St Andrew’s Building

Illustration by Olga Clarke

This piece was written for the Centenary edition of the Church Magazine in 1987 by Jane Durham:

St. Andrew’s Church was completed in 1887 to replace an earlier corrugated iron structure. Prominent in its history was Ms. Williamson, mother of the late Miss Williamson Ross. She was among the committee members who superintended the plans and their execution. The design was by Inverness architects Ross and McBeth. Alexander Ross sprang to fame with the rise of the Matheson family and was the designer of many notable buildings in the North including Ardross Castle, Skibo and, indeed, Inverness Cathedral.

The church is listed B by the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Department of the Scottish Development Department; which means it has a certain quality and is of local historic importance.

In the list St. Andrew’s is described as:- First Pointed Gothic with wide tracery, hood-moulded windows. It has a bell tower and porch with the vestry behind. The interior is of very simple satisfying design and the earliest stained glass, dated 1884, was made by Ballantyne and Gardner, a well-known firm of Edinburgh stained glass makers. This was transferred from the old church to the new building. The later glass is by A. L. Ward in 1910 and by W. Wilson in 1955 and 1961.

The organ is particularly fine, presented by a public subscription raised by the congregation in the memory of their organist, Miss Margaret Henderson, daughter of Mr. Henderson of Ankerville, who died at an early age, of TB. It was built by Hamilton and Muller, Edinburgh and has recently been restored by the congregation in memory of Mr.Peter Butler, for many years Hon. Treasurer of St. Andrew’s.

The roof is very fine with arched braces – supported with heavy corbels. The little circles might be called cusped detailing.

The tradesmen who built the church of local stone were almost certainly local masons and joiners as distance was a constraint on workers employed.

Tain has a very seemly, well proportioned and beautifully built small Episcopal church, admirably suited to its congregation and well cared for by successive incumbents and vestry members.

Jane Durham