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Balfron, the Clachan, Balfron Church (Church of Scotland), Including Gatepiers and Boundary Wall

A Category B Listed Building in Balfron, Stirling

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0741 / 56°4'26"N

Longitude: -4.3342 / 4°20'3"W

OS Eastings: 254805

OS Northings: 689262

OS Grid: NS548892

Mapcode National: GBR 0W.PB8B

Mapcode Global: WH3N2.DL9D

Entry Name: Balfron, the Clachan, Balfron Church (Church of Scotland), Including Gatepiers and Boundary Wall

Listing Date: 5 September 1973

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 335394

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB4166

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Balfron

County: Stirling

Electoral Ward: Forth and Endrick

Parish: Balfron

Traditional County: Stirlingshire

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Balfron

Description

John Herbertson of Glasgow, 1832; transepts added mid-later 19th century; hall and lean-to addition (E side) late 20th century. T-plan Church of Scotland church (transepts at S end of nave transforming it from former rectangular-plan); off-centre tower to W side of nave (adjoining transept). Simple Gothic detailing with pointed openings throughout. Coursed stugged sandstone with sandstone ashlar dressings. Base course (apart from to transepts); eaves course. Chamfered openings.

NAVE AND TRANSEPTS: 4-bay nave. Tall narrow window to each of 2 northernmost bays to each side. Gabled transepts project to southernmost bay; each with mullioned tripartite window (with taller central light) with pointed relieving arch; Celtic cross finial to gable of W transept. Bay to S of centre probably formerly occupied by gabled porch to E side (3 northernmost bays on this side now occupied at lower level by late 20th century rendered lean-to); that to W side occupied by tower. Entrance with recessed tympanum (carved with 3 narrow vertical panels) to outer left of W elevation; replacement 2-leaf boarded timber door with elaborate strap hinges.

TOWER: 3-stage; square-plan. Band course at apex surmounted by low parapet with water spout at each angle. Pyramid roof with weathervane finial. Upper stage recessed slightly on each side within flanking shallow gableted buttresses; triple window arrangement with louvred vents to each side. Entrance with recessed tympanum (carved with 3 narrow vertical panels) to W side. Pair of narrow windows to stage above. Architraved window with flat lintel rounded at edges to bottom stage of tower to N side.

S ELEVATION: pair of tall narrow windows to centre of nave. Blank side walls of transepts set back slightly to either side.

N ELEVATION: shallow gable end surmounted by cross finial. Mullioned 5-light window to centre. Tripartite arrangement of 3 small windows below.

Grey slate roofs (piended to S of nave). Leaded multi-pane fixed light windows (some with stained glass).

GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALL: pair of rectangular-plan coursed sandstone gatepiers to W; corniced with ogee-shaped coping; pair of cast-iron gates with spiked finials. Churchyard enclosed by sandstone wall; coursed with squared coping to W (to either side of gates); rubble with ridged rubble coping elsewhere.

INTERIOR: flat ceilings to nave and vestibule; transepts open to roof with braced trusses. Pointed arches to openings into transepts; each supported on 2 short pairs of columns with brackets below. Much of fittings probably date from mid-later 19th century. Tiered gallery suppported on pair of timber-clad cast-iron columns; front end cantilevered forward; panelled front incorporating cusped Gothic detailing. Raised platform with railed sides (incorporating cusped Gothic detailing) at S end; hexagonal-plan Gothic pulpit with gabled canopy and panelled sides; Gothic panelled reredos-like dado to rear (boarded timber dado elsewhere). Panelled timber organ installed 1947 (thought to have come from former South Church of 1881-83 in Spinner Street) to W transept. Plain boarded timber pews. Pair of stained glass windows to S (to either side of pulpit); probably late 19th century; incorporating floral decoration within Gothic border and biblical texts at bottom. Stained glass windows to transepts; that to W of Christ and the saints in memory of Elizabeth Boss, died 1914; that to E of Christ the good shepherd in remembrance of the Rev Alexander Slessor, died July 1904. Decorative plaster hood-moulds to each of these windows (those to S end probably added mid-later 19th century). Red tiled floor to entrance vestibule at N end; pair of 6-panel timber doors into nave; flanking winding stone staircases up to gallery; wrought-iron balustrades (incorporating cross designs) with timber handrail and turned newel posts.

Statement of Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. A fairly plain compact earlier 19th century parish church which has been sympathetically altered in the mid-later 19th century. It retains some fine mid-later 19th century fittings, notably the pulpit and some good late 19th/early 20th century stained glass windows. It was built to replace and earlier building of 1793. The existence of a number of early gravestones in the churchyard, examined by the RCAHMS in the 1950's indicates that this has been the site of a church since before the Reformation (one pre-Reformation slab bearing an incised sword was found together with a number of late 17th and early 18th century gravestones). The parish of Balfron was apparently a free rectory until 1305 when its patronage was conferred on the Augustinian Abbey of Inchaffray. In 1607 it was transferred (including the 'Kirk of Balfrone') to Sir James Cuninghame of Glengarnock.

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