Our History: Foundation Stone

Our History: Foundation Stone

Ken Rae, our Church Historian, has been working over the last few years to document more about the Old Kirk and it’s history.

Among the duties of Session Clerk is the maintenance of the Kirk records.  By maintaining records we provide an invaluable source of information for our descendants in years and indeed decades to come.  You may well be very familiar with some of these records, eg The Communion Roll – a record of all members who are eligible to take Communion; The Baptismal Roll – a record of all Baptisms carried out in the church or elsewhere by the minister.  We also keep detailed records of Kirk Session meetings, Congregational Board meetings, Financial records, Building maintenance records and the Annual Business meeting.  The Church of Scotland instructs all Churches to keep such records and each year they are inspected – “attested”-  by Presbytery to ensure we are keeping them appropriately.

In my time as Session Clerk, whilst delving through some really old records I came across the following which I thought might be of interest to you.

It is a record of the laying of the Foundation Stone of the Old Kirk.  The Foundation Stone was laid in the North-East corner of the foundation and the following narrative was recorded at the time.

The Stone was laid by James Auldjo Jamieson, Esq. WS commissioner to His Grace the Duke of Hamilton at the request of the Kirk Session.

Inside a cavity in the Stone there was placed a bottle  containg church relics and the contents of this bottle which seems a strange conglomeration to modern eyes gives a very accurate reflection of the wide influences exercised by the church in those days.

  • A list of the Kirk Session, 1886 and photographs of Minister and Kirk Session, the Duke of Hamilton, Mr James  Auldjo Jamieson, the Old Parish Church, the New Parish Church (?), Old Kinneil Church, Blackness Castle and Mrs H M Roberston (wife of the minister);
  • Collection of old coins presented by Mr Jeffrey including Rymer and George Paterson farthings;
  • An old daguerreotype dated 1853;
  • A piece of white linen cover in a stoppered bottle of Kinneil Parish Church Communion Table dated from 1660;
  • A communicants ticket
  • Sabbath School Soiree ticket
  • Dr. Thomson’s Sacramental catechism
  • Copies of the Missionary Record and Life and Work
  • Map of Scotland
  • The Children’s Hymnal
  • The Church and University Almanac
  • The bill, papers, and letters relating to the luncheon;
  • Copies of “The Scotsman”, “Glasgow Herald”’ “Scottish News”, and “Bo’ness Journal”;
  • Memorial of Kirk Session to Baird’s Trust.
  • Rules of the Volunteers 2nd Linlithgow Rifles and a history of the volunteer movement with a list of the Officers since the formation of the regiment. (see footnote)
  • Rules and Regulations of the United General Seabox
  • A copy of the Bo’ness Journal of January 9th 1885.

As you can see the list is very varied in items but they were all included for what must have been important reasons at the time.  We have at various times tried to find evidence of where exactly the Foundation Stone was laid but as yet to no avail.

If anyone has any information, photographs , relics etc  about the items listed above (or indeed anything relating to the Old Kirk which may be of interest) please let us know.

Ken Rae

The enthusiasm for the Volunteer movement following an invasion scare in 1859 saw the creation of many Rifle Volunteer Corps (RVCs) composed of part-time soldiers eager to supplement the Regular British Army in time of need One such unit was the 1st Linlithgowshire Rifle Volunteers, a company formed at Linlithgow, the county town of West Lothian (or Linlithgowshire), on 19 March 1860 under the command of Captain Robert Stewart. It was soon followed by companies formed in other towns of West Lothian, and they were combined as the 1st Administrative Battalion of Linlithgowshire Rifle Volunteers with Stewart promoted to Major in command on 21 October 1862:

  • 1st Linlithgowshire RVC, formed at Linlithgow 19 March 1860
  • 2nd Linlithgowshire RVC, formed at Bo’ness 19 March 1860
Old Kirk