Peter Memorial Building

This is the formal name of our Church building. To find out why we need to dig into a bit of church history.

NOW. The Rose Windows above the choir have now been fully restored and are back in place. If you cast your eyes upwards, you will see a big difference in them. The repairs to the surronding stonework had already been completed and the repairs to the internal plasterwork are also now complete. Two, relatively small areas of dry rot were discovered, both of which have been eradicated and treated against further attack.

When the windows were removed for repair, it was suggested that they may not be original, but a little research has suggested that they are, in fact, part of the original structure. They are described by the restorers as "..... lovely examples of Arts and Crafts era and every effort should be taken to have them maintained."  The 'Arts and Crafts' era, which was perceived to be a reaction against the increasing mechanisation of production, especially in the UK, spanned from 1880 - 1910. That would put the windows, at 1902, firmly in the correct time frame.

History

St. Columba's congregation, as part of the Church of Scotland, traces its Presbyterian roots back to the Reformation in 1560. Going back only to the early years of the late 19th century, with the Burgh of Stirling expanding far beyond the old town wall, the congregation had moved down from near the Castle to the North side of Murray Place, by this time the thriving centre of the town, and where they were known as the North Church. But trouble, long brewing, was coming to a head - the right of a congregation to call its own minister, rather than having foisted upon them the choice of the landowner, was being lost. In 1843 matters came to a head. At the General Assembly of 1843 ministers who insisted on that right, finding that it was definitely to be denied to the church, simply walked out, nearly 500 of them, including Alexander Beith, our minister. This was the Disruption, and this was the founding of the Free Church of Scotland. Known now as the Free North Church the congregation soon established its material and financial basis and by 1853 was worshipping in the church they had built in Murray Place across the road from their old church. In 1900 the Free Church (with some abstentions) joined up with the United Presbyterian Church to become the United Free Church of Scotland and this congregation became the North UF Church. Before that, however, one of our members, Mrs. Ellen Peter who died in 1890, left money in her will to build a new church further south, nearer the homes of the majority of the congregation. This gift, with its conditions - the new building to be used for Free Church worship and to be known as the Peter Memorial, being the principal ones - was accepted by the Deacons' Court but now of the United Free North Church, it entered into possession of the present building in Park Terrace. For more information about the celebrations surrounding the formal opening take a look at this newspaper account from The Stirling Sentinel from September 1902. The next church union, even bigger then the 1900 one, was in 1929, but one event may be noted before that. In 1908 the Craigs Church, and old Cameronian or United Reformed Church, which had become too small for separate existence, united with us, bringing to us their tradition of inflexible loyalty to the 17th century covenants with their repudiation of any state control over the Church In 1929, at last, the differences between the parish church, as it was known, and the U F Church became reconcilable and the churches united. The Church of Scotland was one again. As there was, in Stirling, a North Church, as a parish church, we changed our name from the U F North Church to St. Columba's Church - a change of name but not of substance. So St. Columba's continues with the same Presbyterian constitution and worship of God as in Dr. Beith's day (but with the services mercifully shorter to cater for our reduced stamina compared with our predecessors!)

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