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Presbytery, Church Of The Immaculate Conception

A Category C Listed Building in Bathgate, West Lothian

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Latitude: 55.9034 / 55°54'12"N

Longitude: -3.6419 / 3°38'30"W

OS Eastings: 297445

OS Northings: 669030

OS Grid: NS974690

Mapcode National: GBR 3005.BM

Mapcode Global: WH5RG.1W17

Plus Code: 9C7RW935+97

Entry Name: Presbytery, Church Of The Immaculate Conception

Listing Name: Livery Street, Church of the Immaculate Conception (St Mary's) (Roman Catholic), Including Boundary Walls, Gatepiers and Railings

Listing Date: 23 August 2006

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 398832

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50544

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Bathgate

County: West Lothian

Town: Bathgate

Electoral Ward: Bathgate

Traditional County: West Lothian

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Charles Menart, 1907-8. Cruciform-plan gable-fronted Gothic church with prominent twin spires and polygonal chancel. Rock-faced squared snecked yellow sandstone rubble with droved margins and ashlar dressings. Large pointed arch windows with stone panel tracery above main entrance and to transepts. Squat pointed arch clerestory windows. Segmental-headed windows in round-trefoil surrounds. Fine interior decorative scheme. Later 20th century presbytery buildings to N.

SW (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: double entrance with timber-panelled doors. Cusped pointed-arch tympana with continuous hoodmould in a panel of smooth ashlar with stepped string course above; niche between two doors. Large central pointed-arched window with stepped splays and bracketed hoodmould. Projecting skew to gable with clover-leaf cross finial. Square-plan 2-stage corner towers with trefoil-headed windows rising to octagonal-plan with corner gablets and windows to main elevations. Short octagonal spires with tall lucarnes. Low single bays with tall gabled lancets abutting towers.

SE ELEVATION: single bay with tall blind lancet panel, followed by single-storey pitch-roofed aisle with 5 small rectangular windows and single door to left. 3-bay clerestorey. Large transept window with low flat-roofed projection below. Single-storey Lady Chapel with 3 bays of rectangular windows below canted chancel window.

NE ELEVATION : chancel with mullioned Gothic windows to canted bays. Two segmental-headed windows to Lady Chapel (right).

NW ELEVATION : as SE but with blank 2-storey end bay to rear.

INTERIOR: substantially marbled interior, including variety of colours, especially to sanctuary and nave. Gothic nave arcades on black marble columns. Timber boarded gallery. Timber truss roof, gilded in sanctuary. Leaded windows, predominantly plain with bands of blue and green. Mosaic of Christ over altar with Gothic baldachin. Square-paned leaded stained glass to chancel. Stained glass to Lady Chapel and to baptistery.

Large panel tracery leaded windows with bands of blue and green panes. Graded grey slates, straight skews, gabletted skewputts. Cast iron rainwater goods with decorative hoppers.

PRESBYTERY: late 20th century 2-storey slate-roofed house with large picture windows.

BOUNDARY WALLS: rock-faced boundary wall to front with chamfered copes. Square-plan gatepiers with octagonal copes. Cast iron railings.

Statement of Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception is an early work by one of the leading designers for the Catholic Church in early 20th century Scotland. The church has an exceptionally rich interior containing a good collection of stained glass windows.

The Catholic Church in Bathgate, after using several temporary premises, acquired the former 'Auld Lichts' church in Livery Street in 1855, which they used until it was demolished for the present church.

Some changes have been carried out to the interior of the church, specifically to the altar as the result of changes in Catholic liturgy in the 1960s following the second Vatican Council. This included the removal of the high altar, the choir gallery in the chancel and the bronze altar-rail. The winter chapel was converted to a Lady Chapel in 1954. A description of the opening describes ten carved oak stalls within the sanctuary, which have been removed. The mosaic of Christ Pantocrator is said to be a direct copy of one of the Greek churches in Rome.

There are three windows by William Wilson (1905-72) in the church, including the Annunciation and Assumption in the Lady Chapel and the 1959 Baptism of Christ in the original baptistery.

The date for construction of the church varies in different publications. The confusion arises from the fact that the earlier church was upgraded in both 1858 and in 1888, before being demolished.

Charles J Menart was a popular architect within the Roman Catholic church in Scotland. A number of churches and church interiors are known to have been after his designs. Menart's early work was in designing housing in Perth (by Menart and Jarvie). Early interior work on existing churches was carried out at St Peter's, Buckie in 1907 and it is not long after this that Menart began his work in Bathgate. The peak of Menart's career seems to have been around 1910 when he was responsible for the A-listed Church of the Sacred Heart (1909-10)

and St Aloysius (1908-10), both in Glasgow. Also by Menart is St Joseph's RC Church, Helensburgh (1911). The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Bathgate is at this time the earliest known church by Menart. In 1907 Menart worked on St Peter's Church, Buckie (A & W Reid, 1850-57, see seperate listing) and the Bathgate church bears a striking resemblance to it, including the twin towers, double entrance and lucarnes to the spire. However the details at Bathgate are uniquely Menart.

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