Catholic Church Kilsyth


Monsignor Patrick Macnamara

Father Patrick MacnamaraPatrick 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 until 1938.

Canon Patrick Macnamara (seated) with his brother Canon Thomas Macnamara standing

The then Canon Patrick Macnamara (seated) with
his brother Canon Thomas Macnamara (standing).

Click 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.)

The Glasgow Observer Sat April 7th 1917

Fr Macnamara is made a Canon - Glasgow Observer 7th April 1917

Click 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.

1936 The Golden jubilee presentation to the then Canon Macnamara

Canon Macnamara's Golden jubilee presentation in 1936 from William McIllhaney on behalf of St Patrick's in the presence of Kilsyth Town Council and some priests.

Click 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.

Canon Macnamara 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 Catholic community.

Prayer Card of Monsiggnor Macnamara frontPrayer Card of Monsiggnor Macnamara back

Prayer Card of Monsiggnor Macnamara front and back

Click on any picture to see a larger image

Monsignor Macnamara 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.

Monsignor Macnamara's 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, Co Limerick.

A Recent Family Visit

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.

The Macnamara family in St Patrick's Kilsyth Aug 2010
Paraic Macnamara with his wife Mary and their two girls Sarah and Grainne, on their visit St Patrick's Aug 2010.

The Macnamara family in St Patrick's Kilsyth Aug 2010

Click 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 Archivists.

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 Kilsyth.

Obituary

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 Church Kilsyth.

R.I.P.

By kind permission of The Scottish Catholic Directory, 1939 edition, page 395.

The Kilsyth Chronicle Friday, July 22 1938 pg 1.

HONOUR FOR KILSYTH PRIEST

His Holiness 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.

The Kilsyth Chronicle Friday 19th August 1938 pg 1.

DEATH OF CANON MACNAMARA, KILSYTH

Passes Away While on Holiday

Widespread 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.

Canon 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.

No priest 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.

Thirty 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.

A man 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.

Canon Macnamara took a big interest in educational affairs and was a member of the old school board of Kilsyth and of the School Management Committee.

The deceased was about 76 years of age.

The funeral took place on Tuesday to the family burying place at Limerick.

The funeral 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.

The Kilsyth Chronicle Friday, July 22 1938 pg 1.

SCHOOL MANAGEMENT REFERENCE

Mr James 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.

The Committee agreed unanimously.

The Kilsyth Chronicle Friday, Aug 26th 1938 pg 1.

FUNERAL OF CANON MACNAMARA, KILSYTH

The Primate 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.

Born at Crecora, Limerick, in 1862, Monsignor Macnamara was ordained at St John's Waterford in 1886. He celebrated his golden jubilee two years ago.

He was 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.

The celebrant 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, PP, Castlecomer.

In the Choir was the Archbishop of Edinburgh, Most Rev.Dr. MacDonald.

The Archbishop of Cashel, Most Rev. Dr. Harty was represented by the Rev T. J. O'Conner, Thurles.

CLERGY PRESENT

The priests 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.

CHIEF MOURNERS

The chief 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).

The attendance 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, Hazeley, Whalley 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.

THE FUNERAL

Mgr. Macnamara's remains were taken by road to Limerick for burial immediately after Mass.

A large 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 Clifton.

The Mayor of Limerick, Ald. D. Bourke, TD and members of the Corporation headed a large attendance of laity.

The other 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.

Rev. 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, Clarina.

Rev. 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.

The Archbishop of Edinburgh, assisted by the Bishops of Limerick and Clifton, officiated at the graveside.

Weavers, Miners and the Open Book - A History of Kilsyth by James Hutchison.

CHAPTER 14, PAGE 98 - THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.

One of 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.

Father 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.

Picketing 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.

At this 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 their membership.

In 1923, 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.

Weavers, Miners and the Open Book - A History of Kilsyth by James Hutchison.

CHAPER 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.

RHS Duntreath Arms Hotel set back off the road. aka The Old Inn.Apparently 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 with them.

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 earlier date".

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.



 
God BlessYou!