Monday, 15 August 2011

St. Modan's Church

St Modan's Church is located in Rosneath, Arglyshire, Scotland. It is on the site of one of the oldest christian churches in Scotland. St Monan came to Scotland about the same time as St Columba. It is reputed that St Monan died around 700 CE at a well named after him which was the location of the first church – a wattle and daub structure. An incised stone was discovered in the 19th century which is thought to be his grave covering.

St Modan's Stone

A church building is known to have existed by 1199, This was replaced by another in the 16th century and again after the reformation in the 17th. This was a cruciform church of very plain structure which the Duke of Argyll apparently referred to as the barn. The remaining walls of the church in the graveyard indicate how plain the structure was.

17th century church from the south west

17th century church from the West

More information on the archaeology of the site can be found on Scotland's Places

The graveyard contains the only known grave in Scotland of an African slave. Robert Story came to Scotland as a freed slave and became a servant of the minister of the church, Rev. Robert Story. He took the minister's name as a mark of respect apparently. The graveyard continued to be used into the early 20th century.

Graveyard from the North

Some stones hark back to earlier periods, such as these two 19th century stones made to recall an earlier period.

The older stones such as this one show quite a different outlook although hard to interpret.

The fifth and present church on this site was completed in 1853. It has been expanded several times, each one keeping faith with the materials and form of the original church. It was the church in which Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria and her husband the Duke of Argyll worshipped. The East Transept faces the main road through the town.

East Transept

The 1853 building consisted only of the East - West transept. The North and South transepts were added later.

The entrance is at the right side of the South transept.

South Transept

The North transept as the oldest window, a Claton and Bell one from 1873.

North Transept

Perhaps as a result of the titled interest, the church has a wealth of objects, decoration and stained glass from the 19th to 20th centuries. The church was opened in 1853 with a single isle. The North and then the South transepts were added later.

Interior facing the Chancel

The chancel roof is highly decorated for a Scottish presbeterian church.

South Chancel Roof

The altar is highly decorated with a painting of the last supper above. It also contains a modern representation of St Modan preaching.

Just outside the chancel is erected the stone discovered buried in the 19th century and thought to be St Modan's gravestone.

Further posts will be about the glass, of which there is considerable.

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