Church History

A History of Balfron Church

(with thanks to the Balfron Heritage Group)

The original church of Balfron belonged to the Abbey of Inchaffray. It was held with Killearn in 1567 and the church was rebuilt in 1832.

Ministers and further details are listed below

Alexander Callendar

James Hunter, reader

John Snell, reader

John Porterfield, reader

William Russell, reader
And again in 1580?
1st July 1619
John Galbraith MA
Ed Uni St Andrews. Pres. to the vicarage by James VI. Transferred to Bothkennar 17th Feb 1629.  Married daughter of John Norwell.
John Norwell MA
Transferred from Bothkennar. Died in Stirling Sept 1671, aged 87. His daughter married his predecessor.
11th June 1656
William Stirling MA
Son of minister of Baldernock. Transferred to Drymen, 15th Dec 1663
12th July 1664
Alexander Cameron
Pres. 3rd Mar 1664 by Charles II.  Transferred to Roseneath 25th Apr 1665
8th May 1666
James Buchannan
Pres. By Charles II 18th Apr 1666; deposed 13th Aug 1690 for contumacy.  He married at Holyrood 29th Apr 1668 Bessie Johnstone of parish of Inniscailloch.
David Fleckfield
Ed at Uni of Glasgow 1676.  Ord. 23rd Sep 1691.  Married (1) 8th dec 1692 Janet nee Dunlop, widow of James Hamilton.  (2) Janet Paterson.  (3) Jean Callendar, who survived him and married again.
George Sinclair
Of Upper ward, Lanarkshire.  He was ordained (in Parish of Biggar?) by a committee of the Commission of Assembly with one member of the Presbytery after 6pm 23rd Apr 1731, under the protection of the military. He was employed to assist at the Communion at Cardross in 1731, but so obnoxious was he, that when he preached on the fast-day and the greater part of the people left the church. He was also to have assisted on the Lord’s day, but the elders refusing to serve if he did so, he withdrew, and returned home. He married 11th Dec 1747 Jean Baine, dau of minister of Bonhill. He died 5th Mar 1756.
Hugh Gourlay
Grandson of David Fleckfield, born 1732.  Ed Uni of Glasgow; ordained 25th  Sept 1760 (in Stirling?).  Married (1) Margaret Lauder (2) 30th Jul 1782 Elizabeth Colquhoun.
James Jeffrey MA
Born 1750.  Ed Uni of St Andrews 1770. Pres by Thomas, Earl of Kinnoul 23rd Feb 1787.  Married Margaret Bathie, of Auchtermuchty.  He got a new church built in 1793. He died 10th Feb 1824 (in his 75th year and 37th minute!).
Alexander Niven MA
Born 8th Jan 1798, 3rd son of minister of Dunkeld. Ed Uni of St Andrews 1817.  Pres by Thomas, Earl of Kinnoul 19th Jul 1824.  Married 22nd Sept 1829 Eliza Brown, dau of minister of St John’s Glasgow. His 2nd son became minister of Pollockshields; his 3rd son became minister of North Parish, Paisley. Died 14th Feb 1872. He rebuilt the church.
James Ballingall MA BD
Ordained 16th May 1872.  Transferred to Rhynd 24th Jan 1878
Alexander Slessor
Born Rathen, Aberdeenshire. Ed Uni of Aberdeen.  Ordained 14th May 1878.  Married 6th Aug 1878 Elizabeth Ross.  He died 17th July 1904, sp.
James Black  MA
Born Elgin 8th Nov 1870. Yr son of Provost of Elgin. Ed Uni of Aberdeen 1891. Ordained 5th Jan 1905.Married 5th Jul 1905 Roberta Cecilia Williamson of Edinburgh. Res. 6th Feb 1912 on appointment to Scottish Church, Simla.  OBE 1919. He died sp.
William John Sym MA BD
Ordained 5th June 1912.  Transferred to Broughty Ferry 20th Oct 1915.
Alexander Cameron Campbell
Born Glasgow 1873. Ed Uni of Edinburgh.  Ordained to St Mark’s, Glasgow, 2nd Sept 1914. Capt RAMC European War 1917-18.  Married 31st Oct 1901 Helen Buchannan.
Archibald MacKenzie
Born in Alexandria, 30th Mar 1882, son of minister of Polmont. Ed Uni of Glasgow. Ordained 14th Dec 1919.  Married 24th Aug 1918, Frances Theodora Philips, of Bearsden.

Balfron North Church

Church and manse. Old manse was sold and new manse built in 1929.
Thomas Hutchison Burns-Begg
Retired 11 Jul 1967
United 11th Jul 1967 with Balfron South

Balfron South church

Balfron church and manse in one building. The Holm church and manse were sold 15th May 1952.
James Lindsay MA
Died 7th Jan 1938.  ‘Father of the Church’
George Turner MA
Married 9 sep 1944 Janet McNaught, dau of John McLintock of Balfron.
Joseph Ernest Somerville MA
Ordained and inducted 20th Jun 1945. Dem. on appointment to Birmingham, Alabama, USA 20th Feb 1949.
John Garriock Ross
Ordained and inducted 20th Oct 1949.  Transferred to Ettrick and Buccleugh 31st Mar 1954.
28th Oct 1954
George Dickson McMillan
Born 6th Feb 1913 in Dumbarton. Ed at Uni of Glasgow and at Trinity College. Ordained and inducted in Clydebank West 13th Feb 1946.  Married 19th April 1947 Isobel Ruth Donald. During his youth Mr McMillan had suffered from poliomyelitis which had left him partly crippled. Due to this, he was often accompanied by his wife on his many pastoral visits. He transferred to Bonkle in 1960 but due to his infirmity, Mr McMillan retired on health grounds in September, 1970, having served the Bonkle Congregation for 10 years. On retirement, he set up residence in Helensburgh, where he died on 30 August, 1978.
Linked 30th Jun 1959 with Fintry.  Linking arrangement terminated 11 Jul 1967 to permit union same date with Balfron North under name of Balfron.
The South Church was sold in 1991.

Balfron Church

Formed 11th  Jul 1967 by union of Balfron North and Balfron South.
19th Nov 1967
John Jamieson
Born 9th Jul 1929 in Motherwell.  Ed Uni of Glasgow.  Married 15th Feb 1952 Agnes Ferguson. Ordained and inducted 19th Nov 1967. He retired in 1993.
3rd Oct 1994
John Turnbull L.Th
A retired police officer. At this time, Balfron became linked with Fintry. During his tenure, the Session House at Balfron Church was extended, using funds from the sale of the former South Church. Retired November 2006.
23rd Aug 2007
Willem Bezuidenhout
Formerly of South Africa, he married whilst in office. He transferred to Dumfriesshire.
20th Sep 2010
 Rev Moira MacCormick was appointed as Interim Locum Minister on 1st November 2010.  Rev Ian Goring succeeds as Interim Minister on 7th July 2011.
28 Nov 2013
Rev Sigrid Marten
Sigrid joins us from London Road , Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Details of research into churches listed below can be found in The Balfron Heritage website.
  • Edinbelly
  • Honeyholm
A brief history of the churches listed below can be found in the Balfron village website:
  • Balfron Associate Burgher Church c1798-c1821
  • Balfron Relief Church, later United Presbyterian c1793-c1847
  • Holm of Balfron General Associate Secession, later United Presbyterian Church c1739-c1880