179 years on.. The bell falls silent

 

Queen Victoria was just 20, the first commercial electric telegraph line came into use and Ireland was hit by the worst cyclone in 300 years. It was 1838, and the Douglas Family (the then Laird of Glenfinart) had commissioned a small church on the banks of Loch Long. 

Last weekend Ardentinny Church held its final service, a celebration of Harvest Thanksgiving, closing its doors some 179 years after its opening. Ardentinny’s unique little church seated approximately 100 and was one of the Church of Scotland’s three ‘Shore churches’, the others being Kilmun and Strone. The decision to close it came as a surprise to many.

When asked to comment on the closure, a spokesperson from Church of Scotland said:

“The Church of Scotland manages one of the country’s largest property portfolios comprising over 5,000 properties. These include churches, manses, halls and houses as well as a large number of care services and a variety of other buildings.

We have had an excess of church buildings since the 1920s and must continually assess our need for these properties to ensure a prudent use of charity assets, particularly when they may no longer be in suitable locations.

Following the closure of Ardentinny Church and the proposed closure of Kilmun Church, the Kirk Session, Presbytery of Argyll and General Trustees of the Church of Scotland will work together to decide on the future of the two buildings.”

During the final service which the Rev. Joseph Stewart and his congregation kindly agreed for us to film, Reverend Stewart said that this was a celebration, not only of Harvest Time but a celebration of the saintly souls who had worshipped in this sanctuary over the years, leaving their spiritual imprint and example for those who came behind them. The congregation was also encouraged to work together to ensure that there is a future for The Church on ‘The Shore’

Please feel free to share your thoughts and/or memories of Ardentinny Church via comments below or on our Facebook page

With thanks to The Rev. Joseph Stewart and the congregation of Ardentinny Church. 

Glenfinart revisited

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Glenfinart House from Nursery Field.

 

A recent visitor to Glenfinart Walled Garden had a fascinating story to tell. It was only Don Ward’s second visit to the village since 1960. On that occasion he was accompanying his mother Helen Bonnieman who had lived in Ardentinny as a child.

Helen was born in 1908 and moved to Ardentinny at an early age when her father, who had previously been a footman at Drummond Castle near Crieff, was appointed butler at Glenfinart House, Ardentinny. The family lived in a cottage at Stronvochlan (see photo below) until after the First World War.

Helen’s father was subsequently called up for service in the war and served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Helen and her three brothers all went to the village school and thoroughly enjoyed their time there.

On Don’s last visit with his mother in 1960, they visited the (then) Ardentinny Post Office which was located at Rock Cottage (see photo). His mother said that the Post Office was exactly the same as she remembered it all those years ago, and with the same owners. Indeed, her family had attended the wedding of the postmaster/mistress (most likely the Gardners) some 40 years earlier. At the time of Don and his mother’s 1960 visit, the 80+ year old Postmaster was out on his bike delivering the village mail!

We are indebted to Don for allowing us to publish his excellent colour photographs from 1960.

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Glenfinart House from shoreline with metal shed at nursery field.

 

Gardner's Post Office and store.
Gardner’s Post Office and store.

 

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Ardentinny Church and cottages from beach road.

 

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Stronvochlan.

 

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Ardentinny Hotel.

 

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Ferry Cottages.

 

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The (then) School.

 

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Stronvochlan.

 

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Ardentinny Church.

 

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Arched Bridge over River Finart.

 

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“Ban the Bomb” demonstration at Ardnadam Point.

 

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Possibly “Maid of Ashton” off Hunters Quay.