Religious Groups and Buildings

A History

Updated 13 September 2009

More information in Past and Present Chap XV Current Groups see Clubs Page
St Paul's Episcopal Church

After the building of the Free Church, the Episcopalians in Armadale built their church, St Paul's Episcopal Church, at The Marches in 1863.  In 1865 Rev Teape of the church was one of three commissioners elected to represent the householders of Armadale.  The latter church was used as a place of worship until the late 1930s when its use was changed to a blacksmith's shop run by D. Forrest where he also conducted a variety of metal work.  In the middle of the 1960s, it was demolished.

Edwin Temple, B.A. b1867, was the son of Reverend Alexander Temple, Episcopal clergyman at Armadale.  He was educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh, and Pembroke College, Cambridge where he was placed in the first class of the Classical Tripos. In 1899 he was appointed as Rector of Glasgow Academy. He married Katharine Mather, daughter of Reverend F.V. Mather, Honorary Canon of Bristol, formerly Vicar of St. Paul's Church, Clifton.

NAS ref no: CH12/46 (1862 - 1899) Open;

NAS ref no: CH12/46/1: Register of Baptisms: 1862 - 1899; Register of Confirmations: 1866 - 1896; Register of marriages: 1864 - 1898; Register of burials 1864 - 1899 Open

NAS ref no: CH12/94/1: Correspondence of James WILKIE CA, other papers re Endowment Fund 1864 - 1866 Open

NAS ref no: CH12/94/2: A/C book of subscription for Endowment Fund etc 1864 - 1866 Open

It is thought that the original Gospel Hall of the Christian Brethren was a wooden structure, which was built early in the 1900s, in the area where the Town Hall used to stand.  After 16 years, the Hall was sold to the Public Band and the Brethren moved into their next hall.

Baptist Church, south of Dandy Row and the Model Lodging House in South Street. 

Sacred Heart and St Anthony's R.C. Church, Wotherspoon Crescent, Armadale

  • The Church of the Sacred Heart and St Anthony's R. C. Church has served the Catholic community of Armadale, Blackridge, Westrigg and Westfield for many years.

  • It was named after St Anthony of Padua, who was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195, and died 1231. He belonged to the Franciscan Order and spent his life preaching in Padua, Italy.

  • 1865: Armadale Roman Catholics held religious services in the Subscription School.

  • 1900: first mass said in Armadale Town Hall

  • 1904 - 1907: the chapel school was built for education and worship.

  • Later the Territorial Drill hall was bought to be used as a church.

  • 1928: Armadale became a separate parish. First resident parish priest: Fr. Michael Whelan.

  • 1972: building began on a new church, designed by Charles Gray,  needed for the increased number of parishioners.

  • 1974:  the new church was opened by Cardinal Gordob Gray.

  • 9 June 1986: Solemn Dedication by Archbishop Keith O'Brien.

  • 1989: the parish population was estimated at 1,000.

In 1845, it was noted that the parish church in Bathgate could not accommodate all of  its congregation: "the whole inhabitants of the town can have right to sittings only in the seats pertaining to the Bathgate property, on which the town is built, and even these must be shared with the rural population on that property, so that the provision for 2664 persons is just 100 sittings.  In 1836, when these calculations were made, the estate of Barbauchlaw had dwelling on it 217 persons, while its proportion of sittings is only 33; that of Couston 145 persons, and 36 sittings; that of Boghead, 86 persons and 27 sittings....  the utter inadequacy of the accommodation has occasioned a number of disputes about seats, and has compelled some persons to join Dissenting congregations, who otherwise would not have left the Established Church."

New Statistical Account of Scotland - Linlithgow, 1845

Sir James Young Simpson laid foundation stone for Armadale United Free Church, which used to be situated on South Street opposite the site of the Masonic Hall.

My thanks to Jim McGregor for his correction and information:
The East Church is marked on the 1898 6" map simply as Free Church
The Bield Housing was built on the site of the East Church & Manse up the brae from and behind Forsyth's.

In 1931 the United Free Church was renamed East Church so that it could be distinguished from the former Parish Church (now West Church) in Academy Street.  In 1976 the East Church building was pulled down after the amalgamation of the East and West Churches.

Armadale Parish Church of Scotland, Academy Street, Armadale

Stained glass window behind the altar of Armadale Parish Church

Detail from the photo above

Above: Stained glass window in memory of William and Ann Forsyth

Above: Stained glass window in memory of Barbara Smith Calderhead, gifted by her husband John Forsyth

Above: Inside Armadale Parish Church

Apart from the many Covenanters' meetings, the first centre of Christian worship in the area was a mission Sunday School, which was inter-denominational.

Eventually, the Parish Presbyterians of Bathgate Parish (Bathgate Free Church) sent a probationer to Armadale where some of its congregation lived. A site was obtained in 1860 and building was completed in 1863.  It was known as Armadale Free Kirk, at Bullion Brae, and its purpose was to be a mission station. 

Rev James Kerr served in Armadale until he was lost at sea when travelling on the SS London to Australia in January 1866.  He was succeeded by Rev John Scott, and, in turn, by Rev Robert Cameron who was ordained in 1881.

In 1884, Rev Cameron organised a three-day fund-raising bazaar to enable the church to be made into a quoad Sacra Parish.  He served the parish until his death in 1909 after which a memorial tablet was erected on the south side of the chancel in his memory.

Rev Cameron was succeeded by Rev John Drew who served from 1909 until 1921.  Rev R. McPherson served the parish for 5 years, until 1926, and was followed for another 5 years (1926 - 1931) by the Rev Mr Norton.

The Rev John Drummond then served from his ordination at the end of August 1931 until his death in August 1952.

The Kirk was known as Armadale East Kirk and was demolished in 1976, whereas Armadale Parish Kirk in Academy Street became known as Armadale West Kirk in 1931.

The West Church is now known as Armadale Parish Church.  Rev Emmanuel Robertson served as minister there from c1953 - c1994.

John Cook, who retired from Brodie's Funeral business in May 2007, was an  organist for 22 years at Armadale Parish Church.

NAS ref no: CH3/325: Armadale Free Church, (later United Free and East Church of Scotland) 1863 - 1973

Armadale Methodist Church, East Main Street, Armadale

On the 2nd May 1865, the foundation stone of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in East Main Street was laid with coins and newspapers and a document overseen by Rev R N Bassitt. The resident minister was Rev George Halson.  The new church was provided by Mrs Honeyman Gillespie of Torbane Hill House.

NAS ref no: CH11/47/29  Titles and other papers relating to the Church (1864 1967) restricted

NAS ref no: CH11/47/14: Miscellaneous paperwork including architectural plans re buildings, 1961 (1970 - 1983) restricted.