St. Machan Church in the Parish of Strathbrock, West Lothian, Scotland.
The Parish of Strathbrock was created in 1976 when the Parishes of Ecclesmachan (which had become vacant) and Uphall North were united by West Lothian Presbytery. The new parish is a mixture of rural and lightly urban land stretching from the farmlands of Bangour through the villages of Ecclesmachan and Uphall. As a result of boundary changes part of Dechmont and the hamlet of Threemiletown were lost but the housing areas of North West Broxburn were added. The Parish has two beautiful old Churches steeped in history; St Machan in Ecclesmachan (shown here) and St Nicholas (click here) in Uphall.
Ecclesmachan is an ancient settlement nestling by its burn in a fold of the hills, Ecclesmachan’s name may derive from the Celtic Eglwys St Machan.
On the 13th September 1244, Bishop David de Bernham held a service of consecration – or more likely, reconsecration – at the little church at Ecclesmachan. Just how old the building was at that time we shall probably never know, but from architectural fragments which still remain in the south wall it would seem that it had already been in existence for a couple of generations. It is highly probable that an earlier, wooden church once stood on or near this site, and tradition asserts that St Machan himself chose the spot in the 6th century. Machan was a disciple of St Cadoc and both saints are depicted in stained glass behind the communion table. Naturally, nothing of this wooden building remains today – indeed very little remains of the church built at the end of the 12th or beginning of the 13th century.
In 1710 an aisle was added on the north, turning the ground plan into a `T’ shape. The pulpit and communion table were placed between the two stained glass windows in the middle of the south wall – and a belfry was placed on the west gable. The church retained this `T’ shape, with numerous alterations and the addition of two more lofts, until 1908 when the north aisle was extended east and west to make it the same length as the nave; the lofts were swept away and a chancel, vestry and porch added. The church we see today has changed little since that date and would be immediately recognisable, both inside and out, to Herbert Honeyman, the architect of the 1908 additions.
The noted surgeon Robert Liston (1794-1847) was the son of the parish minister and was born in the Manse next to the church.
All information from Strathbrock Parish Church Website.
Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi in the USA)
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Three bracketed JPGs converted to HDR in Photomatix.
Related shots can be found at: Lowland Scotland.
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