately set about securing
the present St. Patrick's Hall, the old Victoria Hall, which
was ready for use in 1934 after substantial additions to the
existing structure, which made it a suite of halls suited to
the needs of this large parish. This new suite of halls, which
was opened in 1934, was formerly the United Presbyterian Church;
it had been used latterly as a variety hall and cinema. As part
of the purchase he acquired "Mansefield
House" the former church manse. The rooms of this house
were used at various times in the 1940's to accommodate school
classes of infants as an 'overflow' to the adjacent St Patrick's
school which was by then rapidly expanding in school role numbers.
Golden jubilee presentation in 1936 from William McIllhaney
on behalf of St Patrick's in the presence of Kilsyth Town Council
and some priests.
on any picture to see a larger image
In 1936 Canon Macnamara
celebrated the golden Jubilee of his Ordination amongst his
beloved flock, the people of St Patrick's Kilsyth after having
celebrated his Silver Jubilee in the same parish 25 years previously!
A story recounted in an article published by the Kilsyth Chronicle
tells how having been given a 'handsome gift' by the Parish
for his jubilee and he spent it getting craftsmen to come from
Italy to decorate the alter in the
old St Patrick's church - thus giving back to the parish and
equally handsome gift!
In the photograph above in the
Kilsyth Town Council Chamber, Canon Macnamara recieves the presentation
from St Patrick's presented by Mr William McIllhaney. Extreem
right in the photo is Fr Harold who had been previously an assistant
priest in Kilsyth working with Canon Macnamara from 1923 to
1928. The old priest to his right is Monsignor Miley and Canon
Chase is the priest sitting against the back wall. Standing
behind Canon Macnamara and behind the seated councillors is
future Kilsyth town Provost a rather young looking Robert Callaghan.
received two chalices which are still in use at St Patrick's
today - his 30th anniversary silver chalice and a
magnificent jem encrusted golden chalice
with matching monstrance. They were made in Dublin and of the
highest quality Irish craftsmanship with notable decorative
engraving. This Golden Jubilee Chalice is used in St Patrick's
for Easter, Christmas and the other major feasts of the liturgical
year. The silver 30th Anniversary Chalice is in daily
use for communion.
Canon Macnamara was summoned to
Edinburgh in July 1938 by Archbishop MacDonald as the Pope (Pius
XI) had made him a Domestic Prelate with the title Monsignor.
He left immediately thereafter for Ireland and a short holiday
from which he never returned, thus never setting foot back in
the Parish of St Patrick's Kilsyth as Monsignor.
After serving 35 years - the longest
serving Parish Priest in the history of St Patrick's, the news
of the sudden death of this beloved Priest whilst on holiday
in Dun Laoghaire on the 14th Aug 1938 was greeted with shock
and sadness by a generation of Kilsyth and also Croy's
Prayer Card of Monsiggnor
Macnamara front and back
on any picture to see a larger image
was buried in Mount Laurence Cemetery Limerick, Ireland with
the Most Rev. Dr MacDonald, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh
officiating assisted at the graveside by The Most Rev Dr Keane
the Bishop of Limerick, and
The Most Rev. Dr Leen, Bishop of Clifton.
His internment followed a journey from the church of St Michael's
Dun Laoghaire where the primate of all Ireland, His Eminence
Cardinal MacRory, had presided at
both Office and Solemn Requiem Mass in the presence of many
Scottish and Irish Priests.
brother who became a priest and ultimately Thomas Canon Macnamara
is interred beside him in Mount Laurence Cemetery. Canon Macnamara
died 10 years later in 1948 after spending most of his priestly
service with the people of Patrickswell,
In August 2010, St Patrick's Kilsyth was pleased
to host the Macnamara family on a
visit to Scotland to find the Parish where their great uncle
and great, great uncle had been a
Priest. Paraic Macnamara, grandson
of Monsignor Macnamara's brother Cornelius,
his wife Mary and their two daughters Sarah and Grainne
came to visit Kilsyth.
Paraic Macnamara with his wife
Mary and their two girls Sarah and Grainne, on their visit St
Patrick's Aug 2010.
on any picture to see a larger image
They were hosted by Fr James Tracy, successor
to the office of Parish Priest of St Patrick's Kilsyth, Eileen
Robinson former Sacristan of St Patrick's who was able to show
them Monsignor Macnamara's Chalices
and Monstrance and Jack McGovern & John Trower who are Parish
Paraic, Mary and the girls were
also able to see records hand written by Monsignor Macnamara
and were presented with a scrap book containing photographs
and articles about him. During their visit they also went to
see St Patrick's Cannongate in Edinburgh,
a visit which co-incided by happy
accident with the celebration Mass of the Silver Jubilee of
the Episcopal Ordination of His Eminence Keith Patrick, Cardinal
O'Brien, who himself had once been a priest at St Patrick's
Pray for the soul of the Right Rev Mgr. Patrick Macnamara
who died on the 14th August in the 76th year of his age and
in the 52nd of his priesthood.
Monsignor Macnamara was born in the diocese of Ossory in 1863
and was ordained at the age of 24. After coming to Scotland
he was first stationed as a curate in St Mary’s Cathedral,
Edinburgh. His first independent charge was at Lochgelly where
he remained from 1888 till 1892. In that year he was transferred
to Penicuik, then to Rosewell and finally to Kilsyth where he
ministered to the faithful for 35 years. In 1917 he was made
a member of the Metropolitan Chapter of St Andrews and Edinburgh
and later a Domestic Prelate. His best efforts were directed
not only to the benefit of his own parishioners but to the welfare
of the community of Kilsyth where he was held in general esteem.
Monsignor Macnamara’s health had been poor for some time
before his death and he died suddenly at Dun Laoghaire while
on holiday in Ireland.
Requiem Mass was celebrated in St Michael’s Church Dun
Laoghaire by the Right Rev. Dr Lee, Bishop of Clifton in the
presence of His Eminence Cardinal MacRory. His Grace the Archbishop
of St Andrews and Edinburgh was present in the sanctuary.
On the same day Requiem Mass was celebrated in St Patrick’s
By kind permission of The Scottish Catholic Directory,
1939 edition, page 395.
Kilsyth Chronicle Friday, July 22 1938 pg 1.
HONOUR FOR KILSYTH
the Pope has conferred upon the Very Rev. Canon Macnamara,
Kilsyth the distinction of Domestic Prelate. Canon Macnamara
has given 52 years of devoted service to the priesthood, of
which about 35 have been spent in Kilsyth.
Kilsyth Chronicle Friday 19th August 1938 pg 1.
OF CANON MACNAMARA, KILSYTH
Away While on Holiday
regret was felt in Kilsyth on Sunday when it was learned that
the Very Rev. Canon Patrick Macnamara, St Patrick's R.C. Church, Kilsyth, had died while
on holiday in Ireland. He left about a couple of months ago
to tour his native country and his death took place at Dun-loighre,
Eira. A telephone message came through
from Ireland early in the morning that the Canon was dead. It
was quite a shock for his congregation.
Macnamara was held in high esteem in the community for his
gentlemanly manner and his kindly nature. To
many ever outside his own congregation, he gave words of kindly
encouragement in the passing and he dearly loved to crack a
joke with them. He was not a man of many words; but they were
invariably to the point.
could have done more for his congregation than Canon Macnamara
did for St Patrick's his dearly loved flock for some 35 years.
He carried through very great improvements on the church and
other buildings and had not spared his own personal belongings
in the doing of it. When his congregation sought to mark his
semi-jubilee with a very handsome gift, it went back for the
beautifying and improvement of the church which he claimed to
be one of the finest adorned in Scotland. Especially skilled
workmen were brought from Italy to undertake the work.
five years ago he came to Kilsyth where he had seen great changes.
He reconstructed a hall for the congregation and saw it destroyed
by fire only to replace it with a building still more substantial
by reconstructing the Victoria Hall. Prior to coming here he
had done faithful duty at Penicuik
and Rosewell and had been earlier
at Lochgelly. He commenced duty as
a curate at St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh 52 years ago. He
was held in the very highest esteem amongst the Catholic Clergy
in Scotland. Only recently His Holiness the Pope had conferred
upon Canon Macnamara the distinction of Domestic Prelate.
of extremely fine stature and dignified bearing he had in these
past few years failed very considerably; but possessed of an
indomitable spirit, he laboured on amongst his flock, ever solicitous
for their welfare. The little ones were his especial favourites.
He would not pass them bye without a kindly pat on the head
and a joyful word.
Macnamara took a big interest in educational affairs and was
a member of the old school board of Kilsyth and of the School
was about 76 years of age.
took place on Tuesday to the family burying place at Limerick.
was attended by Fathers Harold , McGettigan
and Lynch(formerly of Kilsyth)Baillie and Mrs Callaghan and
Mr M Hughes. A report will appear next week. Special Requiem
Mass was said in St Patrick's on Tuesday morning by Fr Kerr.
Kilsyth Chronicle Friday, July 22 1938 pg 1.
Docherty who presided at the meeting of Kilsyth District School
Management Committee on Tuesday said, 'I think it is my duty
in the absence of the Chairman to refer to the death of one
of our colleagues on this committee, in the person of Right
Revd. Monsignor Patrick Macnamara,
who died in Ireland on Sunday morning.
He had been a member of this committee since 1919 but owing
to age and infirmity had not been fit to attend the meetings
as he would have wished; but as I know intimately, he was very
much interested in Education, which was natural, as he had managed
and administered schools for 30 years before 1919 in Lochgelly,
Penicuik and also Kilsyth. During
his 35 years residence in Kilsyth, I think he had earned the
respect of the whole of this community; and I am sure the sympathy
of all goes out to St Patrick's congregation at the loss of
their beloved pastor. Therefore I propose that we should record
in our minutes this expression of our regret and ask our clerk
to send a copy to the 'Priest-in-charge' of St Patrick's Church.
Kilsyth Chronicle Friday, Aug 26th 1938 pg 1.
FUNERAL OF CANON
of all Ireland, His Eminence Cardinal MacRory
presided at Office and Solemn Requiem Mass in St Michael's Dun
Laoghaire, on Tuesday last week, for the Right Rev. Monsignor
Patrick Macnamara, Kilsyth, whose
funeral later took place to Mount St. Laurence Cemetery, Limerick.
at Crecora, Limerick, in 1862, Monsignor Macnamara
was ordained at St John's Waterford in 1886. He celebrated his
golden jubilee two years ago.
spending a holiday in this country [ed - looks like this article, published in the Kilsyth Chronicle
was lifted from an article written and published in Ireland,
as this error was never picked up and re-edited at the time] when he died on Sunday and has intended to return to his diocese shortly.
of the Mass was Most Rev. Dr Lee, Bishop of Clifton; deacon
Rev P Lee, St Munchin's college, Limerick; sub-deacon Rev. John McGettigan, cc Kilcar, Co Donegal;
master of ceremonies, Rev L Potter cc Dun Laoghaire, assistant
priest, very Rev Canon Macnamara,
Choir was the Archbishop of Edinburgh, Most Rev.Dr.
of Cashel, Most Rev. Dr. Harty was
represented by the Rev T. J. O'Conner, Thurles.
present were; Rt. Rev. Mgr. Cronin PP, Rathgar,
Dublin; Very Rev Canon Boylan, PP,
Dun Laoghaire; Very Rev. J. Rowe, PP Lisdowney,
Kilkenny; Rev Myles V. Ronan, CC, Dun Laoghaire; Rev. B. J.
Maguire, CM, St Joseph's Blackrock, Dublin; Rev. M. Clarke,
Secretary, Propagation of the Faith; Rev. G. J. O'Sullivan,
Chaplain, Little Sisters of the Assumption; Rev. C. J. Moriarty,
St Michael's Laperick; Very Rev Fr. Coleman CP Consultar,
Mount Argus; Rev Fr. Casmuir, CP,
Mount Argus; Rev P. Lynch, Edinburgh; Rev. James Harold, Kilsyth;
Rev Joseph Byrne, Kirkcaldy; Rev James Maguire, Ravelston
Place Edinburgh; Very Rev. Canon Carey, St. Joseph's Kilmarnock;
Rev. R. G. Wiggins, Carmelite Convent , Blackrock; Rev. M. O'Neil;
Rev. H. Murnaghan; Rev W. McDonald,
CC, Dun Laoghaire; Rev. Christopher Strachan, CC, Cobh; Rev.
M. A. O'Shea, CC, Gisethule; Very
Rev. Canon O'Neill, Brentwood; Rev. Michael Breen, Limerick;
Rt. Rev. Mgr. Provost O'Grady, VG, St George's Walthamstow,
London; Rev. J. Jennings, Tusm; Rev,
J. Harney, CC, Holy Cross, Thurles;
Rev. J. R. McMahon, SJ, Miltown Park;
Rev. M. Galvin, Sligo; Rev. A. Quinn, Sligo; Rev. Martin J.
Leahy, P.P., Eyecourt; Rev. Fr. Albert,
CP, Levenhall, Edinburgh; Rev. Nicholas
Kennedy, Leeds; Very Rev. Canon Morrison, Kilworth;
Rev. P.J. MacSwiney, PP, Southsea;
Rev P. Devlin, CC, Strabane.
mourners were; Very Rev. T.J. Macnamara,
PP, Patrickswell, Co. Limerick (brother); Miss B. Macnamara, Mrs. J. Barry(nieces);
Messrs Wm. Macnamara, Christopher
Macnamara, Thos. O'Brien, Andrew O'Gorman
(nephews); Mrs. C. Macnamara (sister-in-law);
Mr. P. O'Brien, Dr. W. F. Hooper, Dublin, and Mrs Hooper, Mrs
E. P. Morrissey, Abbeyleix; Mr Ivor Hooper, Dublin
(cousins); Mrs O'Gorman and Mr J. O'Brien (relatives).
included; Messrs Michael Murin, Banockburn;
C.F. Hyland, Stadbrook Halt, Blackrock;
Rt. Hon James McMahon PC; Dr. J.P. Brennan Coroner for Co Dublin,and
Mrs Brennan; Mrs. R. P. Brogan, Bearsden Scotland; Mrs Lynch,
Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan; Mr. M. Cunane,
Range, Manchester; Mrs Cunane; Mrs
P. Riordan, William Street, Limerick; Messrs Anthony and Gerard
Riordan, Captain R.B. Quinn, Mrs Quinn, Misses Christina and
Kathleen Masterson, Mrs W. O'Loghlen,
Waterford; Mrs O'Loghlen, Mrs Irwin,
Limerick, Mr P. N. Treacy, Limerick;
Mrs Treacy; Mr Robert Callaghan, Kilsyth,
Miss Annie Callaghan, Kilsyth; Dr Burke, Whalley
Range, Manchester; Mrs Ross, Miss Gallaher, Miss P. M. Leahy,
Miss K. Byrne, Miss F. E. Sheehey,
Miltown; Mr. P. N. Roche, Limerick,
Mrs Roche; Baillie Robert Callaghan, Kilsyth; Mrs Callaghan,
Mr Michael Hughes, Kilsyth; Dr W. Roantree,
Dr Brendan Roantree, Mr. T. Mackay,
Glengeary; Mrs Mackay; Mr. J. Walters;, Dun Laoghaire and
Mrs Walters; Miss Oona Treacy,
Miss Nuala Treacy,
Limerick; Miss Mullins, Greshan Hotel,
Dublin; Mr Thomas Stack, Dun Laoghaire, Mr. P. J. Whelan, Dun
Laoghaire; Mr T. P. O'Connor, Dun Laoghaire.
Macnamara's remains were taken by road to Limerick for burial
immediately after Mass.
attendance of clergy was headed by the Archbishop of Edinburgh,
Most Rev. Dr. MacDonald; Most Rev Dr Keane, Bishop of Limerick
and Most Rev. Dr. Leen, Bishop of
of Limerick, Ald. D. Bourke, TD and members of the Corporation
headed a large attendance of laity.
clergy present included the Very Rev. Canon O'Dwyer,
PP, VF, St Munchin's; Very Rev. Cannon
Hannon, PP St Mary's , Very Rev. Fr. Rae, PP, Shanagolden;
Very Rev. Canon Mangan, PP, VF, Rathkeale; Rev.
Fr Rice, Dononghmore.
E. Punch, PP, Mungret; Rev. J. Wallace, PP, Kildimo;
Rev. E. O'Dea, PP, Dromin; Rev. J.
Moloney, PP, Fedamore; Rev T. Wall,
PP Balligarry, Rev. J. Carr, PP, Kilfinane; Rev. J. Maloney, PP, Parteen;
Rev. D. Fitzgerald, PP, Stonehall;
Rev. Dr. Cowper, CC, St Michael's; Rev. R. O'Sullivan. C.C,
do; Rev. M. O'Grady, C.C., Shanagolden; Rev. J. Blewett, CC,
J. Brassil, CC, St. John's; Rev. C. Lynch, CC, Rathkeale; Rev. D. Costelloe, CC
do; Rev. J. Mortell, CC, St Munchin's;
Rev. H.O'Connor, CC, Kilmallock;
Rev. Fr. Dillon, Kelly, SJ; Rev Fr. Andrews, SJ;Rev
Fr. Hall, CC, St John's.
of Edinburgh, assisted by the Bishops of Limerick and Clifton,
officiated at the graveside.
Miners and the Open Book - A History of Kilsyth by James Hutchison.
14, PAGE 98 - THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
the most influential figures in the local devlepment
of the Catholic Church was surely Father Patrick Macnamara,
a native of Ossory in Ireland. He
succeeded Canon Turner in 1903and served the Parish for 35 years
until his death on 14th August 1938. In 1908 Canon
Macnamara was responsible for adding
a second story to the school, consisting of 3 classrooms and
by 1910 the school roll was numbered some 350 - 400 children.
Among the early headteachers were Mr Stone Miss Gallagher and Miss Keane.
In 1918 the Education Act transferred the responsibility for
the school to the County Education Committee although the church
retained control of certain aspects of the curriculum. By this
time the school facilities were overcrowded and inadequate and
in 1929 it was moved to the old Burngreen
School, later the county Library and in 1933 it was again moved
to the old fever hospital and was raised to the status of a
Junior Secondary School. During the years of the second world
war St Patricks suffered a chequered career, being housed at
various times in St Patrick's Hall, the Territorial Hall and
Mansefield House and this pattern continued in the 1950's
when the H.O.R.S.A. huts at Stirling Road were pressed into
service, thus scattering the school population over 3 sites,
spread over a radius of 2 miles. At last in 1964 proper provision
was made with the opening of the present school at Bogside
Park. During the difficult times described above the various
headmasters of the school were Mr Allen McCann M.A, BSc, and
Mr. Hugh Dobbie.
MacNamara's term in Kilsyth also co-incided
with one of the most trying times in the recent history of the
local community, namely the great miner's strike of the 1920's.
Most of the Roman Catholic community were employed in the mining
industry or had close associations with it. In general the Protestant/Catholic
division in the town was not a major factor in the stressful
days of the strike. Indeed several of the important local strike
leaders were Roman Catholics such as, James Doherty, Charles
Docherty, Bob Callaghan and Dan Taggart, who were elected to
their positions by their fellow miners, the majority of whom
were Protestants. Nevertheless claims of intimidation and discrimination
were made. For example the Rev Duncan Cameron, at a meeting
of the Education Authority, claimed that his 19 year old daughter
had been stopped in her car and threatened with wounding "by
a band of men mainly Irish" and that there had been "a reign
of terror and violence in Kilsyth". He also claimed that James
Docherty had refused permits to Protestant school children and
that the children he interested himself in are the children
of Banknock - Irish Roman Catholics"
He was supported in this attack by the Rev. Finlayson, who said
that it reflected great discredit on the Education Authority
that "Mr. Docherty, who, dressed in a little usurped authority
was foolish enough and misguided enough to sign and issue permits
in Kilsyth from the TUC". On the other hand the Cumbernauld
Council were accused of abandoning their relief provisions to
over 170 miners' families when they learnt that 76% of the applicants
were Roman Catholics.
was widespread in the area. For example Croy
miners marched to Condorrat on the
main Edinburgh to Glasgow Road armed with stones and and
long poles and stopped most of the traffic including the Royal
Mail.Several mass demonstrations took
place the first being held in Highland Park, on Thursday the
8th Juky 1926 when miners
marched from the villages of Banton,
Queenzieburn, Croy, Twechar and Kilsyth. The following Sunday miners from Croy Bedlay and Auchengeich held a rally at the Mollinsburn
'Rocks', a favourite open air speaking place when David Mullen,
a Catholic member of the Lanarkshire Miners Executivedemanded
that the Catholic Herald newspaper should attack the Catholic
coalowner, the Marquis of Bute, rather than the Protestant
miners' national secretary, Arthur Cook.
juncture the local Communist Party branch began to emerge with
men such as John Heeps and Alex Shawtaking an active
role in the leadership of the dispute. In late July, at a meeting
addressed by J.R.Campbell, in the
Independant labour Party Hall, about
40 of the audience, half of them Catholics
, formed the Kilsyth Branch of the Communist Party. This
caused great concern in the Catholic Church and Father Macnamara
began keeping back the miners in his congregation after Sunday
services to warn them against Communism. Much to his dismay
he discovered large quantities of Communist literature in the
homes of many of his Parishioners during his pastoral visits.
This led to a strong attack on the Communist menace from the
pulpit and a refusal to grant absolution to any of his congregation
who remained in the Party. Eventually only 6 Catholic Communists
remained and they were approached individually by the Church
until by the end of the lock-out most local Catholics had withdrawn
Father[Ed - by then Canon] Macnamara had opened the first Parochial Hall and when this
was destroyed by fire in 1933, the present St Patrick's Hall
was acquired and opened in 1934. This was originally the old
building of the United Presbyterian Church although for some
time it had been used as a theatre and a cinema.
Miners and the Open Book - A History of Kilsyth by James Hutchison.
15, PAGE 102 to 104 -
THE KILSYTH RIOT OF 1905.
The Kilsyth Chronicle of 21st April 1905 carried details of
the following incidents which, after years of freedom from sectarian
violence, saw Kilsyth embroiled in scenes of "unprecedented
lawlessness". The immediate cause of the disturbances which
developed into a riot of the most serious nature, accompanied
by wanton destruction of property and injury to several persons,
was the visit of the Anderston Conservative Flute Band, an organisation composed
of men from Anderston, Springburn,
Bridgeton and Denniston." On the
Saturday afternoon, the Twechar Conservative
Flute Band visited Kilsyth and after playing through the streets,
went to the New Station expecting to meet the Anderson Band
at the 5.13 p.m. train from Glasgow Queen Street Station.
Unfortunately the band had taken another train and arrived
instead at Croy Station at 5.07 p.m.
and began walking to Kilsyth accompanied by a number of followers.
On their way through what was a predominantly Catholic
district, the band played several provocative tunes and flaunted
their colours, with the result that there were several skirmishes
between the band and onlookers.
The presence of Smithstone Hibs in Kilsyth accompanied
by a large number of their supporters was perhaps a good thing
for the bandsmen who, had the miners been at home, might never
have reached Kilsyth. At
Auchinstarry a man was struck by a
stone thrown by one of the visitors; a woman drenched several
of the bandsmen with pails of water; another woman had her basket
and purse stolen and several children were maltreated. Several of the Twechar
men joined the visitors just beyond Kelvinbank
and on police advice the Auchinstarry
people stayed on their own side of the canal.
Several of the miners were carrying short loaded sticks and were obviously
looking for trouble. Going along Newton Street, Kilsyth, a staff
enwrapped in the Orange colours and adorned with the Order's
emblems was vigorously waved, while the women taunted the onlookers
and flaunted orange handkerchiefs.
A few stones were thrown and several people received
cuts and bruises. Otherwise,
in passing through the street the band was not molested. The climax developed as the Kingston Road was
reached and the bands came opposite the Brick Rows, where there
was a large Catholic population.
Here, stones flew thick and fast and several persons
were injured. About 7 p.m., the band reached the Duntreath Arms Hotel and entered for refreshments.
the "fiery cross" had been sent around, for quickly a crowd,
largely composed of persons from Auchinstarry,
Smithstone and Croy,
assembled in the square opposite the hotel waiting for their
chance of revenge. During
the waiting a few fights took place, during which Constable
Aitken of Banton received an ugly
gash inflicted by either a broken glass or a bottle and this
required several stitches. By
9 p.m., there were few panes of glass left in the hotel windows.
At this stage Inspector Barnett realised that the local
police were helpless to deal with the turbulent members of the
crowd which numbered about 1500 people, and had telephoned for
help to Falkirk, Denny and Stirling. Shortly after 10 p.m., amid cries of "put them
out, put them out", the rioters made a rush on the hotel. Stones and bottles rained against the building
and in the ground flat not a whole pane of glass was left, while
windows at the rear and even up to the top flat were broken. One party was stationed at the entrance to the
Old Station and had armed themselves with stobs
so that, had the band got that length, it would have gone hard
In endeavouring to prevent the rioters using a plank taken from Messrs.
Baxter's new building adjoining, Mr. James I. Little, the burgh
surveyor, was set upon, had his head cut open and was otherwise
maltreated. The shutters
of the sitting room where the bandsmen sat were burst in and
one individual standing on the window-sill had stones handed
to him with which he kept up a fusillade until the bandsmen
had bolted from the room. This "gentleman" then jumped into the room and
threw the drums out to the waiting crowd below who destroyed
them. Whilst this was going on another person burst
in the side door facing the New Station Buildings. Access was got to the bar, where a scene of
the wildest description was witnessed.
Mirrors were broken, taps were turned on, bottles of
liquor were handed out, bed clothing, drapery and many small
items were appropriated. Furnishings of kitchen and sitting rooms were
wantonly destroyed. Reinforcements
arrived from Denny under Inspector Greenhill, but he was soon
on the injured list with a cut temple.
At about 12.30 on the Sunday morning, Rev. P. MacNamarra
of St. Patrick's Chapel and two of the local Justices of the
Peace, Messrs. H. Brown and R. J. Graham arrived on the scene
and managed to persuade a large number of the crowd to disperse
but it was forcibly expressed by the crowd that that they would
yet square matters with the band.
[Ed - local tradition has it that Fr. Macnamara
then addressed the crowd and said 'you good Catholics of the
town go home now and you good protestants of the town go home
too and allow these men to go free', as large crowd of Kilsyth's
Protestants as well as angered Catholics from Kilsyth and Croy
had also gathered to witness and take part in the events unfolding.
Local tradition also has it that some of the
Catholic men had 'liberated' some explosives from the local
quarry and were rigging the building at this stage - hence the
urgency of the address at this point in time. Fr Macnanara
and the local JPs managed in the end to avert a possible act
of sectarian violence that thankfully never materialised to
blight the history of Scotland in a way which had troubled Ireland
for many years previously and subsequently.]
Going up the Main Street the windows of a shop owned by Mr. Boyd, the
tinsmith, were smashed. Between
2 a.m. and 3 a.m., about 50 police reinforcements arrived under
the leadership of Superintendent Grant of Stirling and Superintendent
Gordon of Falkirk. Superintendent
McLellan of Kirkintilloch waited
with a draft of Dunbartonshire police at Auchinstarry
Canal Bridge in case of further outbreaks of trouble. After 3 a.m., it was considered safe enough
for the bandsmen to be removed to the police station. At 7 a.m. the following morning, after their
names had been taken, the bandsmen were escorted out of the
burgh and set out on foot for Glasgow.
At Queenzieburn, sympathisers provided them with breakfast.
They were met at Kirkintilloch by a band of over 100 of their friends from
Glasgow, many of them armed with sticks, who were on their way
to Kilsyth to relieve them.
They stopped at Lenzie for refreshments and then continued on their way home,
being met by another group of their supporters between Springburn
and Bishopbriggs. Had the
band tried to leave from Croy or Dullatur, it is believed that there would have been a renewal
of the disturbances on the Sunday.
Visitors poured into the town on the Sunday to view the scene of destruction. On all hands, surprise was expressed that the
police had not called for civilian help.
One magistrate commenting on this said that anyone who
had done so would have been a marked man in they
eyes of the Roman Catholic population.
The damage done to the hotel was estimated at £200.
Among those arrested for their part in the events were
James McCann, a miner, Auchinstarry, William Kenny, miner, Brick Rows, Kilsyth; Dan
Croley, labourer, Parkburn
Road, Kilsyth and Francis McBride, Patrick Gallagher and John
Mellon, all miners from Auchinstarry. Over the next two months they were to feature
in a number of court cases which served as the main topic of
discussion in the community and in the local press.
The Thursday following the riot, Kilsyth magistrates
began appointing special constables, men between the ages of
20-50 years. Over 50 men were enrolled for a six months period
of duty, "unless the magistrates should deem the circumstances
of the town warrant their appointment to be rescinded at an
Old men in the community commenting on the riot said that "forty years
ago such a disturbance would not have been allowed to continue
so long". Apparently in the 1860's and 1870's there had
been a long history of trouble, particularly on Saturday nights,
but although at that time there was only one constable stationed
in the town he was supported by a large number of special constables
or batonmen who were called out on
rota every five or six weeks to disperse potential troublemakers,
when the pubs and music halls emptied.