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A Brief History of the Parish of St.Ignatius - Part 3

The Founding of the Wishaw Mission

The Mission of Wishaw was opened in the summer of 1859 by Fr.Black, coming from his previous charge in Lanark. There was no chapel or chapel house and Mass was said in a hall above the stables of a hotel ot the corner of Main Street and the Cleland road (now the Commercial Hotel). Up until this time Wishaw had been part of the mission of Hamilton. The new mission of Wishaw included the districts of Overtown, Newmains, Carfin, Cleland and Rumblingsykes (Shieldmuir), all part of the old pre-Reformation Parish of Cambusnethan. Founded in May, a start was made on building a chapel-school to serve the people of the area. Another school, attended from Wishaw, was built in Carfin in 1862 and to meet the requirements of a growing population in Newmains, a school-chapel with accommodation for 130 was built there in 1871, and opened in the spring of 1872 under the patronage of St.Bridget. The attendance at the school in Newmains at this time was 120. In 1873, Father McCay also built a chapel-school dedicated to St.Patrick in Overtown. This could accommodate 200 people and Mass was offered there for 20 years until the congregation asked to attend Mass in Wishaw. The school continued to be used for many years until the parents also requested that the children be enrolled in St.Ignatius school in Wishaw.

In 1873 Motherwell was detached from Hamilton Mission and entrusted to Fr.McCay of Wishaw, preparatory to its being established as a separate mission. Fr.McCay immediately arranged for the erection of a temporary wooden school in Motherwell to meet the requirements of the increasing Catholic population of that area. This was soon too small and so a more commodious chapel-school was built and opened in September 1875. In November of that year, Motherwell was made an independent mission under Fr.James Gilmour, who had been an assistant priest at Wishaw since 1871

In 1876, Cleland, to which Carfin was now attached, was made a separate mission under the Rev.Fr.Thomas Moran. A further new mission was established in 1891 at Shieldmuir, made up partly from the Wishaw mission and partly from the Motherwell mission, with the Rt.Rev.George Monsignor Canon Ritchie as pastor

More recently, in 1957, the Parish of St.Thomas was founded in Pather, while in 1960, a further reduction in St.Ignatius' Parish area was made with the founding of St.Aidan's in Coltness


The matarial contained in this summary has been collected from a number of sources, including James Keane's 1910 booklet 'Remembrance of the Golden Jubilee of the Mission of St.Ignatius' Wishaw, Cambusnethan', 'The Centenary Booklet of St.Ignatius Parish, Wishaw, 1859-1869' and extracts from 'The Wishaw Catholic Monthly' from various years.

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