Garscadden Chapel

Garscadden Chapel

This is Garscadden Chapel, photographed at the turn of the 20th Century. It lay in the grounds of Garscadden estate behind Garscadden House - or previously Garscadden Peel - and used as the place of worship for the lairds of the house. It was probably built around the middle of the fifteenth century by the Galbraiths but disused since the late 16th Century.

In the reign of Queen Mary and in the aftermath of the reformation, Robert Galbraith, the laird of Garscadden, on 19th May 1563 was charged with restoring popery when he was found assisting in the celebration of mass in his own chapel; one of a party of 47 called to Dumbarton Castle to answer such charges in front of the Laird of Glengarnock, a long time protagonist of the Galbraiths.

One of the party was John Hamilton, the Archbishop of St. Andrews. He was previously the Abbot of Paisley and had many friends and much influence in the Drumchapel area, and was probably the prime instigator of the restoration of Catholicism in the area.

Galbraith's punishment was not mentioned but Malcolm, prior of Whithorn; Sir Thomas Montgomery; and Sir William Failyofen - accused alongside the Garscadden laird - were imprisoned in Dumbarton Castle.

The Battle of Langside in 1568 would finally quell the Catholic hopes. Six Hamiltons of the Kilpatrick parish fought for the Queen; the Craufurds of Drumry - although sympathetic to Catholicism - were split on both sides. The Drumry Chapel of St. Mary was closed in 1562; the Garscadden Chapel would have been disused not long after the Battle of Langside.

The chapel is still with us today, though in a state of ruin. Indeed it is the oldest building in Drumchapel, outliving the Drumry Peel, Garscadden House and the Girnin Gates. It can be viewed next to the top high flat at 39 Linkwood Crescent (NS 5220 7121). Some of the corbelling is still intact on the outside, but the roof has long since disappeared. The building itself was rebuilt in 1923 by Capt. Archibald James Campbell Colquhoun, then the laird of Garscadden, as the inscription inside testifies. The facing wall to the inscription shows the Colquhoun coat of arms, probably added at the same time. Although weathered it is possible to trace two greyhounds holding the badge of a saltire. Originally the Garscadden version of the Colquhoun arms would have clearly shown a buckle in the middle of the saltire's cross.