All Saints Church History


All Saints, Inveraray


The Church of All Saints dates from 1886, but before that date Episcopal services were held in the old parish school which was demolished in 1903 and which stood on the site of the present Community Hall.

In 1886, George, 8th Duke of Argyll granted a feu for the erection of a church. The architects were Wardrop and Anderson of Edinburgh and the church, which is of red granite in first pointed style and with large vestry and organ chamber on the north side, was consecrated in September that year with great ceremony beginning with a procession through the town which astonished the townspeople.

The church owes much to the generosity of Niall, 10th Duke of Argyll who took great interest in both the worship and the business affairs of the church. His gifts included several beautiful sets of vestments, the tabernacle, sanctuary lamps, candlesticks, the oak settle and many other furnishings.

It is doubtful whether the bell tower , designed by Hoare and Wheeler, which dominates the modest but attractive church and looms somewhat incongruously above the graceful 18th Century architecture of Inveraray, would today receive planning permission in the present conservation area. Nevertheless it is a Category A listed building, a tourist attraction in its own right, and houses a magnificent ring of ten bells, one of Scotland's finest, and is a much valued venue for visiting bell ringers.

From 1888 the house now known as the Old Rectory was occupied by successive rectors until 1952 when the then incumbent, Canon Collet, left and the church became a cathedral mission served by itinerant priests. It is now an Independent Congregation served by the Rector of Lochgilphead. There is an excellent descriptive booklet about the church, by Donald MacKechnie, a friendly Presbyterian elder which gives a lively account of the church's history, particularly of the relationship between various incumbents and Niall, 10th Duke of Argyll. He also produced, in collaboration with Norman Chaddock, a similar booklet about the bell tower.

From 1965 Roman Catholic services have been held in the church. This is much appreciated by local Roman Catholics who would otherwise have to travel to Lochgilphead.

For more information about the bells, see www.inveraraybelltower.co.uk