Building our future on the shoulders of our past

A Short History Of St Andrew’s Church

“In the early nineteenth century Lochgelly was a village with a population of *800 mostly weavers and farm workers. It was situated in the Parishes of Auchterderran and Ballingry.

Church members had to be fit and loyal, as they had to walk to the Parish Church of Auchterderran and Ballingry to worship God.

In 1850 the Parish Minister of Auchterderran spoke to his session about the need for a Church for the people of Lochgelly. The population was now growing with the introduction of ironstone mining and small coal pits.

A small committee chaired by Andrew Landale, Manager of Lochgelly Iron Company was formed to raise funds and to supervise the building of such a church.

By 1853 £90 had been collected.

In 1854 an application was made to the Home Mission for a grant towards the building. The new building was completed in 1855. The builder was James Robertson.

It is thought that volunteer labour may have been used. The new building seated 600 and was situated at the bottom of High Street the main thoroughfare of the village.

The first minister was ordained in 1856.

Kirkcaldy Presbytery noted, Lochgelly Church is now free of debt. They now have a handsome church, which cost £1100 to build.

An elder Andrew Landale put forward in 1867 a draft deed seeking full parish status for Lochgelly.

1868 saw the formalities completed and the new Parish of Lochgelly was formed by disjunction from Auchterderran and Ballingry in the Presbyteries of Kirkcaldy and Kinross. Boundaries were minutely described and Trustees appointed.

A committee had drawn up a scale of seat rents. It was then known as Lochgelly Parish Church.

Lochgelly became a burgh in 1879, with boundaries based on parish boundaries.

In the census of 1911 the population was now 14,304. Church membership stood at 468. With adherents the number could swell to 600. That was the seating capacity of the church. Plans of 1913 were set in motion to have the church enlarged and rebuilt. Dr Chalmers was engaged to produce the plans for a beautiful building, with chancel, gallery and side aisles added and seating plans for 800. Work started in 1915.

The Pipe Organ installed in 1902 was re-sited.

A Large Stained Glass Window believed to be the work of Gordon Webster was gifted by the Reid Family and installed at this time also.

In 1929 at the Union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church of Scotland the church was renamed St Andrew’s and the Parish shared.

By 1930 the membership had risen to nearly 1000. It then waned.

After the World War in 1946 a screen was built incorporating a group of memorial windows at the back of the church. Several pews were removed to create a spacious vestibule.

Following the death of Rev J Tennant in 1985 a beautiful memorial stained glass window representing St Andrew replaced a window at the foot of the gallery stairs.

The church continued to be an integral part of the life of Lochgelly although numbers were declining”[1]

Rev R Duncan retired in 2000.

Following a pilot scheme of two years, a decision was taken by the three churches to proceed to a union. The concept of this new beginning was two buildings, one church, one congregation.

[1]These facts are from a puplication by  Mr J Robertson

* Population figures may vary from church to church depending on how they dealt with their records.