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The History of Glenapp Church

Mrs. Isabella Butter (or Caddell), who died in 1829, bequeathed some £4,500 for the purpose of erecting on part of her land in Glenapp a Chapel of Ease with a manse, and a school with house; and on endowing a Bursary for students in any College in Scotland. The fund was allowed to accumulate, and in 1849-50 this Church was built at a cost of£456.15 .8d! It is of interest to note that the Schoolmasters salary for the previous 19 years amounted to £527 - or £27.15/- Per annum!

In 1872 the Chapel was erected into a Parish Church, while the School was handed over to the local School Board, which maintained it until only one child of Primary school age remained. The building, now a dwelling house, stands on the other side of the road, slightly north of the Church lane. The Manse has also passed out of the possession of the Church, being no longer required since the congregations of Glenapp and Lochryan united.

Extensive alterations were made to the simple Church building in 1910. Additions to the furnishings were gifted as memorials to those who died in the First World War, the most interesting being the oak Reading Desk given by the women of Glenapp in memory of the Glen men. The inscription, taken from a mediaeval missal, reads -

"To the King of kings whom our sister bore".

In 1928 the Hon. Elsie Mackay, third daughter of the first Earl of Inchcape, owner of Glenapp Estate, was lost attempting the first flight across the Atlantic. Her parents expressed a desire to erect a memorial to her in the Church. The chancel arch was raised by six feet to enable the window depicting our Lord risen and crowned in glory to be inserted. The right panel depicts the likeness of Elsie Mackay, with hand upraised, pointing to the crown. New windows of cathedral glass were added, and oak flooring, seating and paneling replaced the old woodwork. The entrance porch was also built. Further gifts from Lady Inchcape were the organ (since removed), wall lamps with oak bases carved with various Celtic symbols, and the pulpit fall embroidered, in Celtic design, at the Royal Art School of Needlework, in South Kensington. The preacher at the re-opening Service was Dr John White, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

When Lord Inchcape died, his remains were brought to Glenapp for burial. Lady Inchcape had two windows inserted to his memory. That above the door - Christ stilling the waves - is a fine specimen of the work of Douglas Strachan, and one of the best of modem art in the judgment of competent critics. Lady Inchcape also had the surrounding ground tastefully laid out, as well as having planted on the bank below and on the hillside opposite the rhododendrons and azaleas whose summer glory provides an incomparable setting for the Church. The most recent gift, the Praise Board, was given by the family of the late Mr. & Mrs. Mackay, Torrisdale, in memory of their parents.

In 1985 Glenapp Church was united with Ballantrae Parish Church. Occasional Services are held in Glenapp, at the main seasons of the Christian year and for special occasions, including the celebration of Holy Communion in August. The year 2000 being the 150th anniversary of this Church, a special Service of Celebration was held on Sunday 27 August 2000. The Guest Preacher was the Very Rev John McIndoe, a former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

A generous spirit and a desire to glorify God in this glen have led men and women to establish and adorn this sanctuary. God Himself has provided the backcloth of hill and glen and tree and flower to enhance its beauty. But all this loveliness is worthless if the Spirit of God dwells not in the hearts of those enter its doors. We welcome you to this Holy Place, with the prayer that here you may be touched by the hand of God. 

Then shall you

  "go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands"

Glenapp Church in June


Inside Glenapp Church


View of the Church and Old Manse


Stained Glass in Memory of Elsie Mackay


Glenapp Church


Christmas Candlelit Service


Candle at the Christmas Candlelit Service

Wedding Flowers at Glenapp


Glenapp Church



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Ballantrae Charity Number: SC008536 ----------------------- St Colmon Charity Number SC014381