Day 5: 15 August 2019: Exploring Inverness – Part 2
I got the following information from the church website.
“The Anti-Burger charge was first formed in Inverness in 1787, and, for a number of years, continued bravely under exceptional difficulties. For a short time the Congregation, as a body ceased to exist, but in 1817 the people again came together, meeting first in the open air, and then in one meeting house after another.
On March 23rd, 1821 the real history of the revived Congregation began, when in a thatched cottage in Fairfield Lane, Dr Scott was set apart as the first minister of the charge. In November of the same year, in Baron Taylor’s Lane, “the New Chapel of the United Associate Congregation in this place was opened” The members worshipped in this building till 1864 when they were able to build a new church in Union Street designed by Dr Alexander Ross.
During the ministries of Dr Scott, Dr Robson, and Mr Stewart, much good work was carried on; but gradually it was felt that larger accommodation was needed, not only for worship, but most of all for carrying on effective work among the young people of the Congregation and an excellent site in Ness Bank was obtained for £1700.
The present church was designed by William Mackintosh, an Inverness architect. It was built over a period of fifteen months in late 1900-1901 at a cost of £8,500 and was dedicated at a service on 22nd December 1901. It is now listed as a building of special architectural interest. It was planned with the church hall and other necessary accommodation under the church and so made the best use of the sloping site. The walls are of red sandstone built in early Gothic revival style and it is roofed with natural slate. At the northern end there is a gallery with access from the entrance vestibule and the seating inclusive of the gallery accommodates about 600 people.
The present minister, the Rev Fiona Smith LLB.BD, was ordained and inducted in January 2010
In the period 1787 to 2016 the Congregation has been served by 12 dedicated ministers”
Faith, Hope and Charity Statues
The history of the Three Virtues’ statues in Inverness began with the Young Men’s Christian Association. Beginning in London in 1844, the YMCA opened branches in towns and cities across the United Kingdom in the years that followed. A branch opened in Inverness in 1859, the ninth such branch in Scotland.
The association originally occupied a room at 3 High Street and also ran an evening school in a building in Davis Square. However, as the organisation grew and its activities became more popular, larger premises were required. A site was selected for a new building on the corner of High Street and Castle Street. A local architect, John Rhind (1836-1889) was chosen to design it and he produced a blueprint for an ornate building in the classical style with Roman composite columns. It was noted how well it complemented the Bank of Scotland which stood on the opposite side of the street. The foundation stone was laid by Lord Ardmillan on 22 April 1868.
The YMCA commissioned local sculptor Andrew Davidson (1841-1925), of Messrs D & A Davidson, to sculpt three figures from Greek Mythology – Faith, Hope and Charity – to stand on top of the building. Each figure carries her own attribute: respectively a Bible, an anchor and a cornucopia.
The building was also adorned with busts of the heads of various religious leaders in spaces between the ground and first floor windows. One of these was John Wesley and this was removed to the Methodist Church in Union Street, and later to the new Methodist Church in Huntly Street.
The Association Buildings, as it was known, was later bought by William MacKay and became MacKay’s Tartan & Tweed Warehouse and, latterly, Grant’s Tartan & Tweed Warehouse. It was demolished in 1955 and the statues were removed to the Burgh Surveyor’s yard where they remained until 1961 when they were bought by Norris Wood, a stonemason and antique collector from Orkney. For many years they stood in the grounds of his home, Graemeshall House, near Holm, Orkney.
There they remained until the Council stepped in to purchase them in 2007.
The statues were restored and installed by Nicolas Boyes Stone Conservation Ltd of Edinburgh.
They were returned to the city following his death and Highland Council has had them installed on a plinth outside Ness Bank Church.
Thank you very much for taking the time to join me on my travels through Scotland. I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did.
Till next time, safe travels and keep dreaming.
Have a fabulous day.