THE STORY OF THE CLARK MEMORIAL CHURCH, LARGS
By The Rev. Charles H. H. Scobie Written post-January 1961 FOREWARD In compiling this booklet I have been greatly indebted to those who have, produced similar works, all of which are now out of print. in the past,
My indebtedness to Miss Martha H. Mclntyre's volume, "From Generation to Generation; 1779-1942", will readily be apparent. I have also drawn heavily on a leaflet and a 'Year .Book' compiled by my predecessor. Rev. D. Iain McMillan, parts of which I have not hesitated to incorporate into this work. Thanks are due to 'The Largs and Millport Weekly News' for their helpfulness in making their files available and especially to Mr Alex. Simpson for his interest and for the use of the photographic-blocks. I am further indebted to Mr Hugh Honeyman for collecting the advertisements and to the advertisers themselves for their generous support; also to Mr John McArthur for reading the proofs, to Mr Hugh Alexander for assistance in seeing the booklet through the press and to 'The Greenock Telegraph' printing office. It has been necessary to condense much of the material available in order to compass many years within a few pages, but it is to be hoped that members and friends of the congregation and visitors to Largs will find both interest and inspiration in this, 'The Story of Clark Memorial Church'. 1
CHARLES H. H. SCOBIE Clark Memorial Manse, Largs "THE CATHEDRAL OF THE WEST" From whatever direction one approaches the town of Largs, whether catching one's first glimpse from the top of the Haylie Brae, or travelling by road northwards from Fairlie, or southwards from Skelmorlie, or sailing on the waters of the Firth of Clyde, one of the first things to catch the eye is the tall spire of Clark Memorial Church. Every year hundreds of visitors admire the beauty of the building and worship within its walls. The congregation are proud of the title which their Church has earned for itself, of being "The Cathedral of the West". The Church was completed in the year 1892, but the congregation is considerably older than that. It is today a congregation of The Church of Scotland, which regards itself as part of the one, holy and universal Church of Jesus Christ, Reformed in doctrine, accepting The Bible as the rule of faith and morals and Presbyterian in government. Originally, the congregation belonged to the branch of Scottish Presbyterianism known as the Associate or Burgher Presbytery, that is, those who followed in the footsteps of the Scottish minister, Ebenezer Erskine, who led the First Secession in 1733. The seceders were evangelical and zealous Churchmen who objected to patronage and to State interference in the affairs of the Church. A Second Secession, over similar issues, took place in 1761 and a large number of the seceding Churches joined forces in 1847 to form the United Presbyterian or "U.P." Church which was noted as being fervently evangelical, independent and liberal. Clark Memorial is thus "an old U.P." Church. In 1900 a further union took place between the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church, resulting in the formation of The United Free Church. Fortunately, patronage was in due course abolished and other changes made in the established Church of Scotland which allowed The United Free Church to re-unite with it in 1929 to form the Church of Scotland, both national and free and incorporating the great majority of Presbyterians and indeed a considerable percentage of the population of Scotland. Clark Memorial Church has, of course, its own individual history and traditions. It is the purpose of this booklet to tell, however briefly, the story of the congregation and also to furnish a description of the present building which will enable both members and visitors to appreciate to the full "The Cathedral of the West". THE FOUNDING FATHERS The congregation of what is now Clark Memorial Church had its origin in the year 1779, when at a meeting of the Burgher Presbytery of Glasgow a group of men from Largs presented a "petition for sermon". Those in Largs who were in sympathy with the Associate or Burgher Presbytery had to travel 14 miles to Greenock to attend public worship and receive the sacraments. The Presbytery minute of April 13, 1779, contains this entry, "Read and received a petition from some people at Largs for supply of sermon — eodem die 4 o'clock appointed Rev. Mr Richardson to preach at Largs on Sabbath, 4th April". The Mr Richardson named was minister of Cartsdyke Church, Greenock and for some time thereafter he seems to have travelled to Largs to conduct services there, the congregation meeting sometimes in a tent on the Greenhill and sometimes in the Gogo Mill. The following year however, ground was secured in Waterside Street, from Mr Thomas Brisbane, of Brisbane, for the erection of a church. The trustees named in the original title deed are "James Boyd and James Beith, wrights in Largs; John Wilson, Robert Ewing, John Ewing and Robert Moodie, farmers there; James Moodie, John Hill, John Lade, John 2
Malcom, William Hall and Archibald Hill, weavers there; William Beith, William Shearer, lint makers there; Archibald Wilson, shoemaker there".
The church, a plain building, was erected at the cost of "£167 5s 7d and 4s 2d more" ! Of the above-mentioned men, three, John Lade, Robert Moodie and John Hill, carried on the work of the congregation, became the nucleus of the future Session and were thus the true "founding fathers". By 1783 the congregation was strong enough to warrant a minister of its own and The Rev. William Watson was called from Bridge of Teith. The Stipend promised was £50 a year, plus a free house. He left six years later and as their second minister the congregation called The Rev. John Leech from Kingsmill, Ireland. His salary was still £50, but in addition he was allowed a horse to ride ! In 1821 he resigned and went to Glasgow where he lectured on Biblical Criticism and taught Hebrew. The third minister was Rev. Daniel McLean who was inducted on October 22, 1823. The congregation flourished under his care; the manse was rebuilt and then in 1826 the church itself was entirely rebuilt at the cost of £757 16s 0d, the new building having sittings for 690 people.
Mr McLean was succeeded by the fourth minister, The Rev. William Steven from Tarbolton, in 1830, the number of members at that date being 280. During the ministry of Mr Steven, however, the congregation grew greatly in size and influence. Backed by an able Session, the minister gave himself wholeheartedly to the care of his people. He was keen on work among young people and started the first Sunday School in Largs and also a Bible Class. In 1847, as a result of union between Churches of similar views, the congregation became part of the new United Presbyterian Church. After a ministry of 30 years, Mr Steven's health began to fail and he applied for a colleague and successor. Various candidates having been heard, it was decided to present the call to The Rev. J. B. K. Mclntyre, the son of a noted minister of the secession Church in Ireland, The Rev. Hugh Mclntyre, D.D.. 3
The Rev. J. B. K. Mclntyre was born and received his schooling in Ireland, but then studied at the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow. Having set his heart on the ministry, he proceeded to the Edinburgh Hall of The United Presbyterian Church. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Glasgow in May 1864 and four months later received the call to Largs. Dr Mclntyre ordained his son on Wednesday, December 21st, 1864 and introduced him to the congregation on the following Sunday, which was Christmas Day. On the Wednesday evening, in accordance with custom, a Congregational Soiree was held to welcome the new minister. The programme lists among the speakers for the evening, in addition to Mr Mclntyre's father, such well known names as Dr. John Robson of Wellington Church, Glasgow, Rev. David Cameron of Mearns, an uncle of the artist Sir D. Y Cameron and Rev. . R. J. Bryce, LL.D., rector of Belfast Academy. The Programme announces "Service of Tea and Fruit in the course of the Evening"; the praise was led by the Choir and tickets were obtainable from "Archibald Jack, John Mackie, Peter Morris and Mrs Craig, Grocers; Wm. Thomson, Ironmonger; Thomas McKay, Baker and Thomas Clark, Draper". Mr Steven, as Senior Pastor continued to take a share in the preaching and pastoral work of the congregation up to the year 1870, but thereafter failing eyesight and poor health prevented him from taking an active part. He died in 1875, after a long and distinguished ministry. Mr Mclntyre was now in sole charge and, with his family, he moved from their house, "Loanends", in John Street, to the Manse., his salary was raised to £280. Miss Martha H. Mclntyre, recalls in her book of memoirs, "From Generation to Generation", some of the happy and interesting life which she knew as a daughter of the Manse. Here many famous ministers were entertained and such well-known missionaries as Mary Slessor of Calabar, Dr. Paton of the New Hebrides, Dr. Ross of China and Dr. Gordon of Jamaica. The Mclntyre family numbered seven in all and although the manse was large, when they came there was no water system and every drop of water had to be drawn from a pump in the court which lay between the church and the manse ! In the years that followed, however, many improvements were made and the Church itself was re-decorated, a better heating system was installed and a hall was built. Mr Mclntyre proved to be a fine minister and a remarkably able preacher. From 1880 onwards summer visitors flocked to the church in large numbers so that over-crowding became a real problem. After the pews were packed full, forms had to be carried in and put in the passages thus "boxing in" the people in the pews. Mr Mclntyre celebrated his Semi-Jubilee in 1889 and, in token of their affection and in recognition of his outstanding services to the church and to the town of Largs, the Congregation presented him with an illuminated address and a cheque for 150 guineas. 4
In his reply, Mr Mclntyre was able to say that in addition to their generous gifts, he had been given the promise of something beyond his wildest dreams, the building of a new Church.
THE BUILDING OF CLARK MEMORIAL CHURCH Mr John Clark of Curling Hall, the senior partner of the "Anchor" Thread Mills in Paisley, had become a member of the congregation in 1880 and from 1883 to 1889 was Provost of Largs. He was one of those greatly concerned with the overcrowding of the church building in Waterside Street. Miss Martha Mclntyre recalls how, one fine summer evening in July, 1889, she was returning from a meeting along with her parents, Mr John Clark and Mr A. H. McLean of Gowanlea. The previous Sunday, Mr Clark's brother William from America and his family had been in church and had been, to their annoyance, shut into their pews by benches placed in the passages. "Mr McLean and my parents", recalls Miss Mclntyre, "were a few steps ahead of Mr Clark, who was walking with me. Suddenly, he said, "That was an awful crowd last Sunday, Miss Martha, awful ! I'll tell you, if your father will get me a site, I'll build him a church and get my brother William to give the organ". I said, "Are you in earnest, Mr Clark ?" And he answered, "I was never more earnest in my life !" At that I ran forward and, clutching my father's arm, said, "Do you hear what Mr Clark says ?" He said, "No. What does he say ?" I shall never forget the look on his face as we all stood still while Mr Clark repeated his promises nor the thrill of excitement in his voice as he said, "I'll get you a site, Mr Clark". Next morning in the manse we were up at the 'screich o'day' to speed my father away over the hill to Dalry to see Mr Greig about ground for a site". This turned out to be no easy matter, as Mr Clark was determined that the new church should be seen from the sea. He had in mind a site at the foot of Gogo Street, where Sandringham now stands, but this proved to be unobtainable and so he turned to the field immediately to the north of the then Free Church (St. John's). This ground was low-lying and frequently flooded by sea water; more-over it was felt that The Free Church might object to a large new church overtopping theirs. Both these difficulties, however, were overcome. The foundations were laid entirely of concrete and carried up so that, when the site was filled in, the building would be on slightly rising ground with entrances considerably above the level of the surrounding streets. The Free Church congregation showed great kindness and consideration and put no difficulties in the way; on the first Sunday when the new church was open, the afternoon 5
service was conducted by Dr. Watson, The Free Church minister and the friendliest of relations have existed between the two congregations to the present day. The memorial stone of the new church was laid on Monday, September 22nd, 1890, by Mr Clark's sister, Mrs Millar of Paisley and of Mackerston, Largs. In a recess within the wall in the north-east corner of the south porch there was placed a specially prepared bottle containing, among other things, photographs of the dark family, the minister, the architect, Mr Thomas Graham Abercrombie of Paisley, the church, together with a detailed description of the building, current newspapers, coins of the realm, minutes of the congregational meetings and a photograph of the site in its original state. It is interesting to note that, since the architect's original plans and drawings were all destroyed in Paisley during The Second World War, to avoid the risk of fire, the wall cavity contains the only surviving plans, specifications and official descriptions. The red sandstone was brought from Locharbriggs Quarry and the special stones for carving from Corsehill. The building itself is in the Early Gothic style of architecture of The Decorated Period, freely treated. One of the main features of the building is the spire which rises from a concrete foundation 35 feet square. Local savants tell of a certain friendly rivalry between the Clark Memorial and the new St. Columba's Parish Church which was also rising from its foundations at the time. That may well have been since news articles on building progress first of all state that the height of the dark Memorial Spire would be 150 feet, the same as that of St. Columba's. Then, a few months later, it is to be 160 feet and finally, at the time of the dedication of the new church, the height of the completed spire is stated to be 180 feet ! The belfry was at first equipped with a complete set of chiming bells and a clock mechanism with Westminster chimes; but unfortunately today these are no longer in working order. The fine grounds and spacious lawns surrounding the church allow it to be seen to best advantage. One original feature of the grounds was the wall and also the wrought-iron gates and railings by Messrs Mackie of Largs, which were reckoned to be one of the finest pieces of smith work in the district. The walls remain but the gates and railings, alas, went for salvage during The Second World War. They were replaced by new gates, not so large nor so elaborate, but constructed by the same fine craftsmen whose name is known, not only in the district, but throughout the country. The present gates at Stanlane were the gift of the late Mrs Isabella Mackie and are so inscribed. High on the outside of the West Gable are statues of Moses and St. John, the former having The Tablet of Stone in his hands and the weathered remains of horns symbolising courage and virility upon his head; the latter has the eagle emblem because, like the eagle, John looked on the "sun of glory". Another feature of the exterior is the one gargoyle, at the south-east corner of the tower. Gargoyles were originally intended to carry the water from the roof away from the walls and foundations of a church; this particular one is not functional though it is in the usual shape of a dragon's head. The building proceeded so quickly that the date of the opening of the new church was fixed for Thursday, June 16th, 1892.
The previous Sunday, farewell services had been held in the old church and the members had left it with mixed feelings of sadness and of rejoicing. On the Thursday, Dr. Hutchison of Bonnington, Mr John Clark's brother-in-law, conducted the first service. Miss Martha Mclntyre recalls how "workmen had been busy all the night to have everything inside the building finished, although outside there was still much to do to complete the architect's design. The sun streamed in splendour through the beautiful stained-glass windows on a congregation representative of all parts of the community, which filled the interior to overflowing and a feeling of awe and reverence made itself felt as we stood to sing the 100th Psalm". On the Thursday evening, a service of praise was given by the organist and choir and on the following Sunday, the morning service was conducted by Dr. Black of Wellington Church, Glasgow and the afternoon one, as already mentioned, by Dr. Watson of St. John's. The entire church, complete with furnishings, and including Hall, Session House, Vestry and Ladies' Room, costing in all the very considerable sum in those days of £30,000, was given by Mr Clark, a truly magnificent gift on the part of one man to The Glory of God and The Service of The Kingdom. The congregation presented Mr Clark with his own pew in the transept gallery, but unfortunately he did not live long to enjoy the church which he had built. He continued to attend regularly, however and was present only two weeks before his death in the summer of 1894. Mr John Clark was widely known and respected as a business man, a yachtsman and a gracious host, but above all as a man of principle and a man of The Kirk. As a small boy, he had come with his family on holiday to a little thatched house in Gallowgate Square; when success gave him the means, he settled in Largs and over the years did much for the town. In Largs he was known as "Mr Clark of Curling Hall", or as "Uncle John" to the scores of children whom he delighted to entertain. He took the closest interest in the design and building of the church and many of its features are due to his specific requests. The present congregation, though not remembering him personally, is proud to perpetuate the memory of this good and generous man in the name of their church, "The Clark Memorial". FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH Although the building of the new church was the high point of the Rev. J. B. K. Mclntyre's ministry, his years as minister were notable for many other reasons and it is clear that he was a man of exceptional gifts as a pastor and preacher. He was supported by able laymen among whom he valued in particular Mr John Clark and Mr Peter Morris, the treasurer of the congregation. Above all, he had a most able support in his wife. Mrs Mclntyre brought up a family of six sons and three daughters and yet found time to be active in many of the affairs of the church. Foreign Missions were a particular interest and she corresponded with many missionaries in the field, including especially Mary Slessor of Calabar. The beautiful grounds surrounding the church were cared for at this time and for many years after by a "Keeper of the Church Grounds"; the holders of this office were Mr James Barbour, Mr John Barbour, Mr James Barbour, Jnr. and Mr James Smith.
The Church has been fortunate also in its Church Officers, among whom may be named Mr John Glen, Mr Dugald Hendry, Mr William Honeyman, Mr William Arnott and Mr John C. Stewart and in more recent years the grounds have been in the care of the Church Officer. The year 1900 saw the union of The United Presbyterian Church and The Free Church, and The Clark Memorial thus became part of the new United Free Church. Mr Mclntyre continued to serve the congregation for ten and a half years after the opening of the new building, but failing health gave cause for anxiety and when he took ill in December 1903, his doctor, Dr. Crow, made it clear that he would not be able to preach again.
The appointment of a colleague and successor was determined on and eight candidates were asked to preach before the congregation as the custom was in those days. Of these eight the call went to the Rev. James Wilson Gardner, M.A. and on his accepting the call, his ordination and induction were fixed to take place on June 6th, 1905. The new minister was a fine scholar who had won many prizes at Glasgow High School, Glasgow University and The Free Church College, Glasgow. Before coming to Largs he had gained considerable practical experience as a Sunday School Superintendent in The Mission of St. John's Free Church, Glasgow and then in three assistantships in Newton-on-Ayr Free Church, Queen's Park U.P. Church and Landsdowne Church. Among the members of The Presbytery of Ardrossan taking part in Mr Gardiner's ordination was Dr. Watson of St. John's Church, Largs, who was then the father of The Presbytery. Mr Mclntyre was able to be present at the service and also at the social meeting held in the evening to welcome the new minister, when, on behalf of the congregation, he presented Mr Gardner with a Pulpit Bible, Psalm Book and Hymnal. Mr Gardner also received a cassock, gown and hood from the ladies of the congregation and he was robed by Mrs Peter Morris. Up to 1907, Mr Mclntyre was able to take a share in the pastoral work of the church, but from then on until his death on July 27th, 1913, he was confined to bed. On his passing, many tributes were paid to his personal qualities and to the services which he had rendered during the half-century which he spent in Largs. Dr. George Matheson, the famous minister and author of such hymns as "0 Love that wilt not let me go" and "Make me a captive. Lord", was a close friend of Mr Mclntyre. Miss Martha Mclntyre quotes a letter of Dr Matheson's in which he wrote of Mr Mclntyre's preaching, saying, "He expresses in the pulpit that form of preaching which has always been my ideal. It has every element that I love, fresh thought, fine imagination, spontaneous style, Celtic fire, warm feeling and splendid breadth of view". 8
On the Sunday after the funeral, Mr Gardener preached a memorial sermon, in the course of which he said of Mr Mclntyre that it had been his "daily prayer, sleepless dream and ceaseless endeavour that body and mind and spirit should be worthy of the high calling of God to The Christian Ministry and faithful in the discharge of its multifarious duties". Following his ordination in 1905, Mr Gardner moved into the manse with his sister Agnes, but before he had been in Largs for a year, his ministry was clouded over by the sudden death of his sister. Doubtless this sorrow contributed to the deep sense of sympathy which he felt to those in sorrow or in need. With Mr Mclntyre's death in 1913, Mr Gardner was left in sole charge of the congregation, but only one year later saw the outbreak of World War I, with all the trouble and disruption which it brought to the life of the country and of the Church. Mr Gardner soon proved his worth as a minister and did everythinq in his power to cheer and comfort the fighting men and their families at home. Seventeen men of the congregation gave their lives in the service of their country and in October 1921, a War Memorial Bronze and a Service Roll of Honour were dedicated and unveiled. During the twenties the great movement to re-unite the two main churches in Scotland was proceeding and this eventually came about in November 1929, when The Clark Memorial Churchbecame part of the re-united Church of Scotland. Unfortunately, some members of the congregation found that they could not conscientiously take part in The Union and they formed The United Free Church Continuing which erected a small church in Brisbane Road. This was naturally a blow to the congregation and to Mr Gardner, but it is recorded that "while fighting valiantly for the cause of a united Church of Scotland, he bade farewell to many life-long members with a kindliness of heart which sprang from true Christian charity". The following year, on June 18th, 1930, Mr Gardner celebrated his semi-Jubilee, which was marked by presentations from the congregation and different organisations. The congregation was prospering and the event was celebrated, it is said, "in an atmosphere of happiness and hopefulness". Addresses were given by a number of ministers including Rev. T. Birnie Noble, M.A. of St. John's and Rev. David B. Baxter, B.D. of St. Columba's, both of these churches along with Clark Memorial now being part of the re-united Church of Scotland. One result of entering the new Church of Scotland was the formation of a branch of The Woman's Guild. Not that the women of the congregation had been lacking in their support of the church up to this point. Indeed there is a tradition that women carried stones from the Gogo Burn to help in the building of the first church in Waterside Street and there is no doubt that they played a great part in the work of the church from the earliest days. Foreign Missions were a special interest and in 1895 the women formed their own "Zenana Mission Committee" under the leadership of Mrs Mclntyre. Addresses by missionaries home on furlough created great enthusiasm and money was raised in various ways and clothing collected for dispatch to the mission fields. After 1900, with the formation of The United Free Church, the work became known as The Women's Foreign Mission. In due course the women's interests extended to other branches of The Church's work such as Jewish Missions and Home Missions and a branch of The Prayer Union was started and, in 1921 these different interests were combined, thus paving the way for the formation of The Woman's Guild. Since then The Guild has flourished and played an important role in the life of the congregation. 9
Mr Gardner did much to advance the musical side of the church's work and to encourage the reputation already established for a high standard of musical attainment. In the early days of the congregation, of course, there would be no musical instrument allowed in the church and the music was led by a Precentor. We know that the first baby baptised in the old church, Richard Wilson, later became precentor of the church; he set a high standard of choir training and may be said to have established the tradition which survives to the present day. Mr Wilson was succeeded as precentor by Mr John Hill Malcom, son of the John Malcom who was mentioned as one of the "founding fathers" of the church. John H. Malcom was an elder and Session Clerk of the church and it says much for him that when, in 1882 Mr John Clark presented a harmonium to the Church, he was happy to relinquish sole charge of the church's music and act from then on as conductor of the choir. Looking back on the formation of the musical traditions of Clark Memorial Church, Miss Martha Mclntyre writes, "The way in which whole families have inherited the gift of song in our church has been very remarkable and we cannot think of the choirs past and present, without remembering succeeding generations of Mackies, Morrises, Jacks, Crawfords, Ninians, Tyres, Malcoms, Eastons, Thomsons, Carmichaels and many others whose fine voices, devotion and loyalty, were of inestimable value". The new church with its fine organ naturally gave a great stimulus to the Church's music. Mr R. Mac-hill Garth, the first organist in the new church had many able successors including John St. Anthony Johnston, Mr Francis O. Sheard, Mr W. N. Macquarrie and Mr William McKee. During Mr Gardner's ministry musical services attracted large attendances, the choir flourished and mention may be made of one member, Mr A. D. Carmichael, who became a distinguished soloist. In 1936 Mr Robert Cloudsley became Session Clerk, beginning a notable period of twenty years' service to the church. Mention was made of an earlier Session Clerk, Mr J. H. Malcom; between him and Mr Cloudsley the office was filled in turn by Mr Thomas Clark, Mr John Morris, Mr Bryce Barr, Mr Archibald Boyd, Mr W. T. Malcom and Mr Andrew Steele and on the death of Mr Cloudsley, in 1956, Mr John McArthur, M.A. was appointed Session Clerk. The outbreak of World War II in 1939 again disrupted the normal life of the congregation and it was under the shadow of the war that the Jubilee of the new church was celebrated in June, 1942 when a Jubilee Social brought together many past and present members and friends of the congregation.
The following year the appointment of a colleague and successor to Mr Gardner was resolved upon and the call went to Rev. Andrew B. McLellan, B.D. Mr McLellan, a native of Glasgow, was educated at Woodside School and then at Glasgow University; he served as Assistant to The Rev. E. T. Vernon, in Queen's Park St. George's Church, Glasgow and then to The Rev. D. McKenzie Buchanan, Broomhill Church, Glasgow. In May 1939, he was ordained and inducted to The High Church, Forres and it was from there that he came to Largs in May 1943. He was inducted by The Presbytery of Ardrossan on Wednesday, May 12th and on the following Sunday was preached in by the Rev. Professor A. J. Gossip, D.D. of Trinity College, Glasgow. The congregation welcomed their new minister with a social and suitable presentations. After the appointment of Mr McLellan, Mr Gardner went to reside in Ayr and later in East Kilbride and, while on a return visit to Largs in November 1946 however, he took ill and passed to his rest in the town which he had loved and served for so many years. Mr McLellan's ministry proved to be a vigorous and fruitful one. It was during his time that "The Fete" became a feature of the life of the congregation. In the past, much money had been raised at Sales of Work held either in the church hall. or in the gardens of houses of members such as Flussh, The Knowe, Elderslie and Walkerston. In 1945 however, the first Fete was held, at Barrfields and it set the pattern for the big effort by the whole congregation each summer. The following year, 1946, the Fete moved to the church's own beautiful and spacious grounds where it has been held ever since. The Opener that year was the late Sir Harry Lauder and the very considerable sum of £766 was raised that day. Since then, with only one exception, a Fete has been held each year. Another feature of the church under Mr McLellan was a growing emphasis on the work among young people. There had been a Sunday School, of course, back in the early days of the church. At the beginning of this century there was a Young People's Guild and its scope was enlarged by Mr Gardner from 1905 onwards. The years following World War II however presented special challenges and these were met in The Clark Memorial Church by the formation of the Senior and Junior Fellowships, which attracted large numbers of young people. The work of the Sunday School, including the primary department, was also steadily built up. At the time of the building of the new church in 1892, the church acquired a fine house, "Gogo Vale", the residence of Mrs Clark, an aunt of Mr Thomas Clark of Flussh, as the manse. By the 1940's however, it was felt that the manse was rather old and a modern bungalow, in Chapelton Drive, was purchased. In 1951, Mr McLellan was called to The West High Church, Kilmarnock and it was with great regret that the congregation of Clark Memorial parted with their minister. His eightyear ministry was perhaps brief compared with those which had preceded it, but the measure of Mr McLellan's success may be seen in the fact that during that period the membership of the congregation increased from about 450 to 729 and in November 1951, a successor to Mr McLellan was inducted in the person of Rev. D. Iain McMillan B.D., S.T.M.
Mr McMillan, after attending Glasgow High School and Glasgow University served four years in the army, latterly as a Captain in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. On demobilisation, he studied at Trinity College, Glasgow and for a year at Union Theological Seminary, New York. During Mr McMillan's ministry, the congregation continued to flourish and its membership to increase. An improvement was made in the facilities of the church with the building of a fine new kitchen and two toilets, in the place of the original small Ladies' Cloakroom, the funds for this having been raised during the ministry of Mr McLellan and in 1958 the first complete redecoration of the church since its opening was undertaken. The success of this work was the result of painstaking preparation and supervision on the part of Dr. Johnstone, Preses of the Board of Management and of Mr Ian McKerrell, Clerk of The Board of Management, who with their committee followed a scheme of redecoration worked out in consultation with representatives of The Church of Scotland Committee on Artistic Questions and of the Kirk Session.
In 1958, Mr McMillan received a call to Bearsden South Church and as his successor the congregation called Rev. Charles H. H. Scobie B.D., S.T.M. Mr Scobie who was educated at Arbroath High School and Whitehill School, Glasgow, gained the degrees of M.A. and B.D. from Glasgow University and of S.T.M. from Union Theological Seminary, New York. After assistantships at Shettleston Old Parish Church, Glasgow and Second Presbyterian Church, New York, he became ordained assistant at Wellington Church, Glasgow, from where he was called to Largs and, in January 1961, Mr Scobie received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Glasgow University. The centre of the life of Clark Memorial Church is the congregational worship every Sunday. In the summer months especially, the congregation are pleased to welcome many visitors into their midst and on summer Sunday evenings the "Abide With Me" Services are especially popular. Originated by Mr McLellan, the service begins at 8.30 p.m. and lasts for half an hour; it is preceded by hymn-singing broadcast by means of a loudspeaker in the tower. 12
During the winter there is a busy organisational life, led and supported by able lay men and women.
THE INTERIOR OF THE CHURCH On entering Clark Memorial Church, one's first impressions are of soft, mellow tones and spacious proportions focussed on the Communion Table at the head of the Chancel. According to Mr Clark's instructions the design of the building was to be without interior pillars which would interfere with a clear view of the Chancel and of the Pulpit and that instruction was fully carried out with regard to the worshipper in the nave and the gallery. In the South Porch which is the main entrance to the church there is a small bronze plaque with the inscription, "In Memory of John Clark of Curling Hall who loved Largs and built this Church. Born 1827. Died 1894". The Sanctuary itself has seating accommodation for 742, Chancel, which are occupied most Sundays by the choir. exclusive of the seats in the
The relatively small seating accommodation for this size of church is accounted for by the very generous space between the pews. This too was at the insistence of Mr Clark, who also provided for the cushioning of every pew in the church. Behind the Communion Table, on the rear wall of the Chancel, there is painted in gold letters the text "Seek ye my face; Thy face. Lord, will I seek". (Psalm 27: 8). Around the walls is a 15-ft. high dado of carved Austrian oak, with a finely executed cornice. The oak panelling was valued before World War II at £2 10/- per square foot and is practically priceless now. The pews are of the same material. 13
The lofty roof, 75 feet in height, has five principals of double timbers with tie and crown beams. The heavy struts spring from beautifully moulded and shotted capitals which terminate with carved bosses and support the ends of the hammer beams. These have angelic figures carved on the ends, from whose hands are suspended the lantern lights. The Chancel and Transept ceilings are both Gothic in form, lined in wood and having moulded ribs which have a pleasing effect contrasted with the massive work of the main roof. The Organ, with its two-manual console, was the gift of Mr William Clark of Newark, U.S.A., brother of the congregation's benefactor. It was built by Messrs Willis of London from specifications submitted by Mr R. Machill Garth, who was the first organist of the new church. The cost was the very considerable sum, in those days, of £1,400. On the north wall of the nave there are two large brass plaques erected by the congregation in commemoration of the long and faithful ministries of two pastors of the church. The plaque nearer the Chancel bears this inscription "To the Glory Of God And In Grateful Memory Of The Revd. J. B. K. Mclntyre Who Was Minister Of This Congregation For 49 Years And During Whose Ministry This Church Was Built: A Devout Man Greatly Beloved, A Faithful Preacher Of The Word And The Loving Friend Of His People. Born 6th June, 1838. Ordained 21st December, 1864. Died 27th July, 1913. Blessed Are The Pure In Heart For They Shall See God. Erected By The Congregation". The plaque nearer the back gallery reads as follows "To The Glory Of God, And In Grateful Memory Of The Ministry Of The Revd. James Wilson Gardner, M.A., For 41 Years Minister Of This His Only Charge. A Man Of Great Gifts: A Notable Preacher Of The Word, A Friend To All. Born 15th February, 1872. Ordained 6th June, 1905. Died 5th November 1946. I Have Kept The Faith. Erected By The Congregation". The three chairs behind the Communion Table are an addition to the original Church furnishings. The Minister's Chair, in memory of Miss Martha H. Mclntyre, L.R.A.M., was a gift to the church from her former pupils and friends of St. Columba's School, Kilmacolm and Park School, Glasgow. The two side chairs were provided by the congregation in grateful memory of the late Miss Wotherspoon of Walkerston, who, as the inscription on one of the chairs states, was "full of good works and almsdeeds that she did". The three chairs are the work of Thomas W. Wilson, Glasgow and were carefully designed to conform with the architecture of Nave and Chancel. On the east wall of the Nave and just round the corner from the Chancel a bronze plaque bears the names of the fallen in the two Great Wars together with the appropriate regimental badges. Flanked by the colours of the first Largs Company of the Boys Brigade, it was made a more prominent feature of the building by the installation of the concealed memorial light gifted by Mrs Cloudsley. In the main vestibule of the Church are listed in an illuminated roll of honour the names of all those connected with the congregation who served in the armed forces during the 191418 War. Beside the War Memorial and opposite the Pulpit is an offering pedestal, the bronze plate of which was gifted to Mrs Mclntyre by a once-heathen African chief of Calabar and brought to her by the famous missionary Miss Mary Slessor, as a token of gratitude for the boxes of clothing sent by women of the congregation. 14
A more recent addition to the Chancel is the "eagle" lectern in oak, which stands as the gift of the congregation in grateful remembrance of the late Robert Cloudsley, ordained to the office of the Eldership in 1935 and Session Clerk from 1936 until his death in November 1956. The work was carried out by Archibald Hamilton Ltd., Glasgow, under the able supervision of Mr Thos. Davidson, who was also convener of the committee which supervised the making of the Communion Chairs. THE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS One feature of the interior of the church which has attracted much interest and admiration over the years is the stained glass. All the windows are of stained glass and most of them were erected at the time of the building of the church. Mr John Clark himself gave the great East and West Windows and also the Transept gallery window, which was given in memory of his mother and father. A pair of binoculars is an aid to anyone interested in a close study of the windows and will reveal detail and beauty which cannot be fully appreciated unless one has particularly keen eyesight. The window which is seen by the congregation to the greatest extent is the East or Chancel Window, the work of Messrs Meikle and Sons, Glasgow. The topmost light depicts Christ on The Cross, with the traditional inscription above his head and the letters Alpha and Omega at the foot on either side. Below, to left and right, two angelic figures are proffering the cup of suffering. Beneath is the scene from John 11: 28, with the inscription, "The Master is come and calleth for thee". The lowest lights have the following inscriptions reading from left to right : "Matthew sitting at the receipt of customs". "Follow me". "Saul ! Saul ! Why persecutest thou me ?" "Follow me". "I will make you fishers of men". The West Window, or Preacher's Window, so called because of its habit of catching the minister's eye, especially on a summer evening when it faces straight into the westering sun, is 26 feet by 15 feet. Its theme is Christ and the children and the key inscription is "Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven". The central figure is Christ, seated on the throne, surrounded by disciples, children and their mothers, lambs, and shepherd boys. Other inscriptions on the window are as follows : "For ye were sometimes darkness but now ye are light in The Lord". "Like as a father pitieth his children so The Lord pitieth them that fear Him". "Little children, yet a little while I am with you. A new commandment I give you that ye love one another". "A little child shall lead them". "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise". The window is the work of Messrs Stephen Adam and Son, Glasgow. 15
The windows on the south and north were mostly gifted by relatives and friends of the Clark family; they are all 25 feet high and 4 feet 7 inches in width. The window above the door leading to the hall passage was erected by John Fergus of Blackdales in memory of his father and mother, Walter Fergus, 1802 - 82 and Elizabeth Thorn, 1804 - 82. On the left is the figure of Paul and the text from II Timothy 4: 7, "I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith". On the right is the figure of Dorcas and the text from Acts 9: 36. The next window is the gift of Archibald Coats, Esq., Woodside House, Paisley. The upper portion with the rainbow tells the story of The First Covenant of Genesis 8 : 20 - 22, with Noah and his family offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving after The Flood. The lower section depicts the scene prior to The Flood, with the animals being led into The Ark over a gangway. A man can be seen leading two horses, then there are two elephants, two giraffes and two pairs of birds of different species and finally, Noah and his family. Next is a window erected by Peter Coats Esq., of Paisley, on behalf of the children of Wallneuk Home, Largs, a Holiday Home for Paisley children, founded and maintained by Mr Coats. The upper part depicts the boy Samuel before the old priest Eli; below, Samuel kneels in prayer with the golden light of the Divine presence shining around him, an effect which is enhanced when the morning sun shines through this window. The next window was erected by Mrs Millar of Mackerston, sister of Mrs John Clark, who laid the foundation stone of the church; the window is in memory of her husband and two daughters. The upper half shows Isaac on the altar erected by his father Abraham on Mount Moriah; the lower half shows the ascent of the mountain. In the middle is the inscription, "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to barken than the fat of rams". The window next to the back Gallery illustrates the story of the Good Samaritan. The lower section shows the robbery and the assault, with vultures patiently waiting, while the upper shows the Samaritan in attendance, with the Levite and the Priest disappearing down the road. The inscription reads, "And now abideth Faith, Hope, Charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity". Opposite on the north wall is "David playing before Saul", the window erected by Margaret Campbell Kerr, Gallowhill, Paisley, March 1893. Next is the story of Boaz and Ruth meeting in the field behind the reapers. The window was the gift of Mr and Mrs Stewart Clark of Kilnside, Paisley, April 1893. The window to the right again depicts the visit of Jesus to the home of Martha and Mary. Mary can be seen sitting at our Lord's feet, while Martha is coming from the house. The window in the Transept Gallery was also a gift from Mr John Clark in memory of his father and mother. On the left is Cornelius, the Centurion and quoted are the words of Peter from Acts 10 : 4 "Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God". On the right is the good and virtuous woman of the last chapter of Proverbs. The quoted texts come from Proverbs 31 : 20, 28 "She stretcheth out her hand to the poor and her children arise up and call her blessed". In the Transept beneath are three smaller windows erected by The Rev. James W. Gardner, minister of the church from 1905 - 1946, "with the figures of "Sancta Maria", "Sancta Agnus" and "Sancta Elizabetha" and the inscription "In gratitude to God for the memory of my mother, my sister and my aunt, January 1907". 16
With the growth of the town of Largs, the congregation has continued to grow and the prayer of its minister and members, as they look back over its past history and forward into the unknown future, is that it may continue to go from strength to strength. CHARLES H. H. SCOBIE Clark Memorial Manse, Largs