THIS week, Chris Atkinson from the West Linton Historical Association brings us the history on the churches of West Linton...

Most large communities in Scotland have more than one church. West Linton was no exception; it had three; St Mungo’s, Trinity and St. Andrew’s.

St. Mungo’s Scottish Episcopal Church, sitting at the head of Chapel Brae, is the most recent of the churches in West Linton built in 1851. The unusual shape of the building, essentially north-south with a small chancel on the east, reflects the fact that for the next generation it served both as a school room and church. It was one of the first of the ‘Gladstone’ Churches built by local land-owners aimed at reviving the Episcopal tradition in Scotland. During the 1870’s a separate school was built a little further down Chapel Brae to accommodate sixty pupils. The church was altered at the same time when the chancel was enlarged and the present bell tower and porch added. The church was the gift of the Forbes family of Medwyn House who for many years were great benefactors to the village. William Forbes, eldest son of Lord Medwyn, as well as building the church, school and rectory also paid the stipend of the rector and the teachers’ salaries.

Trinity Church was a United Presbyterian church but had a distinguished origin in that it was on the site of the first Secession Church south of the Forth. In 1729 there was objection on the part of a section of the congregation to the enforced settlement of the minister who in those days was chosen by the patron possibly the feudal Lord, the Earl of March. On the day of the ordination in 1731 ‘riotous scenes’ were reported which involved Dragoons being sent to restore order. Eventually in 1737 their cause was recognised and two years later a meeting-house was built which in 1784 became Trinity Church. This is now a dwelling house situated to the rear of Raemartin Square.

St Andrew’s had its origin after the Reformation when Presbyterianism was adopted by the Scottish Church. The site of the pre-reformation church lies at the north end of the churchyard next to the Spittalhaugh burial aisle which is probably built with stone from the original church. The existing church was erected in 1781 and was a simple rectangular block with a hipped roof and square tower with belfry. This was greatly remodelled in 1871 when the roof was raised to accommodate a gallery and a magnificent spire was added. In later years two local ladies Miss Jane Fergusson of Spittalhaugh and Mrs Wodropp of Garvald created some beautiful and intricate woodcarvings to decorate the interior walls and gallery. The church occupies a commanding position at the entrance to the village and is a proud reminder of West Linton’s heritage.