In 1862 there was a population of over 400
Catholics in Kilsyth but there was still no permanent Priest
or church building and Bishop Gillis, Vicar Apostolic of the
Eastern District of Scotland, at the second time of asking,
granted a permanent Priest Fr John Galvin who arrived on the
5th Jan 1865.
This young Priest then set about raising
funds to build both a Church and a house. The land occupied
by St Patrick’s was donated by Sir Archibald Edmonstone,
Bart of Duntreath, who gifted all the land between Low Craigends
and Shuttle Street parallel to Kilsyth Primary School a strip
about 40m wide. At the time the land was rigged steeply sloped
and covered in large couch stones. When funds were raised,
a small stone church designed by architect Duncan McFarlane
of Greenock and built by a contractor Mr Gow, was supervised
by A. McIntosh of Glasgow. It is remarkable that it was built
within 14 months of Fr Galvin’s arrival in Kilsyth.
Much of the stone was quarried locally by the parishioners
and many of the labourers used in the construction by Mr.
Gow were members of the congregation themselves.
So the first St. Patrick’s church was
built on the same site as our modern church during 1865 and
was opened on 17th March (St Patrick’s Day) 1866. It
was a modest sandstone building and was built in the modern
gothic style which was universally used for places of worship
at the time.
Father Murphy was then stationed in Kilsyth
for 17 years, 1873 to 1889 and during this time he built St.
Patrick's School in 1874 and also the first addition to it
in 1896. The school was a Parish School and was built on the
land behind the church, on what is today a car park, facing
Shuttle Street next door to the larger Kilsyth Primary School.
During Monsignor Macnamara's stay in Kilsyth,
1903 - 1938, he added a top storey to the school in 1908 consisting
of 3 classrooms, renovated the church with funds from his
silver anniversary presentation in 1911 and commissioned Italian
craftsmen to decorate the high altar and installed communion
rails in 1919 (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.
During 1923, he had also 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. These halls can be seen in the photograph to the
right of the church from which we are able to estimate the
location of the old building next to the lane. This suite
of halls was opened in 1934 and was formerly the United Presbyterian
Church; it had also been used latterly as a variety hall and
cinema before St Patrick's bought the building.
Following a fire in 1954 the old church was
finally closed after 94 years on New Year’s day 1962
and was then demolished. Building work on the current St Patrick’s
church began on the 8th of October 1962 and the laying of
stone by His Eminence Gordon Joseph Cardinal Gray took
place on St Patrick’s Day 1964. Exactly a year later
the current building was opened by Cardinal Gray on 17th March
1965 precisely 100 years after the original church commenced