The Ardross-man


February 2017

The Matchstick Man

image1-1As part of the background history of Barony St. John’s church, the Design Team I’ve employed to compile a feasibility report for the buildings came across this model.

It’s an exact replica of the Barony St. John and all they could tell me was that the model was made by Jim Miller and was on display in the Parish Centre of the Church of Saint Peter in Chains as part of their Doors Open Day on 2nd September 2007.

Well, you know me by now, I love a mystery so I had to set to work finding out  – “Who is Jim Miller?”, “What was the model made of?” and “Where was it now?”

The local newspaper, The Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald, came to my aid, running an article asking for help from their readership and I soon got an email address for Jim.

After a few unsuccessful bids to meet up, Jim popped into the Barony St. John on his way past one day and I managed to interview him about his model;img_3234

The model itself is made of matches – about 15-20,000 matches in all!!

And this was not the only model Jim has made. In fact, Jim has made a matchstick replica of almost every church in Ayrshire!

So, some background details on Jim – he currently resides in Kilwinning but originally hailed from Dalry. He took up the hobby of matchstick model making around 1994/5 when he became a volunteer in the Abbey Tower Heritage Centre in Kilwinning.

Before then, he had been making a number of small matchstick model kits when he was the Crafts Class Officer with 1st Dalry Boys’ Brigade in the 1970s – 1990s.

However, his first serious model was of the stunningly beautiful Eglington Castle (shown below).

Image result for eglinton castle


By 1995, Jim had developed an interest in making models of churches and when the Church of Scotland told the congregation of Mansefield Church in Kilwinning that they  would be moving to another location, Jim decided he would build a matchstick model of the church as a memento (in case it was to be sold or demolished).

Once complete, Jim gifted the model to the church congregation, as he has done with every church model since.

The Barony St. John church model was Jim’s 13th church model (my lucky number) and was built around 1998/99, taking three – four months to complete.

It currently resides in the Kirkgate Parish Church in Saltcoats alongside the model of Kirkgate that Jim made (the congregation having moved to Kirkgate when the Barony St. John closed).

img_3306 img_3310 img_3307

Jim’s models, as well as being incredibly detailed, also contain a little white dove somewhere on the building as can be seen with the closeup of the parapet in the Barony St. John model (above).

And this Kirkgate church model complete with stained glass windows, looks equally impressive (below).

img_3304   img_3305

The plan is to put both these models on display in the upper gallery of Kirkgate church in Saltcoats.

To date, Jim has completed 83 church models – all of which have been gifted to the congregation of the particular church he has made.

The congregations of churches all over Ayrshire, Pennal in Wales and even Berlin in Germany have been fortunate enough to receive a replica of their church made by Jim Miller. And he has also made 19 other non-church models including a couple of schools, three castles, two Masonic lodges and a Community Centre.

It’s no wonder he is known locally as The Matchstick Man.

Jim also told me that his favourite model is that of St. Margaret’s Church in Dalry (pictured below) where Jim was christened on Christmas day in 1949 and married on 18th October 1974. 😀st-margarets-church-dalry


Yoga – more Yang to go with my Yin

yin-yang-symbol-variant_318-50138A few months ago, I wrote a post titled Tai Chi – the Yang for my Yin, explaining how I felt I needed some balance in the evening classes I offered to the community at the Barony St. John.

I had Muay Thai boxing classes, Ladies Boxfit, Krav Maga self defence – all fighting based classes but nothing at the opposite end of the spectrum – no relaxing classes.

I began by getting Tai Chi in last November but the one other class I really wanted to bring to the Centre was Yoga but finding a Yoga instructor was proving extremely difficult.

And then, it happened. I got a call from a Yoga instructor wanting to move from her current venue.

We offered a large comfortable, matted area with no obstacles (apparently the last place was small and with a wide pillar in the middle which obstructed the view of the instructor for some people).

We could also ensure that the room would be quiet and guaranteed to not be pre-booked by other clients.

And so, on Valentines night (Feb 14th), we held our first Yoga class at Barony St. John 😀

Now I’ve read a lot of reports and scientific studies on Yoga and I’ve learned that it has a lot of good effects ranging from increased flexibility, lowered blood pressure, lowered blood sugar levels. stronger bones and even weight loss;

yogaBut I had this vision of a typical class in my mind and it involved standing on your head and putting your ankles behind your neck etc.

So………I gave the class a try (well, what else am I going to do on Valentine’s night? 🙂 )

First of all, the training hall looked wonderful. The mood was set for the class with dimmed lights, soft Eastern music and lots of candles. Very relaxing.

img_3383  img_3381

The class started and finished with a short meditation session and the exercises were more about stretching to my body’s own limits than contorting into impossible positions.

I have to admit, I never realised how simple exercises such as holding your arms out parallel with the ground could be so exerting.

I left the class feeling full of energy – revitalised and with a spring in my step.

If you have never tried Yoga and are a bit apprehensive about giving it a go, take a leap of faith and join a class. I guarantee you’ll love it.

If anyone wants to visit our own class, it’s on every Tuesday, 6.30pm – 7.30pm and the instructor’s name is Frances. 😉

Blind Faith

For the past year now, myself and other instructors in my charity (The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety – take a peak at our Facebook page or our website have been developing a Personal Safety course specifically for the Blind and Visually Impaired which includes self defence training.


This weekend should see the culmination of that training as we put two blind people through our Instructor exam and test day – including a Pressure Test where they will be attacked by two “attackers” over a five minute period.

Michael has been making his way over to our Centre, in the former church hall of Barony St. John in Ardrossan for this training and, you know me by now, I like my omens……..I was walking him back to his train when I noticed the name of the train operator –


Fate? omen? Or just a coincidence? You decide.

A. Bell

The Ardross-man 😀

Hero Bell keeps children safe

I was looking at archived articles from The Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald when I came across this article from the 2nd June 1899 edition;

There was a runaway horse in Eglinton Street, Ardrossan on Wednesday night (31 May 1899) that was very smartly caught by a stranger named Bell. Mr Bell was walking along with three children at his foot. When he saw the excited animal, he put the children out of harm’s way and cleverly caught the horse. There were a good many children at play in the street at the time and there is little doubt that Mr Bell, by his prompt act, averted a serious accident.

Wow!! It’s nice to see that us Bell’s have a history of selfless acts of heroism. 😀

Maybe he was my ancestral inspiration for setting up The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety. 🙂




The Mystery of the Church Hall extension

You may remember, in a recent post (Sexy Mary) I explained how we had a visit from a former Ardrossan resident, Mary Buswell, and how she thought the small hall room which we aim to turn into a Training Room was much larger when she was a child?

I thought this explained why the buildings were named as “Barony St John Church & Halls” (halls, plural). The Training Room was at one time much larger and therefore another hall.

I also thought that this would explain why the back wall of the Training Room is made of brick and the rest of the walls are stone – maybe the room extended down along Princes Street and at some point in the past, the adjacent land was sold and the building “squared off” cutting it in half?

Well, now I’m not so sure again.

You see, the architects involved with compiling a feasibility study for the former Barony St. John’s church building found this street map of Ardrossan dated 1910.


The first thing that struck me was the shape of the hall building.

The current shape is an L-shape but this map showed a straight building parallel to the church building and linked via a corridor.

So, here’s a photo of the hall building – and as you can see, there is a bottom spur attached to it to give it its L-shape (this is the Training Room);

the-barony  img_3245

Now take a closer again at the roof above the red side door in the photos – it looks weird doesn’t it? Like it’s been added on as an afterthought.

Looking at the 1910 map, I’m thinking that the side door and the main body of the building were all that was there when the hall building was built in 1889. I’m thinking the Training Room section was added on at a later date, obviously after 1910.

With this in mind, I walked around the building to the back area –

img_3246        img_3247

Now, you can clearly see where the wall is different. The stone wall stops at the corner and is replaced for the length of the Training Room by a brick wall (which is why Mary might be right in thinking this room was larger). It then goes back to stone, level with the main hall building, then switches back to brick before going back to the stone of the main church building.


Now this middle stone section is also shown on the 1910 map because the church hall building and the church building are level, connected only by a recessed corridor.

You can see from the photos below that there used to be a window in the original back wall that has now been bricked up. In fact, it was easily seen when we took the plaster off the walls while renovating the toilets last year –

 img_3251    image

So, I think at some point after 1910 the building was altered, probably to install toilet facilities. The corridor was extended level with the rest of the external wall and a kitchen and small room (which may or may not have been larger than it is today) were added. This whole new section was then roofed at right angles to the main body of the church and hall buildings giving the roof its odd look.

Now this is good news because trying to find someone alive today who remembers the original buildings of 1889 is impossible and although finding someone who remembers them from 1910 is a similarly impossible task, if the building was altered after 1910 to include indoor toilets, this may mean that the alterations never took place until the 1940’s, 50’s or even into the 60’s – which means, someone may still be alive who can tell us exactly what the buildings looked like and how they have changed over the years. 😀

If you think you can help, have a photograph or know of someone who may remember the original layout of the hall building, please get in touch.

Bryce-Douglas windows

You know, sometimes history can be staring you right in the face and you just don’t see it.

dsc01355I’ve written posts and articles on lots of things in the Barony St. John church building – the christening font, the organ, the church bell, the clock, the clock tower and lots of of Victorian pamphlets, bibles and sermons I’ve found – but until recently I’d never written about the one thing that stares me right in the face every time I walk into the church – the stained glass windows.

In my last post, James Mutter’s windows, I mentioned that all five of the stained glass windows had been installed in 1889.

Either side of the church organ are two wonderful commemorative windows – img_2344                        dsc01158

One to The Rev. John Bryce and one to A.D. Bryce Douglas – so, with the help of volunteer Emma Paterson, we set about finding out who these people were;


Although there had been a Parish Church in Ardrossan from 1691, it was decided in 1744 that, as most of the parishioners now came from Saltcoats, the Parish Church would be moved there.

This church could accommodate 840 people but by 1841, as the population of Ardrossan rose to 4,958 it was felt that the Parish Church should be re-sited back to Ardrossan.

Rev. Bryce, was the Minister of the Parish Church of Ardrossan and Saltcoats from 1837 and so, when the new church in Ardrossan was built in 1844, he became the first Minister of Ardrossan New Parish Church.

As Rev. Bryce was 58 years old when he died in 1858, he must have been born in the year 1800. I know he had at least two sons and two daughters with his wife, Marion, and that Archibald Douglas Bryce-Douglas (A.D.Bryce-Douglas mentioned in the other window) was his youngest son.

His wife, Marion Douglas was the daughter of Archibald Douglas, the Laird of Braeburn, and A.D. Bryce-Douglas took on the Douglas’ name when he inherited his grandfather’s estate.

This links in nicely to the other stained glass img_3184window and to A.D. Bryce Douglas of whom there was a lot more information to be found, mainly from his lengthy obituary in the local Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald newspaper on 10th April 1891. Here are some extracts;


“On the morning of Sabbath 29 March, Mr A D Bryce-Douglas landed at Ardrossan from the Empress of Japan, then on her trial trip and after a week of severe suffering died at Seafield Tower, his residence here on the morning of Sabbath last (4 April 1891).

bryce-douglas-2Need we say a shadow of a great sorrow hung over the community of Ardrossan all week. It was known that Dr Macdonald was in all but constant attendance, that Dr Moore, Glasgow, made daily visits, that enquiries by telegraph were coming from all parts of the country and day by day the first enquiry in the morning and the last at night was an anxious enquiry as to his condition and this and this anxiety was not to be wondered at.

The parish was proud of the eminence he had attained as a marine engineer. He was the son of their old parish minister whose qualities as a preacher and freedom from denominational prejudices were still remembered. He had purchased Seafield Tower (pictured below) because of old it had been in the family. The poor he had helped. The New Parish Church had the benefit of his large-hearted generous contributions for late improvements and hundreds of young men were indebted to him for situations at Fairfield, at Barrow and in other parts of the

All this had endeared him to the community. He was looked up to because of his genius for unquestionably, he was a mechanical genius of a high order. He was respected for his great administrative abilities as a large employer. He was one of the kings of labour and liked for his warm-hearted kindly deeds, his frank intercourse with gentle and simple and his independent bearing.

When his death became known, there was everywhere in the district an expression of sincere sorrow. It was felt that Commerce had sustained a great loss and that the poor and the needy were the poorer and the more helpless because he had passed away. Nor was this feeling confined to his native parish.

All last week, a like anxiety was felt by all classes at Barrow, by Lord Harrington and the other noblemen and gentlemen associated with him in the works there and when the news of his death became known, public testimony was borne to the respect in which he was held by the display of flags half-mast high on public buildings, on public works, on shipping and elsewhere.

Mr Bryce-Douglas was born at The Manse, Saltcoats on 3 October 1840 being the youngest son of the late Reverend John Bryce, parish minister of Ardrossan. He was educated at Irvine Academy under Dr White, master of the Commercial department and afterwards at Glasgow High School under Dr Bryce, finishing at the university.

Like many another son of the manse, young Bryce was destined by his parents for the ministry of the church but his bent lay in another direction and as from his earliest days, he had a mind and a will of his own.

His father wisely gave way and allowed him to carve out his own path through life. Indeed, if it be true that the boy is father to the man in the case of those who rise to distinction, it was so in his. ‘Still life’ was unknown to him as a boy. His restless energy even then was conspicuous.

When seventeen years of age, he was apprenticed to Mr Robert Drape, joiner, Ardrossan with whom he remained for two years. He also served for one year as a mill-wright with Mr Hendry, West Kilbride but not yet had he found his vocation and at the end of that time, he removed to Glasgow and entered the engineering establishment of Randolph, Elder and Company then situated in Centre Street, in the evenings attending classes for the study of mechanics at the Andersonian University.

In Messrs Randolph, Elder and Company’s employ, he found congenial work and throwing himself into it with all the ardour of his nature, he soon attracted the attention of Mr Randolph, the head of the firm who predicted for him, even at that early age, a distinguished career but he was not content to remain for more than a few years in the Centre Street establishment.

He had always been possessed by a spirit of adventure and early in the sixties he shipped as a passenger in a sailing vessel for Auckland where he had the promise of taking charge of an important machinery plant.

On the way out, the carpenter died and Mr Bryce was offered and accepted the situation rendered thus vacant. On arriving in New Zealand, the Maori war had just broken out and taking the situation in at a glance, he soon found an opportunity of working his passage with a well-known captain with one of our ocean liners to the Pacific coast.

For about a year, he was in the service of the Peruvian Navy at the end of which time he was offered and accepted a situation as seagoing engineer with the Pacific Steam Navigation Company.

In the year 1865, he revisited Scotland and after taking a few months with his friends and taking his examination for extra first-class engineer, in which he was successful, he returned to Callao to become assistant engineer of the Pacific Company. This position he occupied till 1869.

In that year, the headquarters of the company were removed from the island of Taboga in the Bay of Panama to Callao on the establishment of a line of steamers to sail direct between Liverpool and Valparaiso and a vacancy taking place at the same time in the office of the superintending engineer through the resignation of Mr Jamieson. Mr Bryce received the appointment which he held for a period of six or seven years…..

……He remained at the Fairfield Works until he removed to Barrow in 1888. The history of the Fairfield Works during that period it is unnecessary to recapitulate. Briefly, it may be stated it was during this time that the Arizona, Alaska and Oregon and other vessels for the Cunard fleet were built and that the revolution in the construction of ocean-going steamers, which has not yet seen its close, was commenced. The whole of these vessels were engined under the superintendence of Mr Bryce-Douglas as well as the Orient, the Austral and the Ormuz for the Orient Line.

He also constructed the engines for the Czar’s yacht, the Livadin for the Italian iron-clad Magicienne and for several of the numerous vessels for the British Navy which were turned out of the Fairfield yard. He also re-engined the Russian warship, Peter The Great.

Mr Bryce-Douglas’s connection with Barrow commenced in 1886 when engines of his design were built under his supervision for the Navigation Steam Navigation Company’s Orula and Orizaba which were constructed by the Barrow Shipbuilding Company. These were two of the earliest examples of engines of the triple expansion type put into ocean-going steamers.

In 1888, influenced by Lord Harrington and other capitalists, Mr Bryce-Douglas accepted the position of managing director of the Naval Construction and Armaments Company which took over the works of the Barrow Shipbuilding Company……

……The immediate cause of death was a cold caught, it is believed, at the launch of the Empress of China and which developed into peritonitis. He was ill on board and was prescribed for by a medical gentleman of the party and when he landed at Ardrossan on a bitterly cold morning, he was able to walk to Seafield. No time was lost in calling in medical aid and all that human skill and good nursing could do was done for him. The inflammation, however, had got too firm a hold and a constitution, remarkable for its strength, succumbed and at the comparatively early age of fifty, a life of much usefulness and still greater promise came to a close.

He had probably when at sea faced death too often to dread the approach at the last. This at least is certain, that when told the illness might have a fatal termination, he received the tidings with the greatest calmness and with the utmost composure, awaited the end.

Beside possessing several patents, Mr Bryce-Douglas was proprietor of Seafield, Ardrossan which he purchased from the liquidation of the City of Glasgow Bank and greatly enlarged and beautified.

By inheritance, he was also the owner of Brownhill Estate in the parish of Dalry and Burnbrae Estate, Dumbartonshire and it was when entering into the possession of this last, on the death of his cousin Captain McAlister Douglas, that he took the name of Douglas…..

….He was married to Miss Jessie Caldwell of Boydstone, Ardrossan, who died while they were resident on the Pacific coast and her death was a great blow to him. She was survived by one daughter but she also died about ten years ago, another daughter predeceasing her.

Two of Mr Bryce-Douglas’s sisters remain with many devoted friends to mourn his sudden and unexpected death.

The funeral took place on Wednesday (8 April 1891). In accordance with the expressed wish of the deceased, it was strictly private and beyond the two male relatives, the trustees, representatives of the Barrow works, one of the directors representing the board, and a representative of the Canadian Pacific Railway only a few intimate friends were present. The day was one of the finest of the season and all along the route from Seafield to the cemetery, crowds of townspeople had gathered to see the cortege pass.

Before the coffin was placed in the hearse, the Reverend J D McCall of the New Parish Church conducted a brief but impressive service and shortly thereafter the sad procession began. Eleven mourning coaches followed the hearse and upon the coffin and in those coaches in which the blinds were not drawn, beautiful wreaths of flowers could be seen.

As a public tribute to the memory of the deceased, the shops in the town were closed between the hours of one and two and the bell of the New Parish Church, of which he was a trustee, tolled….” 

Wow, what a guy! What a life! What an adventurer!

I was enthralled to discover that this great man’s gravestone may still be standing and so, with the help of Emma Paterson and her daughter Ami, I managed to track down Archibald Douglas Bryce-Douglas’s gravestone in Ardrossan Cemetery –

img_3241     img_3242

The inscription reads ;

Erected by
A. D. Bryce-Douglas
in loving memory of his wife,
Jessie Caldwell
who died at Callao, 27th April 1869, aged 30,
and their daughter, Jessie who died 4th March 1881, aged 12.
Also his father-in-law, William Caldwell, Boydstone,
who died 14th July 1888(?), aged 78
and his wife, Jean Simpson who died 14th May 1889, aged 78,
also their children
John, who died at Callao, 9th April 1868, aged 25,
Annie, who died 19th April 1885, aged 26,
Margaret, who died 6th January 1890, aged 36.

The said A. D. Bryce-Douglas, died 5th April 1891,
aged 50,

Jeanie, daughter of the said William Caldwell,
died 1st August 1901, aged 60.

This means that all of Jessie Caldwell’s (A.D. Bryce-Douglas’s wife) siblings died at Callao at a young age – Jessie herself aged just 30yrs old, her brother John aged just 25yrs old, her sister Annie aged just 26ys old and her other sister Margaret aged just 36yrs old.

I’m left wondering what had killed them?

And, as always seems to be the way with the Barony St. John buildings, there is something of a mystery left here too;

I’m presuming that A.D. Bryce-Douglas had commissioned these windows prior to his death in 1891 as they were installed in the same year but make no mention of his death.

img_3184And it must have been devastating to lose his wife Jessie Caldwell, herself only 30 years old, while he was working in Callao, Peru (as well as losing all of her siblings). And then to lose his daughter Jessie at the tender age of 12 years old.

But when talking of his wife, his obituary mentions “She was survived by one daughter but she also died about ten years ago, another daughter predeceasing her”, so does this mean that they had another daughter who died before daughter Jessie died in 1869? And if so, why was she not named in the window?

At any rate, she must have died before A.D. Bryce-Douglas died in 1891 and if the windows were put in on that year, it still begs the question “Why was the other daughter not named in the window?”

It’s a mystery.

boatAnd finally, just when I thought I had brought our investigations to a conclusion, I realised where I had heard the name A.D. Bryce-Douglas before……it was in another of my posts from last year, Ship Shape, where I wrote about the history of the beautiful ship weathervane on top of our church spire. It was erected in 1885 after being presented by ………… A.D. Bryce-Douglas.

Many thanks once again to Emma Paterson for helping with the research of this post.

James Mutter’s windows

The North wall of the former Barony St. John’s church is by far its best feature. The magnificent church organ is there along with four beautiful stained glass windows which, according to my research, were installed in 1889.


Actually, there may be five stained glass windows because I’m convinced that the large circular window which is currently boarded over also contains stained glass, but we will have to wait until the church is renovated to see if this is the case or not.

Anyway, this post is about the two smaller stained windows situated either side of the alter area.

img_3176              img_3177

At first glance, they look identical – but a closer look reveals subtle differences. The flowers are different and as you focus in on the wording, it too is different;

 img_3181            img_3178

img_3180The first window, which is on the far left hand side of the church wall as you face it, says “Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God“.

There is a dedication at the foot of the window but although it is partially obscured by decades of dirt and grime, one of our volunteers, Emma Paterson, managed to piece together the writing – it reads “Erected by James Mutter in memory of his father William Mutter of Meikle Laught“.img_3179

The second window, on the far right of the wall, says “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted“.

There is also a dedication at the bottom of this window which Emma managed to decipher as “Erected by James Mutter in memory of his mother Jane Rankine“.

Although Emma had heard of Meiklelaught, as an incomer to Ardrossan, I never have so I thought I’d do a wee bit of investigating and here is what I found out;

William and James Mutter were twins, born on 16th September 1805, and rose to fame as the proprietors of the world famous Bowmore Distillery on the Isle of Islay.

map-arran-islay bowmore1 bowmore

According to an article by Penny Tray published in “The Threetowners” webpage on 30th August 2010, William Mutter was presented with a bottle of whisky, distilled and bottled by W & J Mutter at the time of him giving up his share of the distillery in 1851. He then became a rentier and moved to Ardrossan and James took over the Bowmore Distillery and family farms on Islay.

This bottle of whisky later gained fame itself when it was sold for what was then a World Record amount of £29,400 in 2010 (although this has since been bested several times over and the World Record for a bottle of whisky is now over the £300,000 mark).

The article continues; “Looking at the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald BMD database I see that a William Mutter‘s death is intimated in the 30/4/1886 edition of the newspaper. There is a side note to the effect that the death occurred at Crescent Park, Ardrossan – aged 81 – Meiklelaught.

So it would seem, William Mutter had a son, James, whom he named after his twin brother and who commissioned these two stained glass windows to remember his father and mother by.

His gravestone can be found in Ardrossan cemetery, not far from A.D. Bryce-Douglas –

img_3243                  img_3244

The inscription reads;

In Memoriam
William Mutter
of Meikle Laught
Died 29th April 1885,
His wife,
Jane Rankine
Died 3rd March 1884,
Alice Mary Graham
Wife of James Mutter
Died 10th September 1896, aged 35.
James Mutter
of Meikle Laught
Son of William Mutter,
Died 23rd February 1911, aged 69.
William Graham Mutter
Son of James Mutter,
Died 27th August 1973, aged 76.

Having looked through the archives of the local newspaper, The Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald, I have also found out that James Mutter (who commissioned the windows and who died in 1911) was a local Justice of the Peace and I also came across this article in the 7th June 1895 edition of the newspaper;

On Friday evening (31 May 1895), a meeting representative of kirk session, Sabbath school teachers, choir and guild was held in the vestry of the New Parish Church, Ardrossan, at which Mr James Mutter (shown below), Crescent Park, was the guest.

There was a very large attendance, the commodious room being completely filled.

After praise and prayer, the Reverend J D McCall who presided, said they were met under very pleasant circumstances, met to do honour to one unto whom honour was due. He was more than happy to be present because his connection with the gentleman they had with them was a very long connection indeed.

He had known Mr Mutter since boyhood, having had the pleasure of acting towards him as a Sunday school teacher and it was wonderful how in the events of divine providence, the old friend he had known for so many years, should come and dwell in the very parish where his own lot was to be and where, as he well knew, he had laboured for the long period of forty years.
So it would seem that the Reverend J D McCall was originally a Sunday school teacher on the Isle Of Islay before coming to Ardrossan – very interesting.

The sketch of James Mutter featured in another article in the same newspaper dated 21st November 1902;

Mr James Mutter of Meiklelaught, as president of the Glasgow Consular Corps, conveyed the respects and congratulations of the representatives of foreign countries resident in Glasgow to the Lord Provost of the City on Monday (17 November 1902). He did so in a happily-expressed speech.

The Glasgow Consular Corps currently represents the 22 foreign countries with consulates in the city of Glasgow so I’m guessing its role was the same back in 1902 albeit perhaps with fewer countries having consulates in Glasgow at that time.

So it would seem James Mutter was a wealthy, well thought of, man in the Ardrossan parish community with connections to Glasgow and Islay.

If anyone knows anymore, please get in touch.

“Thank You” to The Clothworkers Foundation


A huge “Thank You” to the Clothworkers’ Foundation for part-funding the renovation of our Training Room at Barony St John’s.

We simply could not have done it without your help.

Thanks again.

You’ve got to Laugh

This is the door in the hall building that leads to the church building. As you can see by the Health & Safety notice on the door, I haven’t lost my sense of humour. 😀



Blog at

Up ↑