The Parish of St. Ignatius of Loyola
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A History of the Church Building

St.Ignatius 1865

This handsome edifice, now Grade A Listed, opened for worship on Sunday 21st May 1865. It was built from a design by G.Goldie Esq., architect of London and is mostly of the Gothic style of architecture. A spacious nave had an aisle in proportion to the left (the West Nave), and to the right, a handsome tower (of which only a part was erected for lack of funds) composed the building. At either end of the aisle, (the current Lady Altar aisle). were beautifully executed oriole windows; this aisle was divided from the nave by arches resting on massive plain pillars.

The building was capable of seating 500 people, exclusive of a spacious sanctuary and organ loft.

Following the building of the presbytery in 1870, and the building of the other chapel schools at Newmains and Overtown, arrangements were made for the completion of the tower and this was accomplished in December 1883, as shown right. The tower is a massive structure, which on its elevated site, is the most prominent architectural feature of the district to this very day.

Re - opening of St. Ignatius, Wishaw 1905

The growth of the Parish soon meant that there was a need to increase the accommodation. The completed alterations added 400 sittings to the original building and were carried out by Bruce & Hay. On the East Side, a new aisle measuring 60 feet by 16 feet was added and the nave of the building was increased 45 feet by 20 feet. (From the tower to the roadside).

An organ gallery was also included in the alterations and a vestibule 16 feet by 13 feet and four confessional insets in the walls of the aisles completed the interior building alterations, although it is surmised from later remarks that only two were used as Confessionals.

A new pitch pine ceiling of very pleasing design was put in and the unfinished capitals of the pillars were carved out in floral decorations. The original vestibule underneath the tower was converted into a baptistery, with a stained glass window emblematic of Baptism, sealing off the original entrance. A beautiful alabaster pulpit, for which funds had been raised previously, was put into the church. A new floor was laid and the walls of the building wainscoted. A ceramic mosaic of special design covered the floor of the new vestibule and the entrance was an ornate display of early English Architecture. The alterations were carried out in a pleasing and artistic manner in harmony with the original design at the same time very much enhancing the beauty of the structure and greatly adding to its usefulness as a church. It could now accommodate 900 people.

New Confessional and Screen.

The Confessional and Screen at the rear were erected in our church in 1926. At a visit on the 17th May 1924, His Grace the Archbishop had instructed the Parish Priest to secure a third confessional so that there might be one for each priest. It was forbidden by the Law of the Church to use a sacristy as a confessional except as an occasional and extraordinary resort. It was thought best to place this third confessional at the far end of the church, and to build it in such a way as to make it part of a screen which was both beautiful and useful. This screen holds a confessional, a bookstall (no longer used) and a recess for occasional church furniture. It also has a door, which gives access to the gallery stair. The screen was designed in Gothic Style to match the other features of the church and was executed in pitch pine, with windows of leaded cathedral glass. Mr Adam Shaw of Wishaw both designed and executed the work.

Historic Scotland lists the church

In 1999, an area of wet rot was found in the interior roof beside the Bell Tower which necessitated further investgations leading to a complete survey of the condition of the building. As the repair was being made, word was received that Historic Scotland had classified the church as a "B" listed building and this was changed to an "A" listing within three months. The repairs now identified had to be carried out in conjunction with the need to preserve the building as close to the original as possible. Phase I of the Programme commenced in Jan 2003 with the help of a grant from the Heritage Lotttery Fund backing up the generous contributions from the Parishioners. The necessary remedial work involved re-instating the roof with Ballachuilish slates, making good damaged stonework, and replacing various decorative crosses in prominent places on the church. In a church as old as this, it was very fortunate that there was only one minor spot of dry rot. Phase II restoring the interior looms ahead with the need to raise more finance.

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