A Tour of the Church

Why not let us give you a tour of our historic Church and its other buildings?  For a view from the top of the Church tower, click here

The Church

The High Church was first envisaged in March 1749 and the purchase of the land was completed in December 1749.  The Church was designed by Baillie John White and was completed in June 1754 at a cost of £1,588 12l 5d.

The Church Tower was also designed by Baillie John White and was built between 1767 and 1770 by the Town Council and remains to this day in the ownership of Renfrewshire Council.  The tower is 161ft high (49 metres).

The current bell

The current bell

The first bell in the Church Tower was installed in 1771 but cracked in 1820.  The second bell was paid for by the Manufacturers of Causeyside and weighed just under one ton.  It was named “Roarin Tam” after a Mr Farquharson who was “most active in raising funds.”  Contrary to tradition, it swings NORTH-SOUTH “so that the donors might hear it more distinctly.”  In 1832, following a “stushie” the Church won an interdict against the Town Council to allow ringing the bell only for morning and evening worship and on occasions of public rejoicing.  In 1865 the second bell cracked and the material re-used to make the third bell.

In 1871 the third bell cracked and the fourth (and current) bell was installed in 1872.

In 1843 the Church Building was described as “resembling a barn, suitable only for the bats and moles; the earthen floor, lack of heating, seats described as “awfy ticht”, unplastered walls, an ungainly Pulpit and devoid of beauty and comfort.”

Starting in June 1876 to November 1877, the building was developed much closer to the condition it is in now.  Central heating was added in 1889.  The Great Organ was added in 1899 and the Gallery was also added in 1876-1877.  It was at this time that the magnificent ceiling was completed and, we understand, caused great heartache and extra cost in achieving what you see today.

Inside the ceiling of the Church

Inside the ceiling of the Church

In 1994 came the most recent refurbishment and what you now see is the end result.  In this work the Chancel was extended to enable a wider use of the building for functions such as choral and brass band concerts.

The building is “A” listed and boasts the largest ecclesiastical ceiling of its type in Europe. It measures almost 90 feet east to west and the ceiling is totally unsupported.

Church Ceiling

Church Ceiling

The Halls

  • The original Halls were built in 1880 but demolished in 1920.
  • These were located between the car park gates and the present halls.
  • The Lang Hall was built in 1821/22 as Miss Hutcheson’s Charity School for orphans.
  • As school requirements changed, this hall was used as an annexe to the Cholera Hospital during the epidemic in Paisley.
  • Its use as an annexe during the epidemic resulted in people rioting in Oakshaw Street.
  • The Church failed in a bid to purchase the hall in 1890.
  • It became the property of the Lang Family but made available for Church use.
  • The Main Hall and Session House was built in 1913.
  • McLauchlan Hall was added in 1920.
  • The halls were used as dinner halls for the John Neilston School around 1940’s.
  • Lang Hall was gifted to the Church in 1935 but to be named LANG HALL as a memorial to the death of the benefactor’s sister, Margaret.
  • Lang Hall has been “B” listed for many years but in 1998 the entire Oakshaw Suite became “B” listed. The circular entrance vestibule was designed by the well-known architect: THOMAS G. ABERCROMBY.
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