Our Churches are located in a beautiful parish on the west coast of Scotland, near Oban, in Argyll. There are currently still two church buildings which are used for worship. You are very welcome to visit them if you are in the area:
Ardchattan Kirk is open daily for private prayer and visitors (check Calendar page for Sunday Worship times).
It was opened on Sunday, September 17th, 1836, replacing an earlier building on a site near Ardchattan Priory. This new site at Achnaba was given by General Campbell of Lochnell, the Laird of one of the three largest estates in the Parish.
The building work used masonry of local granite with sandstone dressings and included a session room, a room for the minister and (upstairs) designated rooms for the use of Sir Duncan Campbell of Barcaldine & General Campbell (who each paid for the furnishing thereof). Each of these also had their own stable on the site, where the car park now is.
The church building has remained relatively unchanged since
its construction and unusually retains much of its original
character. The horseshoe shaped gallery is supported on cast
iron columns. The pews on the east side are original and some contain the wooden pegs used by the men to keep their hats on during the service.
Our long central communion table, once a common feature of Scottish churches, is thought to be now one of only four remaining in use today.
The high pulpit, with sounding board above, enabled the
minister to be seen and heard from all parts of the church and
gallery. Directly below this is the Precentor's desk from where
the singing of the psalms was led. Our last Precentor,
Hugh Campbell, died in 1931. Instrumental music has been
permitted in the Presbyterian Church from 1866 but the first
organ was only installed here in 1935 - this was an instrument which had originally been in use in the Free Church at Rhugarbh.
War Memorials in honour of those from our Parish who died in the First and Second World Wars are situated on the back wall of the nave.
This building is included on the Secretary of State for Scotland's list of Buildings of Special or Historic Interest.
A small exhibition of the history of the church can usually be found inside.
St Modan's Church, Benderloch
In 1903 the Connel Bridge was opened. This allowed trains to run from Connel Ferry to the slate mines in Ballachulish and created a major thoroughfare across our peninsula parish. With this development in mind, St. Modan's Church was opened in Benderloch on 17th May 1905. Prior to this, the Benderloch (or Ledaig) community had been served by an occasional service in the village school (which had opened in 1878) and would go to Achnaba for the church service there - usually on foot.
It is recorded that practically all the people of Benderloch helped to lay out the grounds of their new Church with 'heartiness and willingness' prior to the opening.
The name St. Modan's was chosen because of an ancient church building at Baile Mhaodain above Ardchattan Priory. Our architect was G. Woulfe Brennan, an Oban man. The grey & black granite blocks were brought from the Bonawe & Kentallen quarries respectively and the slates came from Ballachulish. The style is described as typically Norman, with its thick walls, deep-set round headed windows and conical roofed apse. The church is noted for its fine wooden ceiling and the memorial windows which were installed in 1906 -(made by Meyer of Munich) - and 1914.The pulpit was transferred from a church in Perthshire, a gift from Lady Stewart of Garth.
The bell in our unusual bell tower was donated and hung by Arrol's Bridge & Roof Co. of Glasgow who had built the Connel Rail Bridge (and more famous Forth Railway bridge). The bell foundry mark reads 'John C. Wilson, Glasgow'. It is currently rung before each service by the members of our Sunday School.
Archattan Parish Churches do not hold any records of births, deaths and marriages. To find out more about the history of our area we recomend Ardchattan Parish History.