Time capsule opened

Photo:Addiewell Parish Church.  The steeple was later removed.

Addiewell Parish Church. The steeple was later removed.

William Aitchison. All rights reserved.

The former Addiewell Parish Church

By Sybil Cavanagh

The Time Capsule of the parish church is opened

When the foundation stone of the Parish Church in Addiewell was laid, a glass jar was placed below it.  In 2001, Addiewell Church was to be sold and converted into a church.  The congregation had united with Briech, Longridge and Stoneyburn to form a new parish, Breich Valley, with a new church to be built at Bents.

In December 2001, the Addiewell congregation took the opportunity of unearthing the time capsule and opening it.  Inside were some carefully chosen items: among them, a West Lothian Courier newspaper dated Saturday April 4 1885, and also the Glasgow Herald, the Scotsman and the Edinburgh Courant newspapers of the same date.  Also included were two letters relating to the founding of the church.

One letter gave details of the building of the church.  The ‘mission’ at Addiewell, which had just been upgraded to the status of a full charge, was said to be ‘exclusively of the working class’, yet the members had managed to give £101 towards the total cost of some £1,500.

The other letter was from William McCutchon, manager of the Addiewell Oil Works, who lived in the manager’s house, Briech Villa, on the Edinburgh-Ayr road.   He donated the bell to the church in memory of his daughter Maggie.  The wound was still raw, and his letter brings to light again a forgotten tragedy of more than a century ago.

mind gave way through grief

“In the glass jar that will be placed under the memorial stone to be laid tomorrow, the 4th April, there will be several papers giving particulars of the contributors to the erection of the above church.  This is to certify that the bell was presented by me in memory of my beloved daughter Maggie McCutchon who died here of consumption on Sabbath the 5th August 1883.  After an illness of about 14 months, she suffered with great meekness and patience and passed away suddenly of congestion of both lungs.  She was carefully and tenderly nursed by her aunt, my sister, Ann McCutchon.  My sister Ann’s mind gave way through grief after the death of my daughter, and she is still suffering.”


Information drawn from an article in the West Lothian Courier, 27 December 2011, page 15.

This page was added by Sybil Cavanagh on 15/08/2012.

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