St Patricks Church, 1 St John Street, Coatbridge

Telephones - House: 01236 606808, Hall: 01236 606116
by William Docherty BSc, BA, MEd, Dip Adult Ed.

1162 King Malcolm IV, great grandson of St Margaret, Queen of Scotland, grants the lands of Dumpeleder to the Cistercian monks of Newbattle Abbey near Edinburgh.

1203 Papal Bull of Innocent III mentions Dumpeleder.

1273 Papal Bull of Gregory X mentions Dumpeleder.

1320 Declaration of Arbroath is drawn up by leaders of the Scottish church and state and presented to the Pope, John XXII. The identity of the Scottish nation and its church is recognised.

1323 Official records at the time of King Robert the Bruce show that 'Dumpeleder' is replaced by 'Monklands' in the Steward's Charter.

1435 Sylvius Piccolomini, later Pope Pius II (1458-1464), visits Scotland and finds monks 'digging out of the earth a black sulphurous fuel'. This coal is made available to the poor.

At this time 'Monkland wool' is known in European markets and the chapel at Kipps, in the north east part of Coatbridge, is used for worship and rent collection.

1451 Through the initiative of Bishop William Turnbull, the University of Glasgow is founded by Pope Nicholas V. Eight grammar schools are already in existence within the Diocese of Glasgow.

1492 Glasgow is raised to the status of Archdiocese.

1560 The Reformation takes hold. The Pope's authority is rejected and Mass is outlawed. Pockets of Catholics survive and practise their faith mainly in the south-west, the north-east, the Highlands and Islands. Records show there are at least 50 pre-Reformation schools and three universities in existence throughout Scotland.

1615 John Ogilvie, a convert to Catholicism and a Jesuit priest, is martyred at Glasgow Cross. We note that Cleland, Laird of Monklands, had earlier been brought before the High Court

in Edinburgh for hearing Mass celebrated by Fr John Ogilvie SJ.

1622 Scotland comes under the care of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.

1653 The first Prefect Apostolic to minister to Scotland is appointed. He is Fr William Ballantine, a convert from Douglasdale, Lanarkshire.

1694 The status of the Catholic Church in Scotland is raised and Fr Thomas Nicolson, in 1695, becomes first Vicar Apostolic and first bishop since the Reformation. Before ordination he was a professor at Glasgow University. He converted to Catholicism and was ordained priest in Padua, Italy. He arrives in Scotland in 1697.

1755 Webster's Census finds only five 'papists' in the six counties of Wigtown, Ayr, Bute, Renfrew, Lanark and Dunbarton - two in Hamilton, two in Erskine, one in Paisley.

1770s Highland Clearances begin to take effect and many

Catholics move south; some settle in Glasgow and meet secretly for prayers and occasional Mass in the areas of Saltmarket, Gallowgate and High Street.Construction of Monkland Canal begins in 1770, and ends in 1781. It is used to transport freight and especially coal to Glasgow.

1792 Fr Alexander McDonell moves from Badenoch to join his migrant Highland workers in a commercially-booming Glasgow. With the support of employers, a large hall in Mitchell Street, off Argyle Street, becomes the first chapel; it seats 300.

1798 The failure of the Uprising in Ireland produces an early wave of Irish migrants, many settling in the west of Scotland.

1816 The church now known as, St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow, is built by Father Andrew Scott, a native of Banffshire, whose mission takes in the whole of South West Scotland, including a bustling Glasgow.

1822 Coal pits are opened locally by Messrs Baird and give work to immigrant Catholics.

1824-26 Conflict arises between some of the Irish immigrants and their pastor, Fr Andrew Scott. 'Differences in temperament and outlook' are allegedly the cause.

1826 Monkland and Kirkintilloch railway, the first in Scotland, opens.

The building of this railway had attracted Catholics into the Monklands. Their spiritual needs require to be met and every six weeks Mass is celebrated in Airdrie by a supply priest from Glasgow. Until 1839 three locations are used. They are the Mason's Lodge, High Street, a rented room in Bell Street and then a room in Market Street which also serves as a school. The first teacher is Mr Delargey.

1827 The Catholic Church in Scotland is divided into three districts - not dioceses - to cope with the growth and shift in population. Glasgow is the centre of the Western District, which contains Coatbridge.

1829 The Catholic Emancipation Act clears the way for

Catholics, theoretically at least, to engage fully in civic life.A massive educational challenge presents itself to equip Catholics for the opportunities ahead. In Scotland there are now three bishops acting as Vicars Apostolic, fifty priests, a seminary, twenty schools, 70,000 Catholics out of a population of 2,350,000.

1832 Further friction develops between some Irish immigrants and Bishop Andrew Scott. The 1994 Western Catholic Calendar affirms that Bishop Scott's "reputation is securely based on the work he did over these years among the Irish immigrants in the slums of the large towns of west Scotland; his is the foundation on which all his successors have, in their turn, built."

1837 The first priest of Irish immigrant stock is ordained. Daniel Gallaugher worked in the cotton mills in Blantyre and was a mentor to David Livingstone, a fellow worker at that time. He taught young Livingstone the Latin language.

1839 Fr Gallaugher is posted to the Airdrie Mission which includes Coatbridge. Bishop John Murdoch, Glasgow, opens St Margaret's Church, the first Catholic church in the Monklands.

1843 William Walsh arrives in Glasgow as a deacon and is ordained by Bishop John Murdoch. Fr William Walsh is appointed to St Margaret's Church, Airdrie.

1845 Fr William Walsh becomes the first pastor of a new mission, St Patrick's Coatbridge, which stretches from Coatdyke to Shettleston and from Cardowan to Carnbroe. Fr Walsh celebrates Mass in a carpenter's shed in East Canal Street (now South Circular Road) and lives nearby.

1845-50 The Great Famine follows the failure of the potato harvest in Ireland. Another wave of Irish immigrants follows, bringing immense challenges, not only to the Catholic church but also to the host nation. Many of the immigrants are penniless and all seek a new start in life.

1847 April Fr Walsh plans for a new church on a site made

available by Messrs Baird & Co at a nominal charge of 1 groat, ie 4d.

July 7 At the age of 28 years, Fr Walsh dies of typhus fever which has swept through the west of Scotland.

Father William Walsh (1819 -1847) A Tribute

We must pause here to pay tribute to our first pastor. Fr William Walsh was born in Ballinvulling, County Cork, Ireland, in 1819. He died in 1847, four years after his ordination in St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow. Two of these four years were spent in St Margaret's, Airdrie.

In 1845, Fr Walsh had neither shelter nor church when he came here, aged 26 years. He hired a carpenter's shed in East Canal Street (now South Circular Road). He celebrated two Masses on Sunday. During the week, the shed acted as a school. Fr Walsh stayed in lodgings. His circumstances were stark. In due course, because of his priestly example, his popularity spread throughout the whole community. The Bairds of Gartsherrie were among his

admirers; it was they, indeed, who arranged for him to have the land on which were built the original and now the present church, whose centenary we celebrate. Tradition says that this site was bought for a groat.

The year 1847 was known as "Black '47" because typhus tightened its grip of the poor in the west of Scotland. Conditions were squalid, degrading, unhealthy in the extreme, and fatal to some. Fr Walsh's pastoral zeal took him into the but-and-ben or single-end of each family. Many parishioners were laid low with the fever. He, himself, contracted the contagion and, after 12 days illness, died on 7 July 1847.

We must note the ecumenical nature of his pastoral care. Here is a true story, relayed to us by the one who was central to it: As Fr Walsh was visiting the fever-stricken, he met up with a Presbyterian minister who was on his way to attend one of his infected parishioners. Fr Walsh assured the minister he would visit the sick for him and urged him to return to his wife and family so that he would not expose himself to the typhus. The minister accepted Fr Walsh's advice and lived for many years to relate

what had taken place.

In the exercise of his priestly ministry, Fr Walsh accepted death as he followed in the footsteps of The Master. He is buried in St Mary's Church in the east end of Glasgow. His legacy was a community of believers - a church without a building - committed to the Catholic faith and aware of the need for a suitable place of worship. The church was planned by Fr Walsh and built by his successor Fr Michael O'Keeffe.

1847 August. Born in Limerick, educated in Ireland, ordained priest in St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow, Fr Michael O'Keeffe becomes the second pastor of our parish. He is aged 28 years. He spends the rest of his priesthood in St Patrick's, a total of 46 years.

His first task is to build a church on the site procured by Fr William Walsh.

First Marriage Henry O'Neill, Rosanne O'Neill
Witness: Elizabeth Mullen
1 September 1847
(Fr) Michael O'Keeffe

Fr. William Walsh's First Baptism in St. Margaret's
Parents: Charles McCormick, Ellen Coyle
Sponsors: Isais Dunbar, Ellen Connell
18 October 1843

Father okeefe - old man o the brig
Father Michael O'Keeffe
The old man of the 'Brig